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Boko Haram: Every soul is important to Allah – Imam Olohungbebe

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Alhaji Soliudeen Olohungbebe, is the Imam of Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, he speaks on need for education and a way of ending the act of terrorism by Boko Haram group in the northern part of the country.

IT is always difficult to dissect the issue of Boko Haram without Islam, to what extent do you think Islam is involved?

I will start from the linguistic point of view, Boko means book while haram means something that is forbidden. Putting the two together, boko haram means western education is forbidden. And one of the cardinal points  Prophet Mohammed (s.s.w) preached about in Medinna is to seek for knowledge even if you have to go as far as China.  Islam has nothing to do with boko haram. It is one of the misconceptions about Islam. Boko Haram is known for killing people and Islam forbids killing of a soul you cannot create.

Then, how can Islam help to eradicate terrorism in Nigeria?

The best way to go about this is to educate people through the teachings of Islam. Ignorance is close to poverty and I believe these terrorists do not understand some crucial things about life. They need to know that Allah forbids killing and that every soul is very precious to Almighty Allah.

Mindset of children

The best way to solve the issue is to mould the mindset of our children to reason in the way of Allah and also growing to be responsible and useful citizens of the country. In this direction,  Lagos state has created an open chance for everyone to be educated. Education in Lagos state from the primary level to secondary level in Lagos state is free.  Lagos state also ensures that all mosques in the five geographical zones of Lagos state preaches the same sermon during the Jumat service at least twice in a month to sensitize and increase the knowledge of Muslims to the way of Allah.

The month Rajab is fast approaching, what is it all about?

Rajab is the seventh month in the lunar Islamic calendar. It is one of the four  sacred months  in Islam.  These months are Ramadan, Zhul-Qada and Zhul-Hijah (the 11th and 12th month of the year). Quran 9 verse 36 talks about the month of Rajab as a sacred month.  Rajab  as been in existence before Islam as a religion came into existence, the pagans whom the Pr ophet met at Medinna observe their fast during this period and Prophet Mohammed allowed it becAuse he did not want to destroy their practice. That is what some people call awe arugbo which means an acient fast and not necessarily fast for the aged.

Why is this fast not as popular as Ramadan?

Well, the reason for this is because Prophet Muhammed did not make this fast compulsory for the Muslims. Fasting during this month is voluntarily and even if you want to observe the fast, there are guidelines that must be adhered to. As muslims, we are not supposed to fast throughout the month  of Rajab, rather, the first day or you fast for three or seven days out of the 29 or 30 days in the month.  Also, as Muslims there should not be any form of festivity attached to it like that of Ramadan where we have public holidays to commemorate the ending of the fast.

What activities should a true Muslim engage in during this sacred month?

A true Muslim should not fight during the month of Rajab. During the life time of the prophet, he fought the pagan but commanded that they should be left alone during the month of Rajab. Hence, no Muslim should fight during the month of Rajab.  However, it is important for me to say that the sared month of Rajab cannot be compared with the sacred month of Ramadan.

This is because the month of Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam while Rajab is not. There are no special religious activities attached to the month of Rajab. A true Muslim should continue in his service to Allah and follow the teachings of the Prophet.  The Prophet said in one hadith that whoever introduces anything to this religion, it will not be taken and it will be recorded against such person.

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