Re- As Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi Waters the Seeds of Radical Islam

18 Oct

Reading Majeed Dahiru’s incoherent and duplicitous piece titled “As Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi Waters the Seeds of Radical Islam”, published by Premium Times on October 13th 2016, one wonders where else do we need to go looking for the major factors that provide Boko Haram ideology the water with which to grow and gain followership. The piece serves as a classical example used by Boko Haram to convince unsuspecting Muslims that the Nigeria of today is not for Muslims.

In case you are wondering what this is all about, earlier this month the close to a hundred million Nigerian Muslims were stunned by the news that the a bill titled “Gender Parity and Prohibition of Violence against Women,” presented by senator Abiodun Olujimi, representing Ekiti south, had scaled through a second reading. Muslims were even more shocked that their representatives made no effort to stop the bill from passing to that stage. This prompted the renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, to caution the senate over the bill.

“Since there is a law which guarantees the freedom of religion,” the Sheikh said, “our Islamic laws must not be tampered with. Giving a double female share to a male heir in an inheritance was prescribed by Allah in ‎the Qur’an.”

He continued that “Anybody who thought that it is an attempt to short-changed women is only ignorant. Islam is the only religion that awards inheritance to women and guarantees their rights. In other religions and cultures, what is left by a deceased belongs to the eldest male child.”

Unless to an ignorant and/or detached person, the Sheikh was simply speaking the minds of all Nigerian muslims on this issue. In fact an obscure Majeed is the only person known, so far, to have faulted the sheikh’s stand, albeit with extremely shaky and dippy points.

Lacking the capacity to debunk, with cogent reasons, the stand of the sheikh, the writer chose to introduce a new perspective and dimension into the issue, either due to arrant ignorance or as a scarecrow, blackmail and smear campaign against any Nigerian Muslim who will voice a displeasure.

To the writer and his ilk, resisting the insidious attempt to repeal the Laws of Allah which has been codified in the Nigerian laws, is in practice in the country and recognised by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, is a “radical” form of Islam (whatever that means). They arrogated to themselves the authority to define what radical Islam is and who falls into that category even as they display conspicuous ignorance of (and about) Islam. Defining Islam for Muslims and judging them accordingly in order to stampede them into trying to belong or to put them into defensive mode is a strategy some people used to embrace.

These people are in great confusion. They are yet to come to terms with the fact that Islam can’t be subjected to their classifications of isms and/or political ideologies. It is a holistic religion, a complete package and a complete way of life. To fraction it into component, then examine them individually and separately, will yield little or no understanding of Islam’s holistic whole and as such lead to erroneous result. Compartmentalising Islam and Muslims using an alien yardstick opens only a parochial view of the religion.

Whereas certain activities or moves by some Muslims could be pigeonholed into one ism or another to suit certain opinions, Muslims simply view such from the Islamic jurisprudential framework to know whether it complies with Islamic teachings or not. This informs the prevailing discordancy between Muslims view and notion of Islam and views from outside. Apparently, this confusion and/or misconception mislead the writer into alluding that the teachings and preaching of mainstream Muslims gives inspiration to what he called radical Islam, citing the Sheikh’s call as a proof to that.

Okay, what if few people got inspired, by the teachings and preaching of mainstream Muslims, to radicalise while majority got inspired to be good? Are we to accuse or ban the teachings and preaching of Islam for that? If the answer is in the affirmative, are we, in the same vein, to stop teaching our students in the laboratories because some students use the knowledge to make bombs for Boko haram? Or are we to ban using the internet because some people use it to cause serious security violations and other crimes?

While reiterating that we are practicing constitutional democracy, the writer at the same time seems not only to be condescending on us to censor our constitutional freedom to exercise our beliefs but even going far to chose to us who we should vote. For admonishing that if the lawmakers went ahead with their plan to repeal the Sharia law of inheritance Muslims should vote them out in the next general election, the writer suggested that the Sheikh was implying that Islamist candidates be voted into the National Assembly. The man seems to be suggesting that Islamists are blocked from contesting for the National Assembly or any political office even as they are constitutionally qualified to do so.

More than any part of the piece, the claim by the writer that “the recent statement of the respected and influential cleric is a call for subversion of constituted authority, anarchy and hate,” stands out as the most mendacious and extremely irrational. How can the existence and application of a given law (Sharia law of inheritance) failed to subvert a constituted authority or create anarchy and hate but the call not to tamper with it achieve that? On the contrary, it is the move to repeal it, while no one is complaining about it, that will create animosity anarchy, hate and a sense of been marginalized while we are in the majority.

For believing in the superiority of divine laws (an integral doctrine of Islamic faith), the writer mischievously suggested that the Sheikh shared the same ideals of Islamic rule in Nigeria with Ibrahim Zakzaky and Shekau. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is the calculated mischief usually deployed to scare and silence any Muslim from voicing his support for Sharia law (which is constitutionally backed) or against infringement on Muslims’ rights. For while Zakzaky and Shekau share the same ideals of non recognition of the Nigerian authorities, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi recognized the Nigerian government. While Zakzaky and Shekau voiced their rejection of the constitution, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi accepted it and even calls people to be law abiding. While Zakzaky and Shekau repeatedly made it clear that they intend to topple Nigerian government, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi was never heard issuing such threat.

By the warped logic of the writer and his likes, sharing some opinions or beliefs with others equate agreeing with them on everything. Just like the irrational and totally absurd opinion that all Muslims are terrorists because they share some beliefs with people who unleash terror on others (including Muslims themselves).

The writer also regurgitated an insidious catch-phrase that had become the fad whenever religion bashing spring turns up. “Our negative religiosity,” he said, “fostered by some highly placed religious authorities has been at the root of our under-development as a nation.” He neither explains what the “negative religiosity” is nor highlighted how that underdeveloped us as a nation.

For so long we have been hearing this chicanery. But a simple glance would reveal that not a single component of constitutional power was ever bestowed on the “religious authorities.” Nigeria was never governed by any religious scholar, no single political office was ever occupied by any Islamic scholar (by virtue of his status as a religious leader), from the ministers to state governors down to the councilor of a ward. In addition, our civil service is not manned by the religious authorities. Not a single kobo that the nation ever had was at the control of the religious authorities. How, therefore, the blame of our under-development should rest on religious authorities is the one billion naira question yet to be answered.

All these absurdities we have so far been debunking were imbued in the piece that seeks to justify the unfortunate move by the senate. But the most audacious affront is the shameless declaration that “Under the Islamic law of inheritance, women have a proportional share of inheritance, from multiple sources (father, husband etc), which equals the men’s share. Therefore, the spirit of this bill is consistent with Islamic tenets on gender equality.” This exposed either how ignorant the writer was about the subject or how extremely duplicitous he is. Tell this to any Muslim boy or girl who goes to Islamic schools and he will squarely debunk you citing verse 11 of Chapter IV and other related verses of the Book of Allah. In fact the Sharia inheritance basic formula of 2:1 ratio is known to even those never went to Islamic schools among the Muslims.

