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Why You Should Never Be An Extremist, A study of Nigerian Hell Hawkers – Part 1 By Elder Yinka Salaam

The recent comment on social media about the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi by some extremists in Southwest Nigeria has again brought to the fore, the need to critically address a scourge of extremism ravaging the Muslim community.

Even as the Ummah and the Ajimobi’s family mourned his exit, a Salafi platform, “Da’wah Link Refutations” posted on its Facebook page: “Late #Ajimobi was a Taagut democrat. Stop praying for him, learn #Tawheed!”

As if that was not enough, a Salafiy under a pseudo name: Abu AbdulRahman Imam Shabaaby (name written in Arabic) who apparently belongs to a different Salafiyah group released another post on Saturday 28th June. Imam Shabaaby swore with Allah that the former governor “will enter hell!”

Many other series of posts followed in this direction. According to these extremists, the former governor’s offence was that he was a democrat and believed in democracy as well as democratic governance. To them, democracy is kufr, as if though democracy is not better than the monarchial system (they endorsed) practiced in the Arab Gulf and many Muslim countries.

Allah’s secretary

Many observers wondered why these extremists have either become Allah’s secretary or have been chosen by Him as the gatekeepers of Hell.

Responses from Muslims

This development triggered the response of Kolade Ghaniyy Abu Hamza who posited that Imam Shabaaby truly needs psychiatric care: “This guy needs Immediate psychiatric attention or I will suggest the Honorable Ajimobi’s family should just track and send him to Agodi (prison) to return his sanity. This is alien to Islam. May Allah safeguard us from extremism. Aamin,” he said.

In his opinion, Dr Ogunkoya O.A. noted that the menace of Salafiyah has been left to fester for too long, warning that, like Boko Haram if not addressed, the nation and the Ummah stands the risk of suffering dire consequences from the extreme creed, insisting that these extremists should not be treated as mere attention seekers.

“I don’t know why we are surprised, and pretending that we don’t know that these sick Salafee people exist in Amukoko, Ikorodu, Ado-Odo Ota, Iwo, Abeokuta, Oyo, Ilorin…

“This is beyond attention-seeking. I have seen at least 7 Khawaarij posts like this on Ajimobi. 99% of them usually use Faceless Facebook Accounts.

“It is in their creed to condemn fellow Muslims, like the Khawaarij. We have stressed it several times that you don’t leave a Virus alone, but to attack it. This is because when you also die, they will also curse you.”

“These Salafee Takfirees are not mere attention-seekers, as some Muslims will naively think. ISIS, Boko Haram ……are not attention seekers. You only ignore them at your own perill. The cock is gradually coming back home to roost,”he said.

Ogunkoya said Salafiyah groups are the bad products of Sunni Islam and urged the Ummah to stop ignoring them.

“It is the failure of the Muslim Scholars, Leadership and Family…. Let’s stop living in Denial of the existence of this Boko Haram, ISIS, Wahabee Madkhali Extremists in our midst. A stich in time…,” Dr Ogunkoya warned.

Responding to the statement of Imam Shabaaby on the late Senator, Abu Mazeedatilkhayr Bn Sa’eed expressed serious concern about the teacher of these extremists, who he alleged, keeps breeding extremism for personal interest.

“Who could be more criminal than a mischievous teacher of falsehood who taught his boys a miserable brand of salafiyah. I have said it again and again that the whole world suffers the mistake of a teacher.

“The teacher who, for his wishful desire to dominate, control and claim a crowd of sheepish followers, chose to malign other teachers of knowledge, is indeed malicious. You rubbished people’s hard-earned certificates, PhD for that matter, simply because of your desire for relevance, whereas you have none beyond a Thanawiyah in a slump in Amukoko.

“You taught the innocent boys how best to identify a Mubtadi’, an Ikhwaani and a kaafir in a fellow Muslim of Sunnah orientation. You exposed eminent scholars to ridicule on social media by telling the world that they are fraudulent. If you truly loved the dawah of Sunnah, what effect do you think your slanderous claim would have on the old man’s dawah?

“There’s hardly a prominent scholar in Yoruba land who had not been victimized by you with lies and blackmail. Shaykh Issa Akindele, Shaykh Najimdeen Sulayman, Dr. Bilal Asra’, Professor AbdulRazaq Alaro and Shaykh Dhikrullahi Shaafi’ are all your victims. Are you the only one teaching the Sunnah?

