Friday, April 8, 2011


       Alhaji Haruna Endurance's banner, beside City Gate, along Airport Road, Abuja

The banner along airport road strategically placed adjacent to the City Gate cannot be missed by many. The said banner, captioned ALLAH PURPOSE WILL NOT BE ABORTED MIDWAY has, from left to right, the handsome picture of President Goodluck Mutorleb Jonathan, a beautiful Qur’anic calligraphy of Basmalah (opening verse for all surahs but one in the Glorious Qur’an) at the middle, and another picture of the sponsor, one Alhaji Haruna Endurance, with his two palms clasped together in a prayer fashion, his eyes raised to the heavens. At the base of the banner is this transliteration of Arabic text: ALAHU JALA JALA ALIU!
Before I delve into textual criticism of the banner and its contents let me remind the reader that I’ve always encouraged religious harmony and mutual understanding on this column, in my radio/television programmes and other public engagements. I believe that God created Christians and Muslims to recognise their differences and respect one another’s ways of worship in the variant creeds they profess. Thus, it behoves us, as members of these two great religions, to honour the religious sensibilities of the other even where we do not share that belief. Nothing short of this shall ensure peaceful coexistence in a multi-religious nation like Nigeria.
In line with the above averment, the majority of Christians believe, among others, in the Holy Trinity, the Cross as an emblem depicting the crucifixion, etc. Muslims believe in Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) as a great Messenger of God, born miraculously without a male’s intervention, and what not. We do not believe Jesus (peace be upon him) was God incarnate, son of God, was crucified or that he is part of a trinity. I will not blame a Christian for not sharing my belief in Jesus or harm him in any way because of his belief in the Trinity. He can remain what he is, believe what he likes, practise the dictates of his faith and still, with all these differences, he enjoys my respect, good neighbourliness and friendship. What is required of both of us is recognising the fact that in exercising our rights to practice the precepts of our faith, we should not hinder or infringe on the rights of others in practising theirs; understanding our differences in belief and the avoidance of hurting each other’s religious feelings.
Now, I will take strong exception to a Christian, for instance, who, in an attempt to garner support for Vice President Namadi Sambo among Christian electorate, would use his picture with a cross or a biblical verse which the Vice President, being a Muslim, does not believe in. It would be an aberration! Similarly, President Goodluck, as a Christian, does not believe in the Basmalah the meaning of which is: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful; a direct opposite of: In the Mighty Name of Jesus, or In the Name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit! What was Alhaji Haruna Endurance trying to underscore by printing the Qur’anic calligraphy of the Basmalah on the banner?
What type of Muslim is Alhaji Haruna? Or will it be that this Mr Endurance is not a Muslim? Clasping of two palms in prayer is another difference in the modus oparandi of rituals in Islam and Christianity. A Muslim should open his palms when praying. The Prophet has been severally reported to have raised his hands up with his palms wide open that the curve of his armpit was visible in certain prayers that he offered. The prayer from the Holy Harams of Makkah and Madeenah are beamed live to the comfort of our dwellings. The Imams are clearly seen raising and opening their two palms during al-Qunuut supplications. So, why is our banner sponsor (if indeed he sponsored it) clasping his palms and praying?
President Goodluck has been severally called by myriad names including Ebele and even Azikiwe; but Alhaji Haruna Endurance has chosen to christen Mr Jonathan with an Islamic appellation of Mutorleb! Only that this new name has further exposed the ignorance of the christener about the rules governing names is Islam. Mutorleb is a mutilated version of Muttalib which is a prominent name in the genealogy of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Throughout the history of Islam the name has never been written without the prefix Abdul; hence Abdulmuttalib should have been the right form of the name. I still cannot understand why Alhaji Haruna, of all the fathomless names in Islam, decides to honour President Goodluck Jonathan with the name of one of the fathers of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)?
The story is told of a gorilla and his master. The master wanted to take a nap so he told the gorilla to keep guard and not to allow anybody or anything, even if it be a fly, to disturb his sleep. Thereafter, the master reclined on his back, sleeping. Suddenly, a fly started buzzing and hovering around the master’s head; then it settled on his nose. Now, the gorilla, furious about this alien disturbing his benefactor’s sleep, stood up, got a heavy rock and hurled it ferociously on the fly that was resting on his  nose, and in the process killed his master that he was to protect. A madman, it is said, is someone ‘reasoning correctly from erroneous premises’.
The transliteration: ALAHU JALA JALA ALIU at the base of the banner brought to the fore the extent of ignorance of Mr Endurance. ALAHU JALA JALA ALIU is maiming of the correct form of ALLAAHU JALLA JALAA LUHU extolling the greatness of Allah’s Majesty. Apparently, Mr Endurance, due to lack of knowledge in the Arabic language, took the Basmalah for the Jalala, majesty and thus helped the English reader with a transliteration of his jumbled and flawed assumption. So, Basmalah that reads Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem ended with a transliteration of Allaahu Jalla Jalaa luhu, if we avoid repeating the grave mistakes inherent in Mr Endurance’s ignorant transliterations.
By God’s Providence, Goodluck Jonathan is the President, Commander in Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, whether one agrees or disagrees; this is the reality today which would not be altered by anybody’s acceptance or aversion. Alhaji Haruna Endurance, as stated above, captioned his banner with ALLAH PURPOSE WILL NOT BE ABORTED MIDWAY, let us leave the gruesome ‘murder’ of the English language in that caption for now. The Arabs believe that insanity has departments one of which is that of discordant grammatical expressions; Alhaji Haruna, given the contents of his banner, is sure to be a member of this group. This grammatically incongruent phrase will not merit any exertion on my part to correct it. I’ll leave as it is, but ask what is this abortion that Alhaji Haruna dreads concerning our dear President? If by will not be aborted midway Alhaji Haruna refers to any harm befalling the President before the end of his term on May 29th, 2011, I join him in saying God forbid! Allah will protect His Excellency from any calamity that alarmists like Alhaji Haruna may conjure in their mentally deranged psyche. But if on the other hand Mr Endurance desires a sort of Tazarce, continuity for Mr Jonathan as President to 2015, then, I say: that depends on the outcome of the 2011 presidential elections. It is not for charlatans to prophesy or malign the democratic process as an abortion in case the majority of Nigerians decide to vote President Jonathan out of office in a free and fair election. What sound minds do is to advise politicians to convince the electorate with cogent programmes and workable manifestos then pray for divine blessing, because God is not a member of the PDP or any political party for that matter!
Alhaji Haruna has naught to stand upon politically, linguistically and Islamically. He has only succeeded in making a very big fool of himself, using religion as a bait to gain cheap publicity, recognition and patronage of the government of the day. It is said that it is better to remain silent and be considered a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Those who are so desperate for attention and patronage that they would sell their deen for a pittance deserve only our scorn. Those who, as the Yorubas say, were absent the day shame was distributed and had no one to collect their shares in absentia; these shall meet with the wrath of the Almighty and the disdain of men
Woe unto those who write the scripture with their own hands….to traffic with it for a small gain. Woe unto them for that which their hands have written and woe unto them for the gain they earn thereby…. Miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls. (al-Baqarah 2:79, 90) For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? (Mark 8:36-37)

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ustaz, I share your observations but believe that it is as a result of half-knowledge which you know is more dangerous than ignorance. Alhaji Haruna Endurance is wallowing in ignorance of half-knowledge. I hope this piece gets to him and increase him in knowledge only if he uses it to change his desperado approach to public office, which will take anyone to no where.