By Abdulmumin Giwa
It is pertinent in the current heat that has overtaken the air following the clampdown on Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara, a renown scholar in Kano, by Muslim scholars backed by the state government, to draw the attention of all to a sentimentally neglected fact.
Sheikh Abduljabbar was condemned and threatened by other scholars for reviewing some irreconcilable issues in both the history of Islam and the tradition of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (SAWA) for which subsequently the state government joined the merger of scholars from different sects to ban Sheikh Abdulhabbar from his activities in the state.
The scholars and the Kano state government have all accused him of insulting the Prophet of Islam and his companions without allowing him any chance to defend himself and without producing the exact speeches in which he insulted them. He was banned from preaching in the state and had all his seminaries closed down by the state government.
On the other hand, Sheikh Abduljabbar has denied the accusations in several video clips that have gone viral on the social media including those produced by news sources like the BBC. He insists that he is only debunking some sayings found in the Sunni Muslim books that not only contradict but are also irreconcilable with the religion, reason and logic that are wrongly attributed to the prophet of Islam.
Going by his stance, and to be fair to him, the scholars and the government are not supposed to have attacked him but challenge his stance with proofs and evidences from scholastic point of view.
Just of recent the Kano state government has been in a case with one Mubarak Bala, the head of the Humanist Society of Nigeria who is still in detention for blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam. He is from an Islamic background and exposed to the traits of the 21st century, he chooses atheism. This trend of converting young men and women in the tertiary institutions especially, has become an in thing.
In some of the arguments by those who opt for atheism to justify their actions, they refer to the same irreconcilable traditions Abduljabbar is debunking contained in Muslim books to ridicule Islam and the Prophet of Islam.
Amongst these atheist in Kano are even the children of renown Muslim scholars. They are exposed to modernity and have had access to the contradictions and use them as evidence against Islam.
More so, if we are to go back a little, people like Salman Rushdie did the same thing. He used the same traditions he found in the Muslim books to write his book, The Satanic Verses where he ridiculed Islam and the Prophet.
There are several cases in Europe and America where people driven by the phobia against the religion of Islam use the same traditions they see in Muslim books to ridicule and insult the faith.
Technology has made it such that youths in Nigeria have access to these ideas and are inclining to them in the name of running away from what they see as dogmatism and conservatism which has also founded feudalism in the religion, especially by the leaders in the region.
Religious feudalism and conservatism has not benefited the adherents of the religion, at least not in the 21st century. It is more like a silent killer within the religion.
Today more and more young and promising lads exposed to the traits of the century are opting for atheism and describing religion as a dogma because of the way it is presented. Go to our higher institutions and see how our young men and women, including children/wards of renown scholars are becoming atheists all because of what is said of the religion that doesn’t tally with logic and reason.
Now, if this issue of revising the literatures of the religion to put things straight is denied and antagonised, will it then not be an encouragement for atheism to grow and find a breathing space amidst the rich religious society? What then will be the repercussion of that?
As mentioned, we have seen many cases of people insulting Islam and presenting it in the most immoral manner quoting from Muslim books to justify their claims. The said atheists are doing the same.
Is it for the scholars to face the reality, living in an age where all their libraries are contained on a chip in a mobile phone, and relieve the religion of alterations, or is it for them to fight against whosoever attempts such? What then is their function as scholars?
The scholars and the Kano government must have a review of their stance against Sheikh Abduljabbar to not only be fair and just to him, but to also save the religion of Islam from ridicule and mockery by its antagonists as well as loosing their young generation to atheism.