This write-up is dedicated to two personalities who sacrificed a lot towards the Shariah implementation in their climes. The first was morally and the other financially.
The first was Maolana Abul A’la Maududi of Pakistan.
The second was Alhaj Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola aka MKO. He sacrificed with his wealth.
Maolana Maududi was an Islamic scholar, ideologue, prolific writer, Muslim philosopher, and the greatest Muslim revivalist in Pakistani History. He lived between 1903-1979.
He once said ‘GIVE ME A PLOT OF LAND WHERE ALLAH’S INIMITABLE LAWS WOULD BE ADJUDICATED AND I WOULD LOVE IT MORE THAN THE WHOLE WORLD AND ALL IT CONTAINS.
- MKO needs no introduction and unless the Muslim Ummah is suffering from collective amnesia, it would be remembered that he was a fantastic supporter of the implementation of Shariah in Yorubaland to which his newspapers the Concord Group played a yeoman’s role. Without thinking of the financial loss, he stopped the Concord Group of newspapers from receiving adverts from brewers of alcohol and manufacturers of cigarettes which were then the cash flow of the newspaper industry. May Allah be pleased with his soul. Enough of the important digression.
A silent revolution to our many years of advocacy for the official implementation of Shariah in Yorubaland occurred two weeks ago.
The fact that it was uncelebrated by Muslim activists and scholars in the South West to a discerning mind is mind-boggling.
The Lagos State Government under the suzerainty of a Christian personality, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu approved the use of the Ifako/ Ijaiye Customary Court for the adjudication of civil aspects of Shariah ostensibly as a test run before a separate Shariah court is established. This could be seen by some Muslims as a kind of tokenism bearing in mind that we have eight customary courts in Lagos State.
The obvious fact is that the journey of a thousand kilometres starts with one step.
This watershed would in sha Allah lead to a floodgate of demands from many Muslims in other states for the official implementation of Shariah.
Some may be wondering if the Constitutional due process was followed.
Barrister AbduHakeem Abdulateef an outstanding Islamic scholar aka Alfa Yepe and the former commissioner for Home Affairs in Lagos State is the hero of this revolution. When he was a member of the House of Assembly, he got the bill approved without much hue and cry from our traducers who love to hate Islam.
Many of our brothers in the corridors of power lack the courage and political will to fight for Islamic causes.
They are always afraid of the propaganda machinery of the Christian bigots and their Islamophobic tendencies.
The same courage Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola the erstwhile Governor of Osun displayed when he bestowed the political landscape of Osun like a colossus with the will to right the wrongs against the Muslims in the state by former Christian political overlords. He institutionalized the celebration of the first day of Muharram otherwise known as Hijrah year which was copied by many states in the North and later by Ajimobi led APC Administration in Oyo State. His statement that no Muslim student wearing the hijab should be harassed was the first step towards official recognition of the use of Hijab in Yorubaland which Governor Kayode Fayemi eventually pioneered with an official circular. He one day told me that if he had one day left as Governor in Osun State Shariah would be implemented. He never did and any day I see him in sha Allah, I would ask him what was the impediment as that was his only unfulfilled promise to the Muslims of Osun State.
With a Christian Governor, Kayode Fayemi’s liberal Christian tried to formalise the use of Hijab in Ekiti State. It was not surprising that the Muslim community in Oyo State didn’t dissipate much energy to convince Ajimobi to equally issue a circular for the use of Hijab by Muslim students in Oyo State which other states in the Southwest either fully or partially now allow.
In Oyo State, the hijab tentacles were extended to the School of Hygiene, School of Nursing and Midwifery. Unknown to some of our people in the South West there is a subsisting federal government circular for nurses in federal health institutions to be permitted to wear hijab. At UCH Ibadan, we succeeded not only with nurses and midwives being allowed to put on the hijab, student nurses after a long battle now wear their hijab. There must be synergy among the principal stakeholders in Yorubaland to take advantage of the Lagos initiative while our brothers in Lagos must make sure that the implementation goes full throttle.
Historically, Allah had always used Christians in power to fight our battle when all hopes look dim due to our lackadaisical attitude. It was General Yakubu Gowon without any pressure from Muslims or their leaders who got Nigeria admitted observer status to OIC.
At the formation of OIC in 1969 purely for the economic well-being of countries with substantial Muslim populations religious bigotry, prejudice and fanaticism had not attained this frightening crescendo.
However, it is crystal clear that Yakubu Gowon a Christian of Northern extraction went for the observer status rather than full membership speak volumes. It shows that Gowon was on the side of caution and the Christian blood in his vein was being manifested in obscurity. What probably must have emboldened him to take the observer gamble was the avalanche of countries with indisputable Muslim minorities who jumped into the ship of OIC because they are not inhibited by religion but driven by economic interest accruable through their membership. These countries with Muslim minorities in Africa who are members of OIC include Gabon, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Guinea-Bissau, and Uganda.
As fate would have it, no Muslim in government had the political will or courage to get permanent status for Nigeria at the economic group. it was Obasanjo through the advice of another Christian Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala who got Nigeria admitted as a permanent member of OIC because she knew as an international economist that our lukewarm attitude to OIC had cost Nigeria a lot of benefit from the zero interest Islamic Development Bank.
The Islamophobic Christians orchestrating their opposition to our membership of OIC kept mute not because they have new information that propelled them to see reason with us but because the decision for our membership came from a Christian. If it was a Muslim they would shout to rooftops that the Islamisation process was in high gear.
With the benefit of hindsight, we could not get an Islamic Bank in Nigeria when we had Muslims as Governor of Central Bank until Charles Soludo a Christian but a thoroughbred international economist became Governor of Central Bank. Then Jaiz the first Islamic Bank was registered. Now under another Christian, Godwin Emefiele two other Islamic Banks have come on stream, Taj Bank and Lotus Bank, No noise of Islamisation but if a Muslim was the Governor of Central Bank hell would have been let loose.