“For always vilifying others so that you might gain prominence in dawah….,

Abu Mazeedatilkhayr noted that this teacher of extremism has broken down the fabric of the Ummah and its unity, as he keeps villifying other scholars to gain prominence in da’wah. He wondered what exactly the ‘devilish’ teacher want from the Muslim public. “Is it Prominence? Relevance? Honour? Prestige? You probably want to satiate the ego of your pay master,” Abu Mazeedatilkhayr inquired.

Mallam Nojeem Jimoh was so enraged by this idiocy that he posted: “He who wrote that Ajimobi was a Kafir destined for Hell Fire has made himself God. Is your father in Paradise?”, he queried.

Olabode Hakeem Adewale Hakwalab reminded us that,

“Anybody who says we shouldn’t pray for Senator Isiak Ajimobi is a Khawarij (Kharajite), a cursed sect since the time of the Prophet”.

What is Extremism?

Extremism is holding of extreme political or religious views; such as fanaticism. It is “the quality or state of being extreme” or “the advocacy of extreme measures or views,”. Extremism may also be an ideology that is considered to be far outside the mainstream attitudes of society.

Islam’s view of extremism

Prophet Muhammad was reported to have warned Muslims against extemism. In a popular hadith, he was quoted to have said: “Beware of extremism, for it is the cause of destruction of those who came before you”

In another Hadith, he admonished thus: “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way… “Bukhari Vol 1.38.

Who is an extremist?

An extremist goes beyond bounds and goes overboard in most cases. He sees only himself, believes only in himself, sticks rigidly to an ideology or a path he has chosen for himself, not minding the correctness of others.

He sees things only from his own prism, refuses to acknowledge the truth as long as it is from the ‘opponents’; easily labels his opponents with improper names, subscribes to taqlid (blind followership of only the ‘accredited’ scholars’ opinions), concludes that whoever opposes his opinion is on ‘falsehood’, throws him/her out of Islam and outrightly casts/condemns the person to hell!

An extremist makes a mountain out of a mole hill, magnifies minor errors into grave sins, turns trivial issues of jurisprudendence into ideological ones and hurriedly casts to hell those who hold different opinions with him on varying matters.

An extremist knows for sure that differences of opinions do exist, yet he stubbornly sticks to one to the detriment of others, using it to create divisions.

This is why Imam al-Dhahabi (may Allah be pleased with him) said in his Tadhkiratul-Huffadh said: “Should I tell you who the true Faqih is? The one who does not make the people despair from the mercy of Allah, doesn’t give them license to sin, and doesn’t make them think they are safe from misguidance.”

Extremists abandon Muslim and Islam

An etremists abandons the general name – MUSLIM and choose for himself another set of names. Extremist main focus is to find faults in the conscious Muslims and abandon non-Muslims as well as nominal Muslims who truly deserve more attention and guidance, while committing greater offense he accuses others of.

Extremists accuse people of hizbi (partisanship or forming organisations), yet they conversely establish the most ruthless global cult-like organisation, never to admit faults, errors or inadequacies, while striving frantically to destroy the sincere work of others, including noble and notable scholars.

Extremists conceal crimes of allies

Extremists protect and conceal crimes and evils of their colleagues and paymasters, hiding under the unfounded concept of ‘silence is golden’, but find it easy to pick faults in individuals and condemn authorities that do not belong to their camps or school of thought. For instance, under the watch of Salafi scholars, the Saudi government has sponsored more wars and assassinations of Muslims around th imprisonment of upright scholars who tried to caution them, yet, they hardly ever condemn the KSA iniquities, they rather justified them.

Use and dump MSSN

After surreptitiously using the Muslim Students Society, they mislead innocent students into leaving the vibrant organisation and joining the extremist group -truncating education of many and destroying the future of innocent ladies by luring them into ill-conceived marriages that mostly collapse in no distant time. They turned back to tag the same MSSN as a Bid’ah organisation, unworthy of being associated with. The ‘verdict’ (on MSSN) notwithstanding, the extremists groups still refuse to let go their stronghold of the same MSSN in some universities and polytechnics to achieve their objectives. One wonders why they remain in the organisation which they have laballed as ‘elegbe’ – a bidiah organisation.

On campuses, extremists do not only declare the only organisation of the Muslim Students, MSSN, as Bidia’h, they do cause divisions among students, categorise them into different groups with varying appellations and refuse to recognise or respect the constituted authorities either from within the Muslim community or from the higher heirachy of MSSN.

