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Opinion

[Friday Sermon] Islam Is Simple, Don’t Make It Difficult For People!

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By Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

 

 

 

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our own souls and the wickedness of our actions, whoever Allah guides, there is none that can lead him astray, and whoever Allah allows to go astray, there is none that can lead him to the right path.

I testify and bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth but Allah, alone, without any partners. And I testify and bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger. As for what’s after:

Dear brothers and sisters! Allah Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

“We have sent down the Book (Qur’an) to you which manifests the truth about all things and as guidance and mercy and good news for Muslims.” [Qur’an, 16:89]

Respected servants of Allah! It reminded me of a post I read on Facebook recently and I thought how true this is, but easy to forget. Society is often so focused finding complicated solutions when the answers are already in front of us. Muslims in particular have a lesson in it.

• Allah intends for you ease

The religion is easy, beautiful and simply perfect. Why make things hard? Allah Almighty says:

“Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.” [Qur’an, 2:185]

This Qur’anic verse explains that Islam is easy to follow and rather encourages us to create ease in religion. Unfortunately some Muslims are under the misconception that the more stringent they are in following religion, the more pious they become. This is totally in contradiction to what our pure religion teaches us. The misconception is a result of lack of understanding of religion and at times drives some people away from religion, mainly because of the way it is presented to them.

Some people have aimed at causing religion to deviate from its essence, preventing religion from being practiced by attempting to add on many difficult practices and superstitions to it. Such practices have sadly resulted in people deviating from Islam. However from the information set forth in the verses in the Qur’an and the replete stories and Hadiths by the Prophet (Peace be upon him), we can ascertain that it is easy for sincere Muslims to be good Muslims.

In this life we are tested and according to the morals and faith we show in this world Allah determines where our real life will be lived, that being Hell or Heaven. The test is quite easy; Allah Almighty wishes for us simply to live the life that brings happiness and peace in this world; in short to live our life in moderation.

• Don’t go to extremes

It is known in fact that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) always resisted any tendency toward religious excessiveness. He once said to his close companion Abdullah Ibn Amr:

“Have I heard right that you fast everyday and stand in prayer all night?” Abdullah replied: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Do not do that. Fast, as well as, eat and drink. Stand in prayer, as well as, sleep. This is because your body has a right upon you, your eyes have a right upon you, your wife has a right upon you, and your guest has a right upon you.” [Al-Bukhari]

This Hadith indicates that it is significant to maintain a delicate balance between the various obligations that demand our attention; between our obligations to Allah, our obligations toward others and our obligations toward ourselves. This is also demonstrated in many verses in the Qur’an illustrating that Allah is both merciful and kind.

Confucius once said:

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

This deeply resonates as we read stories of how people strayed away from Islam because they failed to realise its beauty and were intimidated by restrictions feeling their life would be unhappy with Islam’s boundaries. There indeed is a need to clarify such misconceptions, and encourage and remind Muslims to question where did their beliefs originate from. Was it from the Qur’an and Sunnah or a tradition they have been following without knowing its origin?

In all reality, Allah Almighty created us and in turn He knows what’s best for us and those who do not know these truths feel they may lead happier and more comfortable lives when the limits are removed. Allah says in the Qur’an to pray for both the good in this world and the good in the Hereafter.

It also speaks about the enjoyment of life:

“O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer, eat and drink but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not wasters. Say: ‘who has forbidden the beautiful gifts of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the things clean and pure which He has provided for sustenance.” [Qur’an, 7:31-32]

Concerning matters of practice in Islam we have been taught that the rule is that you are expected to follow the truth as much as is possible. Allah has promised that His expectations are simple. However, in order to follow them we need to understand; in turn allowing that this strategy would ensure things are kept simple.

In sharing the message of Islam with people, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was advised in the Qur’an:

“It is part of the mercy of Allah that you deal gently with them. If you were severe or hardhearted, they would have broken away from you’.” [Qur’an, 3:159]

It is on this note that when the Prophet sent his companions to teach Islam to the people he advised them:

“Facilitate religious matters to people and do not make things difficult. Obey each other and do not differ amongst yourselves.” [Al-Bukhari]

Allah has created a natural balance between what is easy to follow for humans and what is the minimal requirement needed to be a morally, ethically and spiritually pious person. This can be shown for example when we increase the price of a commodity, or make things more stringent, as mentioned earlier, in religion we will find lesser people wanting to buy that commodity.