Giving Christians permanent free days on Saturdays and Sundays is not tantamount to the Christianisation of Nigeria.
Using the cross symbol for our hospitals which unabashedly emanated from Christendom is not the Christianization of Nigeria.
Sabbatical leave given to university lecturers is not Christianization of Nigeria neither is the academic gown fashioned after the Christian choir attire. With Muslims clamouring for the Shariah court extension to the Supreme Court, our unmasqueraded antagonists are already on their shouting spree of Islamisation as if anyone had stopped them from agitating for ecumenical law.
So we should be prepared for another round of antagonism when we ask for our legitimate right in Yorubaland for Shariah implementation.
Our prolific, brilliant, and celebrated veteran journalist Mr Femi Abbas replying to these enemies of truth who love to hate anything Islam inside the WhatsApp platform of Muswen on the 22nd of June wrote:
”For the information of those charlatans/bigots, the call for memoranda from the public on the proposed amendment to the Constitution is open and not exclusive. Thus nothing can be stupider than raising objection to other people’s memoranda instead of submitting theirs to express their wish. Those who have no laws that guide their religion cannot sensibly declare the law by which other people practice their religion as reprobate.
We should find their actions not completely egregious.
Allah has warned in unmistakable terms in the Quran of the generic animosity of the Jews and Christians against Islam and the Muslims when Allah said in the Holy Qur’an 2:120:
‘The Jews and the Christians will never be pleased with you except you follow their religion. Say This religion is the true guidance. If you were to follow their desire you would have against Allah no protector or helper’
These kufar are in two categories: the ignoramus and the mischievous. For the mischievous, they know so much about Islam but no matter the truth, no matter your superior argument you can never persuade them to allow you to practice your religion in its pristine purity. Their hatred for Islam is innate and legendary.
For the ignorant ones whom our senior brother, Femi Abbas would say are only literate but not educated let us educate them of the significance of Shariah in the life of a Muslim. I used to think educated and literate are synonyms until our cerebral and literary giant Femi Abass educated us that not all literate people are educated. While the literate can only read and write and myopic of things outside the realm of his professional expertise an educated fellow’s horizon is broad and knows much in many fields of human endeavour.
Allah in three different places admonished us to only be judged according to His Divine stipulations when He said:
IF ANY FAILS TO JUDGE BY THE LIGHT HE HAS REVEALED THEY ARE NOT BETTER THAN UNBELIEVERS QURAN 5:44
IF ANY FAILS TO JUDGE BY THE LIGHT WHICH ALLAH HAS REVEALED THEY ARE NOT BETTER THAN WRONGDOERS QUR’AN 5:45
IF ANY FAILS TO JUDGE BY THE LIGHT WHICH HE HAS REVEALED THEY ARE NOT BETTER THAN REBELS
It was these inspiring injunctions by Allah that stampeded Muslims in Oyo State who could not get the ears of the government under the hegemony of a Muslim Governor Lam Adesina to establish the non-governmental Independent Shariah panel on the first of May 2002. Lagos followed suit in the year 2003 and without any equivocation and fear of being contradicted the best in Yorubaland. They have even compiled the Shariah cases and researchers in Shariah have found the compilation a useful tool. As expected Osun and Ogun also started their Shariah panels,
Understandably the two states with Muslim minority status Ondo and Ekiti are yet to operationalise their non-governmental Shariah panels. It is interesting that 80% of the litigants in spite of having no policemen to forcefully actualize the court judgment on their own volition adhere to the court rulings.
I remember the sensational case of the convert from Christianity who voluntarily came to the court that he fornicated and wanted to be caned and made a damning proclamation in the court that if he was not caned according to Allah’s divine provision the judges would bear the brunt on the day of Qiyama. When the news filtered to the press, the central Mosque Oja-Oba was crowded with many people including a large number of pressmen as if the accused Sulaiman Shittu was to be slaughtered.
The man was flogged without any incident on the 31st of October 2002 except his Christian-aged father who was sobbing hysterically to prevent what he thought was the humiliation of his fanatically indoctrinated son. The Oyo State Shariah panel decided not to entertain any criminal case after this case of Sulaiman Shittu to prevent the stigmatisation of the process towards government institutionalization of civil Shariah court in Oyo State.
These efforts in the Southwest are a testimony to the seriousness Muslims in Yorubaland attach to the Shariah.
For the sake of posterity, it must be stated that prior to the colonial era Shariah had been in operation in Ede under Oba Abibu Lagunju, Ikirun, Iwo, Iseyin, and some other places. No wonder up till today we have ILE ALKALI ( The compound named after the Khadi) OKE SUNNAH (the compound named after practitioners of the sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad).
The truth is that Islam is Shariah and Shariah is Islam. Succinctly put, there is no Islam without Shariah.
We need to make it abundantly manifest that though we believe in the criminal aspect of Shariah but since we are not in a wholistic, homogeneous Islamic state, what makes sense is to have only the civil aspect of Shariah.
In spite of this, let me for the sake of emphasis state that we should get prepared for a barrage of attacks for pursuing the cause of a constitutional right, a cacophony of ‘mouth run riot’ to its crescendo. We should be prepared to give it back to them not with insults, impertinence, impudence, or insolence but superior and supercilious arguments.
This is the defining moment, to take the bull by the horn and let the whole world know that we want Shariah in Yorubaland.
There should be no procrastination.
After Eid el Adha the supreme council for Shariah in all the states in the South West under the umbrella Of MUSWEN should meet to fashion out the best approach to actualize our ambition.
May Allah bless our collective efforts and resolve.