October 14, 2016, 4:50 am

 By Majeed Dahiru


That the seeds of radical Islam were sown in mainstream Islam is a fact that can no longer be denied. Radical Islamic ideology is hinged fundamentally on three issues; Caliphacy [a unified Muslim leadership], people of the book [Christians and Jews] and Bid’ah [innovations]. The subjective interpretations of these concepts and many more, by leading scholars and authorities have continued to nurture and water the seeds of radicalization and the resultant violent extremist groupings whose stated objectives are often the practical realization of these three fundamental objectives.


By far, the most potent force of the three fundamental issues driving radical Islamic ideology is the concept of Caliphacy. This is the most divisive yet the most desired aspiration of majority of world Muslims. This idea was originally conceived on the death of the holy Prophet Muhammad PBUH in 632 AD, over the question of his successor. The Muslim community that the Holy Prophet left behind was a small, largely homogenous nation whose border did not extend beyond the precincts of Najd and Hejaz, areas roughly corresponding to present day Medina and Mecca, territories within the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, a great dispute arose over the rightful successor to the Holy Prophet, which eventually led to the great schism in Islam into the Sunni and Shi’a divides. Radical Islam was born. With the expansion of Muslim land and people, the issue of Caliphacy has assumed a very complicated, divisive and violent nature. Inherently embedded in the concept of Caliphacy is Islamic rule. The Caliphacy today is also known as the Islamic state. However, the concept of Caliphacy is only a Muslim invention and not Islamic. It has no basis in the true sense of Islam. Islam is an empire of faith and cannot be presided over by one single man as a Caliph. It is a historical fact that more Muslims were converted to Islam peacefully than by the force of arms.


Some Muslims are quick to deny the complicity of mainstream Islamic authorities in the raging global radical Islamic jihadi movements but conveniently ignore, the preaching and teachings of mainstream Muslim scholars, which give inspiration to these movements. Radical Islam is only a practical approach to achieving some mainstream Muslim doctrines. This view is once again highlighted by the recent call by Sheikh Dahiru Uthman Bauchi, while reacting to a bill titled “ Gender parity and prohibition of violence against women” sponsored by Sen Abiodun Olujimi [PDP, Ekiti state], which was presented for and passed second reading on the floor of the Senate; warning the Nigerian Senate about tampering with Islamic laws of  inheritance and other laws because according to him the Sharia is superior to all other laws including the constitution. He also called on Muslims to severe ties with any Muslim lawmaker who goes against this call.  He further admonished that such lawmakers should be rejected at the next general elections by Muslims, apparently implying that Islamist candidates be voted into the National Assembly. In this regard it is clear that Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi shares the same ideals of Islamic rule in Nigeria with Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement In Nigeria, IMN and Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram. The only differences between the three of them are their method of aspiration but they are united in fostering radical jihadi Islamic ideology, among millions of their followers. The recent statement of the respected and influential cleric is a call for subversion of constituted authority, anarchy and hate. Nigeria has suffered a great deal from religious crisis and even wars, because any Muslim who takes to heart the concept of Caliphacy, is not likely to accept the authority of a non-Muslim leadership over Nigeria. Our negative religiosity, fostered by some highly placed religious authorities has been at the root of our under-development as a nation. Religion cannot be elevated to a state affair in complex multi religious society like Nigeria. The “Gender parity bill” as sponsored by Sen Olujimi, does not in anyway offend any Islamic injunctions. It rather affirms the equality of all of mankind before Allah SWT, as encapsulated in the Holy Quran. Under Islamic law of inheritance, women have a proportional share of inheritance, from multiple sources [father, husband etc], which equals the men’s share. Therefore, the spirit of this bill is consistent with Islamic tenets on gender equality. A believing Muslim woman is not likely to ask for more share of inheritance than her faith permits, according to the letter of the bill; and she is not compelled to, against her will because the constitution guarantees freedom of worship and religious practice. Either way, Muslim rights and privileges are guaranteed and protected under our constitutional democracy. This bill is a legal guarantee for millions of other Nigerian women from religious and cultural backgrounds, which severely discriminate against women, especially in matters of inheritance. Some communities in Nigeria have an entrenched practice of zero inheritance for their women folk.


Nigeria, a multi religious country, is a constitutional democracy. The supreme law of the land is the constitution, wherein adequate guarantees of freedom of religion and liberty to worship. The legislature is mandated to make laws for the overall good of the citizenry. Therefore, any act of the National Assembly cannot and should not be disobeyed on religious grounds. Religious beliefs are matters of faith and not subjects of laws in a country like Nigeria. There are adequate mechanisms inherent in our laws that can be explored to influence the process of law making without calling for subversion of constituted authority. The Nigerian state has for too long yielded so much of its responsibilities on religious and cultural grounds, to the detriment of our growth and development. Constituted authorities, law and order have been largely usurped by religious authorities. Religious groups break almost all rules and regulations thereby causing a breakdown of law and order. Nigerian Muslims only constitute about half of the total population of Nigeria in a very complex multi-religious and cultural setting, therefore scholars and preachers must encourage their followers to live peacefully according to the laws of Nigeria without reservations. There will be chaos and total anarchy if every single religious and cultural group insists on having their legal code in the constitution. The Nigerian state can only be held together by sacrifice, compromise and understanding of stakeholders.


To bring this situation under control, religious groups and practices must be regulated, to ensure the continuous corporate existence of the Nigerian state. Preachers and clerics must be put under strict control to avoid them leading millions of citizens astray by subversive sermons that are detrimental to our societal moral fabric, peaceful co-existence and collective national security. Religion is opium, whose use and abuse, like other psychopathic drugs must be controlled and regulated because it has more devastating side effects on the people.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.

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