President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has called for closer ties between Christians and Muslims, while felicitating with Christians on the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
In a statement signed by Secretary-General of NSCIA, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, the NSCIA said Christmas offers another opportunity to renew our prayers for the restoration of peace in our dear country. “We join you in prayers as we beseech the Almighty God to extricate Nigeria from the shackles of her current challenges. As you celebrate this important religious milestone, the Muslim community wishes you God’s guidance and abundant blessings embedded in the festive season.
“Prophet Isa or Jesus is one of the top-ranking prophets of God that all Muslims venerate. In fact, the Qur’an mentions his name more than 25 times (i.e. Q. 2:87; 2:136; 2:253; 3:45; 3:52; 3:55; 3:59; 3:84; 4:157; 4:163; 4:171; 5:46; 5:78; 5:112; 5:114; 5:116; 6:85; 19:34; 33:7; 42:13; 43:57; 43:61; 43:63; 57:27; 61:6 and 61:14). Though his personality or divinity may be viewed differently by the teeming adherents of Christianity and Islam, the fact remains that in Jesus Christ, all of us, Christians and Muslims alike have a role model, an exemplar and a symbol of our commonality as a people of faith”.
The statement added that “As millions of Christians in our country mark the birth of Jesus, NSCIA prays that the occasion signals the beginning of more peace, more understanding, more security and more faithfulness to the true teachings of God as preached and lived by Jesus among us all”.