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Why You Should Never Be An Extremist, A study of Nigerian Hell Hawkers – Part Two

Exploiting women’s emotional vulnerabilities
Extremists’ regard for the dignity of women is virtually nil. Their treatment of women leaves much to be desired, thereby giving Islam a bad name – by damaging Its image as well the reputation of Muslims regarding the status of women. Extremists treat women like rags. like Boko Haram terrorists, they abduct, kidnap and rape women with reckless abandon. Extremists rob women of dowry, trick them into shoddy and shady marriages, marry innocent young ladies without parents’ consent, manipulate family introduction or engagement and armtwist the unsuspecting and unprepared bride’s parents into accepting that they have summarily married out their precious daughters. Extremists get married without a means of sustenance and engage women with no vocation or functional education, only to later maltreat, divorce and dump them at will, leaving them with no vocation or skill to fall back upon. Some extremists claim to have no obligation to treat their wife if she falls sick. Extremists abuse polygamy by getting married to multiple wives without meeting the essential conditions of Islam regarding their welfare – housing, clothing, feeding and other essential needs

Consequently, extremists gift to Islam countless number of unskilled divorcees, who had hitherto been deprived of functional education. Extremists enduring legacies to the Ummah include producing an intimidating population of young divorcees with ‘fatherless’ children who have inadvertently become victims of broken homes, deprived of either the mother’s and compassion or the father’s tutelage and guidance.

Unfortunately, since the extremists remain unorganised under the mantra of #LaJamaa’h, it becomes pretty difficult to muster resources and the wherewithal to cater for the hapless divorcees and the vulnerable widows who are surviving at the mercy of non-Muslims who are better organised with huge resources.

Bastardising Salafi Manhaj
While Salafi means nobility and pride for every Muslim because it represents our golden era, the modern day ‘salafs’ (neo-salafis) erroneously believe that returning to what the salafs were upon, implies becoming their “carbon copy” and adding ‘as-salafiy’ to their names on social media. But in the words of Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, “the essence of being a Salafi simply means imbibing and replicating their manhaj and spirit in understanding, as well as replicating their manners and relationships with deen and life”.

Extremists are mannerless
One major attribute of the extremists is lacking in manners of approach to Dawah, bullying the youths and insulting the elderly, even as they commit excesses in practically everything they do, including their approaches to correcting people’s mistakes. Extremists hardly recognise or respect constituted authority, be it an Imam, a scholar, chairman of Muslim communities or the Sultan. They abuse them and call them names, harping on issues of differences of opinion to rubbish the efforts of the illustrious sons of Islam.

Extremists give little regards to intellectualism of notable and noble scholars like Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi, Sheikh Bilal Al Asrau, Sheikh DhikruLlah Shafii’, Sheikh Imran Eleha, Abu Mazeedatulkhayr bn Sa’eed, Ibn Taofeeq AbdulAzeez, Nawawi Sanni amongst others; but regale in cut-and-paste fataawa, irrespective of their relativity, timeliness and geographical relevance. Extremists prefer to follow those with little or no Islamic certification or expertise on technical issues of religion while condemning real and renowned scholars of Islam, pronouncing them as ‘on falsehood’.

Against the teachings of Islam and the warning of Prophet Muhammad, the so-called Dawah of the mannerless extremists focusses mainly on exposing the faults of others, classifying Muslims into Fasiq, Ahlul Bidia’ (innovators),…. while ignoring the nominal Muslims and the non-Muslims to rot in ignorance.

Of course, it goes without saying that extremists are known for using false identities and elusive names to propagate deceptive and divisive messages, particularly on social media.

Mannerless correction
People must be corrected with decorum and good manners as directed by the Qur’an. The reflection of this came to the fore in the altercations between a section of neo-Salafi group in Lagos and the Markazas this year (2020) as they both took to the social media when the former made frantic efforts to correct the latter concerning the Mudir, Sheikh Habeeb Al Ilory’s consistent attacks of Sahih Bukhari and its author – Imam Bukhari. The two groups practically threw caution to the wind as they satirised and made jest of each other.