Allah’s mercy on Islam

However, Allah in his infinite mercy has a way of uniting Muslims upon the truth despite the ceaseless centrifugal tendencies and efforts of the extremists. Allah alone in his infinite wisdom determines and dignifies who the real Muslims and scholars are.

While the Northern Nigeria has had its own share of extremism, which metarmophosed into Boko Haram that has slaughtered illustrious scholars of Islam and thousands of citizens, the Southern Nigerian may be breeding its own brand of extremist group if care is not taken.

A case in point was an Ibadan-based Abu Ibeji, few years ago, who passed a “death sentence” on Dr Bilal Al Asrau, after declaring him (Dr Asrau) a kaafir (an unbeliever). But for the timely intervention of the court, only Allah knows what the story would have been today.

Extremists radicalise youths

Extremist groups in today’s Southwest are quickly radicalising the youths, putting them on the uncompromising path, declaring all Ahlul Sunnah scholars, individuals and groups as Ahlul Bidi’ah, leaving only the divisive Saved Sect with the exclusive right to enter al Jannah.

A case in point was an Ibadan-based Abu Ibeji, few years ago, who passed a “death sentence” on Dr Bilal Al Asrau, after declaring him (Dr Asrau) a kaafir (an unbeliever). But for the timely intervention of the court, only Allah knows what the story would have been today.

Under the guise of protecting the Sunnah, extremists make Haram what Allah doesn’t make Haram.

They rely da’if hadith, claiming to be the only group out of the legendary “seventy three” sects that will enter Jannah.

To the extremists, virtually all notable scholars across the globe, except the Saudi’s “Scholars of Sunnah” are on the path of Dolla (falsehood). They loothe and curse liberal scholars and embrace the conservative radicals ones. For instance, they approve of the arbitrary detentions and summary killings of scholars as well as critics in Saudi Arabia while taking as mentors, pro-government scholars who did not only keep criminal silence but endorsed the suppression.

Quick to condemn novel things

Extremists have penchant to label any new or novel thing as bidia’h or haram. Under the guise of protecting Sunnah, they tend to be naturally conservative and mainly retrogressive. Under the concept of al-Wala’wa al-Bara’ extremists reject many permissible acts backed by numerous sound and explicit narrations, just as they do condemn novel things, issues and events not outrightly textual or essentially scriptural.

Extremists declare the Ash`aris, Maturidis, and Sufis to be outside the fold of Ahl al-Sunna and even outside the fold of Islam. Similarly, under the garb of curbing abuse of permissible acts by some groups and individuals, extremists will declare as bidia’h issues like congregational adhkar, performing special acts of goodness in the day/night of Ashura etc.

Extremists take to insults, villification and use of uncouth expressions against Muslims, particularly on scholars who hold deffering views. Words such as: ‘Liars’, ‘Ignorants’, ‘ignoramus’, ‘innovators’ etc are freely used. Above all, extremists go against the popular saying of the Prophet by glorifying anti-madhhabî claim that “differences can never be a mercy in any case but are always a curse”, claiming that truth cannot but be one and only!

Previously rejected issues

Issues previously condemned by the extremists but later accepted through the backdoor include by not limited to: Adhkaar Jamai:, second Jama’ah (Salaat in congregation), that female students could not travel alone from home to school without mahraam, that women could not drive while alone, no camping in whatever guise, no to formation of registered Islamic organisations in whatever form (La Jamaah), no to use of Subhah (rosary) for doing Ibaadaat, that Salatul Tasbih is unfounded in Islam and that Zakatul Fitr cannot be done with money except with food stuffs. Extremists posited that it is forbidden to perform I’tikaf (seclusion) in any mosque other than the Three Sacred Mosques of Mecca, Madina and Jerusalem. There should be no Tahajjud after Tarawih (in Ramadan) – claiming it is bidia’h and praying more than 11 rakaa’t in Salatul Tarawih, declaring it as innovation, rather than be seen as acts of obedience as practised by many salafs and contrary to scholars agreement that there is no prescribed limits to superogary prayers etc.

In previous years, social media was awash with arguments and abuses for the proponents of “Monetising Zakatul Fitr”, as the extremists described them in unprintable names, until their ‘chosen’ scholars approved of it in 2020.

Over the years, the progressive, moderate and deeply intellectually inclined scholars have held that Zakat al Fitr could be done with money, but extremists and their scholars have maligned the progressives over the years as ‘upon error’, only to eventually come to terms with the reality that had since been validated from the very first century of Islam. This admittance however did not come until after the endorsement of the Saudi-Salafi scholars.

