By Haruna Elbinawy
A brother who is a lecturer in one of the Nigerian universities sent me an audio recording of a “counselling” session of the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II on the recent brutal killings of defenceless Shia Muslims in Nigeria by the Nigerian Army.
When I saw the title of the audio recording I thought it was the usual Emir Sanusi who would preach unity, tolerance, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians, whether Sunni, Shias, Christians and followers of African traditional religions.
Sadly that was not what happened; I discovered a new Emir Sanusi who was reading a script given to him be the corrupt northern elites and promoting the evil agenda of #ShiaGenocide and Shia cleansing. I deliberately refused to add the word “Sunni” in describing this corrupt elites of Northern Nigeria because they do not represent the real Sunni Islam that led that Great Islamic civilisation that history celebrates. It is important that we note this corrupt Northern elites are largely responsible for most of today’s ills in Nigeria and they are wholly responsible for the extreme poverty, ignorance and backwardness of the Northern Nigerian that had a rich past history.
Emir Sanusi made some allegations that are malicious, divisive and threatening to peaceful coexistence in Nigeria. He claimed that Shia Islam is all about cursing and insulting Companions of the Prophet (sa) and the wife of the Prophet, Umm ul-Mu’meneen Aisha. All followers of Shia Islam in Nigeria are followers of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei as their Mar’jii Taqlid (Religious Reference) including followers of Sheikh Zakzaky who are the majority. It is important to note there are two other Shia organisations in Nigeria that are independent of the Islamic Movement that is led by Sheikh Zakzaky. In 2005 Ayatollah Khamenei gave a Fatwa (religious edict) that made it Haram for anybody to abide or insult personalities revered by Sunni Islam. These personalities include Abubakar, Umar, Uthman and Aisha.
So Shia Muslims in Nigeria do not abuse these Sunni personalities. The fact that Shia Muslims do not consider them role models to follow is known to all students of Islamic history. The Prophet (sa) had nine wives and Shia Islam has the utmost respect for seven and considers them role models of Muslims, but the point of difference is on two – Aisha and Hafsat. And the reason for this is that the other seven played the role given to them by God as “Mothers of all Muslims” perfectly by refusing to be involved in politics. The other two, especially Aisha abandoned this role by involving in politics. She raised a huge army against the legitimate government of Imam Ali (as) and launched the first civil war in Islam. More than 30,000 Muslims were killed in that war. She was supposed to be the mother of all Muslims, and not initiating wars, and wars among Muslims. May Allah forgive her sins and transgressions.
Emir Sanusi also claimed that since Islam came to Northern Nigeria it has always been a “AhlulSunnah”, and insinuations that they will not tolerate anything other than this. To remind him, before Islam came to Northern Nigeria, African traditional religions existed. And after Islam came, Christianity also came to Northern Nigeria. Today there are millions of citizens of Northern Nigeria who are Christians. And again the Ahmadiyyah sect also came to Northern Nigeria and they still exist with their mosques and schools. Emir Sanusi should understand that with the globalisation of the world, artificial barriers have been smashed and in future we might see Hindu and Buddhist Temples in Northern Nigeria.
Another malicious insinuation of Emir Sanusi is equating Shia Islam will murderous terrorist cults like Maitatsine and Boko Haram that are offshoots of Sunni Islam. These terrorist groups, from day one were hell bent in killing innocent civilians; they are murderous entities that only know how to kill people and they are not offshoots of Shia Islam. There is no where in the world where Shia Muslims are terrorists, terrorism has no place in Shia Islam because the Shia religious references will never approve it. Sheikh Zakzaky started his call more than 37 years ago, and no single innocent person had been killed. He and his Islamic Movement are completely peaceful and they promote the unity of Muslims and peaceful coexistence with Christians. The Islamic Movement is the only Muslim organisation in Nigeria that invites Christians to all its programmes and also attends Christian programmes when invited. Sheikh Zakzaky in other to promote unity among Muslims had forbidden his millions of followers to build mosques. He ask them to always pray in the Sunni mosques available.
Emir Sanusi and these corrupt Northern elites must understand that the Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of worship for all Nigerians. Their attempt to suppress and crackdown on Nigerian Shia Muslims is unconstitutional and wicked. What is wrong with Sunni Islam today is not that millions are abandoning is for Shia Islam; what is wrong is that it has been contaminated by Wahhabism and infiltrated by it. Today the face of Sunni Islam contaminated by Wahhabism is hate and terrorism. The real Sunni Islam rubbed soldiers with Shia Islam but the Sunni Islam contaminated by Wahhabism is inferior to the high values of Shia Islam and this is the main reason today why millions of Sunni Muslims are becoming Shia Muslims.
Go to all these Wahhabi infested mosques in northern Nigeria, they only promote hatred for Shias and Christians. This is what their preachers do everyday. They do not teach people tolerance, love, mercy, kindness, generosity and peaceful coexistence. What they teach their followers is to hate Shia Islam and Christianity. That was why when the Nigerian Army brutally killed defenceless Shia Muslims in Zaria, they were happy and jubilating. One day if Christians are also massacred in the same way, they would celebrate as they are doing presently.
My advice to these corrupt Northern elites is that they should please allow peace and security to rein in Nigeria. There are tens of thousands of Shia Muslims in South-West Nigeria, and has anyone ever heard of them clashing or killing? They are accepted, tolerated and considered part of the society. This is because Islam in the South is based on sincerity, while Islam in the North is contaminated. This corrupt Northern elites must understand that faith can never be imposed or forced. They will never succeed in forcing Shia Muslims to return to Sunni Islam. If they want to halt this slide they must return to the real Sunni Islam of Sheikh Uthman Ibn Fodio (ra) who was tolerant and celebrated the twelve Imams of Shia Islam.
The corrupt Northern elites should understand that we know that the Wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia gave them this contract to inflame sectarianism in Nigeria and target the peaceful followers of Shia Islam in Nigeria. In the past they had received millions of dollars yearly from Saudi Arabia to spread Shiaphobia but they woefully failed. The more they spread Shia hate, the more Nigerians turn to Shia Islam. Is it not time for them to repent and allow peace to rein? They are trying to demonise and humiliate Sheikh Zakzaky who has always been an advocate of peace, unity and mutual respect, but who they have succeeded in doing this to, making the world aware of him his message. Today thousands come to my websites to know more about Sheikh Zakzaky and his Movement, and 60 percent of these people are from the West.
Finally, my last word to all Nigerians is that we should reject hate preachers. We should reject political and religious leaders who promote hate and have hate propagation as an agenda. Hate will never benefit Nigeria, hate will only breed wars, conflicts and senseless killings. Nigeria is the only country we have, if we allow evil and corrupt leaders like this corrupt Northern elites to destroy our country then we will live to regret that.