This month is a special month for us Muslims. It is the month of the birthday of prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which we refer to as Maulud. On that alone it is worthy of being designated as the month of unity. According to a popular narration, it was on the 12th of the month that Prophet Muhammad was born, who is a Prophet to all Muslims irrespective of their understanding of Islam.
Our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqoub Zakzaky, who clocked five years now in detention unjustly, despite a federal high court order for his release, has been calling on the Muslim ummah in particular and the nation in general to live in unity despite the differences between us. He has been preaching that our points of convergence far outweigh the points of divergence in our social well-being. He reminded us of the well-known saying of Imam Ali (AS) that “people are of two kinds. They are either your brothers in faith or your equal in humanity.” Therefore as we live together there are rights we need to take care of in our social coexistence.
Some people become apprehensive when the issue of unity among the Muslim ummah is mentioned, thinking that unity demands that they abandon whatever they hold dear in the Islamic faith. However in reality this is not the main focus of unity among Muslims; it is all about understanding each other, and working together for the benefit of the Ummah at large. That’s the philosophy behind Imam Khomaini’s declaration of Unity Week, which has been observed by the Sheikh Zakzaky for decades. During the Unity Week, which starts from the 12th-17th of Rabi’ul Awwal, participants are expected to reflect on the history of our beloved Prophet with the view of practicing Islam in all aspects of their lives.
It is pertinent to note that Muslims must unite themselves to defeat the abominable attack on Islam and Muslims by the President of France Emmanuel Macron since the heinous crime of publishing cartoons of the Prophet by the magazine Charlie Hebdo. Hence we applaud the current campaign across Muslim countries for the boycott of French goods, which is expected to inflict damages on Frances’ economy.
It’s unfortunate that there are some Muslims who see nothing good in celebrating the life times of the holy Messenger in this month; however they should have a change of mind, because even they themselves do attend anniversary events of their religious organization, birthday anniversary of the wealthy and those at the helm of state affairs. They are also at the fore front in opening prayers at state anniversary gatherings. If attending such anniversary events is not prohibited, why should that of the Prophet be designated haram?
It is pertinent for the Ummah to realise that the first step in desecrating the command by Allah that believers should unite is to strip fellow believers of their faith in Islam by either calling them ‘kuffar’ or ‘mushrik’ and other ugly terms. Whenever a believer is stripped of his faith, the way to shed his innocent blood has been cleared. And this is exactly what terrorists in the name of Islam are busy doing, which is abominable in the eyes of Islam. We therefore call on fellow brothers in faith to abandon this weird thinking that a believer can be stripped of his Islamic garb and be termed an unbeliever; if at all unity in diversity is desired among the Muslim community.
In conclusion, even though we are in a celebratory mood, we will never forget the calamity that befell the Muslim Ummah on the first day of Rabi’ul Awwal 1437, when the Nigerian Army embarked on a murderous mission against Shaikh Zakzaky and members of the Islamic Movement in Zaria, killing 1000+, maiming hundreds and destroying places of worship and Islamic centres of learning, which led to the incarceration of our leader Sheikh Zakzaky, his wife and several others in hundreds. The latest in their attempt to annihilate the Islamic Movement is the killing of 3 persons by the police during Ashura procession in Kaduna state. Why shouldn’t we mourn that genocide, when Sheikh Zakzaky is the champion of unity among the Muslims and even their non-Muslim neighbors? Why shouldn’t we mourn when Sheikh Zakzaky the torch bearer of Maulud celebration is still being denied his freedom upon all that has been done to him unjustly? We therefore call in the strongest term for his prompt release and those in detention with him.
Peace be upon the followers of the straight path. May Allah bless us in this holy month of Maulud.
SHEIKH ABDULHAMID BELLO ZARIA