It is so sad that one of the finest Kannywood actors, Rahama Sadau unknowingly allowed the enemies of Islam to vent their anti-Islam bigotry and blaspheme the best of mankind, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) over her backless dress that triggered controversies on social media last week. While I understand that she has since deleted the pictures and apologised, the Islamophobic media continued to take advantage of the incident to vilify Islam and Shariah (Islamic law) in particular.
Twitter went agog on Saturday with the News that Miss Sadau had been invited by the Police in Kaduna for questioning over her role in a blasphemy incident. The breaking news with the headline, “Police invite Rahama Sadau after her racy pictures spark blasphemous comment” was first reported by Daily Nigerian before it was republished by multiple online media outlets.
BREAKING: Police invite Rahama Sadau after her racy pictures spark blasphemous comment https://t.co/eAf7mDQEEV
— Daily Nigerian (@daily_nigerian) November 7, 2020
The newspaper quoted Kannywood FIM magazine without evidence and also (mis)interpreted the IGP letter to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police as claim of invitation. As usual, Nigerian netizens went to the market square without devouring the contents of the letter, started ridiculing the police institution for allegedly inviting the actress over “just a dress” and “alleged blasphemy” under the actress’ controversial pictures.
Worried by the development, a Twitter user with the handle @BashirAhmaad described the news headline as MISLEADING, saying that the actress, Miss Sadau hadn’t been invited by the police. Ahmad, one of President Buhari’s Special Assistant, cleared the air on the content of the letter, in a tweet, saying; “When you come across the letter, read it carefully, nowhere did the Police invite Rahama Sadau or anybody over the ‘controversial pictures’, as reported by many of our media outlets. Clear MISLEADING headlines.”
When you come across the letter read it carefully, nowhere the Police invited Rahama Sadau or anybody over the ‘controversial pictures’, as reported by many of our media outlets. Clear MISLEADING headlines.
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) November 7, 2020
Yet the twitter warriors, especially the influencers kept spreading the ‘rumour’. Aisha Yesufu tweeted: “Poverty is a bastard! @Rahma_sadau is being invited because she is child of nobody (sic) who dared to become somebody! Why didn’t they invite the daughters of @NuhuRibadu and @GovUmarGanduje? When did @PoliceNG become moral police?”
Poverty is a bastard!@Rahma_sadau is being invited because she is child of nobody who dared to become somebody!
Why didn't they invite the daughters of @NuhuRibadu and @GovUmarGanduje ?
When did @PoliceNG become moral police?
— Aisha Yesufu (@AishaYesufu) November 7, 2020
As the story continued to garner more reactions and criticisms on social media, one Toni Tone with a verified Twitter handle shared screenshots of two different stories on Tuesday about the embattled actress being expected to face Shariah court over her controversial racy images. One of the stories, with the screaming headline, “Actress faces prosecution after debate over picture of her”, was as published by BBC. In the 6-paragraph story written by one Azeezat Olaoluwa (supposedly a Muslim), BBC quoted just one Islamic scholar in the North, calling for Rahama Sadau to be charged to the Islamic court over what the media described as “racy pictures” that led to the blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
I’m noticing some people imply ‘fake news’, but I’ve seen news about Sadau being expected to go to sharia court across BBC News, PM News, and more. I’m reporting back on what I’m seeing and as long as she facing backlash, this thread is staying up. pic.twitter.com/wGMfjMASrQ
— TONI TONE (@t0nit0ne) November 10, 2020
The mind-boggling question is, who is the said Northern scholar? What’s his name? Is he a ‘ghost’, as the British medium didn’t provide his name, not even in the lead story. There was no where in the story also that the medium said the Scholar ‘would prefer his name not to be mentioned’. Maybe it was an oversight, but we noticed that his name was still missing in story, from paragraph 2 to 4 as seen in the screenshot below.
But in paragraph 5, BBC suddenly ‘interviewed’ or quoted one Aliyu Dahiru, said to be a researcher on gender issues, who ‘rubbished’ the GHOST ISLAMIC SCHOLAR, calling the ‘attempted prosecution’ an ‘over-reaction’. The story ended in the 6th paragraph without the identity of the said scholar revealed.
Whether it is true or not the BBC ghost scholar made such call, news like this is a propaganda cooked up to fault and discredit the Shari’ah as an unfit or obsolete system for the northerners, where it’s being practiced in Nigeria. That’s why some of Rahama’s sympathisers, including one Igbo troll, Udemma, said; “If I were her, I will leave the north for them and convert to another religion to see what will happen. Just imagine the persecution because of common dress.”
Babe, if the religion is their excuse for wanting to kill you, convert to Christianity as soon as yesterday & denounce the Sharia Law, relocate from that jurisdiction too.