What seemingly eludes many non Muslims and/or those with little knowledge about Sharia law of inheritance is that it is not a rigid and static thing, like what is been introduced now. There are many situations where females could get more that males just as there are some instances where they could get equal share as the case might be. Whereas the bill ostensibly limits its scope on people who died and left children only, the sharia law of inheritance covers all facets of consanguinity.

Most of the wordings in the bill provided ample ambiguities that could spark series of judicial irregularities especially in areas where a formidable law of inheritance is in practice.


10 Oct


The Nigerian Muslims were taken aback when a bill titled “Gender Parity and Prohibition of Violence against Women,” presented by senator Abiodun Olujimi, representing Ekiti south, scaled through a second reading.

Before criticizing the effrontery of the senators who chose to insult the close to a hundred million Nigerian Muslims, by seeking to repeal the sharia law of inheritance, in their apparent bid to put to end the humiliation and degradation their women have been subjected and inured to (but which we have no hand in), we must, first, query and grill our own senators who pusillanimously and/or foolishly watched as their colleagues seek to quash verse 11 of Chapter IV and other related verses of the Book of Allah which has been in practice for centuries in the north.

One wonders whether the Muslim senators, with the exception of the few who opposed the bill, grasped what was discussed during the first and second readings of the bill, (that is if they even attended the sittings on those days). And if they actually comprehended what was discussed but decided (on our behalf) to let the bill scale the second reading, they have no business representing us.

Don’t waste your time pontificating, the senators are there to represent us and various components of our societies (culture and religion included) and ensure that we, the electorates, and our interests are represented, promoted and guarded against any form of intrusion, and so on. Therefore, any misrepresentation on whatever interest of ours should get proportional reaction(s) and should not be taken lightly by those who are supposed to care.

Recall that, according to Thisday newspaper of 30th September 2016, “the bill, (which initially) had provided that enabling women should have equal rights with men in marriages, divorce, property ownership and inheritance …,” was earlier this year rejected by the senators on many grounds amongst which was religion.

Late last month, the sponsor of the bill re-presented it after some modifications, and according to the Daily Trust newspaper “a copy of the draft law specifically stated that women and men shall have the right to inherit, in equitable shares, their parents properties.”

This is the main crux of the matter. In Qur’an, Allah (The Exalted) made it categorically clear that females should take half of what males will get when it comes to children inheriting their parents. “Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females.” This has been in practice for centuries in the north.

Therefore, for the senate to attempt enacting laws that goes directly on collision with the Laws of Allah, which has been codified in the Nigerian laws, been practiced in the country and recognised by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, they are not only creating avoidable chaos but inviting unnecessary confusion in the framework of the Nigerian judicial system. Most of the wordings in the bill provided ample ambiguities that could spark series of judicial irregularities especially in areas where a formidable law of inheritance is in practice.

Muslims have no objection to the move by the southern senators to end the humiliation their women have been subjected to, especially when their husbands die. Our senators should encourage them.

It is unacceptable, for instance, that while Muslim women stands the chance to inherit thousands or millions of naira when their husbands die, as the case might be, their counterparts in the same country stands the risk of being buried alive together with their dead husbands or be counted among the items to be inherited, as the case might be.

But what is reprehensible to us is the attempt to draw us back to the status of a pegged standard that is obviously full of lacunas as against the divine law which we so cherish and enjoy for so long. We are not complaining!

Let me give an example. Contrary to what many think and believe, the sharia law of inheritance, like all components of sharia, is flexible and dynamic, at times females ended up getting more than males. For instance, where a man, who has one wife fifteen children (either males or females or both) dies and left eight million naira, the widow would get one million naira (1/8) and the remaining seven millions divided to the children. The widow here will get more than anyone. But according to this bill it has to be distributed equally. How this escaped the attention of our senators beats imaginations of many muslims.

Whereas the bill seemed to limit its scope on people who died and left children, the sharia law of inheritance covers all facets of consanguinity.

On the other hand, the classical Muslim family ties provided a formidable support system where weaker members (old, female and young) are mandated to be supported, covered and taken care of by stronger members of the family. Thus, notwithstanding who gets what, the weaker members of the family (old, females and young) often depends on the stronger members’ (men) share, while their shares are stashed elsewhere. Interestingly, even when and where nothing was left to be inherited the same scenario applies.

Therefore, it is wrong for a people who are probably living in a different type or system of family support to attempt depriving us of our enjoyable and supportive laws because either they erroneously think or assume that we are in the same mess or simply ignored our existence while making laws that seeks to ameliorate their problems.

It is bad enough that we are grossly misrepresented and largely marginalized in almost all spheres of this country’s existence, we can’t stand our representatives sitting (as though spineless) while what we hold dear is been shredded into pieces.

A Thought to Ponder on

11 Aug

In his book “ar-Rasa’il as-Shumuwliyyah”, Dr Abdul’Azeez bn Abdullah al-Humaidy, provided us with a brilliant way to handle or discuss issue with those who differ with us:- “I happened to be teachi…

Source: A Thought to Ponder on

A Thought to Ponder on

11 Aug

In his book “ar-Rasa’il as-Shumuwliyyah”, Dr Abdul’Azeez bn Abdullah al-Humaidy, provided us with a brilliant way to handle or discuss issue with those who differ with us:-
“I happened to be teaching in a Meccan institute, between 1387 to 1390 (Hijra), and among my students there was someone from Yemen. He was highly obstinate and opinionated. I was teaching Tauhid to year four students and Ibn Taimiyya’s book, “ar-risalatal wasitiyya,” was to be studied. The student out-rightly and strongly challenged the topic of attributing sifat to Allah as they came in Quran and sunnah.

For the whole year he kept challenging and contradicting many topics on that. I kept treating him softly and gently, tolerating him, despite his unmitigated effrontery during the discussions. I have respect for his God-fearing mien, fervor, religious zeal and his strong will to defend what he believed was right.

When the time for the exams came, he wrote what I taught them (to answer the questions) but inscribed below: “This is what the sheikh said but what I believe is so so and so,” (he wrote what he believed). I admired his boldness and gave him full marks.

The following year, we were to study “al-Fatawa al-Hamawiyyah,” by the same author. The student repeated what he did the previous year and I tolerated him the way I did previously. He answered the exams the way he did last year and I gave him his full marks.

