Hours before the debate between Sheikh Abduljabbar and other Kano scholars, a Kano Magistrate Court yesterday ordered all parties in the case before it involving the Kano State government and Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara to obey its existing order.
Before the court ruling, issues had continued to prop up with just few hours to the scheduled debate/dialogue between Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara and other Islamic scholars in Kano State that was earlier billed to hold tomorrow.
Daily Trust reports that the Kano State Council of Ulama had earlier written to the Kano State government on some contentious statements made by Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara in his preaching, lectures and writings regarding the personality of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), his companions and some notable Islamic scholars of high repute which are considered disrespectful and inciting.
This prompted the government to ban the cleric from preaching as well as closed down his schools.
Sheikh Abduljabbar had later demanded for a debate with other scholars on the contentious topics, a call that the state government and Council of Ulama later agreed with.
Replying the state government’s letter for the debate, the sheikh requested to attend alongside some of his people who will take care of his books during the debate.
“While thanking His Excellency for giving me the opportunity to come along with my books to prove the veracity, authenticity, validity, legitimacy and truth of my view, I humbly request that I will be allowed to come with persons who will take care of my books and video/audio cover during the dialogue,” the letter added.
Before the state government acquiesced to the call for a debate, Abduljabbar had insisted that all his preaching and lectures were made with a view to protecting the integrity and personality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) contrary to what some people are accusing him of.
The Kano State Council of Ulama through its spokesperson, Dr. Sa’idu Ahmad Dukawa, told Daily Trust Saturday that the reason why they limited the debate to nine issues was to give Sheikh Abduljabbar ample time to conduct a research on them to defend himself.
Dr. Dukawa said that “Even though there are several other distortions in Abduljabbar’s preaching, but for fairness sake, we limited them to nine because time will not allow us to discuss them all.”
However, the Council did not reveal the names of the clerics that are going to participate in the debate nor disclose the nine issues they will debate on.
“We will not disclose to the public the names of the ulamas that are to participate in the debate for security purpose and we will not make the nine issues known to the public until the debate time.”
The Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Dr Muhammad Tahar Adamu, said the scope of the debate would be on some specific issues which the Council of Ulamas accused Abduljabbar on.
Adamu added that the state government did not object to the request by Abduljabbar to come alongside some of his followers.
“He would be allowed to come along with his followers who would not be more than three. What we would not agree is for them to chip in during the debate, as he made the utterances himself and he would be the one to defend them,” he said.
The state government said the debate would hold at the Emir of Kano’s palace and would be moderated by the Emir, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero; Secretary of the Council of Islamic Affairs, Professor Shehu Galadanchi and the Chief Imam of Kano, Professor Sani Zaharadeen.
The commissioner said prominent scholars from outside the state were also invited to witness the debate which would be transmitted live in all radio stations, both local and foreign.
“We have invited Shaikh Sharif Saleh, Shaikh Bala Lau, Shaikh Sani Yahaya Jingir and others,” he said.
However, Kano residents differ on the debate issue; while some are in support, others oppose it.
Malam Ali Ahmed, who is in support of the debate, said it would be a ground to differentiate a bad egg from the good ones.
“I am in support because I think this is the only way the chaff would be removed from the grain. I am sure Abduljabbar would know that he is nothing but an empty and hollow vessel that makes the loudest of noise,” he said.
Malam Al-Amin Bin Barra said that allowing such debate to go on with renowned Kano scholars is belittling them, saying that younger scholars should be allowed to meet with him (Abduljabbar) not Sheikhs who are not his equals.
He said, “allowing such big scholars to meet Abduljabbar is like giving credence to his assertions and making him relevant. This should not be allowed to happen, instead allow his equals like us to meet with him.
“Abduljabbar is just looking for relevance and should not be allowed to get it by giving him a formal platform to exhibit his ‘ignorance’ that he is calling knowledge because the religion of Islam is complete and there cannot be any addition.”
Malam Ibrahim Mohammed opposed the whole idea of the debate, saying it is not going to change anything.
“Whatever is the outcome of the debate, it is not going to make a significant change as Abduljabbar would not change his belief likewise the clerics from the other side,” he said.
An analyst, Dr Auwal Anwar, who conducted his Phd thesis on the differences between Kano clerics, suggested how the debate should be conducted.
“The debate should be focused on finding out the veracity, authenticity, validity, legitimacy and truth of those Hadith that Sheikh Abduljabbar is depending on, to find out who the narrators of the said hadiths are and what kind of interpretation the narrators gave about the hadiths. To find out how those hadiths got into Islamic books, what is a true believer supposed to do; are they advised to take them or to dismiss them? Is making it public justifiable or not?”
Anwar, who added that most Islamic sects make contentious speeches, called on them to guard their utterances in their teachings.
Meanwhile, the state government through its Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, said it has already put everything in place for the overall success of the exercise.
The Magistrate Court had earlier banned the cleric from preaching and airing his teaching on media stations pending the determination of the matter before it.
At the resumed sitting yesterday, another twist in the case arose when a lawyer, Ma’aruf Yakasai approached the court with a motion on notice showing his intention to be joined in the matter.
Yakasai’s counsel, Lukman Abdullahi told the court that his client being a bonafide citizen of Kano and affected by the matter will want to be joined in the case and had filed an application to that effect.
He argued that the proposed debate was a contempt of court because there was an existing order banning Abduljabbar from public preaching and airing of his activities on media stations before the court.
In his ruling, Magistrate Muhammad Jibril told the parties to maintain all the existing status quo earlier issued and adjourned the matter to March 22 for continuation of the matter.
Speaking on the matter, the state’s commissioner for Justice, Musa Lawal said as a law abiding government, it will abide by the court ruling.
Daily Trust Saturday reports that if not for the court order the palace of the Emir of Kano would have hosted all the contenders tomorrowl broadcast live on media stations.