▪︎Admonishes the proponents of the Shari’ah in the North against discrimination, favouritism
Renowned Nigeria-born Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Dhikrullahi Shafii has slammed the government of the United Arab Emirates over its relaxation of the Islamic law on alcohol, noting that the Islamic ruling on alcohol consumption remains till eternity and cannot be tinkered with.
The UAE had over the weekend announced a major overhaul of the country’s Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabit and removing alcohol restrictions.
In his reaction, while speaking with Muslim News on Wednesday, Sheikh Shafii said he is not surprised by the recent developments in the oil-rich Gulf state, adding that the handwriting on the wall has been clear for long.
He asserted that since the government of the Emirates had permitted gambling, it was only a matter of time before it legalised the consumption of alcohol.
Providing a background into the Islamic ruling on alcohol consumption, the scholar said the prohibition is firmly established in the Qur’an, Hadith and the consensus of Scholars.
According to him, “In the first place, Allah said in Q2:219 that, ‘O ye Prophet, you would be asked about alcohol consumption and gambling, tell them that both have advantages and disadvantages. But the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.’
“In the second verse, Q. 4:43, Allah says, ‘O ye who believe, do not come to Solah when you are drunk.’ Yet, this did not outrightly stop people from drinking. Many drank after the night prayer since it would have stop intoxicating them before the next prayers. The final prohibition of intoxicant (alcohol) came in Q5:90, alongside gambling. Allah strongly warns against it, saying it is a handiwork of Satan.
“This particular verse (Q.5:90) and a couple of prophetic traditions enshrined the Islamic ruling on alcohol consumption. Since then, alcohol has become forbidden for Muslims. In fact, every intoxicant, according to the Prophet (SAW), is alcohol; and alcohol is profane and forbidden in Islam.”
The spiritual father of The Muslim Congress advanced that neither the UAE nor Bahrain or even Saudi Arabia can be used as the standard for practising Islam, stating that the rulings of Islam on matters are quite clear.
“You can practice Islam wherever you are. A Muslim following the rulings of Islam to the letter in Canada is better than a Saudi Arabian who’s treating Islamic commandments with contempt,” he explained.
He added: “However, it must be understood that no country can be used as a model to measure Islam or its rulings. On the contrary, Islam is the standard; it’s the yardstick with which we measure Muslims and the so-called Islamic countries. Therefore, that Saudi Arabia or the UAE or Bahrain, for instance, approves of a behaviour or act does not necessarily mean that same is acceptable to Islam. Islam has its standards.
“Thus, the issue of alcohol consumption cannot be compromised under the Shari’ah law. It’s very clear. However, if a government, even a state, passes a law to enforce the already existing Islamic rule on alcohol, so be it. Laws vary from state to state according to peculiarities. Whoever must live in the state must follow the law.”
The Lagos-based Islamic preacher who has traveled far and wide also shared his experience in UAE, noting that, “The UAE is one of the countries who rank lowly in the comity of Islamic nations on religious and moral grounds.”
He buttressed his argument that whoever is conversant with the terrain of UAE would not be caught unawares with this latest development.
Also airing his thoughts on the modality of practising Shari’ah law in Kano and some parts of the Northern Nigeria, Sheikh Shafii said facts must first be established that the law is slanted against the poor, leaving out the privileged and elite.
He established that the Shari’ah does not contemplate such discriminations, hinting however that the Shari’ah law practised in Northern Nigeria is not a total one.
“Moving to Kano State, Nigeria, we should first understand that the Shari’ah used in Northern Nigeria is not a complete one. It’s well defined. However, Shari’ah doesn’t make discriminations.
“I think what we should ask is, if their Shari’ah covers the aspect of dressing. Who are the commoners punished? Who are the privileged ones spared? The facts of the matter must be established before we pass comments on Kano. So, if the facts have been established that their Shari’ah in Kano is discriminatory and intentionally skewed against the poor, it is completely unacceptable. That’s not the Shari’ah. Islam preaches equality and equal rights.”
Sheikh Shafii urged the champions of Shari’ah in the North to eschew discrimination and favouritism, citing a tradition where the Prophet (SAW) frowned seriously at it.
“During the life time of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the son of a privileged person stole and was convicted for it. A Sahabah, Usaamah attempted interventions for the culprit before the Prophet (SAW), suggesting that the culprit be spared. The Prophet (SAW) expressed his chagrin, vowing that if it were his daughter, Fatimah that stole, justice would come to pass.
“In all, Shariah is not discriminatory. It’s binding on every Muslim. Before enacting a law, Umar would call his household that a law is about to be enacted and shall be binding on everyone, telling them that any contravention will be met with appropriate punishment,” he added.
By Abdullah Abdulganiy
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