Religion and Tradition: The Pillars of Society
Buenas noches beautiful people. I know I have been away for about a day now, many factors came into play to ensure that was possible. But on the bright side, my Field Practical Training has officially ended yesterday. I was feeling nostalgic leaving the hotel that I had lived in for the past four weeks, and even more so as I watched my classmates drive off, as they journey back to the state my school is located.
I couldn’t go back with them because academic staff of universities in my country are currently on strike, and it was extended by another 8 weeks just last Monday. Coupled with the fact that I currently don’t have a phone and would be bored out of my mind if I had gone back to my lodge in school which will most likely be deserted because of the strike.
It is easier to go back home to my family, since I can use my sister’s phone when she’s at home. In fact, I wrote this article using her phone. Also, I hope coming home would hasten the process of solving my phone issues, so it was a convenient as it was optimistic decision to stay back, and not return back with my classmates.
Moving on to the main topic of today, I was in the bathroom yesterday, preparing for departure when I heard my classmates having general prayer. I couldn’t help but think about how the role of religion in the society. Only a few things really bring people together despite their differences. And I say this because of the bickering that had ensued among my classmates the day before.
It brings to mind a quote from a book I had read years ago (Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe)
“Does the white man understand our custom about land?”
“How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
Here, Achebe had pointed out the power of religion, because it has the power to cut through custom and tradition which binds a community together, and gives them a sense of brotherhood.
Although, some have argued that Christianity was the strategy used by colonialists to fight against whatever resistance they may encounter, but this article is not for the purpose of debating that. Besides, Islam was one of the prominent religion in the country at that time, and it was brought into the country, because it didn’t originate here too.
More to my point, as I was walking on the road yesterday, I observed many people moving towards a location, only to look up and see that it was Muslim faithful, hurriedly going to a prayer (Jumat). I stood a while and looked at so many people, together for the sole purpose of praying for a better life. I must say it was aesthetically pleasing to my eyes. Watching them move in unison, up and down, like everything had been rehearsed to perfection had always pleased me.
I remember a time as a child, I was passing by a mosque, and seeing them pray, I observed and saw people outside washing their head, hands and feet before going into the building. I decided to follow the trend. The way I hurriedly washed myself, it was obvious I wasn’t one of them, and just because I stepped into the building, someone held me back and asked what I was doing. I remember saying that I wanted to join the people inside. Little did I know I wasn’t qualified if nothing, at least, I wasn’t a Muslim.
Somehow, religion and tradition has come to be the two pillars that hold the society together. People do not take tradition and religion lightly. Only sport I would say can bring people together as much as these two. There are the very thread that hold the fabric of society together, and I am sure if Achebe was alive today, he would agree with me.
Thank You For Reading 🖤🖤