By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
Imam Abubakar Aliyy Kamal is an Islamic scholar. He operates an Islamic school in Ilorin, Kwara State capital and he’s also the Chief Imam of the Alh Issa Elelu Mosque located along Murtala Muhammed Way Ilorin.
On Fridays, during jumat preaching, the mosque is always filled to capacity and overflows to the main road with Muslim faithful listening to him with rapt attention. He speaks on the so-called houses of terror busted by security agencies.
What does Islam say about Islamic centres? This question comes against the backdrop of the raiding of such centres by security agents because they turned their operations to houses of terror?
Islamic centre is welcome in Islam. It’s called Modrasa in Islamic countries; it means Islamic school. But unfortunately today people are mixing Islamic and western education together. Islam is a religion of peace and also anyone who wishes to operate Islamic school must ensure that it is registered with the authorities. For all I know, Islamic centres in Kwara are registered with the state government and it is government that conducts examination for them just like those of WAEC, NECO, etc.
Who are those qualified to attend Islamic centres?
It is for everybody, whether you are old or young.
Why do Muslims need to attend Islamic school?
Islamic education is important for Muslims in order to learn the Quran. It is important to enable Muslims learn the activities of human beings in social and spiritual ways. It teaches the core of the religion and manners too.
What kind of knowledge is acquired in a typical Islamic centre?
The fear of almighty Allah.
When we have western education, why do people still need to attend Islamic school?
Both are different. Western education does not teach the cores of the religion but Islamic education does, so it’s very important to get both the western and Islamic education in order to have balanced views about what life is all about and how to survive it with the understanding of the ways of the almighty Allah.
Recently police rescued some people from places which many believe are Islamic schools in Kaduna, Daura and Ilorin where they were allegedly tortured and maltreated. What’s your perspective on this development?
It is very bad because Islam that we all know does not allow that people should be treated like animals; that cannot be called Islamic school. I also have Arabic school where students live in the hostel; I don’t treat them like that. Any school, whether Quranic or otherwise, that is not registered with government to be moderated is illegal,
Some ladies in affected centres claimed that they were sexually abused while some men also said that they were chained and tortured. Many people think his has put Islam in bad light. What’s your view?
Whoever did all of these things to fellow Muslims is not a Muslim. The fear of almighty Allah is the mark of a good Muslim and these actions do not reflect that they fear almighty Allah. One day we will all get the reward for our deeds in life whether good or bad.
But some parents defended those actions on the grounds that their children were obstinate.
The thinking of those parents is wrong. According to one Yoruba adage, you don’t cut your head because you have head ache. Such parents who surrendered their children to be tortured because of their waywardness are surely bad parents, they should pray to almighty Allah who answers all prayers. There are government approved and regulated institutions where such children could be taken to. I’m one of their lecturers at one of such schools; so it’s recommended for parents who think that their children are no more under control. It is far better because it’s government regulated.
Are you saying it’s because the schools are not regulated, that’s why they are operating like that?
Yes. It is illegal. Government should ban such institutions; in fact, a panel should be set up to investigate their operations and make recommendations for sanctions too.
When someone commits an offence, is there punishment for him in the Quran?
I’m aware that Quran recommends punishment for fornicators and liars.
What kind of punishment do you suggest for the operators of the so-called houses of terror?
Government should provide for punishment to ensure that nobody operates Islamic school in such a way again. That’s the duty of government because everybody is under the control of government.
What advice do you have for parents taking children to such centres?
The problem we have in Nigeria is parental. Parents know schools that are good and of high standards. In Ilorin, people know the Islamic school operated by Sheik Kamaldeen and several others. They operate like standard schools. So why take children to institutions where they are dehumanised? Some parents know what is right but they won’t do it.
QUOTE: Such parents who surrendered their children to be tortured because of their waywardness are surely bad parents, they should pray to almighty Allah who answers all prayers