Yes we love ourselves but are we loyal and respectful to each other?
I once saw a youth leader of the Muslims in Benin post an appeal for a sister on facebook. Someone, who did not know him, comes to the thread and says “you are a fraud, i am sure, show your face if you are not a fraud. This is how you people steal money”. Or something like that. But that is not what hurt me. What hurt me was that this comment was there for hours upon hours and not even one person who knows the Ustadh spoke up in his defense.
I am talking of someone who has led Islamic organizations for well over 15 years. He has trained youths who did not care about their religion and by Allah’s permission hundreds of people if not thousands have been guided from his activities. No one was there to speak for him while he was being documented a thief on the internet….for HOURS.
Some days back in our Muslim Alumni group i read how one of our respected, yet very young, sisters spoke to someone of the same standing in the community and everyone was silent.
The Benin Royal Family is renowned for idol worshiping. But in the same family a brave Princess went against all odds and accepted Islam. She was the Oba’s daughter. Then the Oba’s sister and now the Oba’s Aunty. At 74 you would think her house will be flooded with Muslims coming to keep her company. You would be wrong. You would think ok, at least if she invited them, everywhere will be filled up. Again you would be wrong.
In 2016, my company handled her Event for an Islamic Centre Project. We were not only stood up by every Emir we approached, some of whom told me to my face they will be present but stopped picking calls days to the programme, influential Muslims in the town made it an hobby to create one complain or the other. The long and short of it was that everything around the Centre must be perfect 100% or they are not in. We got “i didn’t like how she spoke to me one day like that”, we also heard “we are not in good terms”, and a “what happened?” that was sincerely answered with “can’t really remember shall, but i just don’t do things with her”. Even young men who were not born when she became a grandmother told us “she did not consult properly”. Others felt “how can one person own such a place”. It was just one disrespectful question and objection after the other.
The old woman was just laughing and asking why her children cannot be normal. We all knew that if the invitation was from a Princess Endurance or Princess Christabel, the hall would have been full of Muslims who want to show the Christian lady that “Muslims are tolerant”….an excuse for respecting the disbelievers more than you do your own.
For the fear of length, let me leave personal experiences and come to social media where we are.
I asked earlier for Muslims who had very huge following and that following translated into actual shares, likes, and influence. We got like 5 persons in 48 hours.
We will write all the sense on the internet but a non-Muslim will write against us so unwittingly but while we are doing 500 likes and 100 shares tops, the guy is doing 2,000 likes and 200 shares minimal. He reaches more people! Why? Because we are not loyal to ourselves, and we have this contempt for the little any of us is doing. I have had Muslims telling me “I read what you write, they are very very good, but i purposely don’t get involved”. This is to my face oh, what will he say behind me? The next thing is an “advice” on something i am getting “terribly wrong!” or a reference to a writer he prefers,…most times a non-Muslim, with the usual “although he is a non-Muslim sha, but i like the way he writes”. Ask for specifics about what he likes in the Non-Muslim’s writing and he will not be able to say anything. From Professor Adenmi to Oby Ezekwesili to Chimamanda Adichie, we seem to want to make a point to each other that “don’t think you are so good…” so we idolize these folks whereas there are Muslims doing far better. You would think Aboo Banaat’s book release will break the internet and sell out. But then we are in a Muslim community that emphasizes “what is he feeling like sef?” on each other, but with the Kuffar we say “Na kafir na, so that one when he do no matter”. We have too much contempt for each other.
Islam so beautifully taught us we are not better than each other based on worldly status, but we have mismanaged this message by
1. Only applying it on Muslims while adoring the kuffar.
2. Turning it into a reason to not recognize leadership and respect each other’s status.
3. Turning it into an excuse for “I am doing my own”
Again for fear of length, let me explain only the last with one online incident.
The Muslim Platform was a very active group. So active i know a sister that wears Niqob today based on what she read here. This was someone who was not even wearing the hijab at all. There are like 100 cases i can cite but for space. TMP was a place where people came and asked questions and got answers and knew themselves and strengthened brotherhood. Many of the brothers you see today got their following from here (of course in the spirit of not giving credit to fellow Muslims, they won’t agree). Others who now know themselves up to each other’s house and some have even married each other, it all started here.
But of course this writer was too small to lead such effort so groups started springing up. If a person was spoken to in a manner he did not like just ONCE, he “vows” never to comment or post here again, even if he was one of the key persons helping people. Of course i had my own demons, that was not deniable but i always argued that brotherhood dictates that we love and fight and settle and go round the circle. Pulling out and cutting ties was not supposed to come in, it was not that bad.
The group may have been of no use as some even stormed out, but at least it produced An Nusra Foundation and has now produced ETN24 a growing News Media. Imagine if it stuck together, where will we be today?
A little loyalty for whoever leads you on a matter. A little patience and sticking together. A little respect for ourselves. We will achieve much. Let’s not forget that despite all these we are still the best of communities. I am only saying we could be better than we are now.
Credit: Eseoghene Al-Faruq Ohwojeheri