Showcasing undiluted Islamic values in a multi religious society
BISMILLAH RAHMAN ROHEEM.
All praises and salutations are strictly due to Almighty Allah Subuhanahu wataalah. I testify there is nothing worthy of worship except Him. I bear witness and affirm that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the seal of all Prophets and leaders of all Messengers. Surely, whoever Allah guides is the guided and whoever He misleads, no one can guide him. Hence it is a great privilege being on the path of Islam.
According to the 2017 statistics of pewresearch.org Muslims make up the second largest population of the world with 1.8 billion people. Going by the demography of Nigeria, they are still ranked the first in terms of population. However, the population of a group doesn’t have a corolla effect on the inputs it adds to the society it lives especially when its internal structure is deficient. No doubt, Nigerian Muslims have been playing a formidable role in the socio-political and economic development of our nation.
Going back memory lane, it is evident that Muslims have been cohabiting with people of other faiths in the country prior to the colonial era transcending to the colonial era and the postcolonial era. Each of these periods is filled with its own challenges for the Muslims. However, writers in the past have not given much emphasis to these lingering challenges while several others wrote against the religion. Without much ado, I will like to summarize what informed on choice of this topic.
It has been observed that majority of Muslims especially the elite in their attempt to move along with the trend of the society compromise the tenet of Islam and or are fully drowned in a state of total disbelief out of their ignorance and self-delusion. A significant proportion of some Muslims battles with what psychologists refer to as inferiority complex. They find it disturbing to showcase their Islamic values in the public for the fear of being despised and intimidated.
The recurrent propaganda against and the spread of “Islam phobic” messages by enemies psychologically weakens the “Iman” of some individuals who are not technically sound in the practice of the religion.
According to the English dictionary of wiktionary.org, the word showcasing means displaying, demonstrating, presenting, and exhibiting something or someone in an attractive or favorable aspect. When you showcase something, it means you make that thing known and appealing to the sense of people so that they will be well informed and have positive perception to it at all times. When we talk about Islamic values, what readily comes to one’s mind is the performing of five daily prayers, paying zakat, going for the holy pilgrimage, fasting in the month of Ramadan and so on. No doubt, these are the commandments of Allah on every Muslims and all represent the tenet of Islam. Nevertheless, Islamic values go beyond on these aforementioned.
First, Muslims believe man is created for the sole purpose of worshiping his creator. Allah said in Quran chapter 1(Al-Baqarah) vs. 20. O Mankind! Worship your Lord Who created you and those before you, so that you may become pious. Allah also said in Quran chapter 4 (An-Nisai) vs. 1 “O mankind! Be dutiful to your lord, who created you from a single person (Adam) and from Him (Adam) He created Awau and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights and do not cut the relations of the womb(kinship). Surely Allah is Ever watcher over you”. A careful analysis of this verse indicates that all mankind irrespective of religion, race and colour are from the same parent and they all are provided sustenance by Allah. It is stressed here that differences in religion should not in any way affect our good relationship with people.
In other words, Muslims are obligated to respect the right of others in all his dealings. This is done by exhibiting good characters to all and sundry. From the authority of Aisha (rodiya Allahu Anha), the prophet of Allah (PBUH) said: “By his good character a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day”. In Quran 25 (Al-Furqan) vs.63-71, the qualities of true slaves of Allah were summarized as thus:
Those who walk on the earth in humility and calmness in manner, behavior and good human relation and when the foolish address them with bad words, they reply with mild word of gentleness.
Those who spend the night before there Lord, prostrate and standing.
Those who say “our Lord avert from us the torment of hell. Verily the torment is ever an inseparable, permanent punishment.
Those who when they spend are neither extravagant nor stingy but hold a medium way between.
Those who invoke not any other god along with Allah; nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden except for a just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse. Whoever does this shall receive the punishment.
In the present 21st century society, accolades are given to immoralities at the expense of godly attributes. People now find it difficult to stick to the moral codes. Even the religious institutions are so compromised that scholars now issue fatwa base on their discretion and selfish interest at the ignorance of the unsuspecting followers. However without any iota of doubt, there are individuals who are striving with utmost sincerity in spreading the light of Islam. Nevertheless, a major problem faced in the past by preachers was that they tend to put the cart before the horse instead of putting the horse before the cart. History has it that first ten years of Prophet Muhammad evangelism was basically concerned about the concept of “tawheed”. This is the basis of faith which many Muslims of the day do not regard and as a result makes them lose the intrinsic values of what Islam entails. This culminates into a situation where one can hardly differentiate between them and people of other faiths.
In reality, the best way of showcasing Islam is by following the footsteps of the Noble prophet (PBUH) in simplicity, sincerity and great personality as exhibited by him. He is an excellent model in all ramifications in dealing with all set of people. He cohabited with polytheist, Jews and Christians and never was it found that he showed any form of injustice against them even when he had the power.
