By Ishola Balogun
Hardly a day passes on without any issue relating to Islam making the headlines in a very sorry manner. If it is not the Boko Haram ‘Islamic’ sect, it is the Ansaru ‘Islamic’ sect or better still a Michael that was converted to Islam. Even if they never had any link with Islam as a religion, or whether such heinous activities run contrary to the teachings of Islam, it wouldn’t matter to them. It is Islam here and there. It is one wrong notion or the other about the religion mainly orchestrated to decimate the religion. But no matter the persecution, Islam will outlive its persecutors.
Believers, it is time we look inward and do a proper self-da’wah check because the character we exude at one time or the other go a long way in the way Islam is viewed. This is very important in view of our religious duty on da’wah. If you want to clothe somebody, you must not be seen in rags.
The ulamas must come together to chart a new begining for Muslims and ensure good inter-religious relationship. An assemblage of this kind, I learnt, was organised last week in Surulere, Lagos. We pray to see more positive development of inter-religious relationship.
Our preaching must thereafter, follow the pattern laid down in both the Qur’an and hadith. Islam as a perfect religion and a way of life has a laid down methodology of preaching the religion. It provides the best guidance on how to invite people to Islam in the most effective way.
Allah commands us to invite people to Islam with hikmah (wisdom) and beautiful preaching. Allah says: “Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord (Cherisher and Sustainer) with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: For your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” (Q16:125)
Our preaching must not be dogmatic, not self-regarding and not offensive. It must be gentle, considerate, such that it would attract attention. Our manner and argument must not be acrimonious, but modeled on the most courteous and most gracious way.
In fact, you should not be too dialectic, and never try to get a rise out of your listener or impress unnecessarily, but you must be seen to be marshaling your points with hikmah and expound absolute meekness and peace even when he disagrees with you.
In order to do all these, the individual must be able to show love to other human beings. You cannot preach to somebody you hate, you can’t get anything meanful from a discourse that is premeditated on hatred.
We must remember that our characters and manners as Muslims can affect people’s attitude towards Islam. This is what is missing today especially among those who preach to others. If we behave nicely, as we ought to do, the non-Muslims will see the impact of Islam on us. Sometimes, you may be tempted by human passion, or anger against your listeners, Allah says: Inna Laha maha lazhina-itaqa, walazhina hum-muhksinuun: Certainly, Allah is with those who restrain themselves and those who do good always.
Religious hatred is borne out of sheer ignorance or over-zealousness. Contrary to most of the views about Muslim-Christian relationship, no Muslim is permitted to hate or make enmity with fellow human beings. The distinction there is that unless they are out to destroy you, or denigrate your faith, you should deal kindly and fairly with them. No Muslim is permitted to hate any non-Muslim. We are only permitted to hate evil and its appurtenances and not men as such, irrespective of faith.
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) had interactions with the Christians on a number of times. First, when he was traveling to Syria with his uncle Abu Talib. Again, the Prophet had meetings and dealings with several Christians and Christian groups, including Waraqa ibn Nawfal, a well-known Christian scholar and the Najran Christians.
When the Prophet received his first Qur’anic revelation on Mount Hira, it had a great impact on him. His wife Khadija took the Prophet to Waraqa and told him about the revelation. After listening to the Prophet (s.a.w), Waraqa also agreed that it was Angel Gabriel, who had come to him, just as he had come to Moses, and he said, “I wish I were young.” The argument here is the relationship with fellow human beings.
Again, the agreement on the part of the Abyssinian king, Negus, to accept Muslims as immigrants in his land during the Makkan period was also a significant interaction between a Christian king and the Prophet of Islam. Prior to the start of his mission, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) had encounters with some Christians on a personal basis in his daily life as a pious merchant of Makkah.
The Qur’an says: “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.” (Q60:8-9)
If you preach to non-Muslim and he refuses, you dont need to waist your time further on him or dissipate energy unnecessarily, there are others who are waiting to benefit from your dawah and have their lives changed for the better. If anyone rejects Allah’s message, it is his own loss and not yours as a preacher and certainly not Allah’s.