That's if you are the one on the phone at the moment sha!
— Phinnexx (@ifelolar) November 10, 2020
Surprisingly, on the same Twitter, today (Tuesday) there is a trending news from known and unpopular handles including verified accounts, that Miss Sadau could face a death sentence “all because of a dress,” as many of them captured it, without evidence from any reliable source. How possible? Which section of Islamic law stipulates death as punishment over ‘indecent dressing?’ Besides, she has apologised and disassociated herself from the fan(s) that made derogatory remarks by deleting the comment and her controversial images.
— Rahama Sadau 🇳🇬 (@Rahma_sadau) November 3, 2020
This is nothing but an attempt to paint the Shari’ah as bad, which has been facing backlash in the region in recent times. Those who hate Shari’ah law are only using Rahama Sadau’s situation to launch a campaign of calumny against Islam while Muslims who are supposed to engage in intellectual discussion throw caution to the wind. Evidently, there is no such news yet, it is bandwagon effect from the enemies of Islam, which must be countered.
The second story posted by Toni Tones was published by PM News with the headline, “Actress Rahama Sadau charged with blasphemy”. The news has been republished by other media outlets with no details other than she will be appearing in a Shari’ah court in Kaduna over allegations of blasphemy levelled against her after sharing lewd photos on social media”. When, where and who filed the suit against Miss Sadau weren’t provided except that the online newspaper only quoted an unknown tweep, KONRADE @komrade_konrade, tweeting, “So Rahama Sadau is expected to appear before a sharia court in Kaduna, where her fate will be decided.
So Rahama Sadau is expected to appear before a sharia court in Kaduna, where her fate will be decided.
It's sad we have Nations trapped in this British experiment called Nigeria pic.twitter.com/Mv8KCUZu5O
— ᴋᴏɴʀᴀᴅᴇ (@Komrade_Konrade) November 8, 2020
Probably MISLED by the news, or with the thinking that ‘it could be true’, a group of Concerned and Peace-Loving Muslim Ummah issued a statement signed on their behalf by Lawal Muhammad Gusau with the heading, CONDITIONS TO BE MET IN RESPECT OF RAHAMA SADAU’S ALLEGATION OF BLASPHEMY ON THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SAW). The letter has gone viral on social media. It says, among others that, Miss Sadau’s lawyer must be Muslim since, only Muslim lawyers can understand the proceedings of the Shari’ah court. It also nominated renowned Islamic Scholars such as Sheikh Dr Ahmed Mahmoud Gumi, Sheikh Ahmed BUK, Sheikh Kabir Haruna Gombe, Sheikh Nura Khalil and Sheikh Dr. Isa Pantami to preside over the case.
As ‘Rahama Sadau’ trends on Twitter, alongside Hisbah Kano, another related case that has to do with the application of the Shari’ah, the actress surfaced at exactly 4:02 pm (Nigerian time), with the best of all greetings, ‘Salam…’, meaning, ‘peace’, a short abbreviation of Muslim mode of greeting. She tweeted in series to debunk as FAKE NEWS, all the aforementioned claims.
According to her, “I haven’t received any police invitation or court trial. I’m reiterating this to well wishers that I’m SAFE and FINE and I have never received any legal trial for whatever reason. To those trying to bank on this issue to create an unrest, Please give it a rest..!!! 😢 🙏”
I have received many messages that I have been arrested and sentenced to jail earlier today. I have no idea where the news emanated from. I'm therefore calling on people to stop spreading FAKE and unfounded stories…
— Rahama Sadau 🇳🇬 (@Rahma_sadau) November 10, 2020
Admitting that it’s indeed a difficult time for her, she warned that it is not the right time to spread FAKE NEWS, adding, “I have received many messages that I have been arrested and sentenced to jail earlier today. I have no idea where the news emanated from. I’m therefore calling on people to stop spreading FAKE and unfounded stories…”
The storm might have been over for the gifted actress — as Allah says “Surely, with each difficulty there is ease” Q.94 and lessons have been learned. The imbroglio should also serve as a wake up call for the mainstream media that Twitter and social media are not reliable sources of information as many verified handles are purveyors of fake news. This incident showed the desperation of the actress’ Christian fans who openly told her to leave Islam for Christianity.
Christianity won't kill you when you choose to be half naked. That's the difference.
— ♚🅣🅞🅡🅤♚🅦🅐🅛🅣♚ #EndSARS (@ToruWalt) November 10, 2020
One thing is certain, all humans are prone to error but once that happens, we seek the forgiveness of Allah, the merciful God. Islam is not just a religion but a way of life and whoever wants to accept it, must enter into it wholeheartedly, as firmly established in Q.2:208 without expecting favours from people. May Allah forgive her, and us — for we all make mistakes.