WAKE UP: Nigerian Muslim Ummah and challenge of fulfilling its divine responsibility to the society

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FILE: From Left: Sultan of Sokoto and Amirul Mu'mineen of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, exchanging pleasantry with the President-General, League of Imams and Alfas, South West, Edo/Delta, Sheikh Jamiu Bello Kewulere, while the Attah and Paramount Ruler of Aiyede Ekiti, Oba Alhaji Abdul Mumini Adebayo Orisagbemi, second right, and Special Adviser Police Matters to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, third left, look with keen interest, during the historic visit by the Sultan to Aiyede Kingdom, Ekiti State, on Saturday 18 November 2017.

Kuntum khayran Ummat ukhrujatin-nas. Ta’muruna bilmaoruf watansaona anilimunkar watu’minuuna billahi (meaning, Yours is the best of communities ever raised for mankind.  You enjoy what is good, you discourage indecency and you believe in Allah).

It is my pleasure to introduce this new edition of my WAKE UP opinion column titled this time as per the above subject matter with the Qur’anic reference quoted both in transliteration and translation.

I am one of the most troubled Muslims on earth so much concerned that humankind easily get derailed from the path as laid for them in the Manual of Creation made by the Sole Architect, Supervisor and essentially singular Claimer of the creation of heavens, earths and all that they both have in between including the worlds of man, angels, jinns and the da’bah (animals).  What this means is that, once anyone chooses to take off the light lit to illuminate his path in dark time, if he goes hitting the wall or ramming into dangerous object in that situation of his jahiliyyah (deliberate ignorance), he will not only have himself to blame here in the world but in the presence of the Creator, Allah, next world, he will be faced with disgrace.

For the love I have to humanity, I have decided to come through this column per adventure man will understand and change.  The Christian fold should not be in a haste to ask why my message only addresses Muslims if I say I love humanity as they too are members of the humankind.  The fact that I am blessed by Allah with spiritual and background capacity to address any religious ills is an assurance that my message for the Christians of Nigeria will come but let me speak to my Muslim Community as a starter.

 

“And in demonstrating the third teaching, Muhammad (SAW) earned the name Al-Amin (the Trustworthy) not by Muslims but by Christians of Madinah convinced by his extra-ordinary integrity, particularly towards them.  If 1440 years After Hijrah, what we now have in Nigeria is segregation among Muslims, caused by some people who believe they no longer need the Qur’an and Hadeeth for guidance but misleading interpretations of some self-centred scholars or clerics, then the leadership of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah has got a responsibility to act fast because, a stitch in time, the adage says, saves nine!”

 

There are quite a number of Muslims who in the guise of being straight-to-basis are in the extreme but it is difficult for less concerned members of the society to discern between their extremism and the fundamentals that should be the main guide.  That is what this contribution is meant to achieve.  It is not as if I am as vast in Loga tul Arabiyyah (Arabic Language Study) like many of them claim to be but, Islam is comprehensive and rational enough for every saner person who is sincere with his or her own soul and is well connected to his Lord to know that it is not a barrier from talking Islam.

I had opportunity to sit in an informal discourse with the Chief Imam of Vanguard Newspapers Muslim Community, Imam Haroun Abdulrazaq himself a scholar of Arabic and Islamic Studies, the Arts Editor of Vanguard and Chairman of the Vanguard Newspapers Muslim Community, Alhaji Dada Adekola and two others last Friday and there we discussed the rate at which Muslim youths are being misguided in the disguise of “worship” of Allah.  We discussed the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (OAU) Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) issues which, thank God, the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN)’s intervention finally solved about a year ago.  We also talked about University of Lagos MSSN where a group of some like-realists like-fanatics have pervaded the worship space pushing the UNILAG Muslim Community against a particular group of Muslim Students who have been well on ground in the university’s mosque for a long time so that those people can be sent away by the Muslim Community and they warm themselves into the hearts of the elders, deceiving them despite their status as professors, with a view to replacing those people.

In the case of UNILAG, what the skimmers, feeding the Muslim community with erroneous information about their fellow Muslim students, are simply doing is to create hate against them to pave easy way for them to gain ground in the University of Lagos Central Mosque.  Already you will see them now carrying baytul mal (boxes used to collect sadaqa) during Jumat service and they exactly dressed the way I described those I listed in The DEFENDER’s special report about University of Ilorin MSSN.