It is not Allah who needs him or his worship; my Allah does not depend on his praises or his sacrifice, Allah is independent of all wants and His attributes are inherently deserving of all praises, whether the unbeliever gives such praises or not. So, if the unbeliever rejects Islam, he is the loser both in this world and in the hereafter. There should not be any uproar about spreading the message of Allah.
If the ulamas are teaching what is right, and condemning what is wrong, it would have been a great dawah effort, which would have benefited Islam a great deal at least in this part of the world. Islam does not preach that you exterminate those who reject the message. Islam lives, not for itself, but for mankind.
The Quran says: “You are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind. You enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah…” (Q3:110)
Everyone is going to be judged, both the ulamas and non-ulamas, both the scholars and the learners, the leaders and the followers, we will one day give account of what we have done, and we shall see whether those who preached actually preached the truth and whether those who led were just and whether the followers took the path of glory.
O Allah, my Lord! Expand me my knowledge. Ease my task for me; and remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say. O’ Allah forgive my short-comings. Amin.
Ask Your Imam
I am in a very difficult situation. I suspect my wife going out with another person whom she called her colleague in the office. I have not caught them myself, but people advise me to talk to her. She comes late at night and hinged every excuse on work. But as a Muslim adultery is enough to pronounce a divorce. Can I divorce her because I feel very bad about the development. Please suggest to me what I can do?
As-salamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuh
It is clear from your explanation that you don’t have concrete evidence to accuse her of adultery. Suspicion is not even good in Islam. The prophet advise against it. Until you have a proof that she is adulterous, by the dictates of shariah, you cannot accuse her of that. There must be three witnesses who saw them committing adultery and ready to give evidence at anytime.
If that is not possible, talk to her, implore her to change her ways and as a Muslim, try to invoke the fear of Allah in her. Allah sees what is hidden from all human beings. Certainly, divorce is one of the things that is detested by Allah. Make duah and seek Allah guidance and assistance.
Sister’s corner: Hijabite Sisters are superior
It often occurs to me that many of our sisters in Islam are not properly encouraged once they begin to observe the requirements of Hijab. It may be that a sister has been obliged to wear the Hijab without truly pondering over its superiority.
Perhaps she has reached the age of puberty and her parents have instructed her to wear it. Perhaps she has recently accepted Islam and her close companions have told her of its obligation. Alternatively, perhaps her husband has commanded her to wear Hijab.
A sister who does not truly know the superiority of Hijab will always remain envious of disbelieving women. Why? Because they observe these misguided disbelievers attempting to look beautiful for all to see. Hence, the Muslim woman then compares herself to that woman which causes her to feel ashamed of her own Hijab.
Therefore, what follows is a reminder for sisters in Islam. It is a reminder of the true status of these so-called beautiful women. It is a reminder of the excellence of the women who wear Hijab.It is well known that the Muslim woman is a creature of modesty.
Again, it is their outer protection from the decadence of this life. They are modest and they are not like those women who show themselves off to the world. How can you compare the world of a woman with hijab with others who flaunt their bodies with tights and mini-skirts, open chests and others.
It may be quite difficult for the Muslim woman to go out wearing Hijab in a society that mocks wearing of hijab but the gains are incomparable. However, if you know how useless and undignified the unbelieving women who flaunt their bodies are before decent men and God, you will crave to wear hijab always and savour your dignity.
Etiquette of Sha’ban
Sha’ban is one of the meritorious months in Islam which many Muslims neglect. The importance of the month of Sha’ban cannot be over emphasized. It is the month in which accounts of the deeds (of human beings) are presented before the Lord of the universe; also, it is the month in which Muslims step-up their preparation for the blessed month of Ramadan. Therefore, a Muslim is expected to prepare for the blessed month of Ramadan in the month of Sha’ban.
