By Ibrahim Usman
Old Students of School for Arabic Studies (SAS), Kano, Class of 1975, have paid condolence visit to the Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, over the brutal killing of 33 peaceful protesters on Quds Day in Zaria, including his 3 children. Sheikh Zakzaky is an old student of SAS, where he graduated in 1975.
The visiting classmates from all walk of life, headed by Malam Gausu Ahmad, condoled Sheikh Zakzaky over the incident which they described as injustice and act of terrorism. They prayed Allah to accept the martyrdom of those killed, and grant more strength and fortitude on Sheikh Zakzaky and families of the victims to bear the irreparable loss.
Malam Gausu Ahmad said, the visiting classmates were few out of many who wanted to come personally, but however sent in their condolences. The old classmates took turn to remember the good old days and narrated experiences.
Sheikh Zakzaky expressed appreciation for the visit and made the following speech, in which he narrated the genesis of the incidence, what really happened and the lesson learnt.
“There is nothing I can say, except to offer gratitude for coming from different places, amidst tight schedules in this month (August) of rainy season, to condole and extend friendship. You can only know your bosom friend in two occasions: he rejoices with you in period of happiness, and mourn with you in sadness. That is when you know your bosom friend- he who rejoices with your happiness, and grieves with your sadness.
As you are all aware, this (tragedy) occurred during expression of solidarity with the people of Palestine, as we have been doing over the years. The last one we conducted in the last Friday of Ramadan was the 32nd in the series, non-stop, at least in Zaria. The tradition was that, we used to conduct the general procession in Zaria, and later after Sallah people conduct their separate procession in their different cities and towns. As the gathering became large, we decided that each city conducts its own procession on the (same day). Since 1980, this procession is being conducted globally, even in Europe, including America itself, as well as in the occupied Palestine. Some government support this procession, countries such as Venezuela of which the former (late) President Hugo Chavez participated; the current President, Muduro also participated. In South Africa, ministers and legislators also participated. This procession is being observed across the world.
This year, the issue took a different dimension. Not only that the people of Palestine were displaced through usurpation their land, but were being bombarded right from the tenth day of the holy month of Ramadan, up to the end of Ramadan. At the time we conducted the procession, Palestinians were under siege with intense bombardment for 19 consecutive days. At that time about 1,600 were reported killed, mostly women and children. They target places where women and children converge and launch heavy offensive, including hospitals and health centres. When they target buildings and people tried to put out the fire, they shoot at the fire fighters. Not only that, they demolished storey buildings and crushed to death all the residents in it, that the dead could not be recovered. There were cases of entire families being wiped out. A family of 24 was reported wiped out entirely, or a child left out from a family of 9 members, and similar cases.
Going by these catalogue of atrocities, there could not have been a better time to conduct the procession and express our solidarity. These posters you are watching, like the one in which a child was killed and was carried, was the initiative of my son they killed, Hamid. He came for holidays on Saturday from China, and they killed him on Friday. While driving home from Tafsir on Thursday, he told me of a plan he had on producing posters and live video screen to show the world what was happening during the procession. I told him that it was too late, but he said he could make it if only he could have the sum of 200 Naira, which I gave him; and it did it.
The Zaria Quds Day Atrocities
During the procession, they erected screens in which motion pictures were displayed for people to know what was happening in Palestine. But there was Israel here monitoring. If you watch the video clip of the shooting, you would think it was happening in Palestine, It is exactly the same way Israeli soldiers shooting at teenagers. Out of the 33 people killed, most of them are teenagers. There was a 4-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, while some were in their twenties and few above thirty years. All of them were students and mostly unmarried. Of the two women killed, one is unmarried, and the other was married with one child.
Nine out those they shot at, was a target shooting aimed at strategic and sensitive places such as head or chest, or at point where the victim would bleed to death. Mahmoud, one of my sons, was shot at a place intended for him to bleed to death, and he did bled to death because they blocked the road to the hospital. Doctors confirmed that, shooting at that point was intended for a victim to bleed to death. Fourteen out of the dead were taken alive to the military barrack, where they were brutally tortured to death. The manner of torture included electrocution, stabbing with knife and, stamping and dragging their bodies roughly on the ground. In the case of my son after they had broken his arms and legs, they pulled and dragged the broken legs and his face on rough ground with his face was brutally bruised. My other son Ali, was a witness to these atrocities (on his brothers). He was shot on the leg, but Allah save him. As they go about these atrocities, they abusive and degrading statements, no wonder they are trained by Israel. Looking at what they did, surely it was purely meant to protect interest of Israel.
