There is nothing as torturous, in both academic and literary exercises, as interpreting plain sentences to literate people. Such tortures are not as a result of the energy one burns in the process, but in realising that a people who ought to be tasked with educating the one-dimensional followers of a misunderstood religion are actually the dangers beckoning immediate attention—and salvation! My last week’s column, “Allah is also African”, was, perhaps deliberately, read upside down by those whose brilliance picked out that I refer to Allah as a “dark-skinned being.” That’s what they got from the symbolism!
The comparison of Salafism and Sufism was simply to show us the good neighbours between the two groups. My arguments were a clear and direct condemnation of African Salafists’ campaigns of ultraconservatism, which has given birth to evils already growing fangs that will in maturity bite and consume the black race in one fatal swallow. African Salafism, by its definition and emphasis of outward semblances of “purity”, has already set us on uninterrupted path of social misery. On the other hand, Sufists were more obsessed with their “saints” than with the wrong ways of their non-Muslim neighbours, which may definitely be because luring converts takes more than disdainful sermons and bombs—it takes the burden of personal example. This is the kernel of my comparison.
Moving on, in the Qur’an, just as in the Bible, there are verses that inspire terrorism when put to service by the skewed interpretations of literalists.
Where the Qur’an has:
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Q9:29)”
The Bible has:
“Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (1 Samuel 15:3) – King James Version (KJV)”
Both were decrees from God Himself. Both happened in a certain historical and social context each of which dates not decades but centuries and millennia past. But a curator of evil may cite and twist these verses to justify his bloodlust today. This has been why I am unhappy enough to rage. That a thinking people actually see Twenty-first Century as First or Sixth Century which was replete with territorial dominations and conquests makes me challenge the relevance of our psychiatrists.
While I do not have issues with evangelism, I think the missionaries must respect the heterogeneous societies they visit. Absolute conservatism can only be instituted in a mono-cultural and mono-religious state. This logic betrays the pretend Shariah legal system that some governments of northern Nigerian states introduced. Their Shariah was a mock of Islam, because the corps tasked with penalising the masses was not vested with powers to chop off a thieving governor’s wrists as they would be in truly theocratic Islamic State—hence the mockery. I don’t think that my conservative brothers understand that trick of our politicians was but a brazen attempt to gag and oppress the suffering masses.
And whenever some of us challenge this bastardisation of Islam, a group screams that logic and science must never be used in assessing religion. This group functions like robots. They are designed and programmed to pander to a one-dimensional task, where illogicality is worn in the name of adherence. Among the robots’ shortcomings, I repeat here, is their inability to tell the culture of the Arabs from Islam. There is nothing wrong in dressing like a Bedouin for matters of style or even simple admiration, but wrapping turbans over your nostrils in a dustless African city just to exaggerate your practice of Prophet Muhammad’s lifestyle clues psychiatric and personality issues more than anything. The Arabs cover their nostrils because of dust motes, which is so because they live in the heart of the desert! There’s nothing wrong with that dress code, only that you romanticise it as the way of Islam. Another exhibition of Africa’s inferiority was by a friend who named his child “Hurairah”, after a cat-loving companion of Prophet Muhammad known by the nickname “Abu Hurairah” (Father of the Kittens). The Arab’s real name was Abdurrahman—Servant of the Gracious—which is a beautiful name. My friend hates cats, yet his pursuit of advanced Arabism caused him that disgrace of naming a child after the nickname of a cat-lover while not being able to stand cats! Can we imagine what mental burdens such a name places on a child?
The early Muslims never boarded a plane to Hajj, they never prayed in air-conditioned mosques and never did the muezzins call to prayers through microphones and loudspeakers. Now, dear Mr. Conservative–Muslim-of-the-Salafist-Orientation, if you were true to your campaigns against innovation, how did you come about accepting these as norms in Islam—what happened to using camels or trekking to Mecca for hajj? Why not kick against muezzins using microphones? And air-conditioners, why not declare them haram as well, or find some authority to state your beloved Bedouins used these as well? Islam was introduced during reigns of the Eastern Empires, when happenings in Rome and Persia decided the fortune of any nation in the Middle East. Islam unified the Arabs who had been a cluster of unfriendly tribes, and together the new friends fought for the new faiths, suffered defeats here and triumphed there until the collapse of the ancient empires. These agitations and defence of territories and sovereignties meant the early Muslims were on constant alerts for, and attacks of, the predatory empires. That’s the context of these verses I quoted earlier.
The robots who hate commonsense also scream that everybody must convert to Islam. As a Muslim I won’t pretend that I don’t like to see my friends practising my faith. But how can you BULLY a man with brains, eyes, ears and a mouth into accepting a new faith in this enlightened age? Will you go so far as killing him for this? Does that make sense? This is the illogic of those, including our best and brightest who have been seduced by Arabist Salafism and the opposite, LOGIC and REASON, are what’s required to tell stupidity apart from religion. The Sufi never made this error of illogic rote hence my publicly siding with their Thought—they are closer to the Prophet than any of these robotics. In other news, pray for Kano State; whoever “claims responsibility” for the bomb that killed those innocent citizens, do know that ultraconservative robot intellectuals interposed a religious illogic, Salafi-based, which programmed the person who drove that bomb-laden vehicle. May God save us from us!
Blueprint Newspapers (22/03/2013; p. 2)
@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)