The danger inherent in this is that, they only have the mission to disrupt existing order thereby causing disaffection among members of the Muslim Community.  It is from among this sect of Muslims that people moved from mosque to mosque in the buildup to the last elections trying to disabuse the minds of fellow Muslims against democracy losing out the core of reasons that democracy, in the Nigerian context, falls under Dholuri (circumstances).  No Muslim community in Nigeria can show apathy to voting in a democracy because it serves as the only vehicle for driving leaders into power, which affects the life of all including religious practices in the country.

For this reason, many Muslim youths who believe in confusion merchants or are of the same ideological leaning with them did not participate in both national and state elections during the 2019 exercises.  If we are looking for why there was high level of voting apathy therefore, this is one and it is mainly in South West of Nigeria because you cannot see this sect being prominent in the North due to the fact that in the North, their understanding of Islam is devoid of dogmatism or ignorant extremism, unlike what the so called elements are doing, which rather than building are in actual fact misrepresenting Islam but, more painfully, thinking they are worshipping Allah.

It must be spelt out here that the attitude of this type of Muslims is making it difficult to really deal with the anti-Islamic tendencies being championed by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), which also is most effective in South West of the country.  These Muslims kafaara (see as pagans) fellow Muslims, who do not appear (jumped trouser, niqoq, beared) like them, as they say whoever, for instance does not grow beard (which however is Islamic beauty) is Haram.  To them, wearing of niqob (veil) is COMPULSORY for every Muslim woman regardless of anything, and it is either you wear it or you are not a Muslim just like they have said it is haram not to leave beard.  They ascribe to themselves the rights of rating who a Muslim is, away from who Prophet Muhammad (peace of Allah be upon him) said is a Muslim, and, more ridiculously too, their yardstick for arriving at that is 3 ¼ trouser, hugely beardedness and niqob.  It is on this basis that they segregate among Muslims. Too bad!

I had been opportune to unknowingly mingle with these people but moment I got to see their attitude towards fellow Muslims, I withdrew.  What they do that is worse yet is to first radicalize the minds of their listeners before they start pouring the misguidance into them.  I mean, how does it sound that a so-called preacher at a Ramadan lecture would say “Among people we cannot say salam alaykum to is a man who calls himself a Muslim but does not have beard and his trouser are not jumped” and the trouser of the preacher is jumped to a part a little after his kneels although he put a pair of long socks to meet up.

With this, are we still looking for elements whose mission is to sow intra and inter-religious discord in our country?  Unfortunately, the Muslim Community is more of the Conspiracy of Silence and they have their reason: “We must not open ourselves to the public”.  If I may ask, when the Muslim Jamaah, whose misguided Islamism led them to the Boko Haram terrorism, became a public thing, who suffered it most? The ordinary Muslims who chose to remain as fundamental as Allah and His Prophet (S.A.W.) want them to be!

I remember as Vanguard Newspaper’s Journalist that time, interviewing Mr. Segun Bola Ajibola, himself a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and he refused to be cowed by the stigma of Boko Haram terrorism which the CAN and Nigerian media led against innocent Muslims at that time.  Like I mentioned in one of the writings, that situation overstretched the Sultan of Sokoto and Leader of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, who had to insistently tell the rest of Nigerians including the media while Boko Haram should not be addressed or reported as Islamist group.

And the Sultan was right.  Saying “Book is Forbidden”, which means “Boko Haram” in Hausa Language, is not taught to any Muslim by Islam.  Going to school hostels in the night to kidnap school girls (Christian or Muslim) alone is terrorism abhorred by Islam, talk less that those girls would now be ferried and scattered into various dangerous destinations where they are forced into using niqob including the Christians among them and in the end, the underage girls were forced into marriage aside their forceful conversion into Islam against the wishes of their respective parents.

One can then go on to question where is it Islamic way that a Muslim group would go to mosque to kill notable Islamic scholars, let alone for one Muslim to give fatawa to kafaara (paganise) fellow Muslims and make him susceptible to security risks, like they did to the Sheikh in Zaria and particularly Sheikh Mahmood Jaafar martyred in his Goronduse Road mosque near Bayero University in Kano?  And it is said that even to kill an innocent Christian, Islam equates it to killing ten Muslims and killing one Muslim is equated to killing a whole nation.