However, we must remember that easiness in religion has to be done in the way that Allah wants us to do it. It should not be mistaken for casualness. This is simply a reminder for all including myself as sometimes Shaitan (Satan) attempts to divert us from religion, from Allah’s commands and good morals and even uses negative force on faith.

By insinuating unfounded suspicions in our thoughts, suggesting faithlessness or through actions and speeches, Shaitan (Satan) tries to divert us from Islam and or its simplicity setting up many different traps for us. In short, Shaitan (Satan) is our enemy, as mentioned in the Qur’an which narrates:

“O You who believe enter Islam totally. Do not follow in the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan) he is an outright enemy to you.” [Qur’an, 2:208]

• A balanced religion

One of the main features of Islam is that it is a balanced religion. It is known that whenever the Prophet had to choose between two options, he always chose the easier, unless it was explicitly forbidden. This again proves the beauty of Islam and Allah’s mercy toward us.

While aiming to reach the afore mentioned balances between human spiritual needs and material needs I have personally come to realise it can be done by simplifying our life and lightening our material baggage by focusing more on our spiritual and mental needs.

While I am not suggesting making vows of poverty, I support the idea of reducing our quest for material possession as one easy and balanced form of working in this world and doing good deeds for the next world.

I have learned one form of getting closer to Allah and obeying one of Islam’s pillars may be accomplished as we offer charity bringing happiness to those less fortunate. We must raise our children and remind ourselves that we can only keep what we have, by giving it away; somewhat like paying it forward, but for the afterlife if you may say so.

Balancing between individual rights and responsibilities, we find that as life continues to bring us down many familiar journeys, one of those being a quest of living, we must work toward making everything simpler including our worships if we are to continue on our steady pace toward our ultimate goal, Jannah/Heaven.

Dear brothers and sisters! Bear in mind we must allow others to influence us positively whenever we are going wrong. After all, Allah has promised that He is not going to make any soul accountable for anything more than what his potential is, promising that He will forgive those who repent.

I end my today’s sermon by saying: all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.

Wishing you and all your loved ones a Joyous Jumu’ah Mubarak.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Rabi’ul Thani 9, 1444 AH (November 04, 2022).

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Opinion

The Rise of Shaaban: An Unstoppable Force Taking Kano’s Political Arena By Storm

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By Daha Tijjani PhD

 

 

 

The political arena is a place where only the strongest, most resilient and most determined individuals can succeed. It is a place where only the bravest can stand, where the odds are often stacked against them and where they are constantly mocked and underestimated. But it is also a place where a true leader can rise, overcome adversity and emerge victorious, proving their doubters wrong.

(Dr) Shaaban Ibrahim Sharada is one such individual. When he first expressed his intention to run for the House of Representatives in 2019, many people laughed at him. They said he should focus on being the President’s Personal Assistant and that he was wasting his time. But Shaaban was determined. He was not one to be underestimated and proved them all wrong by winning the election.

Now, he is facing the same challenges as he gears up for another major political contest, the gubernatorial elections in 2023. The same elements who doubted him in the past are saying he should not run and should focus on being a House of Representatives member. But Shaaban is not one to be deterred. He has done his homework, is well-prepared, and is determined to prove his doubters wrong once again.

Similarly, when he joined the relatively unknown Party ADP, he was mocked too. But now the momentum and music are changing. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that at least no voter in Kano is unaware of his candidacy. This is a feat to be celebrated, considering that this party was barely unknown in Kano State just five months ago

Shaaban is a visionary leader, unmatched in his dedication and passion for serving the people of Kano. He possesses a unique combination of local and international experiences that make him exceptionally well-equipped to lead the state towards a brighter future. With his meticulous attention to detail and unwavering commitment to excellence, Shaaban ensures that every task is completed to the highest standard. His hardworking nature and tireless effort to deliver on his mandate make him an inspiring figure.

The youth and undecided/swing voters will play a significant part in the upcoming election. So congratulations and good luck to those thinking that only their die-hard voters can make them win. The number of undecided voters greatly outweighs those. Shaaban is doing his best to win over these voters. It is evident from data from INEC that the youth constitute more than half of the voters in Nigeria, more so in Kano. For the youth, it is evident that some of the successful leaders we had in Kano and Nigeria at large were all in the same age bracket as Shaaban when they achieved what they achieved. If this antecedent is anything to go by, Shaaban can replicate their successes, given the chance.