What we did here was our own little effort, as it was reported in a Hadith that he who does not show concern over what befalls his Muslim brother is not part of the Muslims or a Muslim. It is for this reason that late Imam Khomeini called people of Lebanon and told them of this Hadith, telling them of their obligation being much closer to the people of Palestine. This is what gave rise to Hizbullah, which helped to counter Israeli aggression on Palestinians. Because of this there was a temporary relief on the part of the Palestinians, but they (Israel) in retaliation also directed the offensive and destruction on Lebanon. Here in (Nigeria), they had the same intent of launching severe offensive and bombardment. Three days ago while we were observing Isha’i prayers, a drone was seen hovering this area. Three drones were also seen on surveillance at the cemetery where the martyrs were laid to rest. People thought it was plane, but it turned out to be actually a drone, because it stood still hovering over the sky of the cemetery. They are marking and making surveillance in strategic places, we do not know what their intention is for now. On Allah we rely (Hazbunallah). It is clear that they are working for Israel; it is also clear that we have government being controlled by Israel. We then realized similarities in the brutality of these soldiers; it is exactly the same with the brutality meted on Palestinians. While Israeli is killing our brothers in Palestine, it is also present here.
We have learnt many lessons as a result of this incident. One of it is, I said it before, I am proud that none among killers of my sons was a Muslim. It is surprising to find a whole military unit, including their commanders without a Muslim in it. There is a unit of Army Engineers stationed here, that is the battalion in Zaria, with a Commanding Officer called S.O. Oku; the Officer Commanding is called Chima, and the Depot Commandant in Zaria is called Omama- all were Igbos. They jointly conducted this operation. Out of them, none could speak Hausa; not even a Northern Christian is among them. They were specially selected from Delta and Igbo areas to undertake this operation. I say this with pride that, this was done by killers of Prophets and children of Prophets, through their puppet dogs, stationed here.
Muslims here are victims of imposed division, but when this incidence happened, there was no sign of this division. People became conscious that, it is a war on Islam and Muslims. It is also our prides that, out of all their people they could not find a Muslim volunteer to do their dirty work, this was why they did it themselves personally. They had wanted a Muslim volunteer to do it for them, so that the division and fighting among Muslims would persist. For this reason, they came personally and descended on us. I know people are associating this issue with Shi’a. For your information, there is no single Shi’a in Palestine. When Dr. Abdul Azeez Rantisi was killed (in Palestine), we held a special mourning session over his martyrdom. A peaceful protest was also conducted in Kaduna, where they shot to death 3 people in broad daylight. Sheikh Ahamd Yassin was also killed (in Palestine), and we mourned his death also. In our view, they are our Muslim brothers. Anyone who confessed Oneness of Allah and Prophethood of Muhammad is our fellow Muslim brother. We don’t mind what some people say of us not being Muslims. Whoever says we are not Muslims is ignorant, we regard him as a Muslim but ignorant Muslim. We have no right to remove him from the circle of Islam and from the fold of Muslim Ummah.
Another lesson that became obvious was that, since the beginning of reign of Ebele Jonathan, there was sporadic killing in the Northern part of this country, North-east in particular- Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and neighbouring areas. It is now happening in Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, and Kaduna. Fulani people were being raided, their cattle boarded unto helicopters and taken away. They take away their women also. There is case of a raid on Fulanis, where they took away a woman who had given birth, they took her away and threw the baby to the father. They constantly attributed all these atrocities to a faceless group called Boko Haram. We have never seen anyone called Boko Haram; we have never known a Muslim group called Boko Haram; we have never seen a Boko Haram school or mosque. What we see on television is what the government wanted to be shown to the public, a video clip of one man called Shekau whose whereabouts is never known. They showed him firing gun, talking like a senseless clown in delirium, typical of a mentally retarded. They had wanted to launch attack on us an attribute it to Boko Haram. I used to say this, I wait to see either of the two scenarios; the day they will attack us and attribute it to Boko Haram, or refer to us as Boko Haram. Whichever they implemented, their blunder will become more obvious; we will expose them, because we know who the real Boko Haram is. We know it is the government of this country, and no one else. That day we saw Boko Haram in their true colors in broad daylight. The soldiers confessed while torturing our people, that they are responsible for the killings in Borno, and also confessed that that they eat raw and cooked human flesh, while dancing to a music and shouting. They were boasting among themselves over the number of people killed.
