Wednesday, 6 July 2016

WarriPost : Uncovering the Moon in Warri.

New Warri has a mandate or responsibility to provide intelligent information for the people of the city.

The rationale behind this is, People who know better acts better, and you cannot know when you don’t have the right information, most times the actions of people are driven by ignorance and misinformation. 

A new hash tag #BringBackOurMoon trended on Wednesday when the Federal government of Nigeria extended the public holidays declared for Tuesday and Wednesday for the Muslim Sallah break to Thursday due to inability, to sight the moon that is supposed to mark the end of Ramadan fast.

Before I proceed, I will like to share a story that I think exemplifies our reality today.

In 1967 a study was conducted by Stephenson et al called "Cultural acquisition of a specific learned response among rhesus monkeys".

Five monkeys were placed in the same cage with a ladder in the middle. At the top of the ladder was a banana. After a minute of being in the cage, one of the monkeys decides to climb up the ladder and grab the banana. As soon as he steps foot on the ladder the other four monkeys get sprayed with ice cold water. The banana is replaced and after a minute a different monkey goes to climb the ladder and the other four are sprayed with ice cold water. The next time a monkey tried to climb the ladder, the other four beat the crap out of him to prevent him from doing so.

One of the original monkeys was removed and a new one was put in. As you can guess, this new monkey saw the banana at the top of the ladder and decided to climb up and get it. To his surprise the other four monkeys grabbed him and beat him. Another one of the original monkeys was removed and a new one placed inside the cage. Same thing happened; the new monkey tried to climb the ladder and was stopped and beaten by the others. This time the monkey that had never been sprayed with cold water willingly and joyfully participated in the beating of this new monkey, even though he had no idea as to why.

Over time, all of the original monkeys had been removed and new ones placed in the cage. The cycle had been the same every time. (Climbing the ladder and getting beaten). All of the new monkeys had never been sprayed by ice cold water and yet they willingly participated in beating anyone trying to climb the ladder.

That is our reality today, we are quick to jump into the bandwagon to criticize, humiliate and mete out jungle justice with the slightest opportunity without proper and personal verification.

Twitter exploded and facebook ran riot in Nigeria with the holiday extension. I bet some conspiracy theorist will use this opportunity to propel their theories of Islamizing Nigeria. I’ll like to state firmly that we should not be quick to broadcast certain information without us, first vetting that information from other sources.

“They ask you about the crescents. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in the affairs of men and for pilgrimage.” [Al Baqarah, 2:189]

“Whoever witnesses the crescent of the month, he must fast the month.” [Al Baqarah, 2:185] (take note witness, not see or sight, that is to share, or part of)

Yes, the moon is important to begin the fast and needed to end the fast a day less, but in my opinion, I don’t think the moon is needed for both beginning and ending the fast because if it’s expressly stated that you can break after 30 days while wait for moon? And secondly, Ramadan is the ninth month of the year in the Islamic calendar. The month the Quran was revealed, the month of fasting, why should Nature which is subject to change determine such fundamental religious obligations?

The moon may play other significant role, but let’s not cover it in Warri with our brazen ignorance. Just like the story of the monkeys, Ignorance was the fuel for their actions. Ignorance is cancerous.
The moon brings light and light is illumination and illumination is awareness, revelation, knowledge. Let’s start uncovering the moon in our homes, lives, among friends, office, social media, religion etc by our actions in the city.

Happy Sallah, enjoy your holiday.

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