“I have told my wife that I would realise money that would afford the family a pot of soup. Therefore, I must return home with some cool cash today. Mama, how much is this? #1000? No, no, no! #1000 cannot fill up a pot. You have to put something.”

“Who dropped this ‘figo’? Who put down this #500? Add it up with something. ‘Figo ko le ra alubarika!’”

“Everyone, raise your hand. Raise it properly and say these prayers after me… Now, the first person to touch my hand with money will never bury his child this year.” As if he was death Angel’s landlord, and like zombies, people rowdily trooped out to receive the fictitious blessing from the sanctimonious parrot.

The above were loosely, verbosely uttered by one compeer-cleric at a nikaah ceremony I recently graced. I nearly took a walk from the midst of the officiating imams occupying the front seats, but my love for the would-be couple and the fundamental role I was to play therein actually glued me perseveringly. My friends and I were therefore, left with no option than laugh out the cry, for it was a monumental display of loss of dignity.

Any novice seeking to experience the true beauty of Islam should avoid attending the childbirth or nikaah ceremony conducted by some (not all) clerics. Such an encounter, except if ‘Islamically’ laid out, can make him hastily conclude that the religion is unbeautiful and unbefitting of a civilised person; whereas what scares him away is just a mere misrepresentation by some enthusiasts of rapacity and celebrators of ignominy.

We can’t dispute the reality that clerics are not well cared for by muslims, especially the mosque executives who conceitedly stand in their wheel of progress. They either do not consider the imam and other clerics worthy of being salaried, or the monthly remuneration is too meagre to fulfil basic needs. The matter varies from mosque to mosque. The omen may be due to financial impotence of the mosque or the insensitivity of the executives to the cravings of the spiritual leader(s).

Clerics have become objects of ridicule. People don’t want to attend their sittings any longer. Why? Because they will be financially drained. DJs do interrupt their talk with music because they have stayed too long. While clerics were still talking, DJ was intermittently chipping in music to interrupt and disorganise their flow of communication. I can’t imagine that it could be that worse – that clerics would be turned into objects of free ride and ridicule. Some attendees even summon the courage to tell them it is enough. We’ve heard cases where the microphone was clutched from the clerics asking them to stop wasting time. Chai! What an unforgettable disgrace!

Clerics sit down at ceremonies without recourse to solah. Dhuhr, they don’t pray. Asr, they don’t consider visiting the mosque. This major sin they commit all in the name of money making. I guess this forms the reason they are not revered, since they’ve got no reverence for their Creator, too.

What about clerics fighting in the open over the sharing formulae of the amount realised at a ceremony? That is the peak of a calamitous shame that could ever befall any spiritual figure, yet they are hell bent. They seem to have made a covenant never to change their ways despite soiling their image and reducing them to zero.

It is high time clerical job became institutionalised. Clerics should earn salaries, allowances, stipends, honoraria etc. to put an end to this show of organised shame. Each mosque should have a monetary package for its imam and other clerics. Madaaris (Islamic/Arabic schools) should only be free if there are sponsors from whom the mudarrisuun (teachers) will be remunerated, else, parents should be mandated to pay.

Sanni Kay. Yusuf



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