By Abdullahi Isah Zuru
During a spectacular homage by some retinue of Kaduna chapter of Academic Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria(IMN), under the spiritual guidance of Sayyid Ibraheem Zakzaky(H), to Albarka Fellowship Baptist Church, Stephen Rijo Shekari Avenue, Kaduna, on Christmas day, Sunday, 25th of December, 2016, invited by Dr. Jhone Danfulani. Dr. Shu’aibu Zaria, a notable member of the IMN and a patron to the forum, expounded the purpose of Academic Forum’s visit to the assembly centre of Dr. J. Danfulani in Shekari avenue, Kaduna.
According to the Dr. Shu’aibu, we are here to merry with you on the birth of he whose return has been foretold by our Prophet (SAWA) to herald the appearance of the awaited one, Imam Mahdiy (A.T.F). We were both told in our scriptures that, he will return to fill the Earth with justice, even as it is presently filled with tyranny and oppression. We are here at Christmas to celebrate with you Christians and your leaders, who follow the pure teachings of Jesus (A.S) – a great prophet of God Almighty.
Dr. Shu’aibu however acknowledged that, this kind of visit is not an unprecedented one, neither the first time in epic of history of Islam. This interfaith harmony between us is indeed not a new phenomenon. It was exemplified by the founder of Islam himself. When the persecution got out of hand in Mecca, in the early days of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) had asked his followers to migrate to Abyssinia, where the righteous Christian King Negus “would not tolerate any injustice.” After Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) migrated to Medina and was apointed the head of state, many Christian delegations went visiting. They were always warmly received by the Prophet (SAWA). During one of such visits, an envoy asked for a place to pray. He was not sent out in the open. He was rather offered the mosque.
Dr. Shu’aibu cited the quotation of the Holy Prophet where he was reported to have said: "Conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place consecrated to God.” Said the Holy Prophet.
He also acknowledged the statement of the Holy Prophet(SAWA) on the covenant with the Christians of Najran, where the Prophet was reported to have said: “I will protect their religion and their Church wherever they are found, be it on earth or at sea, in the West or in the East, with utmost vigilance on my part, the People of my House, and the Muslims as a whole.”
He mentioned again that of the the covenant with the Christians of Persia, the Prophet Muhammed (SAWA) reported to have said; “No Christians shall be brought by force to confess Islam, and Muslims shall extend over the Christians everywhere by the arm of mercy and kindness, protecting them from the exactions of oppressors.” Also, in the Covenant with the Monks of Mount Sinai, the Prophet (SAWA) stated; “If a monk or pilgrim seeks protection, in mountain or valley, in a cave or in tilled fields, in the plain, in the desert, or in a church, I am behind them, defending them from every enemy; I, my helpers, all the members of my religion, and all my followers, for they [the monks and the pilgrims] are my protégés and my subjects.” Explained the Holy Prophet.
In a final note, Dr. Shu’aibu accounted a certain happening in the Charter of Medina, where the Holy Prophet (SAWA) guaranteed equal rights and freedoms to Christians and Jews. According to the words of the Holy Prophet “Christians are my citizens, and by God, I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. The Muslims are to fight for them. Their churches are to be respected. No one of the Muslims is to disobey this covenant till the Last Day.
In his final address, Dr. Shu’aibu described the visit as very dear. He added that, that is why this same hospitality is displayed by our leader, Sheikh Zakzaky, who follows the true teachings of the Prophet (SAW) and his legacies. He showed us that Christians are not our enemies, but our brothers and sisters in humanity. He feels the pains of all oppressed & wronged in whatever part of the world, no matter the religion & no matter the colour of their skin. He accounted how many a times Christians were at home of Sheikh Zakzaky during our programs. For several Christians, his house is a preferred place of refuge in times of crises. He sends us adherents to attend churches to protect them and also during Christian celebrations such as this. As the Patron of Christian-Muslim Alternative to Conflict C-MAC, the speech he delivered at the inauguration of the body remains a reference point in the cause of peaceful co-existence. Hence, we have done this over the years. The bond of fellowship can only wax stronger to impress the admirers and confound our common enemies.
Below are some captions during the visit.