This clearly showed they were responsible for these killings. They couldn’t play this game on us here by detonating bombs, they ran out of ideas and came in their full uniform, to the extent that we know those who shoot and their commanders. For instance, I know that Colonel Oku shot my children, while his boys stamped on their bodies and stabbed them with knives. As a result of this incident, it became clear who are executing this dastardly act in the name of Boko Haram. It is a special unit created in the military, and specially trained by Israel and U.S. for this purpose. After an operation, they are usually taken to a camp in Israel. For instance, after the post-election crisis, two groups of soldiers were brought to Gyellesu (here). Those brought from Israel were stationed at the Federal College of Education (FCE) gate, while those from America were stationed at Tudun Wada police station. They were taken to America after the operation, but were Nigerians. While on duty here, they were being paid in Dollars. Al these, became known, it couldn’t be hidden anymore.
Good Tidings Regarding Our Martyrs
As we mourn, we are at the same time rejoicing, because those killed have had a good ending. From the information we heard, those killed had a feeling they were going to be martyred. An old woman was brought here yesterday from a town called Barwa; she could hardly walk and had to be supported. Her son was among those killed, but she was not told because of her condition in old age. When eventually told, she said she prayed for her son to attain martyrdom. According to her, her son came and requested that she prayed for him to attain martyrdom, and she replied that if the martyrdom he wanted was acceptable before Allah, let it be. And he was martyred. She came here to condole us, and we ended up condoling each other. His father who was sick then came to know that certain individual had attained martyrdom in the town, and he prayed Allah to accept the person’s martyrdom. The father also died fifteen days after the incident.
There was also a man who was participated in the procession and his daughter called Zulaiha, was killed. During the procession, the daughter passed by him and bade him goodbye. He was later told she was martyred.
There is lady, Ai’sha from Kudan town, who before the procession, bade everybody goodbye, telling them she was going to attain martyrdom. There was also a boy called Hussain from Zabi town here in Zaria, he gave all his money to his brother Hasan saying that his name was Shaheed. From that time, people started calling him Hussain Shaheed. He also attained martyrdom. The story of each of those killed indicated, as if they sensed they were going to be martyred.
There was a dream of good tidings on the part of those killed. Someone had a dream that he saw some of the martyrs who told him that, on their part they have achieved a good ending. They told him that, there were 120 gates leading to paradise, and people are stopped at each gate to be questioned over certain issues. They told him that, they were allowed easy access at every gate they reached. At the last gate, where people are questioned on rights and responsibilities, they met a lot of people there waiting. Someone told them that he had been waiting at the gate for 400 years, but they were called upon and the gate was opened for them to pass. It was a dreamt we know that revelation has ended, but a certain degree dream can be a pointer to good tidings. On their part it was good, theirs was a good ending. We on our part, are tried with the calamity so that we reap reward from it.
The Killers Have Failed
On the part of the killers, they have failed and have incurred several loses. The power they are boasting of, as well as that of their masters (Israel) will never last. What they are trying to stop will eventually come to be. In fact, instead of suppressing it, they have only succeeded in spreading it. This can be seen in the categories of people that came to condole us, from all segments of the society, including the Christians. We have received here on condolence visit, Katsina House of Assembly, which came not on personal or individual capacity, but representing the state legislature with an official letter endorsed by the Speaker, Majority and Minority Leaders of the House. In their prayers, they prayed Allah to bring down the oppressors! From this you can see that, legislators now want an end to oppression and oppressors. An old Minister of Defence also came here and declared that, injustice will not last forever! We thank Allah, we are receiving sympathy, support and friendship from our friends all over. Despite the bombardment they were facing and the number of dead and casualties’ ever-increasing, our brothers and sisters in Palestine also sent in their condolence through their ambassador here in Nigeria by phone. He also expressed his disapproval of what happened to the Nigerian government. We are receiving condolences and sympathies from all over.
We thank you very much for the condolence and the fellowship extended to us. May Allah unite us the more in mutual friendship.