By Bello Hamza
The renowned Professor of History from Bayero University Kano (BUK), who is also the Chair-Occupant of Yusufu Bala Usman Professorial Chair, Department of History, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria
has on Wednesday 26 March 2014 presented a research paper titled: “An Interfaith Initiative; A Historical Overview of the Links and Oddities in Islamic and Western Scholarships”, at the Abdullahi Smith lecture theatre, ABU. The paper was divided into 11 sub-topics, which dealt with diverse issues regarding the Islamic history and the impact of Muslim scholars toward contemporary scholarship. The paper also dwelt on the important factor contributing to the growth of scholarship and ideas, as reflected and demonstrated during the leadership of Imam Ali (AS), the Successor of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S).
According to the Professor, among the qualities commendable for both the leaders and the people is knowledge. “The best thing in a leader in particular and the people in general is to associate with learning, yearning to listen to it and holding the bearers of knowledge with great respect. This is the sure way for a leader to be loved by people. The leadership is more in need of association with scholars and the study of books of learning”. He added that, Sheikh Uthman Bin fodiye was a clear example of a leader with such qualities.
He also stated that the intellectual implications of these developments culturally marked the beginning of the religious and radical insulation of Western Europe by purging itself of alien religions and foreign elements. He also said, it gave birth to the European tragic and enduring anti Semitism, adding that it also marked the beginning of the European tragic and complaisant interfaith relations. “Henceforth, racism became entrenched as a public policy leading to the dark side of European colonising and colonised syndrome. The consequence within its national, religious and intellectual fragmentations leading ultimately to the massive European World Wars on the background of colossal regime of inequality”, he pointed out.
Professor Yahaya also stated that in the eastern front, the conquest of Iran and its conversion to Islam led to the acquisition of the powerful Iranian mind that was to make immense contribution to Muslim scholarship, and have tremendous impact on the west, especially in the field of natural sciences and medicine. “Iran was the gateway to India and brought to Islam the benefit of India sciences. Another significant contribution of Iran was that of Muhammad Ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi who introduced the concept of ‘Zero’ (Sifr) in mathematics. Zero literally means empty, this contribution revolutionised Mathematics and set an entirely new vision of science and the universe”, added the Professor. Don
In the paper, the Don stressed that, the Shi’a had consistently remained the conscience of Islam since after the death of the Prophet of Islam (S) and the martyrdom of his grandson, Imam Husain (AS). The Shi’a, he pointed out, “Have become today the flag bearers and an admirable status of the vanguard of Islam at the grassroots, and an agent of rapid conversion to Islam and political mobilization. But the Sunni Muslims have closed their door to independent reasoning (Bab al-Ijtihad) at the height of their civilization and went to sleep at the time the Western World was waking up from its intellectual slumber”.
After the presentation, Professor Yahaya defended his views with undisputed references following reactions from some of the university lecturers at the occasion.