Imams and Islamic scholars decry worsening insecurity and government rap

“For the government, their position is a trust placed in them by citizens to protect their lives and property. It is the very essence of government. If the government is unable to fulfill this primary responsibility, the essence of such a function is destroyed.

A few days after the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), led by the Sultan of Sokoto and General Chairman of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, spoke out forcefully against the wave of attacks and killings across the country, some prominent Islamic scholars and imams have also said that tolerating insecurity of any kind is against the tenets of Islam.

The scholars and imams, in separate interviews with Saturday Tribune, examined the connection between leadership and the obligation to secure the property and dignity of a people versus the position of Islam.

The respondents include Professor Taofiq Azeez, Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Abuja and Chief Imam of the University; Professor Afis Oladosu from the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan; the President of the Muslim Community of Oyo State (MUSCOYS), Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni; and Alhaji Sirajudeen Bakrin, Chief Imam, Fountain University, Osogbo. Others are the Director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola; Imam, Muslim Congress (TMC), Abuja, Alhaji Zakariyah Mas’ud; and Imam, Shamsiyah Mosque, Kubwa, Abuja, Sulaimon Adesina. Below are their responses:

Professor Taofiq Azeez

The position of the JNI is politically correct. Islam requires leadership to deliver justice in order to ensure security. The highest form of righteousness is the rooting of pure faith free from polytheism, major sins, and wrongdoing (injustice). The Quran blames the mixing of faith with injustice for insecurity as follows:

Those who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security, and they are [rightly] guide. (Al-An’am 6:82)

Justice can be minor and major. The minor form of justice is the provision of employment opportunities to citizens, while the major justice is the protection of their life, honor and property through the implementation of policies, oversight and strict sanctions for offenders.

A government that neglects all this has done injustice to the people and thus invited insecurity. This government can be asked to leave.

The question of justice permeated all the regimes of Abubakr (the first caliph, closest adviser and father-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad) and (especially) of Omar (the second caliph, successor of Abubakr). Abubakr swore to make the weak strong and the strong weak on the basis of justice while Omar added the implementation and monitoring of policies and night patrols for this purpose and also for security monitoring.

Islam and Muslims do not know the value of any government beyond and apart from justice and its attendant security of life and property. This is why bandits of all kinds (armed robbers, kidnappers, Yahoo boys and girls, etc.) must be killed instantly when caught as criminals against God and the State, while thieves would have their hands chopped off. The legal system that allows criminals to live and enjoy their loot may be directly responsible for the tragic situation we find ourselves in today.

A deregulation of democracy such that criminals are handed over to their religious institutions and authorities to be punished according to their laws can be a temporary solution to worsening insecurity in Nigeria.

Professor Afis Oladosu

Based on the explicit texts and provisions of Islamic law on good governance, the position of the NYI is extremely very valid and highly indisputable. In fact, scholars and jurists of Islamic law and jurisprudence have postulated that all rulers will continue to enjoy the support and obedience of the people to the extent that they succeed in fulfilling their obligations. Among these, the establishment of the general state of security is essential and primordial. This is followed in importance by promoting the comfort and well-being of the masses.

It is undeniable that the current government in power has largely failed to meet these obligations. The challenge of the call, however, might be to find a democratic alternative to the current democratic experiment since the constitution does not, in my view, contemplate a situation where a government abdicates power before the expiration of its time and its mandate. In other words, the call of the JNI, however valid, could lead to anarchy.

I suppose the only alternative left to us would be to patiently wait for the time when a new democratically elected government takes over the reins of governance. While waiting for this moment, we must continue to pray so that our country does not sink into the abyss and anarchy.

Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni

When people are arrested for banditry or kidnapping, you just hear that they have been arrested and that’s the end of it. We do not learn that they were imprisoned or executed, as the case may be. People who have killed do not have the right to live either. Nobody wants to die. These people who commit all these atrocities do not want to die; they want to live to enjoy the proceeds of their crime. If they know that they will not benefit from the money, the enthusiasm for crime would be reduced to a great extent. This aspect must be studied.

Again, there are a lot of bad eggs within the military. Two weeks ago in Zamfara state, the army learned that bandits were in the bush and they had to go and attack and flush them out. But before the troops arrived, the bandits themselves had information about their arrival. They just went to the top of the hills and killed all the soldiers. So that means that the intelligence of bandits is even more efficient, more sophisticated than that of our military.

We have to ask all these so-called security chiefs what exactly they are doing. The president’s problem is that he knows how to hire but not fire. Let’s have a new group of people with new ideas. We did the same thing the same way and expect a different result.

Alhaji Sirajun Bakrin

Security is one of the five intentions of Sharia. It is therefore crucial for the development of society. This was the first thing Prophet Ibrahim asked Allah in Makkah. This is the goal of justice in Islam. Without justice, there will be anarchy.

It is also the first responsibility of a government. However, it is everyone’s common responsibility. The case of DhulQarnayn is relevant here: he called for the contribution and support of all citizens to fight the aggression of Yajuj and Majuj. Parents, teachers, community leaders who have information about criminals in the community, and religious leaders have a role to play. Farmers who plant weed, security guards, politicians who import weapons, judges who delay judgment, the government, father of all, must rethink their contribution to insecurity in the country.

Alhaji Zakariyah Mas’oud

Islam itself has its name rooted in peace. It is religion that has brought peace to mankind. It is the goal of Islam that peace reign everywhere and among all of Allah’s creatures. Before the advent of Islam, the powerful trampled at will on the life and property of the weak. Islam, however, has put an end to all acts of threat to life and property.

As for the government, its position is one of trust placed in it by the citizens to protect their lives and property. It is the very essence of government. If the government is unable to fulfill this primary responsibility, the essence of such a function is destroyed.

However, it is relevant to examine the root causes of insecurity in the country, in order to propose lasting solutions. First, Nigerians have become ungrateful to Allah for His bounties upon us. Many resources with which Nigeria is blessed are misused or untapped, and the Creator is not pleased with such acts. Second, immorality and corruption are at the highest level, especially among the younger generation. Ritual killings, fraud, and the insatiable thirst for wealth are security threats that must be rooted out at all costs by the government for the nation to move forward.

For kidnappers and bandits, the message of Islam is that all their actions are forbidden by their Creator and that they must be prepared for the wrath of Allah unless they repent and renounce their deeds pervert.

Sulaimon Adesina

“In Islam, the insecurity of one is the insecurity of all. As a nation, individual units in our system are not safe. The family system has collapsed and the products of individual houses have nothing to be proud of. This is where we went wrong. The government has the task of putting in place all that is necessary to guarantee the safety of lives and citizens, but it is the responsibility of the family to produce quality and reliable individuals to operate in society.

“But the responsibility stops at the government office because it is in charge of all the apparatus to control and monitor all units of society. The increase in the rate of heinous crimes indicates that the current government’s approach to combating insecurity is not effective.

“Islam’s position is that the lives and property of citizens must be protected no matter what the cost to the government. The government is not only responsible to the people, it must be prepared to give full account of its management to the Creator.

Professor Ishaq Akintola

In his own commentary, the director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof. Ishaq Akintola, said: “Suffice it to say that neither the JNI nor the NSCIA are talkative or reckless” and “therefore, MURIC will not give a contrary view on the issue of insecurity that JNI spoke about last week.

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