There is no doubt that the northern part of Nigeria is predominated by Muslims who are guided by Islam through two holy sources: the Qur’an and sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. If this is established amidst events and situations in the north, then something is fundamentally wrong or fate has been misinterpreted.
I strongly believe that the two sources of guidance in Islam have the solutions to all political, social and religious problems ever faced by humanity since creation. I also strongly believe that no society suffers which is led by a just, honest and Allah-fearing person. Whither my presumptions sway, lurked is the ignored truth about leadership nowadays. It is an extremely bitter truth.
Leadership is the problem of the north and by extension the nation. This is in no way suggesting that Muslims are not good leaders. The truth is that most Muslim leaders are far away from being guided by the Qur’an and the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad. Almost all the states of the north are governed by Muslims. That is to say that out of the 19 northern states, over 95 percent have governors who are Muslims, practicing or otherwise. I think only Benue, Plateau and Taraba that have non-Muslim governors. Almost all the three senatorial districts of every state of the north are occupied by distinguished senators who are Muslims, practicing or otherwise. In the lower chambers of the national assembly, nearly 90 percent of the honourable members from the north are Muslims, practicing or otherwise. Over 90 percent of commissioners of every state of the north are Muslims, practicing or otherwise. Over 90 percent of traditional rulers popularly known as emirs of the northern states are Muslims, practicing or otherwise.
The north has so many great men who are very rich and influential. A large percentage of this category of northerners are Muslims, practicing or otherwise. In short, the richest man in Africa and a competing figure in the world economy, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is from the north and a Muslim. Many organs of the federal government are occupied by Muslims, practicing or otherwise. There are very many scholars, preachers and Islamic proponents who are Muslims in the north. There are many Mosques scattered across the landscape of the north as well as Islamic orientation centers where Muslims are tutored how to be good, lovely and loving, just, forbearing, honest and Allah-fearing.
Moreover, there are many prominent Muslim sons and daughters of the north who have connections with almost all the countries of the Muslim world, hence getting enough assistance required to put smile on the faces of the underprivileged of the north. Why then is anything called poverty, illiteracy, injustice and deadly wickedness prevalent in the north? Though no answer can be thoroughly saturating, I surmise that there is lust and avarice on the part of the privileged. I think there are within high level of selfishness, injustice, faithlessness and complacency. I strongly believe the play with words is more than action. Too much talk with little or no actions has become the order of the day. Where is the sincerity and commitment to develop the region?
By Allah, if all the people mentioned above give out the prescribed yearly alms (zakat) from their wealth, there will be no poor or needy Muslim in the whole northern part of Nigeria. But how can they do that? A large number of them cannot, by Allah, say exactly how much they have. So how can they determine the prescribed annual alms they ought to give out as decreed by their Creator – the Almighty Allah? Furthermore, a good number of them get their wealth from questionable sources. So, how can they have the blessing of the mind to give out from such wealth? Again, it is arguable that some of them do not belong to some secret devilish groups to sustain their affluence, influence and substance. How can such category of Muslims have the feeling for their brethren, nay humanity? They should fear Qur’an 6:24-25.
If the Muslims of the north return to Allah, the region and by extension Nigeria will return to greatness. The religious minority groups in the north have not been practically shown the sweetness of Islam in terms of equity, fairness, justice and humanity. That is why they are fighting for freedom and recognition. Qur’an 9:6 is explicit on this. The practical way Muslims lived with non-Muslims in the past is documented in books and very well known and preached by scholars of the north. “Do as I say, not as I do” is a very misleading sermon. And that is why many past nations went astray; they focused on prosperity; they did not aid one another on goodness; they rather aided one another on evil, wickedness, lawlessness and faithlessness.