When the sixth year came, they studied “Risalatal Tadhmiriyyah,” by the same author. During one of our lessons, he said “In this aspect the sheikh (Ibn Taimiyya), left no room for any challenge.” Therefrom, he agreed with every point raised by the author on “asma’u” and “sifat.”

That year, I moved to a higher institute. The student graduated from the institute, admitted into the University of Medina and graduated. He went back to his country and established a school which produced many brilliant people and he became famous.

Throughout our disagreement I have been telling myself that “This student, and his likes, were raised in an educational environment which sanctions interpretations of some attributes of Allah, and the teachers and the students of knowledge, living there, believed that they are the ones who are right. While I and my likes were raised in an educational environment that chose not to interpret, to the contrary of the apparent, any attribute, the teachers and the students of knowledge, living in the environment, also believed they are the ones who are right!
Had I happened to be raised in his educational environment, I would have probably be like him. Why, then, should I feel or believe that he is a deviant or an innovator in belief, while if we have changed places I could’ve been like him. Is it not better, milder and more humane, for me and him, and in the spirit of Islamic Brotherhood, that I assume that he erred (instead of looking at him as a deviant), and he also assume same to me? And, thereafter, if I convince him he joined me or if he convince me I join him, without us avoiding each other or accusing each other of being astray or even fighting each other? And if each of us hold on to his conviction, that will not dent our brotherhood as far as we only see the other as only on error.” Understandably, this is about intra differences among the Ahlus sunnah.

My aim at bringing this is to showcase how our educational background, environmental influences, personal experiences and even circumstantial realities shape our perspectives, views or opinions, and the indispensability of softness, gentleness and applied wisdom. We may be engaged in a heated debate, for instance, which may never end because each of us is influenced or considering some peculiar things that are/were completely unknown to the other.


5 Mar

    The unfolding saga of Yunusa (aka Yellow) and Aísha (aka Ese), like many similar incidents, expose our state of confusion, doubt and, seemingly, intrinsic inferior complex on one hand and the audacious arrogance of the mischief makers on the other.

    As everything about this story is coming to the open, it is getting clearer that a campaign of calumny against muslims, their leaders and their religion is, once again, unleashed, using the story as a vehicle.

    One is not worried or disturbed by the amazing and amusing allegations by the unscrupulous elements against us, because it would be puzzling if they acted differently. They will stop at nothing to smear their target and go to any level in their futile bid to see everything we cherish go down.

    But it is disturbing to see the jittery and trepidation that befalls many because they were faced with these detectable lies and fallacious chicaneries. The moment we are faced with allegations that are, in most cases, blatant lies and deceits or extremely twisted to blame us, especially on issues that have to do with religion or ethnicity, we scramble for safety and start giving excuses, instead of facing it, quashing it and calling its bluff. Fully aware of this, the scallywags’ wastes no time in exploiting any chance to attack, and, as if in an organized cultural dance, we immediately follow with rueful responses, giving them the satisfaction of knowing our annoyance.

    As the events unfolds and what actually transpired is getting clearer to the public, it becomes evident that the Yunusa and Aísha (aka Ese) case was handled, by the families and the authorities in the best manner any responsible leadership could do. The narrations, further, shed more light on how cultured and enviably disciplined our families operate.

    Contrary to the malicious cry of ‘abduction’ by the mischief makers, the girl made it very clear that nobody abducted her but she eloped and accepted Islam on her own volition. Before the rogues recuperate from that blow, the narrations from the police and Yunusa’s father decimated their deceit.

    Apart from the testimony of A’isha that dislocated the initial “abduction and forced conversion” story, it is very clear, as we listen to Mallam Dahiru Bala, Yunusa’s father, that the whole issue was deliberately twisted to intimidate people into succumbing to malicious propaganda, having failed to persuade the girl to go back.

    According to daily trust of Thursday, March 3, 2016, Mallam Bala said his son supplied water to Ese’s parents for many years before he converted to a tricycle rider. And even after that, he related closely with Oruru’s family. They knew he is not a criminal and will never abduct their daughter.

    He said earlier before Yunusa brought the girl to Kano, he informed him about his relationship with her. He said three months later his son approached him again that he wanted to go to Bayelsa and he allowed him thinking that the marriage issue will not resurface again.

    According to him, when his son brought Ese to the village sometimes in August last year, he objected to his son’s proposal, but the girl pleaded with him.

    Bala noted that: “I had to change my decision to save her life because she was desperate about him and only God knows what will happen if at that time I insisted that she will not marry him. However, that same night they arrived at the village, I directed my son to report the matter to the village head and he did.”

    He further recalled that the girl spent three days in Tofar-Danga and lived with Yunusa’s mother whom she considers her mother.

    He said when the case came up recently, Ese’s mother had visited Tofar-Danga with intention to take back her daughter, but she refused to follow her.

    Bala, who expressed delight for Ese reuniting with her family, also appealed to police authorities to release his son.

    He said: “I am grateful to God that the girl has finally reunited with her parents. I am therefore calling on the police to also release my son.”

    The narrations from the girl, the police, the emirate and the state government didn’t contradict this. Not even A’isha’s parents denied this yet.

    Disturbingly, there is an apparent acceptance of the twisted version of the story by some people, for reasons best known to them, even as the truth kept manifesting. This is evident in some dislocated logics, from the propagandists and their apologists within, that how could we react had the story been the other way round? This is absolute inanity. The story is a complete lie, how can you fabricate or twist an incidence and question me how could I react had it happened to me? The fact that didn’t happen the way you are putting it makes the logic irrational and void.

    But the most disheartening thing about all this is the manner we succumb to cheap blackmails like these and squander the opportunities we have to decisively shut down the mischief makers. Else, it is unbelievable that a hollow, slipshod and puerile propaganda championed by equally ignoble elements, could stampede a whole Emir of the most populous state, his emirate and the state government into apologetic press briefings as if they did anything wrong?

    I see no reason why an Emir or a state government should glorify fabricators with press statements instead of taking them to courts. Even if the need arises, far lower officials should’ve been the ones to respond.

    When a national daily published a false story about the late president Yar Adua, he took them to courts. Recently, an APC chieftain forced the African International Television (AIT) to retract a story that affects him and publicly apologized to him. There are many other incidences. Instead of glorifying the mischief makers with explanations, giving them the satisfaction of seeing us irritated, the authorities and anyone involved should take legal action against any medium or person that intentionally mislead the public.

    The religious and ethnic garb they use to cover their ill-bred missions should be exposed and adequately dealt with. The likes of Femi Fani Kayode, who seized this opportunity to write unprintable words and weighty allegations against some emirs, should only be responded with legal actions to serve as deterrence.

