Senator Kabir Abdullahi Barkiya representing Katsina Central Senatorial District has said that apart from the military action already being waged by the Nigerian Army at the war front, fervent prayers and fasting can also bring an end to the decade of Boko Haram’s terror in Nigeria.
The Senator said in an exclusive interview with Muslim News at his Abuja office, that the role of prayers and fasting in overcoming challenges bedevilling the country cannot be ignored.
He said, “While the soldiers are fighting at the war front, it is important for all Nigerians irrespective of their religion to unite and pray for the country to defeat Boko Haram, bandits and others.”
“That’s why I strongly support Governor Zulum who appealed to Nigerians to pray and fast for Borno and other places being threatened by insecurity. I read that a lot of Nigerians, both Muslims and non-Muslims observed it. That is very great. Allah will surely answer the prayers of the oppressed and verily the challenges will be surmounted,” he noted.
Boko Haram are not Muslims
Senator Barkiya insisted that the Boko Haram terrorists are not Muslims even as the group hide under the name of Islam to commit nefarious activities.
He urged the Muslims to see it as a duty to explain to the people, that Boko Haram members are not Muslims because there is no where in the Qur’an where Allah said innocent people should be killed, discriminately or indiscriminately.
He however advised that those who call Boko haram ‘Islamists’ should not be condemned, instead educated.
“The media and other ignorant individuals might probably not be informed about the true teachings of Islam. Of course they should be wise enough to know that this group also kill Muslims, including scholars. But we shouldn’t rebuke or fight them. We need to sensitise them.
“Therefore, it’s the work of everybody, not only the Ulamah (scholars). It’s the work of you and me, including journalists and other professionals. We have to re-orientate and explain to people that Islam doesn’t support the activities of the group.
“Boko Haram members are ignorants who were brought up on a wrong ideology. They don’t know what Islam says. Even, they don’t know the fundamentals of Islamic rules and regulations. Hence, the main reason they attack, kill people, Muslims and non-Muslims indiscriminately. That’s why they do whatever they like.
“Therefore, it’s a teamwork for all Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to condemn them and teach people the pristine Islam different from what Boko Haram is preaching. We have to put heads together to see how we can preach to them (Boko Haram members) that what they are doing is wrong. And also tell others that what Boko Haram is doing is not Islamic. So, this is the only way.
“We have to be collective in this task. A verse in the Holy Qur’an says; “We will not change your condition except you decided to change your own condition by yourselves”. Q. 13: 11
“So, that’s what we have to be doing fundamentally. Of course, we make people aware that Boko Haram is far away from Islam because they are not doing what Islam says,” he added.
Sen. Barkiya faults claims of Islamisation Agenda
The Katsina Senator faulted the noise about ‘Islamisation Agenda’, saying it is a propaganda to tarnish the image of Islam because there is no compulsion in the religion, according to Islam.
“Those spreading the Islamisation Agenda talks are another set of ignorant people and it’s unfortunate that those propagating this thought are assumed to be knowledgeable. The Qur’an is explicit on this issue. Allah says there is no compulsion in faith. Therefore, to say somebody is coming to Islamise Nigeria does not arise because the Creator Himself said that there is no compulsion in religion.
“You cannot force people to join your religion. It is unacceptable. Therefore, most people are just ignorant and do not have knowledge of Islam. It is our duty as Muslims to explain to people that the perception is wrong because Allah Who owns the religion says you should not force people into it. You can only encourage people until they feel convinced.
“Islam insists that a leader should give everybody his rights, whether Muslims or non-Muslims because Allah will ask you about it on the day of judgement. Everybody under you has his rights. This is what people don’t know.
“Therefore, Islam is a religion of peace. God has put us together – Muslims, Christians, Pagans. It is our duty to come together and do things collectively and peacefully to move the country forward,” he said.
Lawmakers hiding their religious identity
The lawmaker also spoke about his colleagues who according to a newspaper hide their Muslim identity.
He said: I don’t believe that a good Muslim, irrespective of his occupation or portfolio, should hide his or identity. Whether he is a lawmaker or not, because he is supposed to go to work with his faith and exhibit the good exemplary character of the Prophet (SAW). As Muslims, wherever we go, we must let people see Islam in our actions even before we start preaching to them.”
He said a good Muslim cannot hide his religion because when it is time for the five times Solat (prayer), no matter what he is doing, he will surely observe it.
“That is the primary reason Allah created us in the first instance. Allah said, He hasn’t created men and Jinns except to worship him. Qur’an 51: 56 My advice is that we should not hide our religious identity,” he added.