Facts are sacredly constant. They have neither varieties nor alternatives. But they sometimes have an abstract way of teaching practical reality to all people (including Christians and Muslims), who may be doubtful of their existence.
Naturally, facts have no colours and, can, therefore, not be described as colourful. They are perpetually immaculate even as they are genuinely coated in invisible pouch of bitterness. Perhaps that is why they remain permanently unattractive to most people across nations and generations, who are flamboyantly garlanded in the robe of ostentation and are customarily adapted to only sweet taste of deception.
It is a fact rarely acknowledged, that today’s Muslims, in Nigeria, are perennially indebted to their Christian counterparts. This fact is though taken for granted, because of its abstract feature, its esoteric reality cannot be denied.
Ordinarily, indebtedness cannot be a crime if it is well shrouded in good and implementable intention for payment, in full measure, at an appropriate time. Such a timely payment of debt is a fulfillment of promise as a reconfirmation of one Prophetic Hadith that goes thus:
“There are three signs by which a hypocrite can be identified; when he speaks, he lies; when he promises he reneges; And, when he is trusted, he betrays”. However, payment of debt can, sometimes, be circumstantial. It may be prompt or deferred just as it may be positive or negative, depending on the circumstance that warrants the indebtedness in the first place. Nevertheless, this derivative from the above quoted Hadith may be a subject of different interpretations among scholars.
How can Muslims be said to be indebted to Christians in a country like Nigeria? That is a lucid question which most readers of this column are likely to ask in a soliloquy while reading this article. However, it should be recalled that, without the incessant verbal missiles being bellicosely hauled at Islam in Nigeria, by Nigerian Christians, especially those of Pentecostal denomination, with the motive of smearing Islam and denigrating Prophet Muhammad (SAW), to prop up their materialistic interest, today’s noticeable consciousness in Nigerian Muslims, about their religion, might never have been aroused. How else can Muslims be indebted to Christians? That indebtedness may now look trivial in the pace of progressive advancement of Islam in Nigeria, but one can imagine where the Muslims, in this country, would have been today, without the incessant Christian jabs of threat coming to them torrentially from every conceivable angle.
Ironically, however, the Nigerian Christians, too, to whom Muslims are said to be indebted, do not seem to realize the altruistic implications of their ceaseless antagonistic posture towards Islam today and tomorrow. If they had ever thought of it and sat down to sincerely assess its implications, they would have probably seen it as the real impetus that the Muslims need to trigger the necessary consciousness needed in them to foster Muslim unity in this country and strengthen the spirituality of Islam. That same Christian posture, which is now obviously devoid of the real teachings of Jesus Christ, is also the stimulant that spurs curiosity in many non-Muslims, who are eagerly prompted to adopt Islam by conversion today. This means that Christian hostility to Islam in Nigeria is of immense benefit to Allah’s divine religion. As a matter of fact, if the Muslims had not been spiritually cautioned against unnecessary reprisals, over hostility to their religion, this country would have long, been wildly inflamed, by religious wars of attrition.
However, if the obviously hostile posture of the Pentecostal Christians, had not been so dominantly injected into Gospel avocation in today’s Nigeria, the current Nigerian Muslims would have permanently remained on their imaginary beds, dreaming of an Islamic spiritual mirage.
If anything, therefore, Nigerian Muslims should be grateful to their Christian counterparts for the regularly engendered intimidating outbursts, in the media, that keep Muslims unwaveringly stable on their toes.
Expression of Gratitude
Given the above mentioned assertion, therefore, ‘The Message Column’, on behalf of millions of Nigerian Muslims, hereby doffs its hat to express a big ‘THANK YOU’, in capital letters, to Nigerian Christians for keeping the Muslims of this country consciously awake through ubiquitously negative preaching on the Church pulpits, even to the extent of religionizing politics without thinking of its consequences.
We are very grateful, not because we appreciate your way of practicing the religion of Christ, but because that method of yours hase become a dose of spiritual consciousness as well as a constant hint of a grand plan ahead.
