Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Kwara State University, Prof. Hamzah AbdurRaheem has waded into the discussion over the status of the Mufti of Ilorin, positing that it is not only traditional, but also Islamic.
According to him, the Ilorin emirate culture is rooted deeply in the practices of Islam, and as such, many of its traditions are Islamic.
“Let me clear something here. When we talk of Ilorin, what’s their tradition? Their tradition is embedded in Islam. That’s why we have the emirate, which comes from the root word, imaara, from Amir-ul-mu’mineen. The tradition here is Islam in itself. So, any title given to anybody has Islamic connotation. Mufti in particular, isn’t only traditional but Islamic. That’s why it cannot be given to just anybody. Not everyone is qualified. Everyone can be Turaki or Waziri, as long as he has money or connection, and is well respected, and so on, but not everyone can be Mufti. As popular as the late Dr. Saraki was, he can’t be appointed as Mufti,” he said.
Prof. Hamzah also noted that Sheikh Sulaiman Faruq Onikijipa is fit for the appointment as a knowledgeable and well-exposed Islamic scholar, adding that both are essentially the qualities expected of a mufti.
“A mufti is a person who gives Islamic views or positions on different issues such as religious, social, political, economic, among others. Basically, he is the one who gives the position of Islam on issues.
“The newly-appointed Mufti of Ilorin is knowledgeable, capable, and well-exposed. These are the three qualities expected of any Mufti. If you don’t have experience and exposure, you may not know what to say and to handle some Islamic issues, especially now that we have many issues emanating from our different interactions with our brothers all over the world. So, we’ll need someone highly knowledgeable, who will be able to use the knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah properly, and in recognition of culture and tradition of the people without contravening any Islamic principles.”
The Don, who is also an Ilorin indigene said in the real sense, the title of Mufti of Ilorin is only limited to the Emirate, explaining, however, that given the posture of Ilorin as the leading city of Islamic knowledge in Yorubaland, extending the title to the entire Yorubaland may not be out of order.
“To be realistic, the title is limited to the Ilorin emirate. But, by virtue of the position of Ilorin as the leading city and custodian of Islamic knowledge in the whole of Yorubaland, some people may take it to be the Mufti of Yorubaland, but in actual fact, it’s the Mufti of Ilorin. So, if by the respect given to Ilorin scholars by the Yoruba people, then, the title can go as far as the entire Yoruba race.”
He also gave his position on some previous controversial comments of Sheikh Onikijipa that led a section of Muslims to go against his appointment.
Hear him: “I don’t really know what people are saying and I don’t know what they really meant by their comments, but what I know is that even if Sulaiman had made some mistakes in the past, I mean, I didn’t say he made mistakes, but if he had made some mistakes in the past, certainly his present position will push him to do or say the right thing.
“Now that he is a Mufti, he will know what to say, and what not to say, and how to react to issues, including relating and aligning with the people. We shouldn’t capitalise on those things he did in the past, because Almighty God forgives what we have done in the past as long as we have repented. I am not saying he committed any sin, but even if he has done anything wrong, this position he occupies will assist him.”
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