Now, this sect of Muslim youths have been so radicalized that if anybody including their parents dares to stop them in their misguided way, they are prepared to take arms against him or her.  In their view, nobody knows Islam except as they preach and practice.  This is big trouble!

It becomes a more complicated problem for the Nigerian Muslim Ummah if the government in power is one controlled or advised by CAN, which was why every Muslim except the Sultan was tagged Boko Haram during the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan era when the misguided Muslims, proverbially being planned to be set ablaze now rubbing selves with fuel, had Christians participating in their activities as evidenced in number of Boko Haram members arrested by military at some points and they were Christians.  Where in the Qur’an and Hadeeth is that recognized?  Worst still, if you ask them they call themselves Ahlus-Sunnah!

There are some others who hold strictly to “Qur’an” and reject the Sunnah!  Whereas, you cannot understand the Qur’an except as explained and taught by Prophet and Messenger of Allah sent with the Qur’an by Allah to the entire mankind and you cannot choose the Sunnah except you recourse to Allah.  But, the ideological group in question choose Sunnah above the Qur’an and it is the reason they will pick Sunnah (which is Islam however) and equate it with the compulsions of Allah as listed out in the Qur’an.  And their activities flourished under that era of Jonathan (believed by CAN as Christian in power) because the politicians found these unfortunately misguided brothers, as President Muhammadu Buhari once described them, as tools to achieve political capital and we could see that in expressed concern of late National Security Adviser to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government, General Handrew Azazi, who confessed to existence of Boko Haram among PDP as a party and as a government.

Only President Muhammadu Buhari and his service chiefs including the DG DSS, National Security Adviser, Minister of Finance, Minister of Information and the President’s Media Aides can quantify how much it cost to save Nigeria from the scourge inflicted on the country by those so called religious worshippers aided by Jonathan’s government to make Nigeria disillusioned.  We should not forget that although Boko Haram has been hugely weakened and restricted to the Chad Basin area, government troops still battle with their remnants and there is no proof yet that bandits killing innocent Muslims and villagers currently in Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina states are not products of this misguided brotherhood because they are so radicalized that they obey nobody except economic power.  It is the reason any politician who can pick their bills they follow.

Therefore, having done my researches and I have been able to make all the submissions I made above, I can authoritatively tell leadership of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah under Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Dr. General Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, mni, CFR, and the Federal Government now under a Muslim who believes in equity and moderacy, which is prophetic way, General Muhammadu Buhari, that Muslim students with traces of Boko Haram behaviours are the one penetrating the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) and who are fanaticizing the all-important religious society meant to shape Muslim youths of Nigeria to live their spiritual, moral and academic lives in accordance with the permissible of their Lord.

Whereas, what is expected of every religious person (Muslim or Christian) is to live his or her life as a fundamentalist, and a fundamentalist is one who deals with the basic, primary purposes of the faith and appears original.  The fundamentals of Islam are founded in the Qur’an and explained in the Hadeeth of the Prophet and Messenger of the Sole Author of the Holy Book.

These Islamic fundamentals are into two: Belief and Pillars.  Belief is to believe in Allah as Lord who created man for no other purpose except for His worship; to believe in all his prophets including Isa (peace be upon him) as saying nothing except as directed by Allah separating what is the will of Allah and what is their own views playing Allah’s command above their views; to believe in the angels and the works they do by Allah’s command, to believe in the day of judgment, existence of hell and paradise, and the sixth being to believe in destiny whether it is good or bad as coming from no other source except Allah sub’anahuwa ta’ala.

The fundamentals continue to the five pillars upon which Islam is founded: One, Shahadah (testifying) to the Oneness of Allah and prophethood of Muhammad (peace of Allah be upon him); two, establishment of worship through solat five times daily; three, fasting for 29 or 30 days in the month of Ramadan; four, pay zakat the poor dues; and five, embarking on the annual ritual journey to the House of Allah in Makkah and the mosque of His Prophet in Madinah that is the Hajj.

Without sounding immodest, I will like to point out where those misguided Muslim students really behave unIslamically.  When the Prophet (SAW) said: Buniyal-Islam ala khams (Islam is built on five pillars), to say pillar is to say without it there will be no safe erection.  If Allah the Owner of Islam that those guys claim they are practicing could give exemptions among the pillars, then, they are miles apart from the wishes of their Lord to live their lives only on things which Allah did not make compulsory and it is upon that they are ready to tear the entire Muslim Ummah apart like they are doing and which further escalates to the generality of the society.

