By: Sirnucy Lafiagi

MY recent post on the Ooni of Ìfẹ́’s gaffe at the Eid praying ground has further enriched my knowledge of how an average Southwest man views religion. Apparently to him, religion is an “àdàlù” thing or a buffet where one can just put all sorts of food in one’s plate for onward transmission into the stomach without minding how bizarre such combinations could be.

It is so unfortunate that some people have chosen to treat Islam like “bàbá Ìjẹ̀bú’s èyí jẹ́, èyí ó jé” gamble, practising what suits their whims and caprices and ignoring or refuting what does not with brazen ignorance and bigotry. It is so disheartening that some people are yet to be purged completely of the traditions of their forefathers, in spite of its obvious clash with Islam. After all, isn’t the popular slogan, ẹṣin ó pé kí a má s’oro ilé wa?”

To begin with, one must realize that the Laws of Islam are Divine and just. They are established by Allah, our creator and explained by Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace). The Sharī’ah is so comprehensive and flexible that it is suitable for all times and ages without being subjected to any form of amendment to satisfy anyone’s ego.

Islam is a religion that is strictly guarded and regulated by principles. Islam is not practised by “how I see it” but how “Allah and His Rasuul see it.” Islam is not a religion of human reason. The human reason is defective, myopic, limited and unstable. Imam Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

عَنْ عليٍّ- رضي الله عنه- أنَّه قال: لو كان الدِّينُ بالرَّأي لكان أسفل الخفِّ أولى بالمسح منْ أعلاه، وقد رأيتُ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يمسح على ظاهر خفَّيْهِ. أخرجه أبو داود بإسنادٍ حسنٍ.

“If religion were a matter of reason, it would have been more appropriate to wipe the beneath of the khuff (leather socks) instead of its top. But I have seen the Messenger of Allah wiping only the top of his khuffs.”

Neither do I speak for other religions, nor do I expect non-Muslims to see things from the perspective of Islam. I am however shocked to see that even many of those that call themselves Muslims need serious tutoring on the difference between Islam and culture/tradition. Practising Islam in a “wondaruku” form is worse than kufr. It is for this reason that in Qur’ān 2:208, Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُلَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ

“O you who have believed, enter into Islam COMPLETELY and do not follow the footsteps of Shaytaan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.”

The word كَافَةً means, all, wholeheartedly and wholly, leaving out nothing. What will make us grasp its meaning better is its usage in Q.34:28, where Allah said:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُون

“We have not sent thee but as a universal Messenger to ALL mankind, giving them glad tidings an warning them; but most men understand not.”

Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) lived in a multicultural and multi-religious society alongside Jews, Christians and idol worshippers. There is nothing anyone can tell us today about tolerance that the Rasuul did not emphasis and practise. It is sheer hypocrisy to try to massage the ego of non-Muslims by distorting the texts of the Shari’ah or subjecting them to one’s faulty interpretations.

If anyone thinks that by distorting the texts of the Qur’ān to please non-Muslims, they will gladly accept him into their folds, he is grossly mistaken. It is either that he is living in a fool’s paradise or he doesn’t read the Qur’ān at all. He should read Q.2:120 & 145 and tell us if he knows better than Allah.

I have explained in my last article, the limitations of tolerance in the perspectives of Islam. Our non-Muslim brethren are to be treated justly, fairly and respectfully as friends, neighbours, colleagues, et cetera. They are to be held in high esteem and dignity and as counterparts rather than as enemies. However, in matters of faith and religion, the law is clear: لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ ولِيَ دِين
(to you is your religion and to me is mine).

I wish to reiterate for the umpteenth time that the shenanigans that happened in Iwo (where the Oba led the Salaat), Oyo (where the Aláàfin stood in the same row with his wives in Salaat), Àkúré and Ìfẹ́ (where the Ọbas attended the eid and even prayed in the first row) are all unnecessary and needless steps of religious tolerance taken too far. Tolerance in Islam is not worshipping with the Christians today and idol worshippers tomorrow. It is practising your own faith without prejudice to that of others.

The Imams and other religious leaders in the country should fear Allah and should not allow their greed dictate religion for them. Religion and politics should not be mixed together to satisfy anyone’s ambition, no matter how good their intentions are. They should fear the day they will stand in front of Allah to account for their deeds.

May Allah grant us good understanding of the Deen and protect us from misleading others and being mislead.

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