But why will any sane daiyah mock, curse, abuse and speak arrogantly in an attempt to correct someone, especially an elderly person? Even in dealing with unbelievers, Allah instructs:

“And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.” (Suratul An Am, 108).

Commenting on the ill-mannered way of correcting the Mudir Markaz, Kunle Gbolahan Al Havardee observed thus: “We the Ahlus Sunnah have always warned these boys, they need to learn manners first. Has any Marakiza or Sufi or Tijaniya done any public walimah, or disgraced anyone on this. Even when a close ally of one of salafi in Ibadan had a scandal of fornication in Ibadan some years ago. Was it a topic for the Sufi or the Tijaniyah to rubbish the people of the Salafi or Sunnah as a whole?

“The reason I brought it up is because, Salafis like to ruthlessly and unmannerly address issues of other people while they portray themselves as the best. No one is saying you should not correct people, but if others correct the Salafis unmannerly the way they do to others, things would have gone bad for the Al Sunnah generally because the self acclaimed Salafis keep disgracing the Sunnah and the Ummah as a whole.

“Salafis themselves have many problems locally and internationally, even among their salafi scholars. They have the highest record of litigation cases. So it is not a surprise we see them act…. unmannerly against other Muslims.

“I do not support public abuse, arrogance, disparaging and uncultured behavior while correcting people like the unmanarred salafis are doing and some other confused people who claim being Al Sunnah and they refer to every Sufi and Tijaniyah as elebo (idol worshipper), raining curses on them.

“Correcting people is not for everybody. The knowledgeable elders should be the one handling this kind of sensitive issue with care not just anybody who has some few books to use as background for facebook live video and…”

Gbolahan maintained that we all need each others as Muslims… “No one is perfect. Allah would have made us all as Al Sunnah or Sufi or Salafi or Tijaniyah or Qodiriyah or Tabligh if He wished. He created us to be diversed for the reasons best to Him. We need to focus on many things that unite us as Muslims. We need each other. We must educate ourselves with manners. We are all sinners. We are all imperfect, no group is bigger than correction and education, he advised.

In the same vein, on a radio program, Shari’atul Islam, Dr Murtada Ibiyemi As-Sunuusi observed that this holier than thou attitude and the sanctimonious attempt to be more Muslim than Muhammad or to be more Sunnatic than the Prophet remains the root cause of frictions among the exuberant Muslims.

“These days, we have seen a clique of young minds who lay claim to be more pure and more superior as Believers. They attempt to personalise Sunnah instead of Islam. They do call themselves Ahlul-Sunnah, As Sunniy, Salafiy, Serious Salafiy etc while they call others Ahlul Bidia. We now have Ahlul Sunnah vs Real Ahlul Sunnah, Salafi vs Serious Salafi, Salafi vs Serious, Serious Salafi, Da’wah Link vs Da’wah Link Refutations. They accuse people of hizbiyya and in the process create greater and closer hizb among themselves, listening only to the “Senior Scholars of Sunnah”, thereby importing the politics in the Arab nations into our midst in their quest to outdo one another in getting more power, more influence or more subvention (money) from the Arab world.

“We must all know that Islam builds, it doesn’t destroy. We must neither substitute Islam with Sunnah nor Salafi with Muslims. Sunnah is a subset of Islam. Prophet Muhammads brought Islam, Sunnah is how he practised Islam. Let’s not create another phenomenon of ‘Sunnah’ over Islam. Hence, you see some people creating divisions in Islam by calling themselves Ahlul Sunnah rather than call themselves Muslims. We must not attrbute the entire Islam to Muhammad but to Allah. Islam is not Muhammadanism just as Muslims are not Muhammadans.. It is not Muhammad that perfected Islam, it is Allah. Hence, Allah declared in the Qur’an chapter 5:2 – “This day, I have perfected for you your religion, and I have perfected My favours on you, and I am pleased with Islam as your religion”

Sheikh As-Sunuusi noted that Prophet Muhammad had existed as a human being for 40 years before he became a Prophet, saying, life comes before the Deen, and it’s the Deen that teaches man about gettimg closer to him and maintaining perfect relationship with Allah, the Creator as well as His creatures: “There is no way we can all think the same way and belong to one association. We are all Muslims, we are all Ahlul Sunnah, we are all Salafis, the difference is that we embrace Islam and follow its ordinances according to our varying capacities and capabilities – a fact recognised by Prophet Muhammad when he said TaquLlaaha mastata’tum – fear Allah according to your capacity”, Sheikh Ibiyemi said.

