By Abdulwarees Solanke
I stumbled on one article by a certain public affairs analyst, Suraj Oyewole in one of the national dailies recently which led me to a conclusion that Nigerian newspapers are truly the platform that accommodate all views regardless of your persuasion.
It was a courageous write up. Its publishers are therefore commended for the incisive piece. Titled the Bad Muslims and the rest of us, it was a graphic illustration of misconceptions and misrepresentations of Islam, an eye opener on how diversity can be appreciated as a virtue in Nigeria. Consequently, that piece stimulated me to extend Oyewole’s argument a bit further to encourage understanding and accommodation among all faiths. If there are bad Muslims, there must also be good Muslims as well. So, who are the good Muslims in the eyes of the world or who are the ideal Muslims?
The truth is: The ideal Muslim wants to live in a paradise on earth experiencing no fear, regret or sadness which is achievable with good governance and not corrupt government. Sadly, however, the Good Muslim in the eyes of the World is everything contrary to the ideal Muslim as described in the Qu’ran. The ideal Muslim finds himself in a compromising, environment, and he is soon compromised. If he is not compromised, however, he is estranged, becoming very odd, unusual so non-existent in practical terms of life. So, the good Muslim the world now sees is the compromised Muslim. He can even be a pervert or the hypocrite.
Usually, the good Muslim in the eyes of the world now is the one who, in spite of his gold teeth and an Alhaji for that matter, relishes in Haraam either in what he takes in or what he takes or gives. He is the one who has no scruples abandoning the salaat or other obligations of his deen: the compromised Muslim cares not much about his or his family spiritual health while pursuing his existential needs.
He easily justifies that “God is not that vengeful or difficult”. He sees no wrong in fortune telling and seeking fortification from both the created being like him and speechless creatures. He cares not a hoot about decency and modesty just because he must belong and be celebrated for his vanities.
But he is also the one who lampoons and backbites his brothers in faith for being crude and conservative. He is the one whose search for self glorification and actualization has taken him away from the precincts of Islam. An empty shell in the Muslim garb, he finds comfort in the midst of sin. As can even be the chairman, easily rationalizing away his deviation thus “Only Allah knows that sincere Muslim”.
To him, struggling in the cause of Allah is abrogated. He sees everything from the West as the best and all from the east as from the beast. He is the pacificist in the eyes of the world and becomes the most available tool to derogate the creed of Ibrahim and cause fitnah in the Muslim fold. He is the paid agent who infiltrates the Ummah, but he is soon a wasted soul because the good Muslim in the eyes of the World is often a munnaafiq. Caught in the trap of his hypocrisy, those he aligns with eventually abandon him, while Muslims he fakes to be in their midst eventually ostracize him when his treacheries become so open.
No sooner had I digested Oyewole treatise on the bad Muslims and the rest of us did Uncle Segun Ayobolu come up with another indicting write up on our Spiritual environment. This time it was on the Church. Ebon in one of his weekend column painted his disappointment with practices and conducts of those who claim to be workers in the Lord’s Vineyards while they were actually pastors of vanity. His depression led him to write on why, he would not be attending church services on a particular Sunday, but would rather keep at home or having fun out with a company of friends. I sympathize with Uncle Segun.
But it is not only Uncle Ayobolu that is in this frame as in that piece he merely serves as the spokesperson of an army of disenchanted Nigerians whose disappointment with clergy both in Islam and Christianity has led them to apostasy.
If they are not apostates, they are agnostic, who believe in God but detach themselves from any of the Abrahimic faiths. Often they become either indifferent to, or are intolerant of scriptural exhortations. They are their own guides on what is piety or righteousness. I sympathize with this lot, who hardly find fulfilment in life. But it is not their fault .It is the fault of the so called men of God who are actually servants of Satan. Rather than leading their flock to light, they guide them into darkness.
Rather than liberating them from the shackles of Shaitaan, they enslave them. Rather than preaching against haram businesses and wealth they promote vanity in the name of prosperity. It is lamentable that we are in a world where “men of God” who pontificate on Salvation before large congregation actually bury cows and human heads in the foundations of their houses of worship to pull crowd.
This is the claim that goes round. I am not surprised that many large churches and wave making Asalaatu movements are theatres of controversies, dissension and manipulations. In the struggle for power and the purse, they divide their congregations and break up the church or the society. In the multiplication of splinter organizations, weird ideas and strange practices are introduced into the noble and graceful faiths. In the competition for spread and followership, the real religions are either compromised or extremism sets in.
So, with the perversion of our pastors and aafaas, the real purpose of religion is defeated. We no longer worship God; we worship what we want from God. And once we get what we want, we forget God. But the rest of the World see Nigerians as the most religious, people not understanding our fervour. Now, every fringe faith and awkward philosophies finds space in our religious confusion.
In this confusion, many lambs of God stray into the dens of lions and pack of jackals. Many innocent souls become indoctrinated in hate and extremism. Our women and daughters are led into the households of sinful men in cassocks and al kimbas.
Our dead ones no longer find rest in mortuaries, the cemeteries and the fortified vaults. Pastors are now caught in ritual mess. Aaafas are defiling our daughters when we send them to madras. Magicians and servants of jinni are now miracle workers. And many who are disappointed with the trend are avoiding the early morning mass or abandoning the church in droves, erecting altars in the corners of their parlours if at all they still call on the Lord. We no longer find early risers, on the loudly beckoning call of the muadhin, rushing to the masjid to stand in the front rows of Fajr Salaat, preferring to pray in their cloakrooms.
But, this is not the solution to the descent into the morass. The solution is in speaking up against evils in the temples of God so that men and women who see themselves as Alpha and Omega while leading innocent souls astray can be checkmated. Among Muslims, this is an Islamic duty. In Christianity, this is a necessity. Solanke writes via email@example.com