I, Muslim (II) - By: . . | Dailytrust

I, Muslim (II)

I must reiterate that I am not out for blood. I mean everything I say with malice toward none and with charity for all. I must say that I am not speaking for my people even though it sounds like I am, and I am not speaking against the other side even though it may sound like I am. I am speaking for only the full measure of what mankind owes this part of me. I am not a fundamentalist, I am not an Islamist, I am not a Jihadist… no, those adjectives have been taken from me. The very fact that I have to disclaim them as such is itself a case in point. For, really if one were to profile what a Christianist or Crusader is, they would be worlds apart from their Muslim analogues. Think about it – why should I run away from these adjectives when it is okay for Christians to embrace their analogues?

I must also be fair to this other side. No matter the transcendent of abundance of my religion is and how much good I believe it can do for humanity it should not be taken for granted that others should be able to see this, appreciate and consent to its sociopolitical dictates. They don’t know that this is true – and the unknown is probably the most terrifying phenomenon to the human awareness – so, one could be excused if they do not want to gamble away the instruments of their very survival frivolously; much so that they prefer the devil and the deep blue sea combined than the angel I offer. The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know, and this applies to my way of thinking too. For all they know, what we offer is indeed angelic. But they don’t know this angel.

Being who I am – I have simultaneously lived in two disparate worlds since birth, to wit, the global pop culture inspired by and from the West, then my own Muslim Afro-Asiatic home base. I grew up in these two worlds and know them both – enough to speak from and for both sides. I can’t remember how many times I or my siblings have come home with handbills publicizing church events or magazines and other literature proselytizing Christianity, or with a gift of a Bible from school, or blare Christian gospel music at home, or welcomed a Jehovah’s Witness into my house to tell me about the good news. To me, that is just a Tuesday. How many Christian parents in Nigeria will allow such Muslim paraphernalia in their homes or anywhere near their children?

The songs: Jerusalema, Storm is Over, Everything are generic Christian gospel but have been hits in so many Muslim homes. How likely is it that a Christian would welcome “Sahawa” or even Deen Squad in their homes? A while back, news reports revealed how Christian parents in one of the states in the South West revolted because Muslim students were permitted to wear hijab in school, sending their own children to school in Christian Boy Scouts and chorister uniforms in protest. More recently, in Kwara, state-funded schools refused to allow female Muslims students to wear the hijab not only against sectoral policy but clear directives from the state’s Ministry of Education. And this is in Kwara, not Cross River or Ebonyi or Ondo or any other state with a Christian majority.

Just a few weeks ago, a colleague casually asked me what the date was and I replied in the same mood. It was the 16th of August. It truly was the 16th of August but then it wasn’t. He was asking to know whether to fast the next day in observation of the Ashura holy days – which come up on the 9th and 10th of Muharram in the Hijra Calendar. But then I did not know what date it was on the Hijra Calendar. Nor did I know which month it was. Heck, I DID NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT YEAR IT WAS. I swear! I could not offer the slimmest token with regards to my knowledge of the same Islamic Calendar that shapes the annual cultural and religious activities of Muslim life but was able to answer the same query on rote when the frame of reference was the Christian Gregorian Calendar! Now, just for a second, try to imagine what this actually means!

This episode does not just show how Christianized I am… but how de-Islamized I am as well. By this virtue, should I not be the one bellyaching and making a big stink about the type of social engineering that has deprived me a part of my own self?

Isn’t this exactly what they are afraid of? To be deprived of their ancestors? But am I not living just that life as it is? The other side has its spiritual ancestry intact, which must be good times because this side so passionately doesn’t want to give up this ancestry it is willing to deprive me of mine. Clearly, it does not even want to share the same social space, perhaps as a preemptive gambit.

The (English) Common Law, the basis of Nigeria’s legal system is itself founded on Christian jurisprudence. Does it not boggle the mind that it is effective in the bedchamber of the Sultan of Sokoto – yet, there are people uncomfortable with the Muslim legal system – the Sharia, also taking effect in this same bedchamber.


By Huzaifa Jega who is an Abuja-based management consultant

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