    Muhammad Mahmoud, Kano state

    Girl Child Education and Early Marriages: Between the Two Extremes (III)

    28 Jun

    Contrary to what the feminists wants us to believe, the girl child education is not a gender based issue. It is a societal problem that affects all. You cannot disassociate a girl from her father, brothers and male relatives (both close and distant ones) whose consanguinity tied like a single body. Every girl is loved by her parents and relatives, they spends fortunes to nurture her, sacrificed a lot to make her great, their wish is for her to reach the greatest heigh possible. They can pay the ultimate price to save her, depending on the circumstances, they protects her dignity and ensure she live a honorable life like anyone. At least this is what I know of Hausa community in which I live. How can the parents do all these only to turn, overnight, into her “haters,” as claimed by some feminists? It is a fallacy to assert that our communities’ “misogynic nature” is what informed the apprehension towards girl child/women education, as we will see shortly. Ours is not a society that “hates” woman, it is a society that dignifies her as a mother, loves her as a wife, covers her as a sister, and takes care of her as part of the society. Cloning the girl child education issue with the feminists cause is doing more harm than good to the agitation. You cannot use a perspective or worldview that is detached from a given problem to confront it and expect good result..

    Equally erroneous is the assumption that religion is a factor in the drive against the girl child education. By religion here I mean Islam. Unfortunately, both camps seems to agree, albeit fallaciously, that Islam is against girl child education. I have seen uncountable comments accusing Islam as the force against girl child education, just as I read several comments condemning girl child education as unislamic! To add salt into injury, some people even took it upon themselves as a religious duty to kill any girl that enrolls into school. They shoot innocent schoolgirls and shout “Allahu Akbar!” Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji’un. You would be excused if you are misled by the deluge of misinformation daily churned out and the actions of some misguided zealots.

    But is Islam against girl child girl/woman education? Wasn’t the first verse revealed to the messenger of Allah a command to read? Is there any other verse or Hadith that excludes women from that command? Are all the verses that extols the virtue of knowledge and scholars only encouraging men to get education? Were women not amongst the erudite scholars from the early years of Islam down to over a century? Weren’t women the ones who treated the wounded, at the battleground, during the Battle of Badr? How could they’ve done that without education? In fact, it was from that very action the fuqaha’ deduced the verdict that it is permissible for a qualified female to attend to males, when there are no qualified men, and vice versa, as explained Sayyid Sabiq in his Fiqhus Sunnah. How do you get those qualified female nurses and/or doctors, that the fuqaha’ are referring to, without them learning?

    Some might argue, though, that the education encouraged by Islam is religious, not that which affects mundane affairs. This would’ve been a valid point if they were able to point anywhere in the Quran and/or an authentic Hadith to substantiate their conjecture. Contrary to this, Islamic scholars have maintained that it is not permissible for Muslims to have zero knowledge on certain fields of education that has to do with the well-being of the ummah. Not only that, any field or specialization, they said, without which the society would find life unbearable or would jeopardize the ummah, must be learnt and mastered by Muslims. Where then did the misconception that Islam only encourages religious knowledge emanated from?

    Howbeit, what many seems to ignore or are totally unaware of is the fact that, traditionally, our people are generally insouciant to education, including that of Islam, and that is even worse when it comes to educating women. Some men have been barring their wives from attending the weekend islamiyya schools for women and girls. The schools were introduced in some towns across the north, for close to two decades now, to provide Islamic education to married women, widows and young girls. Some even regards those schools as unislamic. Prior to these schools, there was, basically, no established traditional way or system of educating women about their religion in our societies. They were virtually living in total darkness about their religion. But for the nightly islamiyya schools for kids, introduced by Mallam Aminu Kano of blessed memory, some will not even be able to pray properly. And that was exactly the situation here for a long time before Dan Fodio. When he came, Shehu Usman Dan Fodio had to give women education together with their males counterparts in his madrasa, an action for which he was chided by the Borno Ulama to which he averred that it far better for them to mix with men to acquire the education than to remain in the darkness of ignorance. The traditional Makarantun Soro, that were the established schooling system to learn jurisprudence and other fields, were/are strictly for men. Save during the annual Tafsir and/or similar occasions, women have no avenue of getting to know about their religion, with the exception of those who were lucky to be living at a scholar’s home. The males, on the other hand, chose to leave Islamic education to those who “inherits” it. If you are not from a scholar’s home you don’t have to be educationally sound.

    Apropos of the foregoing, we can easily understand that the tradition or customs of our communities is that which gives no special attention to acquiring education even though they venerate the educated. Islam is also a victim here, not the cause as erroneously believed by some misinformed persons.

    Bearing all these in mind, we may understand then that it is only natural that the formal education, which was introduced by missionaries and the colonials, who were totally despised together with anything they came with, would meet stiff opposition. If Islamic education is handled in the aforesaid, despite the fact that the people loves their religion more than anything on earth, the Boko schools shouldn’t expect to be treated leniently. Thus these schools faced great cynicism and apprehension across the region, as was the case in different parts of the world. The leeriness with which the schools are treated informed the apathy towards the education, and that forms part of the factors militating against girl child education.

    Girl Child Education and Early Marriages: Between the Two Extremes (II)