At least, today, unlike in the past decades, Nigerian Muslims are so much conscious of their faith that whenever a voice is about to emerge, either from the enclave of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) or from any denominational Church, they (Muslims) can easily guess what the contents would be, and, their readiness for response has automatically become a matter of alacrity. Although, in most cases, Muslims do not react promptly to the incessant vituperations oozing out, like a suffocating smoke, from certain Church chimneys, which is aimed at polluting the country’s socio-political polity with the instrumentality of religion, such random Muslim aloofness is strictly in tandem with the Islamic discipline impacted on the generality of Muslims as a matter of divine norm. After all, it is universally acknowledged that the only invariable reason why a barrel can make the loudest noise is emptiness. And, to respond to such noise, every time it comes up with its nauseating bluster, is an indication of momentary idleness. Incidentally, Muslims, by the effective teaching of the tenets of their religion, are supposed to be so spiritually engaged that idleness will find no room in their spiritual space.
Islam in Nigeria Today
Today, in Nigeria, unlike in the past few decades, there is no professional field of human endeavour in which Nigerian Muslims are not distinctively found. That alone is enough to warrant implacable provocations from those who had surreptitiously consigned Islam and the Muslims to the periphery of material life in their self-deceptive perception of Allah’s divine religion. But, if not for the constant bullish tendency of Nigerian Christians to suppress Islam and the Muslims, by all means, the latter would not have gone, all out, to seek the so-called Western education which now encourages them to abide by the adage that says “when the going gets tough, only the tough keeps going”. In other words, the arena of the so-called Western education in Nigeria would have been exclusively dominated by the Christians alone, in the belief that literacy, in English language, (which they ignorantly call education) is mainly for seeking administrative jobs and that only the menial aspect of those jobs should be reserved for the Muslims because their illiterate in English language.
Those who constitute the engine room of this frivolous concept can hardly remember that the euphoria of literacy in English language that often prompts them to gallivanting arrogantly around does not go beyond Nigerian borders with her French speaking neighbor countries. And that is what distinguishes education from literacy.
Education and Literacy
In Islam, there is a Clear-cut dichotomy between education and literacy. That is why the Muslims, in emulation of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), lay a very strong emphasis on education that is inheritably beneficial to the entire humanity, rather than on mere literacy that is of temporary benefit to the literate person alone. Aftera all, the most educated human being that ever lived is Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who was an illiterate.
When Islam first arrived, in the vast territory that later came to be named Nigeria, over one thousand years ago, the attitude of its earliest adherents was to embrace that divine religion basically for the purpose of acquiring knowledge. And, that continued for centuries without any thought of attributing the Arabic literacy that came with it to any material benefit.
But when the British colonialists perched on the shores of this same territory, in about 1861, with emphasis on mere literacy in their own (English language) which was backed up with certificate, as meal ticket, materialism automatically gained an upper hand, especially in the South West of today’s Nigeria, where those colonialists finally settled down with head office in Lagos, which was later endorsed as Nigeria’s capital city.
It was, therefore, the effect of materialism foisted on our people, through literacy in English language, that instigated the religious discrimination and intimidation that we are now witnessing in the sphere of what is labeled education in Nigeria. Today, the massive rural-urban migration that has come to drastically reduce the agricultural economy of Nigeria is masterminded by literacy in English language and the South West Nigeria is mostly guilty of this. That is the region where English language has virtually replaced the natural Yoruba language often ignorantly called vernacular. It is through literacy in English language that those who have perpetually enslaved themselves to that colonial language do generate ethos of enmity in Nigerian society especially in the religious sphere.
There are much more to discuss about this psycho-linguistic issue and its implications for the development of Nigeria. But because of lack of space, now, further discussion on it, in this column, will be deferred to a future date. Meanwhile, readers of ‘The Message’ column are implored to look out for comments of this column, next Friday, God willing, on the currently trending Muslim/Muslim ticket issue that is fiercely gathering impregnable momentum. God spare our lives.
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