In conclusion, the people of Kano need a determined leader who will work tirelessly to bring growth and prosperity to the state. Shaaban is the epitome of such a leader and is ready to prove his worth to the world. Any attempt to underestimate him would be at the peril of the doubters, as he is poised to give the top brass a run for their money. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness history in the making, as Shaaban, the Kano’s Game-Changer for 2023 elections takes the political arena by storm.

Daha Tijjani PhD,
Is a public commentator 

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Opinion

Naira redesign: Emefiele’s contaminated seed

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Yusuf Babangida Sulaiman

 

 

 

 

 

It is most unfortunate that pockets of protests have organically emerged across cities in Nigeria all in disagreement with the CBN’s draconian approach to the implementation of Naira Redesign and resulting Cashless Policy.

I have always thought that allowing an individual to serve 2 terms of 5 years each as Governor of Central Bank makes them a huge security risk, talk more of that someone being a leftover from the previous PDP government and a champion of numerous ill-thought policies reputed to cause difficulty.

In some parts of Nigeria today, citizens have resorted to use of CFA Francs, particularly in towns with close proximity to foreign borders. This is indeed an affront to Nigeria’s sovereignty caused by the stubborn whims of a man trapped by his own bubble of taking his pound of flesh against an honourable process that produced an honourable man to lead Nigeria. It is an assault on Nigeria’s might and stature that citizens device solutions using currencies of neighbouring countries just to improvise ways to bypass Emefiele’s watery policy. This underlines the inadequacy of preparedness and thinking that went into the policy before it was rolled out, of course because it is deliberately more emotional than implementable.

When we listen to outcries over this policy, there are numerous common positions that are expressed, ranging from lack of basic cash to undertake day to day running, to unavailability of online infrastructure to handle enormity of migrating transactions and to attitudinal lags in banking relationships.

Nigerians have had to endure transaction failures with little to no alternative means of settling bills, all because the CBN Governor has defied global best practice by insisting that the policy must rid the entire country of old Naira notes within the span of 3 months, which is possible to achieve but at the price of impoverishing people and destroying livelihoods and completely halting trade and commerce.

I will continue to insist that with every additional day that Mr Emiefele sits atop the chair as CBN Governor, the country stands a huge risk of losing its economic gains and at this point all of its gains, as citizens fail to understand how an ill-prepared policy is this intensely and quickly pushed down our throats.

There is no justification for the speed with which this policy is pursued, especially as peer review shows patterns of near exact changes in various countries with similar economic and social situation as Nigeria’s.

We are at a loss and in deep surprise as to the lack of depth and preparedness that went into the policy roll-out as all activities around easing the implementation of the policy have clearly labelled the entire exercise as an afterthought.

The staff of the CBN are posted to commercial bank branches policing the compliance with withdrawal limits of Naira alongside law enforcement agencies in a display of enormous waste of manpower.

These are the kinds of occurrences that lessen the country’s productivity and cause stunted outlook for personnel. In addition to all of this, operators of money agency services have come under severe scrutiny as their lines of business may no longer be feasible to operate under the new conditions.

We cannot play deaf to cries of the common man as well as the cries of the elite. This policy is apparently a leveller in its apportionment of inconvenience, particularly due to the short span provided for full compliance.

Governors Ganduje and El-Rufa’i have expressed their reservations as per the approach and shortage of sincerity demonstrated by the CBN, religious scholars have pleaded for a steadier and more considerate approach, traders and artisans have asked for more time as they have become cash strapped and their trade is being suffocated.

Yet the PDP and its Presidential Candidate have argued fiercely in support of such a policy out of sheer wickedness. One then wonders what informs such a position even as citizens lament, but it is not a surprise as the PDP for the first time have found a glimmer of hope in Mr Emefiele’s antics.

Finally, the Nigerian President should listen to the honest voices of those speaking boldly, as against the whispers of masked palace marauders. It is untenable that a policy of government is celebrated by no one but the opposition and driven by no one but a leftover of the opposition. In plain terms, Mr. Emefiele must not survive the fallout of this contaminated seed that he has rooted; he should pay the price of irreversible inconvenience, hardship and torture inflicted on Nigerian citizens by vacating his seat immediately.

