Muslims world-wide are, today, celebrating Eid el-Maulud, in commemoration of the birthday of the prophet of Islam, Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who was born in 570 AD in Mecca. While celebrating his birth each year, Muslims reflect on his deeds and pronouncements, as well as the message he brought from Allah. Being a public holiday in this country, it is therefore an auspicious day for Nigerians - unarguably some of the most religious people on earth - to reflect upon the meaning of religion and their adherence to whichever type they profess.
For Muslims, the lessons of Maulud lie in what they can pick from the life of the holy prophet. Muhammad preached the message of peace, truthfulness, faithfulness and eschewing all forms of vice, all of which are subsumed into a universal theme of godliness. In today's Nigeria, this message is far from being ingrained and practised by the otherwise religious population. The recurring canker of "religious" violence has challenged the people's claim to religiosity. We wish our Muslim brothers and sisters happy Maulud.