By Muhammad Sagiru Bauchi
It has become an attitude to many self-acclaimed liberal muslims and non-muslims that, whenever someone disrespect the sanctity of the Holy Prophet of Allah Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), to come up with some flumsy excuse(s) belittling the gravity of that offence in the name of rights to freedom of expression. In some instances, these people resorts to asking questions such as “why this tension”‘, “why do you fight for God?”, “After all, He can fight for Himself, why do you depend someone that is already dead?” These and many other nuisance are the embedded ready-made questions in the mind of these self-styled liberals, although, only a few of them have the guts to openly express it.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the final messenger of Allah sent to the mankind and his message is the final revelation for the salvation of mankind here and in the hereafter. Therefore, no religion is accepted in the sight of Allah but Islam. This is stated in the Glorious Qur’an. Allah says, “ He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion. And Allah is sufficient as a Witness.” (Surat Al-Fath V28.) Therefore, all other Abrahamic religions are abrogated with the coming of Muhammad (PBUH). For this and other reasons, anything that has to do with the personality of any, the Prophet of Allah is treated with outmost caution and respect.
Prophet (PBUH) came during the period of ignorance and darkness (jahiliyya), whereas tribal wars, feudal wars, etc were prevalent, hatred, pride and incitement among the people of that era was not a taboo. Not only that, many vices, cultural and religious practices that denigrate status of human being was at it’s peak! But with his coming, that era transformed to a one which holds each and every member of society as equal, treating with respect and responsibilities, treating one another with care, love, equality and respect. In respect to that, the Qur’an addressed Him and His followers as “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. Thou (O Muhammad) seest them bowing and falling prostrate (in worship), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) acceptance. The mark of them is on their foreheads from the traces of prostration. Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel – like as sown corn that sendeth forth its shoot and strengtheneth it and riseth firm upon its stalk, delighting the sowers – that He may enrage the disbelievers with (the sight of) them. Allah hath promised, unto such of them as believe and do good works, forgiveness and immense reward.” Those around him who were hard on the disbelievers, were part and parcel of the polytheists community He met fighting each another out of ethnic sentiment or something meagre than that. To understand why they were addressed in the aforementioned verse, a verse which they stoked on to it teaching which shows the equality of humanity, but only those that are above in PIETY are higher than the other and the other that shows the bound of love between the nation (ummah).
In Surat Al-Hujrat, Allah says “ O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” And in another Hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said “None of you is a believer, until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” therefore, sticking to the above verses and ahadith, one could be convinced that, Islam as a religion brought complete way of life for human being, it shows the magnitude of loving one another, equality of human beings, brotherhood and many more.
Why am I giving brief success stories brought by the Prophet (PBUH)?
Recently, an online media outlet by the name Sahara Reporters published a press release by a glorified regional and ethnocentric group from the South West named Afenifere, with a provoking headline, in which, a notorious political thug and ethnic chauvinist, Sunday Ighobo’s flee from law was equated with the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from Mecca to Medina. However, I couldn’t comprehend the logic behind the compariason, but I found it to be illogical and provoking, for the two incidents and personalities differs in all aspect and are not in anyway equal.
The Hijra (Migration):
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in the city of Mecca. He grew and lived his early life in Makka and later, spent the rest of His life in Medina. His outstanding behaviour and qualitative social relationship with the people of Mecca was the factor that instilled his love and trust in the heart of people of Mecca, He was the best example of a perfect gentleman to His people.
Due to his sincerity and truthfulness, they named him “AL-AMIN (The Trustworthy).”
It is of human nature, to fear and rebel against anything NEW that one sees as a challenge and in contradiction to what he believed to be a core value to him, that is why some of the prominent people of Mecca particularly the bourgeois and idolators decided to persecute him when he started delivering the message that was in total contradiction to their idolatry practice. Some rejected his message for not being from their clan, while others rejected it for coming from an orphan!
When his message was widely accepted in the Arabian Peninsula, with quite substantial number of followers in Medina, persecution of his followers reached climax, then, Allah ordered him to leave Mecca and migrate to Medina in order to have a peaceful environment, free from ignorance, killings and religious persecution, and also, to prepare him and His followers for a victory against those prosecuting them (that’s the conquering of Mecca.) He carried out that command by instructing his followers to leave to Medina, afterwards, He joined them. He left only a few of His followers in Makka with instruction to leave after him.
In the course of this migration, He and some of His companions were subjected to the most treacherous forms of persecution. In no instance He left His companions at the mercy of their persecutors and ran for survival; in that, He led by example.
When he arrived Medina, firstly, He established his mosque, then He established brotherhood bond; where he bonded different people from different places that came with him (Muhajirun) and those that accommodates them (Ansar) to live as brothers to each other. He then connotes an agreement with the followers of other RELIGIONs that, He will not fight them, therefore, they shouldn’t fight Him and when something come to distract their peaceful coexistence as a nation, collectively, they will join hands to fight it. In general, He established a just-state to both the Muslims and the Non-Muslim alike, a state full of equality and justice. That is Prophet (PBUH)!
According to a special report published by Premium Times, Sunday Ighobo’s fame could be traced back to the 90s during a communal crises, then, as a young man, he served as a bullet distributor to the warriors from his community. But when the war seemed to be endless, he retired from that role as a mere distributor to a gun holder. The brevity he shown there was the major factor that brought him to light in his locality.
