Re: Open Letter to Sheikh Ahmad Gumi
By Sheikh Dr Ahmad Gumi
The first basic rule of judgment in Islamic Jurisprudence is the proper knowledge of the case. Not hearsay and conjectures. Then the judge must be fair. You cannot judge by hearing one side. Such a judgment is biased, unjust, and unfair.
No doubt, whoever will depend today on only what the media says, will have a jaundiced opinion colored by either ethnic/religious prejudice or share melancholy against the ‘other’.
So, I don’t expect, a bit of honest advice from a person who has not established that he or she has heard both sides of a case or conflict. Or even has displayed consistency in opposing evil from whoever it emanates even if it’s against himself or his tribe or region. A southerner who has not spoken against the criminalities of lynching Fulani herdsmen in the south by his tribal hoodlums and killing their cattle has no ethical ground to admonish others.
The Fulani herdsmen debacle at the stage we are now is a case of ethnic wars.
And in wars, the first casualty is the truth. Who started the war? now becomes irrelevant. What methods are employed by the warring factions? also becomes irrelevant. Americans still justify the use of atomic bombs that destroys everything green and dry on the Japanese. For over 8 years, Iran and Iraq were engaged in dirty city wars where Tehran and Bagdad were bombarded with ballistic missiles without regard to the unethical consequences of killing innocent civilians, men, women, children, animals, and plants. They are both Muslim countries.
In this ethnic war, the same is true for both sides of the conflict. It’s herdsmen vs the others. In Oyo, Anambra, etc., innocent herdsmen were killed, their huts burned and their cattle killed by some hoodlums. On the other hand, also, some herdsmen bandits kill and kidnap the people in the war with them and as the only means of sustaining their arsenal as they are largely left without cattle. There are herdsmen in Adamawa, Yobe, Jigawa, and many other states, yet they are not kidnapping or killing people.
Like the ENDSARS protest proved to all Nigerians that brutality of the bad elements of the police is a fact. So also the herdsmen were and are still also the victims of the brutality of the bad elements of our armed forces untold and unreported. Their protest has been to arm themselves. It became an ‘armed race’ fueled by kidnappings and extortion of the populace they see as convincing with vigilantes and armed forces that are extorting and killing them also – as they said.
Wars are dirty!
So, the moment one quotes short of the verse of the Holy Quran on the punishment of arm robbery on this case in question, it’s a misquotation out of context. The verses are categorical that even in such case when the robbers repent before being apprehended by the authorities, they are given amnesty.
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; * Except for those who repent before they fall into your power: in that case, know that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” Q5/33-34.
So what is my role and interest?
My role is to broker peace. I am convinced it is an ethnic war.
“There is no good in much of their secret conferences save (in) him who enjoineth almsgiving and kindness and peacemaking among the people. Whoso doeth that, seeking the good pleasure of Allah, We shall bestow on him a vast reward.” Q4/114 Piktal.
I am also to admonish and teach unlettered people about what is right and ethical even in conflicts. Such a role requires me to respect my subjects and ‘hobnobb’ with them so that I get their confidence and attention. After all, it’s my house that is the ‘theatre of war’ which makes it mandatory for me to apply anything possible to avert its destruction. Whether it’s palatable to others or not. İ feel the pain and I suffer the consequence.
Yesterday I got a call from a Niger state village:
“Ariel bombardment has killed women some pregnant and children in the forest”
And Just this morning I got a text message:
“Barka da safe Dr ina mai maka fatan alkhair. There are so many distress & disturbing calls from Zangon Kataf on d loss of lives & disappearance of cattle. They can see their corpses nor see the cattle reared. We are all worried what do u suggest? May Allah be so pleased with you and ease for you, amin.”
So this is the war some people are sad we are aspiring to extinguish. I have no doubts that when nemesis catches up with the warmongers, they will remember, there is one Gumi who has told them to tread the path of peace!
May Allah quell the fire and restore sanitary in our nation. Amin
Sheikh Dr Ahmad Gumi