Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: In Defence of Islam

opinion

I had already entitled this rejoinder "Re-In Defence of the Sheikh (1)" in reference to Malam Adamu Adamu's last week's piece, but modified it after reading another rejoinder under the same title in yesterday's Daily Trust, because, after all, according to the title and indeed the contents of his piece, Malam Adamu was actually out to defend the Sheikh even at the expense of the religion of Allah; the Lord of the Sheikh, hence this title is appropriate anyway.

Predictably, the altercation that ensued between Dr Ahmed Gumi and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi in Sultan Mosque, Kaduna a couple of weeks of ago during Vice President's daughters' wedding following Sheikh Bauchi's recitation of Salatul-Fatih, stirred up the deep-rooted disagreement among Nigerian Muslims over Salatul-fatih. However, the allegation whether Dr. Gumi was rude to Sheikh Bauchi or not remains to be objectively verified.

Meanwhile, some supposedly objective commentators criticize Dr. Ahmed Gumi and the other critics of Salatul-fatih for allegedly being too rigid and divisive because according to such commentators, since there is nothing wrong in the wording of Salatul-fatih it shouldn't have been turned into such a very controversial issue in the first place.

Well, in as much as this view sounds ostensibly reasonable, it is clearly based on a superficial understanding of the reasons why Salatul-fatih is criticized; hence it (i.e. such view) falls short of merit in this particular context. By the way, such commentators view the concept of Muslim unity within the context of socio-political perspective, where people can simply bury their fundamental differences unsolved in order to achieve some earthly interests.

Whereas in Islam there are certain fundamentals upon which all Muslims should agree in order to achieve real and sustainable unity. In the meantime however, there are of course some relatively minor issues on which Islam gives room for and indeed accommodates divergent views because they can't affect Muslims' unity.

Therefore, on Salatul-fatih in particular, one has to understand the ideological issues surrounding it before he appreciates how serious it is, hence decide whether the issue is crucial or not.

Anyway, Malam Adamu Adamu addressed Salatul-Fatih largely on the basis of such superficial understanding hence he referred to it as the "most beautiful of the Salats of Holy Prophet {SAW}", which made me wonder how he rates the Salats which were authentically reported from the apostle of Allah, Mohammad pbuh e.g. Salatul Ibrahimiyya.

In any case, I humbly intend to slightly scratch the surface of Salatul-fatih in order to unearth some information to hopefully stimulate further intellectual discussions until the truth is revealed. In doing so, I refer to "Jawahirul Ma'ani" which is the highest book of reference for Tijjaniyya sufi sect, because its author i.e. Sheikh Ali Harazim was a direct disciple of Sheikh Ahmad Tijjani, the founder of the sect, whose words the author recorded and compiled in such voluminous book.

However, due to space constraint, I will only give the meanings of some few summarized excerpts from the book. Readers who understand Arabic language can refer to the book especially volume 1, from page 100 to 103 in order compare and verify what I say, and of course verify the accuracy of my translation.

Incidentally, Sheikh Ahmad Tijjani was born in 1737 in Algeria that is approximately one thousand one hundred and three years after the death of the apostle of Allah. Yet, he (i.e. Sheikh Tijjani) asserted in several places in "Jawahirul Ma'ani" that he met with the apostle Allah in his person and in reality not in dream, on several occasions, and that the apostle of Allah gave him many additional religious instructions.

In any case, first of all, as regards the origin of Salatul-fatih, Sheikh Ahmad Tijjani asserted that, Allah the Almighty had sent an angel with it written on a piece of paper to one Mohammad Albakri, who was a sufi saint, and that the apostle of Allah told Sheikh Ahmad Tijjani that, reciting it i.e. Salatul-fatih only once equals the rewards for reciting the entire Qur'an six times.

Moreover, according to Sheikh Tijjani, the apostle Allah told him again that, reciting Salatul-Fatih only once equals the rewards for all the "Tasbeeh', "Thikr" and "Du'a" uttered in the universe, and that it also equals the rewards for the recitation of the noble Qur'an six thousand times.

As a matter of fact, according to Sheikh Tijjani, the apostle of Allah told him that the rewards of whoever recites Salatul-Fatih only once, equals six hundred thousand times the rewards for all the prayers offered by the Jinn, mankind and the angles combined, right from the beginning of the universe up to the time of reciting it.

By the way, "Jawahirul Ma'ani" is full of similar claims and even worse, yet even from the foregoing only, I suppose the reader begins to realize that the issue with Salatul-Fatih is far beyond its wording, because obviously these assertions and their likes clearly contradict the fundamental philosophy of Islamic religion as contained in the noble Qur'an and the authentic Prophetic Sunnah. For instance, the claim that, Allah the Almighty sent an angle with it to one Mohammad Albakri, necessarily implies that, after the death of the apostle Allah, Allah the Almighty sent another message to someone else, not even in the form of a revelation but on a paper (i.e. hardcopy) for that matter.

Likewise, the assertions about the rewards attached to the recitation of Salatul-fatih imply that it is superior to the words of Allah the Almighty i.e. the noble Qur'an, as they also indicate that those who recite it earn rewards much more than the entire prophets of Allah, His apostles, their disciples, the angles and the Jinn combined.

Also the assertion that Sheikh Tijjani used to meet with apostle of Allah, who taught him a whole lot of new things, which he never taught anybody in his lifetime, implies that the apostle of Allah had not perfected his mission before his death and/or he did not actually die for that matter.

The reality is that, these assertions and their likes are too serious to be taken lightly, because they fundamentally contradict the basic elements of Islamic religion. No matter how one masters the art of intellectual manipulation and trick, he can't reconcile such assertions with Islamic fundamentals of faith. And by implication it is absolutely impossible to accommodate both who believe in them and those who reject them under the same religion, though most of those who recite Salatul-fatih could be excused for their ignorance of such things.

Therefore, the issue at stake is beyond the social status of any individual, instead it is all about defending the intactness of Islamic religion, which such assertions and other heretic beliefs and practices seek to undermine.

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