PREACHING OR PRICKING? By Sanni Kay Yusuf
He was a senior colleague. He received me with warmth when I got absorbed for the job. He would sometimes give me thousands from his monthly meagre earnings for reasons only known to him. He portrayed the character of a caring, eleemosynary person, and I fell for the lust that seemed like love. Few weeks into our official symbiotism, I would not rise from bed without an early-morning message asking me to embrace Christianity. To him, it was preaching. But to me, it was pricking. This is because apart from knowing that I was a muslim, the religion I practised was evident in the way I was usually attired and addressed by people. He knew I wasn’t a nominal but a normal muslim. He knew I wasn’t a lax but a labouring muslim. So why disturb my sleep with: “Jesus loves you.” ”Accept Jesus as your Lord and personal saviour.”
The intolerant pricker never stopped until he met his waterloo. The respect I reserved for him as a senior colleague, and perhaps as a charitable person made me overlook his excesses. But the day he transcended his bound and pinched my patience was when he attacked my religion with a message blaspheming the holy prophet Muhammad (sallaLlaahu ‘aleihi wa sallam). The corresponding reply to his effrontery got us into a debate, and by the time his stamina was exhausted, he ran away. Since then, his artificial magnanimity towards me ceased.
I wonder why christians are fond of pricking the muslims. That is intolerance and extremity in my own parlance. Why do you want to preach to someone whose practice of Islam is as glaring as the fourteenth-day moon? How do we comprehend preaching to an imam in turban to embrace Christianity?
Once I passed by a market on a Friday. I was clothed in a cream-coloured agbada and a white turban with my trousers sunnatically above the ankles. A young man approached me right in the face of the market women. “E fi aye yin fun Jesu ki e baa ni iye ainipekun” (Accept Jesus into your life so as to have everlasting life), he said. A women from afar responded on my behalf: “Won yi maa na e! Se o ko ri pe aafa niwon?” (You will soon get some beating! Didn’t you see that he is a muslim cleric?). Rather than utter a word, I just proceeded with my journey.
That is the extent to which some Christians can be extremist. It is no sensationalisation that some even distribute flyers for revival right in front of the mosque to muslims making ablution for solah. Some even centre their public address system towards the direction of the mosque, in fact, while solah is on. Imagine the gut, the extremity. And it’s unfortunate that such ill is being taught to the young ones, too.
A student of mine whom I took as my own biological child did same to me not quite long. I woke up in the morning to see this: “Jesu wa si aye lati gba wa lowo iparun ati lati fun wa ni iye ainipekun. E ronu, e fi aye yin fun-un, ko ni pe de. Oun ni ona kan soso to lo sorun. E mase jafara, o lewu” (Jesus came to the world to save us from destruction and to give us everlasting life. Repent and give your life to him. He will soon return. He is the only way to the Heaven. Waste no time, it is dangerous). This is a girl who knows me well, not only as a muslim but as an imam – for that matter – yet she had the effrontery to prick me as such. I gave her a call. I educated her. “How would you feel if I bought you a piece of hijaab and asked you to join me in the mosque for solaah? Were you supposed to send me such a message knowing who I am?” I said. “I am sorry, sir,” she begged.
“Let there be no compulsion in religion.” (Q2 V256). “Let your religion be yours and mine be mine.” (Q109 V6). That is the unmatched beauty of our religion – Islam.
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