Mallam Nawawi Sanni equally noted that:

“Those who fail to learn to live peacefully with fellow Muslims eventually find it difficult to live peaceful amongst themselves until they broke into conflicting tendencies with “holier than thou” appellations. The Serious Serious Salafi (3S- also known as Extreme Salafi) criticise the Serious Salafi (2S)as being ‘off the manhaj’ while the Super Salafi (السوبر سلفي) (SS) criticize them all. The novice claims that his new appellation of graduating to a Serious Salafi (2S) is gleaned from its usage by Sh. Bakr Abu Zaid but he is not aware that Sh. Rabiu Madkhali, the doyenne of their divisive Manhaj, considered Sh. Bakr Abu Zaid as Unserious Salafi.”

The Way Out: Let us be Muslims

Extremism is in every clime, religion and ideology. The world has witnessed anti-Semitism of Adolf Hitler and fascism of Benito Mussolini of Italy, Apartheid regime of South Africa and the Israeli racism in Palestine. We have also witnessed the extremism of the Irish Republican Army, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, White supremacists in Europe and America, Boko Haram in Nigeria, ISWAP in West Africa, Al Qaeda in Middle-East and Asia; but the way out of the contemporary extremism in Islam is for the Muslims to reclaim their Islam from the impostors who pose to deport them from their original home.

Azeez Lukman Adebayo wondered why those who proudly call themselves “Salafees will label others hozbi or elegbe. All we are saying is the unity of the Muslims throughout the globe and to face the common enemies. The sincerity of the Da’wah is what Allah needs from us not dubious claims and labelling of other Muslims because of differences in jurisprudence”.

Equally perturbed by this development is Dr Sheriff Aderigbe who asserted that misapplication of subtle differences in the shade of meaning and expression remains the major cause of extremism. “This is when overzealous youths either read dogmatically or refuse to accept the explanation of experts on issues. This is a situation where everybody becomes a “scholar” because he has access to texts or refusal to apply a verdict to time or space differential, or geographical peculiarities.

Equally Maintaining that differences of opinion in jurisprudential issues should not affect cooperation with both Muslims and non-Muslims,Areribigbe said in a post entitled: Un-nuanced proclamations, Amalgamation and other Matters that: “Un-nuanced reading and application of the scriptural, and even non-scriptural texts leads to extremism and fractionalization. When taken out of their proper contexts and usage, texts and maxims become toxic, and are warped to devastating effect.

“An example is the, “do not sit and learn with an innovator” mantra that is being used to bludgeon the ranks of Muslims today. Scarily, one has seen people asking whether Siddeeq Minshaawee, the famous reciter, is a Salafee, to determine whether they can listen to his recitation!

Aderigbe stressed that Muslims, irrespective of affiliations can work in Da’wah with another Muslim to fulfill shared Islaamic goals, and/or defend against a common enemy, just as he can cooperate with Christians and Jews and “sit together” to present a common front against Atheism.

According to him, “Situational differences on particular instances will be a matter of allowable difference of opinion among the scholars of that community. Without this simple, straightforward position of the Sharee’ah, there will be no Islaamic Fiqh Academies and no real Muslim institutions.

“That is why Shaykh Taqee Uthmaanee, a Soofee Deobandee and one of the Ummah’s top scholars, was deputy to Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd in the Fiqh Academy of Muslim World League MWL, and Shaykh Bin Baaz sat in the Majma Fiqh al-Islaamee with Shaykh Gumee, who is no Salafee by the new standards!

“Anything else, you will just have a bunch of sectarians living in their little bubbles destroying the Ummahs few institutions and looking for ways to further divide themselves”, Aderibigbe submitted.