    20 Jun

    Unless we want to behave like real apes or parrots that only mimics after the master, I see no reason why we should rigidly insist on following a terrain whose milestones kept warning of dangerous bends and animals crossing while we can follow a smoother and safer road that doubles as a shortcut. Excepting that something sinister is surreptitiously laced within the agitation, what is seemingly wanted is education for the girls, obviously nothing suggests our girls could not acquire education when and if they are married, therefore insisting that the girls must not marry is a total bunkum. This is more glaring when we consider the ratio of the girls’ enrollment at schools and those married at school age. According to the United Nations 78 percent (of girls in Northwestern Nigeria) were (getting) married by age (of) 18.23. This points that most girls got married at the age they (might have) finished secondary schools. If most girls are married at that age, of what relevance is the call to shun marriage for school to the actual push against ignorance while most of the marry after finishing? The agitation should be on educating the girls whether they are married or not.  
    It is both befuddling and infuriating coping with the endless barrage of sentimental expositions about child marriage while the happenings around us belies them. I made some enquiries to know the frequency of girls being pulled out of schools and getting married off, as constantly averred by some, and the response shows near zero percent. I did this through contacting various schools coordinators demanding to know if there are such cases within the span of 4 years. Enquiries also made, within different parts of the north where I have contacts, and the responses shows that generally the practice is fast diminishing. It is not been claimed, by this, that such marriages are completely non exiting in the north, but the situation on the ground made one to wonder why the cry to high heavens over a fast waning practice.
    Also, it is becoming clearer that there is no specific age that both sides have in mind while discussing child marriage? Recently, Nigerian lawmakers passed into law a Bill that pegged marriageable age just above 11 years of a girl child’s age. This is happening when some people thinks marrying girls at the age of seventeen is child marriage. Complicated as the issue is, the need for all to be on the same page when and while discussing lawful marriageable age is very vital in understanding each other and coming up with an encompassing roadmap towards development.
    Another important thing about girl child/women education that kept one puzzled is the kind of disorganized or unorganized and spontaneous way and manner our females are leaning, or more appropriately the way they are been lead to learn. Despite the fact that millions of women have attended different schools and thousands have obtained different certificates, we often hear gibes that those who are “opposed” to girl child education are the the most vociferous opposers of male doctors attending to their wives in hospitals. Sound as this point seems to be, it exposes, on the other hand, a bigger irony. What were the women learning all these years if we cannot have women gynecologists to attend to our females? Is this the kind of education we need, which will put males in a supposedly females’ work? If in all these years the hundreds of thousands of women graduates we have couldn’t take care of our women where the need arises, of what importance then is sending the women to schools while it is the men that still do their supposed jobs.
    One is very much aware that we lack focus in planning our educational needs, or rather we failed to stick to those plans if they exist. We can simply see this taking into view the quantum of graduates from all levels of institutions, their respective fields of learning and our Allah given resources which we only need to get skilled manpower to tap. The incongruity is bewildering. Even in our universities, in the north, some subjects, that from a common sense perspective must be taught, are missing. Perhaps that could explain the glaring disharmony between the number of our female graduates and our situation in hospitals. It is long overdue for our leaders and thinkers in the north to re-strategize and put our region on the path to development through planning our education. The late Rimi administration in Kano made ground shaking achievements on this by, among others, boosting science secondary schools and sending citizen to different countries to specialize in various field needed in the state. Up to this moment, the people of the state are benefitting from that foresight.

    Girl Child Education and Early Marriages: Between the Two Extremes (I)

    4 Jun


    If you are not a Nigerian and you gleaned the debates on the girl child education/marriage in this country, you would, probably, never assume that millions of girls are presently at schools across the north, from the kindergartens to universities. You would, likely, never believe that millions of unmarried girls/women are roaming the streets and could be seen everywhere. You would, possibly, never even imagine that the growing number of unmarried girls (and women) is among our most disturbing societal problems to the extent that some states are arranging and sponsoring mass weddings as an antidote. Most likely, you would never believe that thousands of married girls/women are presently at different levels in higher institutions in pursuit of education. You would, also, be misled into believing that all girls are getting married before reaching puberty to grow up in connubial, never to acquire any education and to spend the rest of their lives in misery. You would, perhaps, be misled into believing that our schooling system is so perfect that more than 200 pupils are not packed in one classroom in some places, and that all necessary provisions are available to make education obtainable to all.

    A picture of a society where girls and women are deprived of any right and treated in the most despicable manner that can be imagined is usually drawn by those who seem to assume that religion, customs and traditions should be put aside to embrace, in totality, the western way of life, thinking and behaviour, in their aggressive and arrogant thrust to prod the society into embracing their concepts..

    The antagonists fought back in like manner, putting aside some disturbing but factual points that needs our collective efforts to rid our society from, and descending on the protagonists in full force, an action that makes rancour the order anytime such debates arises. They made every effort to debunk their opponent’s points and literally refuse to acknowledge the existence of many avoidable setbacks in the society that needs understanding and collective approach to make a better tomorrow for our children. The denials are ostensibly part of counter points to the often hyperbolic and outrageous claims by the protagonists. Thus the reality is lost, or ignored, in the ensuing turmoil.

    Consequently, the biggest looser remains the society which is torn between the two sides that, erroneously, looks at the whole issue through The Black and White Fallacy, a fallacy that considers only limited (and often contradicting) alternatives to a given situation. This fallacy is so pervasive in our society that no single issue seems to be immune from.

    It is not worth it regurgitating, here, the points of each side, but looking at the arguments and their counters, one wonders why is it not possible to fuse or conflate some of them into a workable mix to achieve the achievable instead of time wasting and often polemical arguments that ostensibly only seek to make a point. Or why join two separable issues while addressing each discretely is not impossible and could possibly give better results?

    For instance, why should it be insisted or implied that marrying off a girl before finishing secondary school is stopping her education? Are we not living witnesses to the fact that many girls and women actually continued their educational pursuit, while they are married, and have even exalted in their chosen fields? I was flabbergasted when someone made one of that silliest remarks that those who insists on marrying off girls are against child girl education! Is marriage an opposite or a resistant to education that the moment a girl is married she will never acquire it? Why is the insistence limited to girls and not boys? I mean if boys can marry and continue their education, while they shoulder higher burden and responsibilities than the wives, why the insistence that girls should not do so, even as we say whatever man can do woman can do even better (which is also applicable to boys and girls)?

    And if by insisting that the girls must complete secondary schools before getting married we stand the threat of parents refusing to enrol their children at all, thereby denying the children even the luxury of acquiring the least they could get, why shouldn’t we encourage them to enrol and continue their education even when married, instead? 

    Merging the agitation for girl child education with the fight against their marriage is disastrous to the push against ignorance. But it is certainly not going to be easy for the agitators to separate the two, given the opinions and stands of their influencers. It is not a secret that among the goals the proponents of girl child education seek to achieve is depopulating the world, but that is a topic for another day. 

    The fact that some men never allow their wives to go to schools is also not ignored, just as cases of discontinuaces after marriage are also noticeable. But attributing all problems of educating girl child and their likes to marriage (which is speculative anyway) is as correct as attributing all marital problems to one single factor.

    The agitation to educate our children should be done and moulded to go with our religions, customs and tradition for a full impact and wider acceptance. You can’t address our people with a foreign mind-set and expect them to see you as one of them. They will naturally regard you as a mole. 

    Of course some of the customs and traditions are in direct contrast to the agitations, which could be problematic, but when you eliminate the complexity from your end you might achieve a wonderful success. That is if the agitators could modify their methods, perspectives or view to synchronize with the people’s way of living a huge success could be recorded. 

    The accomplishment of polio eradication programme that achieved a near total eradication of the disease in the country, a success that was largely due to the foresight of the handlers to do everything possible that could fit in with our cherished mores, is very relevant here to mention. 

