"I Understand This Religion" by Barr. Sadiq Ibrahim Dasin

In kai ba zaka iya rungumar mahaifiyar ka ko ‘yar cikin ka in times of happiness or grief ba sei kaji wani sha’awa, then you need to see a doctor
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Barr. Sadiq Ibrahim Dasin

I cannot ascribe much knowledge of Islam to myself having written severally here that I am an ordinary Muslim with very limited knowledge of the religion. But for sure even though I am from a Dariqa family, there are things I don’t agree with in Dariqa. As an ordinary Muslim, there are also many things I don’t agree with the teachings of Izala Ulamas. Better still, I can pinpoint a few Hausa-Fulani cultural practices that found their way into Islam which people literally give the force of law while they are not. I can also discern some areas where the religion of Islam differs from Arab culture which we here falsely give the force of law. I understand this religion.

I was born in a village where I assimilated early Islamic knowledge; the kind that is not deep, as I said, but what I learned earlier was sufficient as background for a child of my time. As an adult, however, I was trained as a lawyer, a discipline that taught me to be analytical or logical in reasoning and be critical in thinking. You cannot confuse me.

Then I have opportunities that enable me to travel around the world. By virtue of this, I understand that we share a lot of cultural similarities with Arabs. However, what we do not seem to understand is that what the Arabs themselves share is language. They differ in religion. What I mean is that the defining aspect of all Arabs is the Arabic language and common traditions, not their religion.

Undoubtedly, therefore, an Arab is not necessarily a Muslim and a Muslim is not necessarily an Arab. And although the majority of Arabs are Muslims, there are Arabs who are Jewish and there are many Arabs who are Christian. In fact, Arabs make up only 20% of the followers of Islam in the world. India alone has well over 200 million Muslims; certainly more than the entire Nigerian population.

It means therefore that Arab Jews, Arab Christians, and Arab Muslims who live in the same country as Lebanon, Palestine, Syria or Egypt may have a common culture but not common religion. Their culture may or may not Islamic culture.

Again in the geographical area called the Middle East, which is the home of the Arabs, Iran is in that location but Iran is not an Arab nation because that country is predominantly a Persian culture and most people there speak Farsi not Arabic. Their culture is not Arab culture and perhaps that may explain why Iran is Shi’a who is considered heretics by the majority Sunni. This may explain why the six Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates where the Arabs are less mixed, prefer an Israel in the Middle East than to allow Iran to breathe over their shoulders.

That being the case, you cannot confuse me about the religion of Islam. It cut across cultures. So we have a commonality and of course differences. Therefore we must not only be tolerant as Muslims but be tolerant of non Muslims amongst us because our differences are both cultural as well as doctrinal.

As a matter of fact, there is no religion that has no doctrinal differences. And it is from doctrinal differences that we find the fact that religious practice varies from place to place, mosque to mosque, and individual to individual. Like in Christianity, there are significant historic disagreements between different sects in Islam. So ka dauki addini a hankali kawai.

My advice is that people should do well to just look at the fundamentals of Islam. In religion, there are certain basic beliefs or fundamentals that all Muslims agree on. For instance, all Muslims believe that God (Allah) is one God. No Islamic sect says otherwise. That Muhammad (SAW) is the last prophet, that there are five pillars of practice in Islam. That we turn towards the Ka’aba to pray. In ka fahimci wannan, menene na fada da zage zage a addini? Ka je ka nemi ilimi kawai na yadda zaka yi bauta.

Gaskiyar maganar shine throughout history it is extremists, tyrants, dictators, and many religious leaders who have contorted the meaning of various religions to meet their political ends. For instance in da Shekau yaci nasara ba don dole kowa sei ya zama Boko Haram a Nigeria ba? Therefore often it is cultural practices that include violence associated with religions or encouraged by specific clerics. Only the ignorants fail to understand this.

Okay let us consider the following cultural practices among the Hausa-Fulani and see whether they are Islamic or whether they are practices that we should fight about.

  • In the aspects of marriage, in Islamic law, only two male adults who are Muslims are sufficient as witnesses for a valid marriage. The religion is silent on whether we should gather much or few people in a “wedding Fatiha” as we called it here, or whether the two witnesses are enough. Therefore, to me, inescapably, any number of people you  gather (apart from the minimum) is left to you and that cannot be construed as bidi'a. Larabawa basa tara mutane a kofar gidajen su don daurin aure ko ta’aziyar mutuwa, ko zanen suna. Amma mu anan muna yi. To meye a ciki? In fact Larabawa ba su san da tara mutane wajen daurin aure ba. In ko akwai wanda ya taba gani ya fadi, in dei ba walima ya gani ba.
Many of my Arab friends get amused if I show them video na daurin aure ko zanen suna. Infact in Arab culture, ango shike wakiltar kansa; bashi da alwali kamar mace. Mace ce ke da alwali don ba zata iya representing kanta a cikin maza ba.
  •  In matters of dressing, Islam says what is necessary is you cover your ‘aura’. How you do it is left according to your tradition and means. One can wear ‘monkey jacket’ or suit or ‘malum malum’ or ‘jallabiya’, ‘gaare’ or ‘yar tsala’ so long as he covers his ‘aura’ bai yi bidi'a ba. The other day I posted my picture here on Facebook wearing Manchester United jersey and a friend of mine commented that “at your age you should have dressed properly”. Menene ‘properly’ beyond the ‘aura’?
  • A dabi’ar Larabawa fa yaro sai ya dauki taba sigari ta babansa ya kunna yana sha, kuma su zauna suna hira tare da ubansa kamar abokai. In a nan ne ba kawai za a ce yayi bidi'a ba, cewa za ayi yayi kafirci. In shan taba sigari bidi’a ce ma, ni banga inda ake shan taba sigari da yawa irin kasashen Larabawa ba. By the way mu a nan me yasa yaro zai roki babansa goro, kuma ya ci goron a gaban babansa? Cin goro sunna ce?  It is just because shan taba is alien to the Hausa-Fulani culture while cin goro is purely a Hausa-Fulani culture. Finished.
  • Kuma Larabawa suna gaisa wa da iyayensu by shaking hands. Amma a nan bamu yi. Larabawa shake hands with their parents. It is Arab culture yaro namiji ya rungumi mahaifiyar shi, ko elder sistan shi, ko ya rungumi kanwar shi.

Na taba posting hoto with my daughter where she leaned on me. Zo kaga zage zage a Facebook. She is my daughter for God’s sake. In kai ba zaka iya rungumar mahaifiyar ka ko ‘yar cikin ka in times of happiness or grief ba sei kaji wani sha’awa, then you need to see a doctor.

Hugging in times of merriment or grief ba dabi’an Turawa ba ne kadai. Dabi’ar Larabawa ce kuma ba a hana ba.

I never shook hand with my dad but I shake my children especially when I return from work or from a journey or when they return too. It is a mere ‘al'ada’ not to shake hands with your children though I am guilty of not shaking hands with the older ones. But it is not against Islamic injunction. So meye a ciki tunda ba a haramta ba? In fact Larabawa basa durqusawa iyayensu. ‘Na shake me, I shake you suke yi’.

Mutane out of ignorance believe that all Arab cultural practices are Islamic culture ko kuma Hausa-Fulani culture is Islamic culture. Wasu kuma wrongly believes that all Arabs are Muslims while it is not so. The three may be similar in many respects but where they differ, Islamic culture prevails not Arab or Hausa-Fulani culture.

Kuma wannan differences bai kamata ya kawo cecekuce ba.