Corroborating Aderigbe’s position, Sheikh Ibn Taofeeq AbdulAzeez noted that: It is obvious that some subsidiary absract aqeedah issues are a tool used nowadays to blackmail fellow Muslims in the name of the aqeedah of the salaf.

“The aqeedah of the salaf is the consensus of the salaf in aqeedah; while the manhaj is equally their consensus.

“It is preposterous to single out an opinion from among the salaf as the “salafi aqeedah or salafi manhaj”; and that is the genesis of the continuous wrangling among those who claim Salafiyyah”.

In the same vein, the foremost liberal scholar, Prof. Yusuf Al Qaradawi who the extremists love to hate with passion, because of his usual progressive stance against blind followership (taqlid) advised thus:

“Religion is Good Advise: Facilitate (glad tiding), don’t Alienate: In an era where trials are so much, and the one who clinches to his religion becomes like someone holding the embers, It becomes our duty to help people to be religious, not to alienate them from religion. We know that stiffening or hardlining alienates, while facilitation simplifies and brings religion closer (to the people).”

Al Qaradawi stressed the need to resist the unIslamic and unnatural insistence on holding on to a single opinion against many other valid opinions. This he said is often at the detriment of Islam:

“It is not the right of anyone irrespective of his attainment (in knowledge) to claim that he is the only one on truth and that others are astray. The one who holds on to this ascribes to himself an ‘infallible prophet’ and takes his words as revelation yet the salaf and khalaf are unanimous on the fact that everyone can have his words either taken or rejected except that of the Noble Messenger – may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him,” he said.

We are all Asha’irah, we are all Ahlul Sunnah

Scholars of Islam have espoused that it is wrong to ‘excommunicate’ anyone from Islam, insisting that the Ummah is Asha’irah. They posited that aside the Shia’ sect, most Muslims living on earth today belong to the Ash’ari School.

“The Asha’irah are the Imams of the distinguished figures of guidance among the scholars of the Muslims, whose knowledge has filled the world from east to west, and whom people have unanimously concurred upon their excellence, scholarship, and religiousness.

“They include the first rank of Sunni scholars and the most brilliant of their luminaries, who stood in the face of the excesses committed by the Mu’tazilites, and who constitute whole sections of the foremost Imams of Hadith, Sacred Law, Qur’anic exegesis.

“The master of Qur’anic exegesis and Kalaam, Imam ar-Razi (d. 606/1210), author of “al-Tafsir al-Kabir, was Ash’ari.

“The master of Qur’anic exegesis and master in Hadith, Imam ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373), author of “al-Tafsir al-Qur’an al-Ad’him’ and al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah’, was Ash’ari.

“Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani (d. 852/1449), the mentor of Hadith scholars and author of the book “Fath al-Bari bi sharh Sahih al-Bukhari”, which not a single Islamic scholar can dispense with, was Ash’ari.

“The Shaykh of the scholars of Sunni Islam, Imam an-Nawawi (d. 676/1277), author of “Sharh Sahih Muslim” and many other famous works, was Ash’ari.

“The master of Qur’anic exegesis, Imam al-Qurtubi (d. 671/1273), author of “al-Jami’ li Ahkan al-Qur’an”, was Ash’ari.

“Shaykh al-Islam ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974/1567), who wrote “al-Zawajir ‘an iqtiraf al-kaba’ir”, was Ash’ari.

“The Shaykh of Sacred Law and Hadith, the conclusive definitive Zakariyya al-Ansari (d. 926/1520), was Ash’ari.

“The Ahlus Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah are the true followers of the Prophet and his Family and Companions followed by those who trod their path for the last 1400 years. It is in summary the followers of Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari and Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi رضي الله عنهما in Aqeedah, and this group is represented by the adherents of one of the four schools – Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali today. This is the group which has had the largest following throughout Islamic history as-Sawad al-Ad’ham) as confirmed by the Qur’anic and Hadith based evidence and it will remain dominant until the Hour is established, In Sha Allah”.

