By Ishola Balogun
Prominent Muslims bared their minds as they gathered at the Tafawa Balewa Square to offer prayers for the nation. The event which was organized by the Joint Muslim Forum was an assemblage of Muslim organisations in the region with prominent Muslim personalities in attendance. among who are Sheikh Ibrahim Garba Akinola, OON, the Chief Imam of Lagos state, Dr. Abdurrahman Ahmad of Ansar-Ud-Deen Islamic Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdullah Akinbode of Nasrullah-il-Fathi society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdurrahman Adamgba of Qareeb Islamic Society, Sheikh Imran Abdul Majeed Eleha, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, Secretary-General, Nigeria Council for Islamic Affairs, NCIA among others.
Delivering a keynote address shortly after the prayers, Sheikh Abdurrahman Ahmad, leader of the Forum, beseeched Allah to intervene in the socio-political situation of the country, adding that Muslims are not terrorists as being misconstrued by some enemies of Islam.
Prof Ishaq Oloyede called on Muslims to unite especially those in leadership positions to fight the scourge of unemployment, poverty, disease, hunger, ignorance, mis-governance, corruption, tribalism, among other vices in the society.
We’re not terrorists — Abdrrahman Ahmad
“We feel a sense of duty to pray over the situation in our country. We all know there is no peace and security, we all know the anger and frustration of people in the country. There are questions to be answered and tongues are wagging. That is why we are here to call on Allah to intervene, to give us the means to attain lasting peace, to enable our leaders to do what is right and to be fair and just to the citizenry.”
“We are on the verge of another election and acrimony is already manifesting, open letters here and there. It is only Allah that can intervene on behalf of the downtrodden and marginalised.”
“This is also to show the world that we are Muslims, we are not terrorists, we are not arsonists. We have a duty to call on Allah, we are asking for peace, and praying to Allah for peace is our contribution towards attaining peace and tranquility.”
“There is no group in the country that is economically marginalised than the Muslims. We pray to Allah to intervene.”
“In spite of the fact that we’re the object of hate and calumny, we extend our hearts to others. We pray Allah to help touch the hearts of our leaders; to enable us to tow the path of peace. We pray Allah to help the politicians bury their inordinate ambition.”
On Lagos, he stated that some certain people have started to fan the embers of religious divide calling for a Christian governor in Lagos state come 2015. He described this as undemocratic, saying Lagosians had never voted along religious line in history.
We must come together to banish evils — Prof Ishaq Oloyede
“For us as Muslims, I mean true practicing Muslims, we need to join hands to strive and provide exemplary leadership in various spheres of life and endeavours and ultimately for the nation. We must not stay-by and watch. We owe ourselves and Allah the responsibility to create an enabling environment for the unfettered worship of Allah and practice of Islam in a plural society like Nigeria without annihilating non-Muslims.”
“We must live peacefully with our neighbours in an atmosphere of mutual respect for one another to jointly fight common problems such as unemployment, poverty, disease, hunger, ignorance, mis-governance, corruption, tribalism, moral decadence, drug abuse, insecurity, rape, religious intolerance, human right abuse, impunity, poor/non-existent infrastructure, victimisation, election rigging and so on. To do these, we must be involved.”
Oloyede called on Muslims in the State to join hands to address the peculiar issues affecting them which include hijab, new hijrah year holiday, coroner law, cremation of unclaimed corpses, un-balanced political appointment and absence of Sharia division in your judicial system.
Others are state sponsored decoration of streets and highways for Christmas, unemployment of teachers to teach Arabic and Islamic Religious Knowledge in public schools in the face of abundant qualified teachers, proposed plan to scrap the department of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Lagos State University (LASU), huge unemployment of Muslim youth, huge and unaffordable fees in LASU, disgraceful treatment of Imams compared to Christian counterparts, among others.
“It is disheartening to know that at this age and time, the use of hijab by female students in public schools is still an issue in Lagos State. It is terribly disappointing that a state which has over 50% Muslim population with very prominent Muslim personalities is still struggling to enforce a right as basic as the use of hijab. I call on all Muslims in Lagos to unite and forge a common font to banish this evil from the Ummah. In doing this, violence must be eschewed; dialogue, wisdom, tact, and constructive engagement must be enthroned.”
He also called on government to respect the right of Muslims and be just in dealing with all groups of people, adding that the government must create an environment devoid of discrimination against the Muslims or any other religious group.
On leadership and challenges of combating evils in the society, Oloyede stressed: “We are all witnesses to evil acts and the decadence in our society as well as the marginalisation and oppression of Muslims as manifested in anti-Islam government policies especially in Lagos State. Clearly leadership without consultation is evil and Holy Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w) commanded us: “When you see an evil act you have to stop it with your hand.
If you can’t, then at least speak out against it with your tongue. If you can’t, then at least you have to hate it with all your heart. And this is the weakest of faith.” As Muslims I ask you “Which way have you chosen to stop the evil acts you see around you?” Let us all remember that Allah warns His believing servants of a Fitnah, trial and test, that encompasses the wicked and those around them. Therefore, such Fitnah will not be restricted to the sinners and evildoers. Rather, it will reach the others if the sins are not stopped and prevented,” he said.
Alhaji Babatunde Fashinro
“The potency of prayer cannot be over emphasised in the life of Muslims. Islam enjoins Muslims to call on Allah in prayer and put their trust in Him. Allah say in many verses of the Holy Qur’an: Call upon Me, I will answer you. It is incumbent on us to beseech Allah in all our affairs. In addition to taking action, Prayer is also very important in the life of a Muslim. As Muslims we owe our leaders the duty to pray for them to succeed in the task of governance. It is by so doing that we discharge our obligation to support and encourage them to do what is good and just.”
He commended the organisers of the programme, describing it as ‘demonstration of submission to the will of Allah.’