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Posted by on Thursday September 24, 2015 at 8:58:22:

September 24th will be another time for Nigerian Muslims to celebrate Sallah and it's also going to be a public holiday. This particular one is called Eid-El-Kabir. My family is most likely going to receive 3 packages of Sallah meat from the 3 wives of an Alhaji since they never miss an opportunity to kill rams during Sallah and are ever willing to share it. We are Christians, Catholics and would eat the meat after frying it in thanksgiving to God after saying our usual prayer before a meal.

One of the things which Nigerian Muslims do when celebrating Sallah is to kill animals such as rams or cows and they normally distribute the meat to their neighbours and this includes Nigerian Christians. Yes, Muslims and Christians live together peacefully in Nigeria most especially in Southern Nigeria so don't mind some terrorists in the north east who are only bent on breaking that cordial relationship. Yes, Muslims offer Sallah meat as a form of gift to their Christian neighbours and I'm a witness to it.

During every Sallah celebration, Muslims in Nigeria who can afford to, do kill rams and cows to celebrate it if it's one that involves a major celebration and they can afford it. Those who can't afford to, normally visit their friends and relatives who can to celebrate it with them.

Some Christians in Nigeria are not so comfortable with celebrating Islamic feasts like Sallah with their Muslim friends and may not always want to eat or accept gifts from them and this includes Sallah meat. Some might be a bit concerned that such food or meat has been sacrificed to Allah or has undergone some form of ritual which may not be in agreement to Christian beliefs and it may become a sin to eat with them. I guess it's understandable that such Christians do care about protecting their faith and it may actually be recommended for Christians who feel guilty doing so.

For Christians however with a higher level of understanding, faith and who would not be considered as baby Christians, there is really nothing wrong in accepting gifts such as Sallah meat from Muslims during their feasts as long as it's eaten in thanksgiving to God and that's why true Christians normally say the grace before meals. As a Christian, I've made it a traditional to dedicate any food I eat to God and give him thanks for it because I know all things come from him.

It's quite possible that at times, the kind of food we eat or drink we take may have been compromised either spiritually or physically but if you are a man of fire and truly stand by your faith, you will always believe that all things in heaven and on earth belong to God and that if food is presented to you, you should eat it in thanksgiving to God who is the ultimate provider. Even Jesus who was considered a practicing Jew did eat food at the table of people others considered as outcasts or Gentiles and was not defiled for he himself said that it's not what goes into a man that has power to defile a man but what comes out of him. He even allowed a prostitute to clean his feat to show that the power in him was greater than the power in the world and so he could not be made less powerful just by associating with someone outside his religion or faith.

As a Christian, you should be guided by the fact that he who is in you is greater and cannot be influenced by others who are outside your faith as long as you are doing what is naturally right such as eating food or drinking water.

For some Nigerian Christians who might consider food offered by Muslims unclean, one good example I can refer them to is the one in the Acts of the Apostles 10:10-16. In that portion of the bible, God commanded Peter to rise, kill and eat for he was hungry. Peter, by his training as a Jew does not eat certain animals and even called them unclean even though eating them would satisfy his hunger. However, God wanted to tell him that whatever he has cleanses, no man should call unclean. So, if by your thanksgiving and prayer, you dedicate a Sallah meat or food to God, God will cleanse it and it should no longer be regarded as unclean.

What I'm basically saying is that there is nothing wrong with a Christian accepting and eating Sallah meat from a Muslim friend as long as he doesn't have to deny his faith or convert to Islam. All he or she has to do is first thank God for the food, ask him to bless it and then eat it with joy because it is God who is the true provider of all food.

A good Nigerian Christian never forgets to pray before and after he eats food because that is part of the Christian tradition.

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