    As pointed, earlier, the contenders also follow the same path of argument as the protagonists. The moment one agitates for girl education he is a bayahude who is on the payroll of his masters and on a mission. Agreed that the definition perfectly described some of them and that opens wide the doors to all scepticisms, but some among them might, probably, be honest and sincere in their bid and they might not necessarily belong to the fortune seekers, only that the over-zealousness of their compatriots and the effect of The Black and White Fallacy puts them in bad light. But the whole issue is not about the personality of the actors, it is about confronting a societal problem, together, with an empirical and pragmatically effective action to do away with it. It is not all ‘alien’ or ‘foreign’ ideas that are to be rejected. Wise people go for the benefits and ignore the source, unless a Greek gift is suspected. . 


    The Nigerian Muslims,” The “intellectuals” and Islam (2) (Extremism)

    16 Aug

    The unbridled tagging of Muslims as extremists, sometimes as a ploy to silence, blackmail, intimidate or put them on the defensive, by the ““intellectuals””, calls for serious consideration and re-examination of its definition, its meaning in Islam and expose the concealed fallacies or misconstruals. What exactly is this extremism? Is there any agreeable definition usable on every other person by any other person?
    Extremism is simply defined as holding of extreme political or religious views or taking extreme actions on the basis of those views. But this is an open ended definition, which is, clearly subject to interpretations.
    Some define it as an ideology (particularly in politics or religion), considered to be far outside the mainstream attitudes of a society or to violate “common moral standards”. This definition is also as open ended as the previous one.
    Dr. Peter T. Coleman and Dr. Andrea Bartoli give short observation of definitions of extremism, thus: “Extremism is a complex phenomenon, although its complexity is often hard to see. Most simply, it can be defined as activities (beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions, strategies) of a character far removed from the ordinary. In conflict settings it manifests as a severe form of conflict engagement. However, the labelling of activities, people, and groups as “extremist”, and the defining of what is “ordinary” in any setting is always a subjective and political matter.” They, went on to suggest that “any discussion of extremism (should) be mindful of the following: Typically, the same extremist act will be viewed by some as just and moral (such as pro-social “freedom fighting”), and by others as unjust and immoral (antisocial “terrorism”) depending on the observer’s values, politics, moral scope, and the nature of their relationship with the actor. In addition, one’s sense of the moral or immoral nature of a given act of extremism (such as Nelson Mandela’s use of guerrilla war tactics against the South African Government) may change as conditions (leadership, world opinion, crises, historical accounts, etc.) change. Thus, the current and historical context of extremist acts shapes our view of them. Power differences also matter when defining extremism. When in conflict, the activities of members of low power groups tend to be viewed as more extreme than similar activities committed by members of groups advocating the status quo.”
    After the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, the British government described extremism as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.
    The foregoing gives us a picture of how complex and slanted the definition of the term could be. The fact that the term is subjective and based on preconceived notion(s) neutralised the agreeability of the definitions, thus making futile the attempts to validly use it on others with finality.
    It might be argued that the discussion is on Islamic extremism, not the general term, agreed, but in order to fully understand the issue at stake, there is need to appreciate the general meaning of the word and the absence of a universally accepted definition will open our eyes and prepare our minds. Islamic extremism, according to some, refers to two related and partially overlapping but also distinct aspects of extremist interpretations and pursuits of Islamic ideology. This is clear from the definitions of Brian R. Farmer, who said it is as an extremely conservative view of Islam, which doesn’t necessarily entail violence even though it may have an emphasis on Jihad. While Ira Marvin Lapidus described it as the use of extreme tactics such as bombing and assassinations for achieving perceived Islamic goals.
    Zeyno Baran, Senior Fellow and Director of the Centre for Eurasian Policy at the Hudson Institute (US), argues that Islamist extremism is a better term, to distinguish the political ideology from the religion. He seems to be referring to the so called “political Islam”. The British government insists that “Islamist extremism is an ideology that accuses the West of perpetrating a war on Islam.” From the above, we can deduce that, like many other terms, Islamic extremism has, also, no generally acceptable definition even among non Muslims. This is compounded by the bulging disparity between those definitions and Islamic definition of the term. Whereas, for instance, some believe it is an “extremely conservative view of Islam”, there may be nothing wrong in holding those views in Islam as far as they do not exceed the limit islamically. In fact, in some cases, those “conservative views” are what every Muslim is commanded to hold on to. The so called “conservative views” are themselves subject to interpretations. What are these (unascertained) “conservative views”? Are they modesty, kindness, patience, teetotalism, self respect, etc? Are they holding firm to the tenets of the religion, agitating for Shari’a, wearing Hijab, etc? Are they protesting against blasphemy, hash-tagging against Zionist’s Genocide, refusing to put aside one’s Islamic identity? Or are they, as Britain puts it, blaming the west for perpetrating war against Islam? There are so many questions. Whereas any of those virtues could be misapplied or take the form of extremism, if stretched beyond the islamically accepted perimeter and/or could lead to fatality or will jeopardise lives and properties, as the case might be, the virtues, even if considered as conservative by others, are not, on their own, regarded as extremism in Islam, thus people holding dearly onto them are not extremists, contrary to what the “intellectuals” seems to posit. Rather it is the circumstances and manner of approach they are applied, as the case might be, that will define them. You cannot label someone as an extremist because he is too devoted to his faith for your liking.