However, the simple way to return to Allah is by practicing Islam, not merely going to Mosques to pray as many Muslims of today think. How many go to pray five times in the Mosques but they do not have good hearts! Hypocrisy has taken over many claimants of the Islamic faith. Qur’an 16:142-145 capture it all. Happenings of today are clear evidences. The Holy Book of Islam clearly states that prayer stops a worshiper from immorality, injustice, wickedness and all sorts of evildoing. Qur’an 29:45 is crystal clear. What is then the effect of the five daily prayers that some Muslims claim to be performing, if they can comfortably feed while millions of Muslims around them are hungry, thirsty and dejected; if they sleep on foams while millions of Muslims around them sleep on bones; if their children go to schools abroad or the best schools in Nigeria while the children of millions of Muslims carry plates begging for food from house to house or abused or killed, not to talk of schooling at all!
How many of them go to Saudi Arabia for Hajj every year but they cannot claim inside them a difference of divine touch! In short, many go to Saudi every year to seek power and favour, not to accomplish a fundamental pillar of Islam. They claim to seek Hajj mabrur without faith mabrur – accepted Hajj without accepted faith! It is a pride amongst those who control the wealth of Muslims to go abroad and waste such wealth in trivialities while Muslims around them live in squalor. Because of the prevalent injustice, a single Muslim sits on the fortune to millions of Muslims, with the claim that it is his knowledge, wisdom, smartness or luck that brought him such. In this regard, sometimes, fate becomes an inexplicable article of faith.
If truly fate grants one the wealth he has amassed, then the person should be humble to work for humanity. Every political office holder and appointee amongst the Muslims of the north has the capacity to empower at least 100 Muslims around him or her. By empowerment, I mean making 100 Muslims self-independent. By this, the 100 Muslims would grow and empower others. Only few years will proclaim the results of such initiative with the sincerity of intension and total submission to the decrees of Allah.
It has become necessary for Muslims of the north, especially the privileged ones to ‘run to Allah’ and once they don themselves with Qur’an 16: 90 which they claim to believe in, things will change for good for the region. There is no better solution to the many social ills pervading the north than to sincerely return to Allah.
It is quite possible that the enemies of the north are planning against them. When Boko Haram came up, the enemies of the north created a political group codenamed Boko Haram. The killing of innocent northern citizens in Kaduna state has been abated by the enemies of the north under a pseudonym called herdsmen. Unlike before, the northern children are gradually being lured into smoking Indian hem, engaging in cultism and armed banditry. Immorality and drinking of intoxicants, against Islamic code of life, are permeating the northern societies.
Aminu Sarki, leader of a United States Agency for International Aids (USAID) funded programme Management Services for Health Organizations the USAID Prevention and Organizational System-AIDS Care and Treatment (PRO-ACT) recently revealed that 94,141 pregnant women were HIV/AIDS positive in Zamfara. There have been reports of how a sex worker infected no fewer than 500 men with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Zamfara State. This is the state where the sharia was first proclaimed. The so much noise generated over the implementation of sharia in some northern states melted away with the silencing of the Islamic code of life. The political sharia is being practiced while the true Islamic way of life has been left in volumes of books to rot.
Speaking in Kaduna at a summit organized by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, raised alarm over the deplorable condition of Internally Displaced People (IDP) in the North-east, saying: “Almost N100 billion was collected for the victims support fund by the former government, where is that money? Gen. T. Y. Danjuma (rtd) is the chairman of that fund. Northern governors should come together and help to rebuild the region. The camps are so bad and people are suffering.” Also, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), through its deputy chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), AVM Mouktar Muhammad frowned at the level of starvation and sexual assaults against Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the northeast.
If the enemies of the north are to be held responsible for the spread of immorality and criminality to an extent, who is responsible for the widespread of illiteracy, hunger, underdevelopment and surprisingly high level of hypocrisy and faithlessness? How has divorce which is an abhorred lawful act in Islam become extremely very rampant in the north among Muslims? Have Muslims taken marriage as a joke or a mere means to flirt with Muslim women at will under (il)legal cover? Are Muslims playing politics with the fear of Allah by doing justice and not collecting Haram money: eating, clothing, building, living on illegal wealth – wealth of the common masses? Have the Muslims stopped collecting interests in trade or are they facing Q2:278-79? The greatness of the north is possible again. The Muslims have to return fully to the rope of Allah.
By Muhammad Ajah
Muhammad Ajah is an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.