It is an unfortunate irony that despite the spiritual significance of the month of Ramadan when Muslims are supposed to imbibe more sense of unity and solidarity, the lingering disunity among Nigerian Muslims becomes particularly perceivable during Ramadan public Tafseer sessions by various Islamic scholars of particularly the three main Muslim groups in the country i.e. Qadiriyya, Tijjaniyya and Izala whose interpretations of some Qur’anic verses contradict one another as though they are reading and interpreting different books altogether.
By the way, I deliberately omit Shia ‘sect’ here because their case is different in this context. I may write a separate article about it sometime in the near future.
Anyway, though, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), which is the umbrella organization for Muslim groups in the country does its best to promote unity among them, the absence of a substantive religious body with adequate authority to introduce, implement and enforce regulatory reforms to address this situation, which is obviously due to constitutional constraints, remains partly responsible for the persistence of this negative phenomenon.
Besides, the situation also persists because certainly there are some influential Muslim scholars out there who benefit from it and are therefore hell-bent on maintaining the status-quo by spiritually manipulating their audiences and followers to keep them perpetually clueless, confused hence increasingly disunited.
Interestingly enough, Islam gives room for reasonable inter-pretational and jurisprudential disagreements over some non-fundamental issues on which there are no clear-cut Qur’anic verses or authentic Prophetic Hadiths. Consequently, Muslim jurists have over the centuries disagreed on many issues, which gave rise to various jurisprudential schools of thought in Islamic jurisprudence like Maliki, Hanbali, Shafi’i, Hanafi Schools of thought, etc.
Yet, even in their disagreements in such jurisprudential matters, they always derived inspirations from the perceptions of the earlier Muslim generations particularly the Prophet’s companions who were fortunate enough to be his disciples, which also enabled them (i.e. companions) have better understanding of the context and intendment of any Qur’anic verse revealed to him, act he did, endorsement he made and Hadith he uttered.
This therefore means that any understanding or interpretation of any Qur’anic verse or Prophetic Hadith that emerged after the era of the Prophet’s companion and the first few generations of their successors, and which contradicts their reasoning and general philosophy of understanding, is simply invalid and, indeed, divisive.
After all, the entire Islamic literatures i.e. the holy Qur’an and all the compilations of the authentic Sunnah e.g. Muwatta-Malik, Sahihul-Bukhari, Sahihu-Muslim and the thousands of other authentic narrations scattered in other major reference books of Hadith, Fiqh, Seerah and other disciplines, remain and will forever remain intact.
Likewise, all the theoretical and practical explanations and elaborations of the holy Qur’anic verses and the authentic Prophetic Hadiths by the Prophet’s companions, their successors and the subsequent generations of Muslim jurists who followed their footsteps, remain preserved in the other reference books of Islam written by Muslim jurists across the centuries.
One may wonder if the whole issue is that simple and transparent, what then explains these apparently irreconcilable disagreements bet-ween various Muslims sects and groups not only in Nigeria but all over the world.
The fact is that, after the earlier Muslim generations, and against the backdrop of declining religious scholarship and awareness among the average Muslims, many self-serving individuals masquerading as saints began to emerge with their different and often conflicting heretical spiritual orders and fellowships, which they had created out of their delusions, illusions and even hallucinations.
Also, over the subsequent centuries many more sects, spiritual orders and groups continued to emerge while Muslims continued to be divided along various ideological lines accordingly. Such so-called saints have always capitalized on the average Muslims’ gullibility to manipulate them spiritually, secure their allegiances and exploit them in pursuit of selfish worldly benefits.
Therefore, it is obvious that, the deepening disunity among the Ummah that started then and has persisted ever since, can only be reversed by returning to the legacy of the earlier Muslim generations who never had any disagreement on any fundamental issue of the religion, which among other things earned them the Pleasure of Allah the Almighty.
Though many among the average Muslims who have been misled into any of such heretical sects might be too confused to realize this simple solution, their so-called spiritual guardians who have misled them, do surely realize it, yet they simply won’t acknowledge and publicly proffer it as the only solution, because it simply means the end of their exploitative spiritual guardianships, which they have also turned hereditary to ensure that their descendants perpetuate the status quo by continuing to mislead and exploit their innocent and naïve Muslim victims.
Also even when they pretend to lament Muslims’ disunity, they deliberately and cleverly avoid talking about the only specific and necessary solution as I pointed out earlier, because it will expose them and their agendas. Likewise, they vehemently oppose and hate whoever insists on proffering this only solution, as they also falsely describe him as a controversial and divisive element.
Achieving Muslims’ unity is not an event to hold, it is instead a process that emphasizes the need to acknowledge the fact that, nothing can unite Muslims except returning to the actual Islam practiced by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his pious companions, which is still and will always remain intact, practicable and implementable.
Source: Mohammad Qaddam Sidq Isa – http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/opinion/28933-beneficiaries-of-the-disunity-among-nigerian-muslims