    The absurdity, of blaming the victim attitude, of the “intellectuals” is mindboggling. To them, whatever befalls Muslims it is their fault. They blame Muslims of “lack of understanding of Islam” which resulted in all the atrocities they are facing. Suffice it to say that the verses of Quran and hadiths of the prophet squarely debunked this, as they made it clear that this will happen as far as we remain Muslims, there are available facts and evidences that negate their ridiculous claim. The “intellectuals” seems to be more worried that we maintain our identity than the attacks on us. One is at a loss, what exactly is the problem if Muslims hold on to their identities? Why should anyone feel threatened that I say I am a Muslim, for instance? Is my saying “I am a Muslim” synonymous with “I hate non Muslims”? Why is it not the other way round? It should be clearly understood that the guiding principles of Muslims living together with non Muslims is clearly stated in Quran “Allah does not forbid you to deal JUSTLY and KINDLY with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah love those who deal with equity” (60:8). What else does anyone need to say? Nigerian Muslims have, at one time or the other, been unfairly labeled as extremist by the “intellectuals” based one of these views or the other. It was/is even a fad, among them, to rush into such generalised labeling, as if with a glee, putting aside every manner of caution expected from them, as public commentators that need to gauge their pen.
    Paradoxically, the “intellectuals” usually blame the Muslims of lack of good understanding of the Quran or being literalists and so on, but they seldom attempt to give their own version which they believe is the good understanding of the religion. Even the claim that certain understanding of Quran is a literalist’s interpretation need to be backed with incontrovertible evidences, or at least countered with figurative and/or allegorical interpretation as explained by the exegetes. Hermeneutics is absolutely the way to go about when seeking to understand the Quran, not the other way round. Quran is not a novel that you could go through its translated version and master it overnight.
    Islam is unambiguously clear that it abhors any kind of extremism. It is a religion of wasatiyyah (The term al-wasatiyyah is derived from an Arabic word “wasat” which means middle, fair, just, moderate, milieu and setting). Allah says: “Thus, have We made of you an Ummah (Community) justly balanced (wasatan), that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves…” (al-Baqarah 143). “In order that you may not transgress (due) balance. And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient” (Ar-Rahman 8-9). And let not your hand be tied (like a miser) to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach (like a spendthrift), so that you become blameworthy and in severe poverty. (Al-Isra’ 29) There are so many other verses. Also the prophet (SAW) has warned against going to the extreme in various ahadith. He said “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.” (Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 38). The prophet (SAW) practically displayed this as A’isha (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was never given the choice between two things but he would choose the easier of the two, so long as it was not a sin; if it was a sin he would be the furthest of the people from it Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3367) and Muslim (2327) Examples are in abundance, only that what is islamically moderate an extremism to some.
    The problem lies where the “intellectuals” wanted to judge fellow Muslims and talk to them with a western mind. How can a Nigerian Muslim, for instance, ever cease to be an extremist as far as the British government or Brian Farmer’s definitions are concerned?
    Perhaps, this arrogance and dishonesty, in no small way helped in making a near permanent rift between the “intellectuals” and the mainstream Nigerian Muslims. While they view the people as extremists they are generally regarded as western apologists by the Nigerian Muslims.
    The Nigerian Muslims, contrary to the “intellectuals”’ perception of them, are generally peace loving and (Islamically) moderate. This is not denying that there are some kinds of elements of extremism, within Islamic context (not as understood by the “intellectuals”), among Muslims that actually need to be addressed by ulama. But this is a topic for another day.
    Looking at the composition of the Nigerian Muslims, it is foolhardy to accuse them of extremism the way the “intellectuals” do. Take a look at the two major sects within the Nigerian Muslims viz. the Tariqah (Tijjaniyyah and Qadiriyyah) and the Izala (including the splinter groups), who have the largest followership in the country; one can safely conclude that both are relatively moderate. While the former are Sufis (ascetic and mystical) largely regarded as “traditionalists”, the later, to an extent are what some call modernist/fundamentalists. Despite some skirmishes between them, none of them could be accused, with evidence, of “extremism” (within the context of this discussion). The recorded crises between Muslims and Christians across the country were, mainly, socio-cultural and/or political crises that took religious dimensions.
    Having said this, a look at the bigger picture of extremism is very relevant, as we are presently inundated with its horrors and living with its impact from every angle.
    I was shocked when a commentator, among the “intellectuals”, subtly seem to opine that whenever issues like the Gaza Genocide arises, as heated debate ensued, the likes of Shekau comes to his mind. He seemed to be equating any anti-west or pro-Islam activity as extremism informed by lack of “good understanding” of Islam. This is an amazing display of complete ignorance about our extremists and the greatest unfairness meted to the Muslims. The extremists have a completely different understanding of Islam with the Nigerian Muslims. They have different fiqh, different worldview, almost completely different understanding of the scriptures with the Nigerian Muslims. The obvious confusion going on in the minds of many intellectuals, which made it difficult for them to spot the stark difference, is unfortunate.
    Perhaps, this part should be discussed subsequently.

