The Chief Imam of Lagos State, Alhaji Suleiman Abou-Nolla, on Saturday urged the Lagos State Government to declare the first day on Islamic calendar, Hijrah, a work-free day.
The cleric made the call at an event commemorating the 1441 A.H Hijrah celebration held at the Lagos Central Mosque, Lagos Island.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that ‘Hijrah’ is the beginning of the Islamic new year.
Abou-Nola, who stressed the importance of Hijrah celebration, said making it a work-free day will enable the people of Lagos to celebrate it in a big way.
“January is usually perceived as the first month of the year, but in Islam, the Hijrah is the beginning of our own calendar year.
“Just like in Osun, where the state government declared the day a work-free day, we urge our state government to make the Hijrah day a work-free day for the people of Lagos to celebrate it in a big way,” he said.
In a lecture titled: ‘Challenges facing the Muslims in Nigeria’, the Chief Imam called on Muslims to be up and doing in their daily activities.
“Isam is a religion of peace, unity and truth, so l urge everyone to discharge his or her tasks dutifully,” he said.
In his response, Lagos State deputy governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said that Lagos is a cosmopolitan state and as such, many things had to be considered before such holiday can be declared.
“We cannot just make a decision that will affect our economy; there must be stakeholders interaction before such decision can be made.
“By the time we relate with the people and we see that the impact is not negative, then we will consider it.
“We are not just a government that will make decisions on people, we will make it together, so if the decision is the will of the people and everybody concerned, so be it,” he said.
Hamzat called on all Muslim parents and leaders to teach the essence of morals, as there is decadence in the society.
The deputy governor said that parents should train their children to be upright and law abiding.
“We should be law abiding, otherwise, we face the wrath of the law,” he said.
Also speaking, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun, Deputy Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly, said that Islam is a religion of peace, and as such, Muslims must portray it in their day to day activities.
Eshinlokun, who was the chairman of the occasion, reminded Muslims of the Islamic injunction of seeking no other deity, but Allah.
“Hijrah is symbolic, because it marks the beginning of a new year in Islam.
“Therefore, as Muslims, we must live in unity and serve no other deity, except the almighty Allah,” he said.