VIEW ON VIOLENCE
piece below is an interview with a newspaper reporter. The interview was to
have been published in yesterday’s publication of the newspaper (Sunday 8th
June, 2014). Perhaps the reporter dropped it because he found it too hot. He therefore
used the responses of other Islamic scholars whose views did not ‘offend’ his
1. What is the Islamic injunction
on violence and killing in the name of God?
forbids the killing of innocent people for whatever reason. Life is sacred in
Islam. The Glorious Qur’an says, “…Allah has made life sacred, therefore do not kill except by legal right
further amplify the concept of the sacredness of life in Islam, the Glorious
Qur’an compares the unjust killing of a single person to the killing of the
whole of humanity. It says, “… If anyone slays a fellow human being except by legal right, it will be as
if he has slain the whole of mankind; and if anyone saves the life of a single
person, it will be as if he has saved all mankind …”
the Qur’an forbids aggression. Muslims must not be the first to start an
attack. They are only permitted to repel attacks, “Fight those who fight you but do not transgress the
limits because Allah does not love transgressors” (Qur’an
Qur’an also says “there is
no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2:256). This means that people
should not be forced to embrace any religion including Islam.
Reminding Muslims that not everyone will become a Muslim, that they
should therefore tolerate people of other faiths and that they should not take
extreme positions over their differences with others, Allah says: “If
your Lord had so wished, He could have made mankind one people” (Qur’an
The Qur’an urges admonition, not intimidation and it affirms that
Muslims should leave those who reject the message; they should not attempt to
punish them but instead they should leave them for Allah, “Give
admonition, for you are one to admonish. You are not one to compel mankind. As
for those who reject your admonition, (leave them alone) Allah will punish them
severely” (not you, Qur’an 88: 21-24).
Religious tolerance is advocated either when non-Muslims attempt to
draw Muslims to their religion or when Muslims face people of other religions
in dialogue, “Say, Oh you unbelievers, I will not worship what
you worship. You also will not worship what I worship. Neither will I worship
what you worship. For you be your religion and for me mine” (Qur’an
109:1 – 6).
Muhammad warned against violence. He said, “Beware of violence. You must be peaceful”. He
also forbade Muslims from attacking people who are inside monasteries, churches
2. What is the quality of
teaching/preaching by Moslem clerics on peaceful co-existence and brotherliness
and how do members understand the message?
quality is high and it is repeated weekly but few Muslims have the opportunity
of listening to it. This is because the teaching or preaching is done mainly on
Fridays during the weekly Jumat service from about 1 – 2 pm. Unfortunately few Muslims are able
to reach the mosque early enough to hear the sermon (khutbah) because they are
in their workplaces.
service in the mosque has two parts. The first part is the sermon and it lasts
about 30 minutes. The second part is the salat or prayer per se. This
lasts only a few minutes, between five and seven minutes.
reality, 90% of those who attend the Friday service arrive late. Most mosques
are virtually empty at the beginning of the service because Muslim workers are
either still at work or they are on their way to the mosque.
may be due to the distance between a Muslim’s place of work and the mosque or
because permission is not given to him or her by the employer on time. Some
Muslims are not even permitted at all to leave work for the mosque.
see, Friday is not free like Sunday. Christian families go to church together
on Sunday whereas Muslims do not have that luxury. Muslim families do not listen to the same sermon.
The husband may be a civil servant in the ministry, the wife a teacher and the
children are all in one school or the other. They have to go to different
This has very serious implications for
moral upbringing within the family. Christian families do not experience this inconvenience. This is part of
the issue when the Muslims talk about marginalization. Who feels it knows it.
brought oppression and marginalization of Muslims and until these issues are addressed,
the headache will remain. I addressed this matter as early as 1993 in my book
entitled The Friday Question but people thought I was one extremist from
another planet. It is interesting that even some Muslims do not know the
By denying the Muslims workfree Friday,
Nigerians are cutting their noses to spite their faces. How can Friday sermons
on peaceful coexistence have any impact on Muslims if the same Muslims are
unable to listen to the sermons simply because they are at work?
the Muslims demanded workfree Friday, their detractors screamed blue murder. They
said we wanted to Islamise Nigeria whereas they are the ones who have
Christianised Nigeria and it has become institutionalized. But it has a price.
Everything has a price. If you deny people the opportunity to be educated, you
will pay the price one day.
3. Does Islam encourage 'forced marriage' and human trafficking?
forbids forced marriage and human trafficking. Any marriage conducted without
meeting the four conditions stipulated by the Shari’ah is null and void and of
no legal value. What are these four conditions?
Proposal and acceptance (i.e. the man must propose and the woman must accept or
A dowry (mahr) must be given by the man and collected by the woman. The dowry
may be in cash or kind as agreed between the two.
The parents must approve the marriage (parents from both sides).
There must be witnesses.
the matter of human trafficking, this is alien to Islam. Qur’an 49:13 affirms
that all mankind are equal. It says Allah created us so that we may help one
another and not to be cruel to one another. It is the fear Allah that makes a