Challenges of Showcasing Islam among Folk
The efforts of the nonbelievers in disparaging Islam are enormous. Every opportunity is being utilized to blackmail Muslims. These are however well strategized plan in order to make the religion look unpleasant to the people. They concoct lies and fictitious stories all in a bid to demoralize Muslims and intending revert. Among the strategies employed is the friendship approach. They create a friend relationship with a Muslim not because they like him but for the dubious means of making him rescind on his faith. Allah warned in Quran 17 (Al-isra) Vs. 73 to 75 thus:
“Verily, they were about to make to tempt you away from that which we have revealed (the Quran) unto you to fabricate other than it against Us, and then they would certainly have taken you a friend. And had we not made you stand firm, you would nearly have inclined to them a little. In that case, we would have made you taste a double punishment in this life and a double portion (of punishment) after death and you would have found none to help you against Us.”
The above verse clearly emphasized the risk involved in choosing a non-believer friend. It is a stern warning that Muslims should avoid making non-believers as intimate friend because it is a step to driving us away from the tenet of Islam. Same warning was given in Suratul Maidah Quran 5 vs.51-53 with a specific mention of the Jews and Christians.
O you who believe! Do not take friends from the Jews and the Christians, as they are but friends of each other. And if any among you befriends them, then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the wrongdoers 52. And you see those in whose hearts there is a disease, they hurry to their friendship, saying: “We fear lest some misfortune of a disaster may befall us. ” Perhaps Allah may bring a victory or a decision according to His will. Then they will become regretful for what they have been keeping as a secret in themselves. 53. And those who believe will say: “Are these the men who swore their strongest oaths by Allah that they were with you” All that they did have been in vain, and they have become the losers.
No matter how tempted we are, we are instructed to maintain companionship with good believers in order to strengthen our Iman. Nevertheless, there is a strong warning that Muslims must maintain a good human relationship with everyone irrespective of faith. Al-Bukhari recorded a Hadith through Hushaym, also recorded by Ahmad that one of the Companions of the Prophet narrated that “The believer who mingles with people and is patient with their annoyance, earns more reward than the believer who does not mingle with people and does not observe patience with their annoyance”. Another challenge we have is the problem of ourselves. Some elite Muslims do not see as an obligation to stand for Islam during period of persecution. This may be as a result of inadequate understanding of the “deen”. The claims of being a liberal Muslim should not be at the detriment of Islam. There are many scenarios where basic rights of Muslims are infringed on. For example, in the year 2016, some female candidates were harassed and delayed before they gained entrance to write their unified tertiary matriculation examination all because they adorned their hijab. This action is totally absurd and should be a big slap on the so called elite who remain unperturbed on the condition of the religion. Ditto to the recent law graduate denied her call to the legal profession because she refused to compromise a basic tenet of her religion. Regrettably, she was the only Muslim lady who stood her ground making her seem like an outcast. This made me reflect back to the word of the messenger of Allah narrated by Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that “Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers”
It is a known fact that the law of our country guarantees each and every individual to freedom of association to any religion in as much it does not constitute any threat to the security and well-being of the people. Going by this it is the responsibility of all Muslims to redeem the image of Islam and safeguard it from the evil machineries of her enemies. This should be done through:
Qualitative Islamic education must be encouraged among individuals at the formative stage in order to be acquainted with the basic principles of Islam.
Sound western education up to the higher education must be given utmost priority. In modern society of today, without extremely sound higher education, there is a limit to what can be achieved by an average individual. Definitely, Muslims are getting over the negligence of the old traditions of poor attitudes towards western education.
Our Islamic private educational institution should endeavor not to compromise on their mandate. This is by ensuring thorough teachings of Islamic values are imbibed into their students as experience has shown that majority derail from their foundational core values in order to please the society.
Muslims at all situations should uphold the best form of behavior following the injunction of the Quran and Sunnah. If our value system is tailored along this line, nothing can divide us.
The use of violence as a form of redress is not a method encouraged in Islam. In an event of being denied a right, issues should be resolved through dialogue without compromising on the stand of Islam.
I will like to end this note with a hadith narrated by Ibn Abass (R.TA). The prophet of Allah said, “the most hated persons to Allah are three; one who deviates from the right conduct especially when performing hajj, a person who wants that the tradition of Pre-Islamic period of ignorance should remain in Islam and a person who seeks to shed somebody’s blood without any right. (Bukhari vol. 19 hadith 22). In conclusion, showcasing unadulterated Islam’s intrinsic and extrinsic values is a responsibility of every Muslims for us to regain our pride and freedom from unwarranted social abuses.
CREDIT: ADENIYI, HAMZAT TEMITOPE