The Zaymar Conference (1)


The Zaymar Islamic Research and Development Education Centre held a two-day conference on national stability through constructive social relations with constituted authority, at the Abuja National Mosque from February 29th to 30th.  The organisers invited me to present a paper on ‘UTILISING CONTEXT SPECIFIC RELIGIOUS TOOLS TO PROMOTE CONSTRUCTIVE SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CONSTITUTED AUTHORITY’. This is what I said:

May Allah reward Zaymar Islamic Research and Development Education Centre for organising this conference at this trying time of our country’s history, and for inviting me to present this paper.

Permit me to modify the latter part of the topic by replacing ‘Constituted Authority’ with ‘Those Who Are In Authority’, as contained in verse 59 of Suratun Nisaa. Thus, the topic will now read, Utilising Context Specific Religious Tools To Promote Constructive Social Relationship With Those Who Are In Authority.

‘Constituted Authority’ conjures up the experiences we had years ago during the Muslim Students Society (MSS) days of abominating anything that has to do with the constitution. Two words in the Hausa Language – kwance, and tushe, were joined together to form kwancetushe which, phonetically, sounds like constitution but which actually means severing of the basics, or destruction of the foundation. Since the constitutions came to replace the Shari’ah with the advent of colonialism, we rejoiced in the usage of this coinage and in the malignant description it gave to constitution in both sound and meaning.

Other events around the world, created in our minds a fantasy of some sorts; like the unjust incarceration, and, later, martyrdom of Sheikh Hassan Al Bannah, Sayyid Qutb, etc., enflamed in most of us this hatred of the constitution. Reading some books authored by the duo, and many like them, as well as the Iranian Revolution of 1979 liberated our benighted thoughts, or so we assumed, to the realisation that: 1) with the abolition of Shari’ah and its replacement with the constitution by our colonial masters, Nigeria has become Daarul Harb, an Abode of War, and not Daarul Islaam, the Abode of Peace anymore 2) it was mandatory on all of us, therefore, to either fight the Nigerian State in order to establish an Islamic one in place thereof or make hijrah, migration from this territory of war to that of peace by any means necessary; 3) Nigeria as a whole, and its apparatus of government was a personification of infidelity because, in it, Allah’s Laws were brought low, thus being part of the system in any form, be it as a civil servant, a policeman, a military officer, and whatnot was disbelief; not only that, entertaining any doubt concerning the faithlessness of people in government was riddah, repudiation of one’s faith; 4) the education system in Nigeria became the veritable conduit through which disbelief was injected into people who later graduated and became civil servants in government establishments and thus ensured the continuity of the kufuristic system; 5) on account of all these, therefore, Muslims must stay away from all forms of kufr as represented by Nigeria and its administrative and education systems; 6) waging war against the government, its workforce and institutions was a duty on all Muslims, and anyone that opposes this noble jihad was part of the kufr, and as well, a legitimate target.

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This flawed state of mind was further exacerbated by ceaseless free supplies, from Iran, of magazines such as Echo of Islam and Mahjubah. Reading whatever Islamic literature came our way was an honest attempt, laced with ignorance, to live according to the dictates of Allah, and to avoid subservience to manmade laws.  We entertained this colossal utopian idea of routing the Nigerian authorities, toppling the government through Iranian style Islamic Revolution, and living happily ever after in an egalitarian society under the rule of Allah!

Our attachment to Iranian publications made some to people think we were leaning towards Shi’ism; many even said we were Shi’ah, which we were not. We were only concerned with that bond of brotherhood that bound all Muslims together, thus the name Muslims Brothers.

When the Izalatul Bid’ah Wa ’Iqamatus Sunnah movement started in the 1980s they made the mistake of repelling us from their hold by falsely accusing us of Shiism, something about which we knew nothing then. That was a pricey error. ‘Izala failed to embrace, and to save from the wilderness of jumbled understanding of the Deen, a generation of genuine lovers of Islam. Thus, we viewed Sunni scholars of the Izala stripe, at the head of them the late Sheikh Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi, as the ‘government mallams’, who advocated remaining in the kufr system with the aim of effecting corrections from within. We rejected that approach challenging its protagonists to show examples of any success recorded in that kind of arrangement, in Nigeria or elsewhere. They wanted gradual reform; we wanted complete Islamisation as witnessed in Iran.

We advocated and spearheaded the call for total boycott of Boko as kufr because it was based on Judaeo-Christian foundations, according to our derailed perception and limited knowledge. Most of us dropped out on our volition, or were rusticated due to unruly conduct by the university authorities, like ABU, BUK, etc., but we remained within the campus trying to save others from the perdition we saw in pursuing western education. It was only decades later that people like Muhammad Yusuf plagiarised what we initiated and through which we caused otherwise great brains to abandon their studies, by abhorring and describing Boko an Islamically forbidden enterprise.

Even when Tehran started getting interested in what we were doing and invited some of us to Iran, we were sceptical of their intent. However, gradually some of us inclined towards Iran’s consistent ideological overtures to Shiism. Conversion of some us to Shiism brought with it the split of the Muslim Brothers into two. Jama’atu Tajdeedil Islam (JTI), which refused to tow the Shi’ah line, and the Shi’ah faction of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). This later witnessed further division when some of its members returned from Iran after their studies only to realise that the leader of the movement was ill-educated and, according to them, was only using the cause for his personal  ends and self-aggrandisement. Therefore, these Shi’ah elite left IMN to form two other Shi’ah organisations, namely the Rasulul A’azam Foundation (RAAF), and the Darus Saqalaini (DS), which operates under the umbrella of Ansarul-Mahdi Organisation.

Unfortunately, what started as genuine love for Islam in the form of Muslim B

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