Home Opinion The “Jonorthernisation” of Buhari, By Jaafar Jaafar

The “Jonorthernisation” of Buhari, By Jaafar Jaafar

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An extremist Muslim ranting against innovation on Internet, saying all innovations are haram, may be transgressing behind the scene. But in which book did he read the Internet could be used for preaching? Did Prophet Muhammad (SAW), whose deeds and teachings we are copying, use the Net to preach? Did the sahaba browse Internet to learn Islam? Haba! You are not fair to God!

Karl Marx was right when he said religion is the opium of the people. It is axiomatic that in Nigeria, religion is the Ogogoro of the people. Don’t Nigerians fight and kill each other under the effects of religion?

Don’t Nigerians make a non-issue an issue, and make people behave as if they drank bowls of Ogogoro? Why should a handshake, that friendly etiquette involving the clasping of hands for a second or two, intoxicate us and make us rant and rave? Isn’t Nigeria a secular country?

The issue of President-elect Muhammadu Buhari shaking hands with Gov. Adams Oshiomhole’s bride litters the social media space like dried leaves in Fall. It angers me seeing the litters.

An average Sunni Muslim will term everything bid’ah (innovation). He would spend the whole day doing nothing but arguing about nothing and learning nothing.

But what we Muslims are not ready to learn from Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are his trustworthiness, frankness, compassion and fear of God.

Well, I think it is either early orientalists were wrong when they translated ‘bid’ah’ as innovation or that bid’ah (innovation) is not bad after all. How would innovation be wrong? So you mean even the fatwa learned imams issue to the Muslim world to conform to current realities may be innovation?

Michael Muhammad Knight wrote in his book, The Taqwacores, “You know… it’s only Muslims who use the term ‘innovation’ to mean something bad”. Really?

Well, in all religions, apart from the key pillars, most teachings are subject to interpretation. And, even within a religion, what is good in one denomination or sect may not be good in another.

Nigerians are funny, very funny. We make mountains out of molehills. In the day of judgement, God will not ask you why you allowed Buhari to shake hands with a woman. You will account for YOUR deed not Buhari’s handshake.

An extremist Muslim ranting against innovation on Internet, saying all innovations are haram, may be transgressing behind the scene. But in which book did he read the Internet could be used for preaching? Did Prophet Muhammad (SAW), whose deeds and teachings we are copying, use the Net to preach? Did the sahaba browse Internet to learn Islam? Haba! You are not fair to God!

A parochial preacher will spend the whole day holding a microphone, speaking against the perils of innovation, while the mic he is holding and the car he used to come to the mosque, the carpet he is sitting on, came through innovation. The irony is that even the Holy Qur’an and Hadith he quotes from and misquotes are printed with ‘innovation’, maybe a laser or infrared invention.

But some Northern Muslims want Buhari to be a Northern president not a Nigerian president. Both Muslims and Christians — and even atheists voted in the last general election.

But what we Muslims are not ready to learn from Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are his trustworthiness, frankness, compassion and fear of God. A pedophile will shout himself hoarse against girl-child education, saying it is haram. He would argue further that going to university is haram in order not to corrupt their behaviours.

A pastor will be shouting against fornication but may be more promiscuous than the congregants. An Islamiyyah school Ya Sayyadi would tell his students that all innovation is haram but will surreptitiously lure a female student to a dark corner and commit “innovation”.

One popular radio presenter who sounded more holier than Harem imams in his religious programmes, once lured one of his female listeners into his room. She came to him to assist in delivering charity to a needy whose plight was brought to the public through the programme. He added sedatives into the drink he offered her and raped her. If this man is talking about innovation on radio, you’ll think he is truly a God fearing person. These examples describe the hypocrisy of Nigerian Muslims.

Whoever wants Buhari to toe the path of Jonathan, especially Jonathan’s regional and religious “policy thrust”, definitely wants the failure of Buhari’s government.

But some Northern Muslims want Buhari to be a Northern president not a Nigerian president. Both Muslims and Christians — and even atheists voted in the last general election.

The outgoing president once painted a similar image for himself but the painting failed to attract voters. Jonathan immediately visited the synagogue after the death of 115 worshipers but refused to come to Kano after the massacre of 290 worshipers at Kano Central Mosque.

Members of Handshake Haram sect want Buhari to make the mosque a council chamber, the way Jonathan made the church a place for churning out new policies. They want Buhari to make the Sultan above the law and preach hate the way CAN president, Ayo Oritsejafor did under Jonathan.

Buhari should not make the mistake that Jonathan made. The Nigerian president should not be a Hausa/Fulani president. We tried so much to tell the world that Buhari is not extremist, not tribalist, not this and that. Had he refused to shake hands with women during his campaign, it would have been hard to take that extremism toga off him.

President Jonathan appeared to be a sectional president, especially in the early stage of his administration. I will be the first to criticise Buhari if he stops the Second Niger bridge project the way President Jonathan stopped the River Niger dredging project. Whoever wants Buhari to toe the path of Jonathan, especially Jonathan’s regional and religious “policy thrust”, definitely wants the failure of Buhari’s government.

I advise that legislation be made by the National Assembly criminalising unauthorised preaching. Imams should be vetted and certified before they are allowed to preach. The Boko Haram sect availed itself of the absence of laws criminalising their violent and queer teachings. They started from this level and graduated to the monster that is a nightmare in the country today.

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