Whoever Brings Religion Into Buhari’s Appointments Is An Enemy Of God – Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Ahmad | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Faith, LIFE

Whoever Brings Religion Into Buhari’s Appointments Is An Enemy Of God – Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Ahmad

Posted: Jul 24, 2016 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Ahmad, Chief Missioner of Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, spoke  in a telephone interview with Sunday Independent’s, Chinyere Abiaziem on the proliferation of Islamic organisations; the view of Islam on inter-religious marriage, IVF/adoption, the use of contraceptives by married couples alongside other matters of national concern. Excerpts:

As the Chief Missioner of Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, what is the organisation all about?
Ansar-ud-Deen is one of the foremost Islamic organizations; it is basically to propagate Islam and to found and fund schools. It was established in Lagos in 1923 and it has a network of schools across the country.  It has a network of primary and secondary schools. It has a college of education in Isolo and a University in Offa, called The Summit University. We also have branches in The United Kingdom (UK), America and West African Sub region.

Don’t you think there seems to be proliferation of Islamic organisations these days unlike before?
You see there are basic differences. Frankly speaking these Islamic organisations are not denominations. They are faith based organisations doing various things. Truly if you count the number of these organisations, sometimes you see duplication and you see so many organisations doing the same thing which could be avoided. It is worrisome. I think it is the trend in the country if someone goes into a trade and it is profitable, before you know it everyone rushes to that particular thing. Very unfortunately in some cases what you see is religiousity without spirituality. You see form without content which is most unfortunate. You see activities but you do not see impacts, motion without movement.

What does Islam teach on inter-religious and inter-tribal marriages?
Islam regards marriage as a divine institution, ordained by Allah the creator.  Islam regards marriage as a legal contract and also a sacramental vow. Islam teaches that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Islam rejects same sex marriage in its totality and bestiality. The aim of marriage is for the purpose of procreation, to love, support one another and to establish inter-family alliance and promote universal brotherhood of man. It is also a mechanism for tension reduction.  Islam supports marriages that are based on love, sincerity, justice and fair play. Islam has no problem whatsoever with inter-tribal marriage as it is even encouraged. When it comes to inter-religious marriage, we need to be very cautious there. We know that marriage is based on a man and woman having a lot of things in common. Agreeing on more things than they disagree, you know very well that it is only the family that prays together that stays together.  If a Muslim marries a non-Muslim, they will tend to pray separately so Islam supports families praying together.

In the case of couples who find it difficult bearing children, will it be wrong, according to Islam, for them to go through In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or adoption to have their own off springs?
Yes and No. Yes in the sense that Islam supports IVF to the extent that; it is the husband’s sperm and the wife’s egg that will be used. If they are going to use a donor’s sperm or donor’s eggs, Islam does not support this.

Why is it this way?
It is in order to preserve the purity of the lineage because using donor’s sperms or donor’s eggs confuses lineage (paternity and maternity). These are real issues, very real. In terms of adoption, Islam encourages it whether the couples have children of their own or not. The adopted children remain the children of their biological parents.  You are not adopting them to make them forget their lineage or parents. You are doing it to raise them and show them love as your own biological children in which case they can go anytime they want.  They can inherit from their biological parents but cannot inherit from you but Islam requires you to make statutory arrangement for them. This is also to reserve the purity of lineage in terms of knowing who one’s biological parents are.

In Christendom, the Catholic Church frowns at couples using contraceptives, is this also applicable in Islam?
If there is anything done to prevent conception and there is a reason for this then Islam accepts it.  To prevent extramarital affairs Islam encourages that a man and woman in marriage should be free to have conjugal relations and also prevent pregnancy. Assuming that a woman has just given birth will the man wait for one year? In a situation like that Islam accepts contraceptives to prevent contraception because pregnancy at that stage will endanger the mother and child. Islam also forbids abortion which is why it allows for the use of contraceptives, which also acts as means of child spacing.

With the several religious inspired attacks and killings happening around the world and Nigeria in particular, can it be said that those unleashing these evils  still hold on to Jihad as an acceptable way to serve God?
Jihad is an Arabic word for striving to achieve a goal and does not mean holy war. As a journalist what you are doing now is Jihad, what you do to earn a living is Jihad. If we are talking about terrorism then it’s a different thing, which I call criminality.  We should not link these killings alone to Muslims, as Muslims are also being killed with no one reporting it. When Boko Haram goes to bomb mosques, it is not reported but when they go to bomb churches it is reported. We must be very careful and be objective.

The Presidency has been quoted as saying it was incapacitated in the rescue of the remaining Chibok school girls because it lacked intelligence report on the girls, how do you see this statement?
Everything about the adoption reflects the failure of the system. How did we get to this point that over 200 girls were kidnapped and have not been found till death? I feel the agony as a parent and I share in the frustration of the parents and others who are true parents. I wish I know what can be done, I will single highhandedly do it if only to restore the joy of the parents. You will feel the pain of losing in one day the animals you have laboured to raise, how much more human beings.

There are several complaints on the president showing favoritism to  the Northerners and Muslims in view of the  grazing reserve bill, political appointments and the  seemingly silence on the killings of non – Muslims. Do you feel any different?
I am not a politician; I do not know the basis of appointment. I think it will be mischievous to be a religious cat, it is no longer popular. Anybody that brings religion to this is wicked, a mischief monger, an enemy of God and Nigeria. Let us leave religion out of this.  In Aso rock, the president has received more Christian clergy men than Muslims.  Tribalism is all politics; it is those that are losing out that are shouting. There are non-Hausas who are benefiting from this government while there are some Northerners who are on the other side. What do the ordinary people benefit? What did Niger –Deltans benefit from the government of Jonathan in six years? Do they have development? Did gas flaring stop? Let me say that no government can succeed by marginalising any part of the country.  It is a land where everyone must have a sense of belonging.

Looking at what transpired lately between Senators Dino Melaye and Oluremi Tinubu, what do you think this tells of the character quality of our leaders?
I feel very ashamed that this could be happening in the honourable chambers of those who are supposed to be making laws for us.  Some are behaving like outright thugs; we expect to see such in the motor park and not in the chambers. I do not want to get into the fight but people must be honourable.  To be a gentleman you must respect a woman, even when provoked there are right channels to air any offence.

How do you see the legal battle in Osun between Christians and Muslims over wearing of hijabs by female students?
I believe that it is a drama by Osun chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). If they are truly Christians let them allow the court to settle the matter. I feel it is not wrong for the female students to wear hijabs.

Even in Christian Mission Schools?
Which Mission schools? The schools here in question have long been taken over by the government. You mean as a Muslim if I’m coming to your house I cannot dress like a Muslim because I’m coming to your house.

Lastly, is there anything you will like to tell our government in terms of improving the lots of the citizens?
Government must be involved in impacting positively on the lives of individuals; it must be seen to be doing it. No matter what effort government is making to ensure better life, it will be meaningless until the citizens begin to feel the impact.  There is hunger in the land and people are really very hungry.