Ramadan in Nigeria: how Nigerians observe the Islamic fast
Ramadan has already commenced in Nigeria, and Muslims all over the country are currently observing the fast. Nigerian Muslims make up about half of the country’s population, which means that millions of people are currently fasting and observing Ramadan in Nigeria.
The Significance of Ramadan in Nigeria
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is believed that the early verses of the Quran were shown to Prophet Mohammed in the ninth month.
During this time, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and many other worldly activities from sunup till sundown.
The purpose of fasting is to draw humans closer to God, so people fast during this period to revive their spiritual lives. Ramadan in Nigeria sees Muslim faithful engaging in a lot more prayer than is customary. It is also a great opportunity to learn patience and humility.
How important is fasting in Islam?
According to Ramadan.com, fasting is an important part of the Five Pillars of Islam. Apart from being part of the Islamic worship, fasting allows a person to lay aside worldly pleasures and seek the face of God concerning sins, mistakes, and to surrender totally to the will of God.
Muslims can use this proximity to God to pray for guidance in their everyday lives. Most people often pray for grace and wisdom to circumvent problems and other obstacles.
When does Ramadan start?
There is no fixed date for Ramadan. It begins with the sighting of the new moon. Because of this, this fasting period differs from place to place. It is important to note that while most countries use moon sightings as a guide, there are also countries where science is the determining factor of when Ramadan starts or ends.
Ramadan in Nigeria begins once the crescent is sighted. Once this happens, it is normal for people to jubilate with singing and dancing and to send each other congratulatory messages for stepping into the new month.
This year, Ramadan in Nigeria was a trending topic on social media channels after the moon-sighting. Millions of Nigerians, both Muslims and non-Muslims, sent each other happy Ramadan messages. This shows how people joyfully usher in the season.
Breaking the fast
Every evening, neighbouring families come together to eat and break the fast. Before they eat the meal, it is common to drink sugary corn syrup before feasting. The men gather to eat from the banquet while the women also eat theirs in allocated places.
Giving gifts during Ramadan in Nigeria
Families exchange wrapped gifts with each other. Most people go out of their way to give to the less-privileged in the society. Women wrap and deliver the gifts while the men mostly stay out of this particular tradition.
Things to eat during Ramadan
Families usually break the fast with rice, potatoes, millet, meat, and tea. Suya—seasoned grilled meat—is also an important part of Ramadan in Nigeria.
As Ramadan in Nigeria draws to a close, people normally flood the markets to buy new clothes and accessories as well as foodstuff to usher in the Eid Al-Fitr celebrations.