Igboho is Yoruba by tribe, an ethnocentric chap calling for insurrection. His aim is succession and establishment of a Yoruba nation out of the present Nigeria. As a result of that, bloods of innocent people were shed and he become heavy handness in incitement against some ethnic groups, disrespectful and abusive to the monarchs and political heads of the Southwest region.
In his quest to avert arrest from the law enforcement, he engaged the state security apparatuses in gun duel in his home during an arrest, that led to lost of lives, afterwards, stock of illegal arms and his travelling passport were found in his home. After that encounter, the state security issued an arrest warrant on his head. Although, he succeeded to ran away and hid without a trace, luckily, he was arrested in a neighbouring country, where he was apprehended.
His “MIGRATION” was not to seek for safety for himself and his followers, rather, to avert arrest due to the gravity of his crime to a new place where he will be safe and inciting his followers to perpetrate crime against some tribes (which can culminate to genocide) and rebellious against the state. Igboho is a tribalist.
POINT OF DIVERSITY:
– Prophet Muhammad, instilled compassion, love and harmony between human beings, regardless of their ethnicity, language and gender, as seen in the verse of Surat Al-Hujrat above, but Ighobo was only successful in instigating hatred of other tribes. Therefore, he knows nothing like love and compassion.
– Pophet Muhammad forbids tribalism and involment in tribal war. He cautioned that, there is no heavenly reward for whoever engaged in such cause, for Allah is all knowing when He created human beings in different tribes, races and languages, that was why He (SWT) hold none dearer to him than those that excel in His fear (taqwa). For that reason, there was no space for ethnocentricism and tribal wars in all the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Igboho is a tribal warlord, for that, neither his tribalistic actions or his character will ever be compared to any Prophet of Allah, talk less of the best of mankind, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In the effort of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to actualize Islamic City of Medina, he ordered no one to be killed, rather, he called for peace, harmony and unity between all, irrespective of tribe and religion. On the other hand, Ighobo regarded his kinsmen as superior race to any one.
On the question “why the tension” we need to understand that, anything that has to do with the Holy Prophet of Allah is a “RED LINE”. He sacrificed His all to unchained mankind from the shackles of dogmatism, ethnicity, ignorance, idolatry and enslavement. For that and many more reasons, Tempering with His sanctity is the only thing that can bring all Muslims together to depend him, irrespective of their language, race, tribe, or locality, He taught them the superiority of Islam over all, and that anything beside Islam is a secondary issue.
Sahara Reporters’ Apology:
In life, human beings are bound to err, but the most honourable among them are those that admit their mistake, take its responsibility and tender apology.
A day after publishing that Afenifere press release which generated so much controversy on the Nigeria’s cyberspace, the management of Sahara Reporters understood the need of withdrawing the published report and in time, tendered an unreserved apology. Ideally, their apology is something good. But, could that be enough? Probably, that would never be enough since the damage it inflicted cannot be eradicated on the long run. Muslims can easliy forgive, but will never forget the pain caused out of arrogance and irresponsiblity as a result of depicting their most loved and sanctified figure, whom they love and respect more than their parents, children, wealth and even their own lives!
Whenever the discuss on the issue of Religious tolerance or freedom of speech arise, if carefully looked, it is a plot to portray Muslims populace as some set of people that lacks torelance of other people’s Religion and give no room to freedom of Speech ! But one thing that amazed me with the peddlers of such fallacy Is that, why is it their freedom of speech is always on the sanctity of Muslim figures? Why are they always using that freedom to defame or speak Ill of what Muslims hold with utmost respect? Why can’t they exhibit tolerance thereby shunning away from discreting the positive symbols of Muslims? On the issue of Tolerance, I don’t think there are set of society that could tolerate the attitude of followers of other RELIGION contrary to theirs than the Muslims society.
In a non Muslim dominated society, Muslims are treated as third class citizens, every bit of their movements is under watch. Only few of them are allowed to live in a non rented houses (To own properties) but in the Muslims dominated Society, all citizens are treated equally. Non Muslims are given room to built their worshipping centres, owned houses, established their business in a non rented shops and even hire Muslims as their sales boys/girls. Therefore, non Muslims enjoyed complete freedom of life and freedom of expression in Muslims dominated States.
With all these, didn’t Sahara reporters think that that their report could lead to generating of tension beyond social Media? Therefore, these are something that Sahara Reporters need to looked into in order to avoid tendering of another apology as a result of their reckless action.
In regard to their claim that, the “WORD” was not theirs but Afenifere’s, I wonder if Sahara Reporters could published a report equating Omowole Sowore’s “Revolution Now” mission with that of Missions of Boko Haram fighters, despite the fact that, both the parties unite in trying to establish another state.
I don’t think they can also published a report comparing the deceased leader of Boko Haram (Muhammad Yusuf) and Nnamdi KANU, despite that, both Yusuf and Kanu’s aims is to overthrow Nigerian government.
For that reason, since I believe, editors of Sahara Reporters are mindful of publishing such reports that could touch the dignity of some people they hold with respect, they must have no excuse on not to be mindful of publishing anything that can defame the status of Islam and Muslims in general.
Sagir writes from Bauchi State and can be reached via email@example.com and 07019718681
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily