The gruesome murder perpetrated by Muslim students at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State comes with many questions. Atop the list of questions is; why kill a lady over abusing your prophet, a man that turned a blind eye to assertions that he was a lunatic throughout his years of prophethood?
It is common knowledge in Nigeria that the North is responsible for the spread of Islam to the nooks and crannies of the country. Hence, we couldn’t agree more that the religion is more firmly rooted in the region than in any other part of Nigeria. Thus, it is no surprise that many non-Muslims assume whatever northern Muslims do to be per Islamic teachings and doctrines. While this notion is sometimes true, the incident of Thursday, 12 May 2022, is in no way a reflection of what Muslims are or what Islam entails.
Over the years, similarly-irate actions of northern youths in supposed protection of the sanctity of Islam have brought mirth upon the religion time and again. Consequently, many now believe that Islam, as a religion, encourages violence when there is no basis whatsoever for such in it. But how do righteous Muslims disabuse such disheartening misconceptions when the reality strongly suggests that Muslims who do not engage in violence are the ‘dead-beat’ Muslims while the hot-blooded ones are the true believers‽
The prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him), whose abuse led to the onslaught, advised Muslims to be patient when mistreated and insulted and was a sterling example of patience and tolerance. He was never known to strike a man out of anger or provocation nor order anyone to avenge ills done towards him. Even at times of war, he ordered Muslims never to attack women, children, aged or non-combatant men, monks, livestock and even plants. Similarly, the Holy Qur’an, the primary source of Islamic jurisprudence, enjoined Muslims to be patient in more than thirty different verses, going as far as encouraging forgiveness against crimes for which the legal retribution is death (Qur’an 2:179).
“And when you see those who engage in [offensive] discourse concerning Our verses, then turn away from them until they enter into another conversation,” Qur’an 6:68 reads. The Qur’an prescribes patience as the response to blasphemy and not death like the errant youths meted to the deceased. In further contrast to their actions, prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned against punishing with fire, asserting all rights to punish with fire to Allah, the Most Mighty (Sahih Al-Bukhari: Hadith 3017).
Without backing from the first sources of Islamic jurisprudence, one can only wonder where the inhumane reactions to blasphemy emanated. And as the Qur’an further condemns following one’s whims without Allah’s guidance (Qur’an 28:50), it becomes clear that the mob of youths, who swaddled in reposeful blankets of ignorance, exploited the situation to exercise their frustration, with no iota of accordance to the laws of Islam.
Furthermore, Muslims who believe that the depraved students did the right thing must return to their lord in penitence. Why support nonentities who use their exuberance to sully the image of Muslims rather than repair it when Allah, the God they claim to worship, warns against following the whims of those who know nought (Qur’an 45: 18)‽
While the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, has condemned the hideous act and reaffirmed the illegality of such actions under Nigerian and Islamic laws, the onus falls on the Nigerian Muslim community, in its entirety, to ensure that the culprits do not go unpunished. The action of these maniacal individuals is not only a crime against Deborah’s family. Her murder is a crime against humanity and the global Muslim community.
To think that the preposterous mob actions took place on the premises of a college of education, where a generation of teachers are under training, makes the whole fiasco much more sickening. It’s frightening to think about the precarious eventuality of these people becoming teachers and imparting their deliberate misunderstanding of the teachings of an otherwise peaceful religion. Thus, we must work together to forestall the passage of such morally decadent dogmatic heirlooms to future generations if we do not want the already poignant Nigerian history to become a gory tale.
In conclusion, Nigerians must come together to thwart the baleful schemes of these agents of anarchy. The Nigerian law enforcement and judiciary must put their best bet to ensure that this never repeats itself in Northern Nigeria or elsewhere in Nigeria. Such eventuality can only be possible if we make an emphatic example out of the miscreants who truncated Deborah’s life. Thus, this is a clarion call to all stakeholders to work together and deliver justice for her.
This opinion story has been published on Campus Reporter with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author. Campus Reporter does not bear any responsibility for the contents of this story, all views belong to the author.
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