    Muhammad Mahmud

    The Nigerian Muslims, The “Intellectuals” and Islam

    8 Aug

    Recently, the Nigerian Muslims came under yet another attack from a section of the secularists or the so called ‘liberal’ Muslims, for joining the world in condemnation of the Zionist’s genocide in Gaza. Their condemnations were echoed, by some Muslims who, though, ostensibly, sincere in their condemnation, failed to understand the mutual exclusivity of the situation. Their core argument is that the Nigerian Muslims did not do (an unspecified) “enough” about the Boko Haram crisis, after which they could worry about Gaza. Though palatable to them, their argument is as faulty as their attempt to draw a similitude between our situation and the Gaza Genocide. It is, also, as absurd as the claim that the Zionists are “defending” themselves from the people whose lands they, forcefully, occupied. I addressed this some days back. Curiously, these “intellectuals”, seem not to see anything wrong with some Nigerian Christians who publicly supported the Genocide. None of them, as far as I am aware, even contemplated calling to order Christian extremists, like Femi Fani Kayode, who publicly gloated over the Genocide, justifying killings of Palestinian women, and went as far as wishing same to happen to Nigerian Muslims. They maintain a loud silence on that.
    Some elements, among the Muslims, seemingly, appointed themselves as attack dogs against Muslims, they are always ready to condemn Nigerian Muslims on any position they take, on national or international issues affecting their religion. They are, almost, always in conformity with the Nigerian Islamophobes who are on an incompatibility or auto oppose mode with anything Islamic, but who accuse Muslims of divisiveness. Incessant, unwarranted and generalized attacks, most often, based on misconceptions, arrant ignorance or half baked Islamic education and/or disingenuously crafted conjectures to smear the Muslim, has became the hallmark of these “intellectuals”.
    The dearest words in their mouths, always willing to call Muslims with, are the extremists, terrorists, intolerants and other derogatory and subjective names, used on all Muslims by the Islamophobes. To them, Muslims, the world over, and particularly Nigerian Muslims, have themselves to blame for Islamophobia, the across the globe and particularly in Nigeria, for their “stubborn obsession” with Islam and failure or refusal to “go with the civilized world”. This is despite the fact that Islamophobia reaches far back in history, and deep within the Western psyche. Exploration and colonization of the Islamic world brought with it a wave of propaganda that characterized Muslim as inferior, primitive, violent beings. This was part of the justifications for invading and occupying Muslim lands. The deep-rooted misconceptions are part of what is being used to inflame people against Islam and Muslim in the west. Just as so many lies and misconceptions against the Nigerian Muslim, that predated independence, and inflamed as a political weapon breeds Islamophobia here.
    To them, for identifying with Muslims and anything that affects Islam the world over, for what they call “obsession with Islam”, for joining the rest of the Muslim world in been angry with cartoonists who chose to castigate the venerated Prophet in Denmark, for depending themselves against attacks in Jos, Kaduna, etc, for even wearing Hijab in public places, for agitating for Shari’a, for putting religious attachment to, almost, everything, the Nigerian Muslims are guilty of extremism, intolerance and other pejoratives. They are guilty of jeopardizing ‘The National Spirit’ and inflaming dissensions. Why shouldn’t they relegate their religious over-zealousness (whatever that means) into the mosques? Do they, necessarily, need to be this ostentatious?
    Most often, the, supposedly, honest criticisms serve as a cheap cover to smear the Muslims and, in some cases, attack their core belief. There is, absolutely, nothing wrong in drawing attention to the best way(s) to tackle issues or highlighting certain realities, which seem to elude attention. In fact, we (Muslims) actually need to take a deep look at the way we confront issues. Mob action or spontaneity is never a way to attend to issues. Both the Qur’an and the sayings of the prophet addressed this extensively. Any and every action of the Muslim should be guided by the Qur’an and Sunnah. The use of wisdom, prioritization, goal achieving, longer lasting, far reaching move and efficacy should be fully taken into considerations while taking any action. You can’t just attack your non-Muslim neighbor, for instance, because a non Muslim elsewhere wrote a book castigating your religion, or because Muslims are attacked elsewhere. You cannot torch your Christian neighbor’s property or kill him because a Christian contested a position with a Muslim and won. It is both un-Islamic and totally ineffective. During the time of the Prophet (SAW), any attack on Islam is countered in kind or better approach that will make a lasting impact. We have so many instances that backs this. When idolaters’ poets, for instance, ridicule the Prophet or the religion, Muslim poets replied in a far better tone and content. Just as the Qur’an cautioned Muslim not to desecrate anything or person being worshiped by any people, as doing that will result in them paying back in kind. It is wrong to reject or detest everything that comes or emanates from non-Muslims. Things are defined by their permissibility or otherwise in Islam. There are many things that, honestly, need to be put in their respective places or position but which we, wrongly, give similar and/or equal treatment. On the other hand, it will be very insensitive and insensible to expect Muslim not to be worried or angered when their religion is mocked, insulted or attacked. Just as it is a surprise that a man with common sense will find it difficult to understand why Muslims shows exasperation whenever fellow Muslim elsewhere are being killed.
    When admonitions seek to disrobe or strip us from the religion, boldly questioning or faulting the texts and/or ideologies, intrinsic to the religion, on which our actions (or reactions) are based, there is no doubt of a possible hidden agenda therein. It is one thing to proffer better and intelligent way(s) for the ummah to face its problems; it is another to attempt detaching them from their religion by demanding they put aside the basics of their religion. The most essential part of any activity, to Muslims, is the intention, motive or purpose. If the niyyah (intention) is to acquire the pleasure of Allah, or to comply with the commands of Allah, or to avoid the wrath of Allah, that work or undertaking is for Allah, and Allah will reward it, as the prophet of Allah said. If you demand that I put Allah out of it or I do it as a human being, not a Muslim, you are literally saying I do the same activity not to please Allah but, to please his servants, or for nothing. Worst, that connotes a call to irreligiousness. It is very important to understand that it is one thing to engage in activities or undertakings without any intention or motive to please Allah; and it is another to do such as an irreligious person or with an atheistic mind. The latter is what these “intellectuals” think we should do. As the Qur’an explained “…When Allah is mentioned ALONE, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion, but when those OTHER THAN HIM are mentioned, immediately they rejoice” (emphasis mine).
    Premised on the wrong understanding or belief that we are first humans before being Muslims, these “intellectuals” believe that we should detach ourselves from religion on one thing and attach back on another. But in Islam, as the Prophet said, every human is born a Muslim, his parent turn him into Christianity, Judaism or Idol worshiper. A day old child of a Muslim is entitled to inherit and be inherited, because to Muslim he is a Muslim. Before we come to this world, we took a covenant that we will be Muslim, as the Qur’an clearly pointed. In addition, Muslims are commanded to “enter Islam completely” and not to “follow the footsteps of Satan”. They are not to obey some parts of the Qur;an and disobey other parts”. The whole of Qur’an is meant to be complied with any time anywhere, as the circumstances warrants.
    Some of the problems of these “intellectuals” seem to arise from the way they view religion, particularly Islam. By commission or omission, sometimes, they have the same understanding of Islam with the extremists, just as the Islamophobes interpret the qur’an and sunnah the way the extremists do. There is a striking resemblance, ironic as that looks. Just as the extremist, wrongly, assume that any non Muslim is an “enemy” (despite Qur’anic verses to the contrary), the Islamophobes, and some of their “intellectual” friends, assume that identifying with Islam is automatically being oppressive to non-Muslims. They seem to, erroneously, believe that it is not possible, just as the extremists believe it is un-Islamic, for Muslims to work together with non-Muslims for the achievement of certain goals. They ignore the fact that some non-Muslims actually fought alongside the Prophet, in some of his Jihads, and so many other non-Muslims held higher positions during the Caliphate. The issue of extremism will be discussed later, in sha’allah.
    For sure, some of these “intellectuals” might actually be sincere in their submissions, only that some of them lacks the ability or capacity to discuss those issues form a vantage point that demands wider knowledge and good understanding of Islam. Abstracts are insufficient for discussing Islam in a way some “intellectuals” do publicly, just as the use of “common sense” (which is relative) only could never form the bedrock of religiously attached issues.
    The “intellectuals” need to understand that they need to talk to the Muslims with the language they understand, not a foreign one. That is they need to talk to the Muslims within the framework of Islamic Jurisprudence, which sufficiently provided capacious means of dissecting any matter on earth taking into cognizance the purpose of shari’ah. When and if you want to “talk” to the Muslims, the best way is to go to their source that stimulates them and talk to them using same and open their eyes to things that might have escaped their attention. That will definitely make impact. As we shall see in subsequent papers to come on this, there is a huge disconnect between the “intellectuals” and their audience.
    There is nothing new or disturbing in having different views or opinions among Muslims, and it is, to some extent, permitted.
    There is a consensus among Ulama, as recorded in many Islamic books, like Sheikh Danfodio’s Ihya’us Sunnah, that any matter or issue that is subject to interpretation and, consequently, the Mujtaheedeen differ, nobody should be accused of following or choosing any of the opinions. In other words, people are at liberty to go by the School of Thought they consider to have superior argument, or the one they feel is closer to truth, based on the points it presented. Those opinions of the Ulama, as we all know, are presented based on and within the framework of Islamic jurisprudence. But this is not to say any matter that the Ulama differ is open to this rule, there are exceptions. One cannot come up with something that contradicts what is unanimously accepted as basic in Islam for another to cite that rule as a reason to follow, accept or insist that it should be followed.
    Based on this, any judgment, change, moderation, amendment and so on, that affects the spiritual and/or physical life of a Muslim should be based on and within the framework of Islamic jurisprudence.
    The Usul al Fiqh ie sources of Islamic law or Principles of Jurisprudence, provided dynamic rules and procedures that made it possible for Muslim to live according to sharia, anywhere, anytime, from the medieval to modern times.

    Muhammad Mahmud