Consequently, many notable local and global scholars of Islam who do not belong to the Saudi-Wahabi School of Thought have been put on trial because of their opinion on monetisation of Zakat al Fitr.

Extremists are chameleons

Extremists are never consistent. They are either pacifists or political observers in Saudi Arabian politics; but are active politicians and lovers of despotic junta in Egypt. Extremists are lovers of palace scholars as well as allies of the oppressive and suppressive monarchs/regimes in the Gulf; they are supporters of unjust wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya. Extremists will forever support violent changes of government in Sudan, Egypt, and Turkey, wish death for Erdogan and rejoice over the death of President Muhammad Morsi. Yet, they will condemn to hell anyone who embarks on a peaceful protest to actualise his or her rights in Nigeria. Extremists won’t identify with any law suit to recognise and legalise the use of hijab but will be the foremost beneficiaries of such rights when granted!

Extremists in Nigeria for instance will condemn MURIC and Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative for challenging the authorities in ‘Kufr’ court over its denial of hijab but will go behind to seek the assistance of same or similar NGOs when the opression affects them. They will condemn monetising Zakatul Fitr but will ask people to monetise same Zakatul Fitr and send the money to the account of an unregistered organisation or individuals so they could convert the same Zakatul Fitr funds to food for the beneficiaries – as if the beneficiaries could not on their own do the conversion.

Also, in Nigeria, aside from removing the age-long allies like Professor AbdurRazaq Alaro, Professor AbdulRahman Ahmad Al Imam Kakuri, Professor Qaasim Bidmus, amongst others from the fold, declaring them kufaar and consequently casting them into hell, virtually all notable Ahlul Sunnah and foremost callers have been declared as innovators, and condemned to hell fire.

The list is endless: Sheikh DhikruLlah Shafii’, Dr Bilal al Asrau, Sheikh Imran Eleha, Imam AbdulRahman Ahmad, Dr Abdulhakeem AbdulLateef, all members of the Sufi sects…, the Markazis… On the global scale, Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi, Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, Sheikh Mufti Menk, Dr Zakir Naik etc were similarly condemned along with other many progressive scholars

Causing disunity and getting disunited

In Southwest Nigeria, the extremists often remove fellow members and allies who care to work in concert with other Muslims, to forge the unity of the Ummah on common purposes. They accused the likes of Prof Alaro for attempting to foster unity (amalgamation) with the Muslims considered as ‘innovators’. Their offense include: daring to sit on a round table with other Muslim scholars who they consider as ‘Elegbes’ (those who form organisations). Instead of pursuing the cause of oneness and unity, extremists will rather bring forth the usual baseless and unfounded excuse that “it is blameworthy to sit amidst the “People of bidiah” .

Continuous divisions and disagreements are hallmarks of acclaimed sect…

Unfortunately for the extremists, just as their methodology keep dividing the Ummah, disunity does not seize to occur within their rank and file, even as they claim to be upon the right manhaj (path).

They rather work against the injunction as contained in the Qur’an 5:2 “And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.”

Extremists’ Dawah methodology doesn’t not believe in leadership that pilots the affairs of Muslims and unite them on common good, contrary to the Prophetic injunction that a leader must be appointed among travelers, once they are up to three in number to co-ordinate their affairs.

Unfortunately, extremists

unwittingly find themselves doing the biding of the enemies by working against the unity of the Muslims which they euphemistically referred to as ‘amalgamation’.

Observing this apparent contradiction, the Director of the Center for Global Peace Initiative (CGPI) Yekinni Shakiru A remarked: “Clearly these brothers have set themselves on a competition with the religion. But one wonders how come they don’t understand the implication of this which as warned by the Prophet is destruction! May Allah rectify our affairs”, he prayed.

Meanwhile, from what has increasingly been manifesting, it shows that the only real definition of the modern day Salafiyyah is their consensus against organised Islamic works. They keep condoning respective excesses and inadequacies of one another, in as much as the concerned person keeps criticizing and demonising the so called “elegbe” until such a time when they trample on each other’s Salafiyyah domain, then they begin to expose their respective inadequacies which far outweigh the so called ‘elegbe’ they initially united against. A typical case of tahsabuhum jamii’ann waquluubuhum shatta…

To be continued…

Elder Yinka Salaam writes from Osogbo, Southwest Nigeria


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