Testifying, both in the spirit and body parts, to the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad (S.A.W.) as a messenger sent by Him has no exemption.  To be a Muslim you must fulfill that pillar number one.  Solat, this has a way Malaika Jubreel (Angel Gabriel) taught Prophet Muhammad (SAW) how to be observed for the five times of the day and how to recognize the times.  It is a major pillar without which no Muslim’s good work will be looked at on the day of judgment.  However, for them who are sick and cannot stand in the solat, Islam permits them to sit; those who cannot sit are permitted to pray lying on their backs in bed and those who cannot even turn their bodies are allowed to use their eyes movement.   This is to show how so compulsory five daily prayers are, but Allah still recognizes some exemptions for His created Muslim servants.  How many Muslims have died for failing to follow this soft path permitted by Allah as they transcend the limit of their health conditions claiming they have faith in Allah and through that they pass on to the great beyond?  Determining their case is not with human but Allah.  May He forgive their overzealousness in worship!

Fasting is so compulsory that Allah confirms it to be His own personal rights to determine who fasts.  However, for him who is sick, on journey or a woman who is in her period, pregnant, under childbirth period, breastfeeding or a Muslim who suffers memory loss, he or she is advised to stop fasting.  They will all pay back the days they could not make except the one that suffers memory loss or his or her sickness like stomach ulcer is persistent.  That is another way Allah’s mercy is shown upon His servants.

Then Zakat is for only the rich and not just the rich but one who has specified such amount as enters nizab (eligible) and the amount is intact, plus or minus, for the 12-calendar year (because months with Allah in one year are 12).  Allah does not even say give all or give 50 percent or give 10 percent of that wealth.  He says after the rights of the wife and children, debts have been taken out of what you have at the point of paying zakat, if what is left is within nizab, eligibility for payment, all you need to do now is to take 2.5 percent of it and give it out to the deserving needy.  That’s all! Same thing with Hajj, for him or her who has money and is in good state of health.

How come these misguided Muslims, who form themselves into sects and still claim Ahlus-Sunnahship, do not limit themselves to the comprehensive learning and teaching of these fundamentals of Islam (articles of faith and pillars of Islam) if their aims and objectives are mainly to earn the favour and rewards of Allah for contributing to the spread of His religion of Islam on earth?  But they leave out those necessities and begin to pursue the peripherals thereby blinding many non-Muslims to the realities and beauties of Islam.  And by these, they are so unlistening.  Where in the Holy Book of Islam “unlistening” is tolerated by any Muslim?  Where in the Holy Book of Islam or Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) radicalism, overzealousness, extremism is tolerated?  What then is their basis for identifying fellow Muslims (fellow kitab wa sunnah students like them!) as kafir when even today in New Zealand, Christians are serving as beloved protectors to Muslims and vice versa and in America, those fighting the hate preacher American President Donald Trump in favour of Muslims are themselves fellow Christians to the controversial US President?

Finally, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) laid a three-in-one foundation for humanity that should convince us all that the activities of these misguided Muslims penetrating the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) are not recognized by him no matter how much ahlus-sunnah they appear to be or claim they are.  On arrival at Madinah he taught Muslims: One, relationship between them and their Lord and he built mosque for them where the religion then taught (worship).  Two, relationship between them and their fellow Muslims making it clear to them no Muslim must call another Muslim a kaafir or hypocrite as it is the place of Allah alone to so determine.  And three, relationship between them and non-Muslims.

And in demonstrating the third teaching, Muhammad (SAW) earned the name Al-Amin (the Trustworthy) not by Muslims but by Christians of Madinah convinced by his extra-ordinary integrity, particularly towards them.  If 1440 years After Hijrah, what we now have in Nigeria is segregation among Muslims, caused by some people who believe they no longer need the Qur’an and Hadeeth for guidance but misleading interpretations of some self-centred scholars or clerics, then the leadership of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah has got a responsibility to act fast because, a stitch in time, the adage says, saves nine!

*WAKE UP is strictly opinion column of Lagos Journalist, Media Proprietor and Isolo Akure, Ondo State-born Prince Bashir Adefaka.  Reach him via his Email: omope72@gmail.com or Phone: 08083689552.

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