Sunday, April 17, 2016


                                                                             His Eminence, The Sultan

The Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatis Sunnah in conjunction with The Muslim World League (Raabitah), organised a two-day International Islamic Conference on Peace and Stability from March 17th - 19th, 2016 at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.

The organisers showed gratitude to both President Muhammad Buhari , who declared the Conference open, and King Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz Al Sa’ud, Custodian of the Two Holy Masjids for facilitating the Conference which brought together dignitaries from many countries as special guests, paper presenters, members of the press and participants. The Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki together with a multitude from the National Assembly formed part of attendees. His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, as well as the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II graced the occasion. 

Participants at the Conference cut across regions from Africa, Asia, the Gulf states and the United States of America.

Izala is no longer a local Islamic organisation. Izala is an international movement with members in myriad countries around the world, especially now that it has got the stamp of authority from the Custodian of the Two Holy Masjids, King Salman Ibn AbdulAziz Al Sa’ud, depicted by this alliance with The Muslim World League.

This international conference, the first of its kind by any Muslim group in Nigeria, has opened a new phase in the development of Izala from a movement, viewed by not a few Muslims, with penchant to expelling people from the fold of Islam because of its strict adherence to the principles of monotheism, to a modern Islamic body which pledges allegiance to peaceful exchange of ideas, and engaging the other on scholastic and intellectual platforms.  

It was gladdening to sit in a hall with Christians of various denominations, and  Muslims from Darika groups attending a conference organised by Izala. Just 10 years ago, one may be pardoned for deeming such meeting impossible. Not anymore. Izala extended invitations to Qadiriyyah and Tijjaniyyah leaders for their participation in the conference, and they all honoured by attending in large numbers. I sat close to Sheikh Tijjani Bala Kalarawi who informed me after one of the sessions at the conference that he came with a lot of other Tijjaniyyah followers like Imam Nasiru Adam, Chief Imam, Sheikh Ahmad Tijjani Mosque, Kano, Sheikh Shehu Shehu Mai Hula, Kano and many in a handsome delegation sent by Khalifah of the Tijjaniyyah Order Worldwide, Sheikh Isyaku Rabiu.

Another powerful delegation was sent by Sheikh Qaribullah Nasiru Kabara, Head of Qadiriyyah Doctrine, West Africa.

This is what we desire: burying the hatchets of rancour. Our disputes on any matter should be referred to Allah and His Messenger, if we really believe in Him as our final arbiter (Qur’an 4:59).

One important lesson from the conference, which I believe the Izala leadership should learn well is the tolerance and maturity our Darika brothers displayed. The mere fact that Darika people agreed to come together with Izala brothers in a conference is a huge leap. Those who did not know the level of acrimony between the two broad groups cannot appreciate this well enough.

These were groups of people who once did not see eye to eye. They used the pulpits of their respective mosques to hurl insults at each other. Somehow, maturity is setting in these days as evidenced by an invitation to the Darika people from the Izala side; something no right-thinking Izala man would do a decade or two ago. Indeed the acceptance of the invitation and subsequent attendance of the big guns in the Darika stables probably led to the silence of their leaders who normally took swipes at the Izala after such  conferences in audio and video recordings. The Izalas too would have found a way to do a rejoinder recording and so the vicious cycle would continue, ad infinitum ad nauseum.

One of the more virulent ones among the Darika made it his pastime to insult His Eminence, the Sultan at regular intervals. He once called His Eminence the Sultan of only the Izala because he felt the two factions of Izala were to be considered as one but the Sultan considered them to be two groups and thus gave each representation in the yearly Hajj committee along with representatives from the Darika. Ironically, I am aware that some of the Izala view the Sultan as a closet Darika!

In fact, Sheikh Abdul Mohsen of the Raabitah remarked that this new understanding between the two groups should give rise to a change of name for the Izalas. The current name of Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatis Sunnah (Society for Eradicating Religious Innovation and Upholding the Sunnah) could henceforth become Jama’atu Iqaamatis Sunnah (Society for Upholding the Sunnah) without the Izaalatul Bid’ah (Eradicating Religious Innovation); a phrase which he deemed rather confrontational and no longer necessary since, in his respected opinion, the bid’ah (wrong innovation) has been cleared away now. 

The respected scholar and Secretary General of the World Muslim League urged all the groups to work together to educate their followers properly and to collaborate in the fight against religious extremism; a statement I found somewhat at cross purposes with the advice to stop mentioning the eradication of bid’ah. This is because there is no way you can fight against religious extremism without fighting bid’ah, since it is bid’ah which leads to religious extremism to begin with.

The point he was trying to make was clear, the context and application will be subject to many considerations. I foresee a future where Darika would invite the Izala to their own conferences and the Izala would attend and present papers and vice versa. I foresee a point in time when the two can sit and thrash out any issue in a scholarly fashion; in a way which shows both sides have been schooled in the etiquette of disagreement in Islam.

A situation where a so-called scholar would mount the rostrum and tell the leader of Nigerian Muslims, the Sultan that his forebears’ jihad did not reach Guru and so he does not regard the Sultan as his leader is sad and avoidable. When senility takes away discernment, it is the duty of the students of such, who as his children should guide their parent who has become a child.

“And God has created you and in time will cause you to die; and many a one of you is reduced in old age to a most abject state, ceasing to know anything of what he once knew so well. Verily, God is all-knowing, infinite in His power” Q16 (An-Nahl): 70

1 comment:

  1. Referring to Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi as "...a so-called scholar..." has exposed your hidden ulterior motive in this write up. And of all the beating about the bush you did, this is your 'Topic Sentence' in whole article.

    Kifi na ganin ka mai jar koma!

    Even your pay-masters cannot call Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi "a so-called scholar". You are lucky Malam Adamu Adamu (The Hon. Minister of Education) is where he is now, you low level thinking could have earned you a good re-joinder.