Hon. Yusuf Babangida Sulaiman
Member, Kano State House of Assembly (2011 – Date)
Gwale Constituency

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Opinion

Naja’atu Muhammad: When the handwriting becomes clear

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Yusuf Babangida Sulaiman

 

 

 

It would take so much more than paid trips from one TV station to the other and from one campaign stage to another to undo the enigma that is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. But for a person like Naja’atu Mohammed, once she partakes in one’s endeavour and it births success, then she snaps and builds a firebrand of emotions to try to dismantle such a story of success that she was a part of.

It happened with Malam Ibrahim Shekarau after the miraculous success of 2003, and with Buhari after the 2015 victory. This is the tendency that she has carried and a toga on which she has travelled all of the years of her diminutive politicking.

In Kano, most people take the statements of Hajiya Naja’atu with a pinch of salt as she has become the proverbial boy who cried wolf. She is reputed to say so much, with little substance, in squeaky high pitch tones and in repeated uncoordinated sequence. How she is always the sole knower of her cherry picked truths remains a mystery, because her accounts of stories are not known to ever carry credible corroboration. When a person gets indulged for so long, they being to imagine infallibility in their folly, but there comes a time when they strike the wrong sensitivity, then they feel the sting of a stark reality and get forcefully recoiled into their shell.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ex-Oil Sector Finance Guru, Ex-National Lawmaker, Former Governor of Lagos State, Consummate National Politician and APC Presidential Candidate is a man whose political sagacity, depth and acumen have been applauded even by his archest opponents.

History cannot be re-written out of the bitterness of a dramatic persona like Hajiya Naja’atu, giving laughable stories claiming Asiwaju could not answer her question regarding his plans for the North. One can see how intensely she has pushed the narrative of her meeting Asiwaju in London with so much scorn as that is all she can show even after auditioning so much for prominence in the PCC. In hindsight, the PCC in its wisdom ensured that prominence would be gained through demonstrable capacity and substance, not via fabricated stories and a career-long history of emotional fire-spitting.

For every thousand members of the opposition that raise false concerns about the state of health of Asiwaju, there are few patriotic neutrals with genuine questions, and for the benefit of such nationalists, we restate the avowed mental and physical readiness of Asiwaju to mount the saddle of Nigeria and dare the odds by squarely facing the problems that bedevil the country.

The man is on the most daunting and exhausting campaign train across the country, religiously abiding by the schedule and maintaining an amazing capacity to lead private and public stakeholder engagement sessions. Once we see people like Naja’atu discussing “firmness of grasp of a tea cup” as issues that matter in a Presidential Contest, we are comforted by their exit from our midst.

As there is no room for such trivial discourse at a time when our mount of the country’s leadership saddle is imminent, and our need is of minds that are focused, intellectually enhanced, versatile and unconventional.

It is easy for a discerning mind to predict array of actions of a person, especially when their politics in renowned to be transactional. As the issues raised around Asiwaju’s health have become stale and with Nigerians growing even more uninterested in such hogwash, Hajia Naja’atu has faced the shrinking crowd with tales of Asiwaju inducing APC Governors to get the party’s Presidential ticket. As the aforementioned also evaporated quickly and with the crowd asking probing questions, she started to wander her fires to the direction of the legendary Mahmud Jega, whom she accused of recently acquiring a house in Abuja, after which I have wondered under what section of the law such a private citizen would be penalised.

It is obvious that the saliva in the mouth is drying up, the squeakiness is getting stiffer and the high-pitch of the tone lessens all because the impact of the attacks on Asiwaju’s person is not piercing the right holes. Even the opposition is sulking at the flop the expected fire brand has resulted in. Having granted Hajia Najaatu space on stage to perform the pre-auditioned opera, yet people see through the antics and recall same woman selling Buhari so covetously in 2003 & 2007, lambasting Buhari in 2011 while promoting the ACN, and in 2003 fiercely vilifying the Atiku that she today claims is messiah of the North.

The handwriting on the wall is absolutely clear that Asiwaju will work only with those capable of delivering value, enabling national cohesion and driving a unification agenda for Nigeria. Those whose politics is reputed to be about denigrating accomplished personalities and spitting ethnic bias whenever convenient will not gain desired prominence.

As indigenes of Kano, and ambassadors of an enormous heritage, only the best of us will lead us, speak for us and represent us in the march to deliver the most promising Nigeria of our lifetime, one to be led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban Borgu.

Hon. Yusuf Babangida Sulaiman,
Member, Kano State House of Assembly (2011-Date)
Gwale Constituency

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