We must all shun extremism and distractions

Hence, it is incumbent on all of us to shun extremism, if what is referred to as “defending the Religion of Allah” involves: causing rifts among the Muslims, casting Muslims who do not commit major sins out of Islam because of disagreements on jurisprudential matters, defending the evils and tyranny of murderous regimes, and working against all efforts at uniting the Ummah upon common purpose; then, no sane Muslim must identify with such unscrupulous da’wah group or methodology.

No doubt, it is quite natural with the path of truth to have distractions that will continue to dot the path of rectitude and try to be the clog in the wheel of progress; it is equally certain that wrong path and those being sponsored to distabilise Islam from within will naturally wither away with time.

The only solution is for those who truly believe in the veracity of their mission and armed with sincerity of purpose, to tenacious commit to it, engage in ceaseless efforts and refuse to be distracted by needless distractions.

Essential advise to Islamic workers
My advise to the Muslim activists and Islamic organisations – MSSN, TMC, AUD, Da’wah Front, Da’wah Academy, NACOMYO, The Companions, The Criterion, Al Mu’minaat, Ta’awun, NASFAT, QAREEB, Tabligh, Izharul Haq, ACADIP etc – is that they must keep working cceaselesly.

Without doubt, the progress of Islamic work had been steady before the emergence of the distractions of the extremists. Islamic organisations had in the past, under serene and harmonious environment, played complementary roles without skirmishes, acrimony and enemity. And with mutual rivalry, NASFAT and Ansar-Ud-Deen have already established universities. Ta’awun has birthed a College of Education and a chain of orphanages just as FOMWAN with many institutions. TMC has founded microfinance bank, Hajj Mabrur, Zakat and Sadaqah Foundation, Vanguards Academy amongst others. Tabligh remains in the forefront of winning souls and breeding obedient servants of Allah into the fold. Izharul Haq, ACADIP and the host of comparative religion experts should persists in liberating the vulnerable minds and the weak souls from the predators who had been luring them away with corrosive evangelism. NASFAT, QAREEB with other Asalatu groups should keep engaging our’ minds and perrmanently halt the exit of the elites and the socialites from the fold. MSSN has been unrelenting in doing what it knows how to do best – producing societal leaders. It should therefore remain focussed at producing more of the Adegbites, Oloyedes, El Rufais, Bugajes, Hadiza Bala Usmans, Sadiya Umar Farouks etc for the Ummah. MURIC should keep defending our rights and let the Companions, the Criterion, NASFAT, QAREEB, TMC, Da’wah Front, Da’watul Haq, Izharul Haq, ACADIP et al keep positioning and making us socially relevant, politically dominant, economically viable and financially solvent amidst the varying sub-cultures and competing interests within the polity.

Wither the Hell hawkers,
In all of the outlined commendable efforts, wither the Hell hawkers? The fault finders and the acclaimed Saved Sect are truly missing in action, except in the realm of name calling, rancour spreading and disunity planting. Has time therefore not come for the serious minded Muslims to remain focussed and recognise as enemies of progress, the divisive elements who have consistently resisted all forms of cooperation and unification among Muslims? Shouldn’t they redouble their energies, refocuss their objectives and rechannel their resources to the more progressive and profitable endeavors before the extremists unwittingly get them drifted?

Let’s remember that Allah (SWT) has united our hearts on a single cord (3:102), just as He has made us (Muslims) as a single community (22:92). We are not only a balanced Ummah (2:143), we have equally been warned against disputations and divisions thus:

وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَلَا تَنَٰزَعُوا۟ فَتَفْشَلُوا۟ وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْۖ وَٱصْبِرُوٓا۟ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ

“And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not be disunited (among yourselves) else you lose courage and (then) your strength would depart you; and be patient. Indeed Allah is with the patient”. – Al Anfal 8:46.

As we earnestly hope that the divisionists repent and change their ways for good, it is our prayer that Allah exposes and humiliates those who consciously strive to disunite the Ummah and distabilise it from within. May the Lord of Recompense reward in full measure, those who feed fat on the divisions and the disunity among the Muslims. May He unite the rank of the Muslims on truth and grant us the best in this world and the hereafter.

Elder Yinka Salaam writes from Osogbo, Southwest Nigeria
Email: yinkasalaam62@gmail.com

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