By Atinuke Z. Zakariyya

An Associate Professor in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Dr Abubakar Mohammed, has faulted the decision of the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, for opting out of a popular debate organized by the Kano state government between a Kano-based Scholar, Sheikh AbdulJabbar Nasiru Kabara, and a coalition of Clerics opposed to his interpretation of some fabricated Hadiths or Sayings of the Holy Prophet (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon him) which degrade the Prophet’s personality, and which Sheikh AbdulJabbar describes as blasphemous because they injure or contradict the Prophet’s Sainthood. But unfortunately, these Clerics mischievously misinformed the public in an edited audio of the Sheikh to make it look as if he is the one blaspheming the prophet.

The University don said the Sultan, as the spiritual leader of Nigerian Muslims is supposed to be an umpire and at the forefront of organizing intellectual discusses or debates on controversial issues, so that truth and falsehood will be exposed, to save innocent Muslims from going astray.

Dr Mohammed said “Even Allah, on the Day of one-by-one, will interrogate all His servants, both those that believed in Him and worshipped Him as instructed through His Messengers, that is why the Day is called “Judgement Day”, and those that refused to believe and worship him, before rewarding and sending them to their appropriate and final abode (Heaven or Hell)”.

He, therefore, urged the Sultan to have a rethink on his decision as a spiritual leader in the country who is supposed to give a fair hearing and do justice to everybody, no matter his understanding or interpretation of the religion, before passing judgement or taking a stand in favour or against anybody.

The University don, therefore, referred the Sultan to the following verses of the Holy Qur’an, urging him to apply them in resolving the Clerics dispute:

“O you who believe! If a Fasiq (liar-evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done.” (Q49:18)

“O you who believe, stand firm for justice even against your own selves” (Q4:135)

“O you, who believe, be upright for God, and (be) bearers of witness with justice!” (Quran 5:8)

 “We sent Our Messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Measure in order to establish justice among the people…” (Quran 57:25)

 “… Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Quran 60:8).

 “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both….” (Quran 4:135).

 “And approach not the property of the orphan except in the fairest way, until he [or she] attains the age of full strength, and give measurement and weight with justice…” (Quran 6:152)

Dr Abubakar Mohammed has urged organizers of the debate to make sure that they invite the likes of the Emir of Lafiyan Bare-Bari, His Royal Highness Justice Sidi Bage (rtd.), Erudite and globally acknowledged Islamic Cleric of international repute, Sheikh Sheriff Ibrahim Saleh, Kaduna-based Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Halliru Maraya, and Human Rights Lawyers to also serve as Observers of the historic, unprecedented and exemplary debate.

Dr Mohammed said the invitation of the suggested personalities is necessary because they will help in giving more credence to the scholarly and intellectual exercise.

Dr Mohammed, who is also a Human Rights Activist, commended the rare courage and sense of fairness of the Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for not succumbing to pressure by both internal and external forces to cancel the debate.

He said the Governor’s decision to go on with the debate will no doubt help in bringing sanity in not only Kano, but the entire country, the population of which is not used to engaging one another in debates on scholarly issues with the view of unravelling the truth on issues regarded as controversial.

The University Don however called on the security community to learn from the Governor Ganduje formula by ensuring that they encourage other state Governors in the country to adopt Ganduje’s approach as a panacea for resolving trivial and contentious issues.

He said if the security Community will encourage the adoption of such an approach, they would help in bringing, Unity, sanity, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence among adherents of various ideologies, particularly among Muslims who are always quick at not only excommunicating their fellow brothers in Islam for mere disagreement on slight and resolvable issues but declaring the shedding of the blood of anybody that they seem to have differences of understanding with on jurisprudential issues.

It will be recalled that Kano State Commissioner of Religious Affairs, Muhammad Tahar (Baba impossible), revealed that Professor Shehu Galadanchi and the Chief Imam of Kano, Professor Sani Zaharaddeen, will be the moderators of the upcoming dialogue between Abduljabbar Kabara and Kano clerics, which is scheduled for next week, 7th March 2021.

Many Islamic scholars from outside Kano have been invited, and the dialogue will take place at Kano Emir’s Palace.

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