25th November, 2011
SET THE POOR FREE
Today Friday 25th November, 2011 (29th Dhul-Hijjah, 1432) marks the end of the Islamic Hijrah calendar. The new Islamic year starts tomorrow Saturday, 1st Muharram, 1433. The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) congratulates Nigerians in particular and the rest of the world for witnessing this year's new Islamic calendar.
The Islamic calendar started in year 622. It signifies the migration of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Makkah where he suffered severe persecution with his followers in the hands of reactionary elements who were non-Muslims. Though he left Makkah as a fugitive, he arrived into the warm embrace of the freedom-loving people of Madinah.
The prophet's hijrah strengthened his struggle for the liberation of the jamaheer (poor masses). It gave him the much-needed foot-soldiers to launch his revolution for the installation of a just, orderly and egalitarian society even at an age when injustice, barbarism and inequality were commonplace. His message was very simple: "Set the poor free".
This simple message has been the crux of Islam's liberation theology for centuries. Nigerian leaders must bridge the apparent disconnect between them and the jamaheer. Nigeria is a land of milk and honey but the jamaheer languish in acute poverty, disease and ignorance due to the tyranny of an infinitesimal minority who has arrogated to themselves all the resources in the land. There is therefore an urgent need to reengineer Nigeria's socio-economic mechanism.
The Qur'an affirms that Allah has given us enough resources which can go round such that nobody suffers from hunger, homelessness or disease (20:118-119). Furthermore, the Qur'an commands leaders to distribute these resources equitably (17:26-27), "Give the poor their rights, the way farer and the kindred but do not be wasteful". It is a command. But have our leaders obeyed? The Qur'an warns that leaders who are insensitive to the plight of the jamaheer will face double punishment yawm al-Qiyamah (in the Hereafter, Qur'an 33:67-68).
The failure of Nigerian leaders to implement this directive is responsible for the poverty in the land, the comatose in the economy, the rickety educational structure, the militarization of the youth and the attendant preponderance of crime in society. Our leaders are the architects of our woes.
MURIC's message to Nigerian leaders is therefore very simple. Just as Prophet Muhammad told the oppressors of Makkah, we ask our leaders to "Set the poor free", "Let Nigerians go" and "Save yourselves from the incessant curses of the weak and the oppressed as well as from the double castigation which Almighty Allah has reserved for you".
Dr. Is-haq Akintola,
Is-haq Akintola (Ph.D),
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimrights
Be just Justice is the soul of peace
No one can deny one and have the other
Neither can violence or naked force bring lasting peace