Although fasting in Sha’aban is not obligatory but meritorious and the prophet did not like to miss the fast. In fact, it is reported in a Hadith that the Prophet (SAW), used to fast so much in the month of Sha’ban that he was asked: “Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha’ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasted in any other month.” Prophet Muhammad, (SAW), replied: “That (Sha’ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe.
So, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting.” Therefore, a Muslim is expected to fast in the month of Sha’ban but it should be noted that, this fasting is expected to commence from the beginning of Sha’ban to the middle of the month. And to use the other part of the month to rest before Ramadan, but those who observe Sunnah of Mondays and Thursday fast are allowed to fast.
But singling out 15th of Shaban for act of worship such as fast, tahjud, sadaqah etc. with the believe that it has special reward or that on this night the fate or destiny of people is decided etc. are subjected to criticism by Ahlu Sunnah Scholars.
For example Sheikh Munajih said: Among the bid’ahs that have been invented by some people is celebrating the middle of Sha’baan (Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan), and singling out that day for fasting. There is no evidence (daleel) for that which can be regarded as reliable. Some da’eef (weak) and mawdoo’ (fabricated), haadeeth as has been pointed out by many of the scholars have been narrated concerning its virtues, but we cannot regard them as reliable.
Ramadan fast: Sokoto to feed the poor with N163m
State government has earmarked N163 million for feeding the poor during the 2013 Ramadan fast, which will commence in July.
The chairman of the Ramadan Feeding Committee, Alhaji Aliyu Attahiru has disclosed this to Vanguard during a one-day stakeholders meeting in Sokoto recently.
According to Attahiru: “For the programme, there will be a total of 150 feeding centres in Sokoto metropolis and environs during the period of the forthcoming Ramadan fast,” adding, “the programme is aimed at providing free Ramadan breakfast for the poor during the period in order to alleviate their sufferings.”
Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Prof. Musa Maitafsir, urged stakeholders not to betray the confidence reposed in them by the state government by ensuring that government’s objectives towards alleviating the condition of the poor is achieved.
2013 Hajj: Jigawa inaugurates 132-member c’ttee to train pilgrims
The Jigawa State Pilgrims Welfare Board on Wednesday inaugurated a 132-member committee to facilitate training of prospective pilgrims in the state.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), had allocated more than 3,000 seats to the state for the 2013 Hajj exercise.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Alhaji Sani Alhassan, who inaugurated the committee, said the gesture was to ensure proper training of prospective pilgrims on the basic tenets of Hajj exercise.
Alhassan said the committee was made up of males and females selected from the 27 local government areas of the state. “The committee is mandated to train prospective pilgrims on the obligations, tenets and cardinal principles of the Hajj. Proper education of pilgrims will prepare them to conduct the Hajj in accordance with teachings of Islam and be good ambassadors of the country while in the holyland,” he said.
Alhassan also stated that the state government had secured decent accommodation for the pilgrims while free meals would be provided for them during their stay in Saudi Arabia.
According to him, the state government has adopted proactive measures to improve the well being of the pilgrims and ensure a hitch-free Hajj.
Begging has no place in Islam — Salih
AN Islamic scholar, Malam Muhammad Salih, recently commended the proposal by the Kano State Hisbah Board to ban street begging in the state.
Salih, who gave the commendation in an interview with the newsmen, said the plan was timely.
He said that in spite of the efforts made by previous administrations some parents had continued to send their children to malams to acquire Qur’anic education, without providing for their upkeep.
Salih said as a resultm, the malams send the children out to beg to feed themselves.
Salih also noted that some female beggars also engage in some dubious acts such as commercial sex and stealing as was uncovered by the Hisbah recently.
According to him, begging has no place in Islam and should not be condoned.
The Kano State Hisbah Board recently announced that it was planning to propose a bill to the House of Assembly to ban street begging in the state.
This followed the arrest of some female beggars who engage in commercial sex at some locations in Kano metropolis