April 9, 2022

Imam Khalid sermon: Govt’s resistance to criticisms is dangerous signal, Islamic scholars react

Imam Khalid sermon: Govt’s resistance to criticisms is dangerous signal, Islamic scholars react

By Ishola Balogun

Reviewing the sermon that earned the Chief Imam of the National Assembly Legislators’ quarters mosque, Sheikh Muhammad Nuru Khalid’s suspension and subsequent termination of his position last week, some scholars have said that government’s resistance to criticisms is a dangerous signal in the quest to tackling insecurity in the country.

Sheikh Khalid who founded the Islamic Research Da’awah Foundation IRDF had flayed the government over its failure to tame the escalating insecurity and bloodshed in the country and urged Nigerians not to vote for APC in the 2023 election, if nothing was done to secure the lives and property of the people. Khalid was initially suspended and subsequently sacked as the Imam of the mosque.

Reacting to the development, Ustaz Imam Abdulwaheed Olowo, who is based in Ikorodu, Lagos also condemned the sack, adding that it was tantamount to killing mosquito with a sledge hammer. 

According to him, “truth is a bitter pill this government cannot swallow. It is because they cannot accept the truth and deal with it, the spate of insecurity has continued unabated even drifting to a dangerous dimension. 

Yet some people still don’t want to accept the truth that they have failed in providing security to the people.

“The sermon asked the people to hold their leaders accountable. Meaning that those who cannot provide their constitutional role of securing lives and property should not have any business to contest elections and the people too should not vote for them. What is bad about that? Must the sermon patronise the government even when there is danger in the land?”

Sheikh Ibrahim Zubair, Kaduna stated that the action of the Mosque Committee was uncalled for, wondering why governments and its agencies cannot absorb criticisms. “It is absolutely wrong. But those in government will be comfortable with him,” he said.

For Sheikh Abdurasheed Mayaleke, Ogun, what happened was expected because the words of Imam are not respected let alone consider it as important. 

According to him: “We have deviated from the norms in our society. The Imam is expected to be a learned Muslim, his office and position should exude knowledge and experience that will always guide the followers, not the other way round. Sometimes the Imam is given to those who do not merit it and as a result, there is no respect to his authority as the Imam. During the old days, even in real Islamic countries, the Imam is solely one person who has comparative advantage over every other person in the society, the best of the all. They also considered the first among the contenders who visited the holy land and performed the rites. 

This was because, he will have the experience and idea of what things used to be and what it is now and be able to draw valid inferences and make sound judgment. Again, if all of them had the same qualities and experience, they would choose the more aged person because he will tend to have more experience. 

So, with sound knowledge and age, he would be able to control others and have better administrative experience in managing people and the mosque. Honour and respect come with sound knowledge and age. If we had been doing that, we would not have had such a case. In our own case in Ijebu, most of our substantive Imams were not the best we could get. 

Sheikh Khalid’s sermon appeals to over 5,000 people both within and outside the mosque.