A few days ago, we read the unfortunate news that an Islamic school teacher had been arrested for sodomising two of his underaged pupils in Kano.
Before then we’ve been reading about an endless list of boys and girls who have fallen victims of rape (sometimes incestuous rape) and sodomy in many of our towns and cities.
Ever since this scourge became more frequent, I’ve looked around and listened with great attention for reactions from our ulama, Islamic scholars, on how to stop this evils along with warnings to perpetrators, but I never saw any.
I know the common belief that talking about some things is akin to spreading our dirty linen in public but surely that is not the way of Islam.
In Islam enjoining good and forbidding evil, in private and in public, is a cardinal principle.
Many verses of the Holy Quran are specific about this.
My most favourite is the one in Suratul Imran where Almighty Allah said ‘You are the best community ever raised among mankind; you enjoin what is good, you forbid what is evil and you believe in Allah…’ Verse 110
In other places in the Holy Book, we are encouraged to remind one another of good and evil ‘Remind men, for reminding is beneficial’ Suratul A’ala, Chapter 87: verse 11
So why this deafening silence in the face of so much evil?
If looking the other way could solve the situation we would have seen a reduction in the many sexual crimes being committed by our people, but what we see is a situation that’s only getting worse.
If before we were reading about strangers and neighbours raping our daughters and wards, we’ve begun to hear about uncles and stepfathers impregnating them.
In fact a famous, recent case was the one involving a Kaduna man who abused his two young daughters repeatedly when they were only aged three and six years old.
According to their mother, this beast of a father who works somewhere in the South, always insisted on sleeping next to his daughters, whenever he visited home at month-end, ostensibly because, he missed them.
In their one-room and parlour apartment, this unsuspecting mother would be asleep in the bedroom all alone, while her husband slept next to the girls in the sitting room.
While she slept, the beast would take advantage of the girls and even sodomise them.
Medical examination showed that the girls had been both deflowered and sodomised at their young age.
The amazing thing was that their local imam was the first person the mother took her complain to.
And he helped her take the girls to hospital and later handed the case over to the police.
Yet not even this Imam dedicated an hour of a Friday sermon to preaching against what he saw.
Why are they so reluctant to preach against these daily, prevalent evils when they lead to such lasting consequences among our folks?
How can a six-year-old pick up the pieces of her life and live normally, when the one person she trusted the most was the one who betrayed her in this way?
How do we expect such a child to overcome this trauma and live like a child again?
Unless our ulama will make it a point to preach openly against such evils, so as to deter and to remind all those with similar tendencies about the wrath of Almighty Allah and His everlasting punishment, reserved for perpetrators, we will never see the end of such despicable crimes in our midst.
When we were growing up, our scholars dedicated a large chunk of their time preaching about the evil practices in our society.
I still recall a TV lecture Late Sheikh Isa Waziri gave on the gravity and the evil of homosexuality.
Then the phenomenon wasn’t as common as today where teachers and neighbours are busy sodomising young boys.
Yet he made such a point of bringing all the spiritual and societal aspects of it that a person listening wouldn’t even want to walk on a street, if a homosexual lives on it.
I remember him saying that every sin that Satan instigates a person or group of persons to commit, he stays there urging them to do it until the end.
But when he instigates people to commit sodomy, even he doesn’t stay there to watch, because he knows the gravity of the offense being committed.
So where are today’s scholars, why wouldn’t they bring up such topics and scare the hell out of aspiring sinners?
For sure we cannot bring such things to an end by pretending they are not happening or by laying so much emphasis on the performance of rituals rather than the practice of good deeds.
All the verses in the Holy Quran addressing believers, have talked about belief and good works simultaneously.
And good works can only be achieved if we keep away from bad deeds.
And we can only keep away from bad deeds when we are constantly preaching against them, instilling their dislike in people’s hearts and scaring them about the eternal punishment of the hereafter.
When we fail to do that, we will end up with a society full of people who are great at performing rituals but clueless about keeping away from sins.
I therefore implore all our scholars particularly the relatively young, knowledgeable ‘stars’ of Sunnah TV and others like them, to make preaching against these modern vices a regular part of their diet for the Muslim Umma.
They must raise their voices against rape and sodomy, against looting of public funds, which enables public officials to live way above their means and the generality of our people to live in abject poverty.
They must preach against relatives locking up their kith and kin in family dungeons just because they have mental defects and keep treating them like animals in order to hasten their death.
In short our ulama must rise up to the challenge of being our societal guards and our moral compass, otherwise the evil among us can only spread and fester which will bring an end to all the respect and prestige we enjoy as a religious community.
Let their Friday sermons and their media lectures be about the contemporary evil practices among our people and how to rid our societies of them.
Yes, our ulama must do this, otherwise when these evils overwhelm us, we cannot avert the wrath of Almighty Allah from reaching us.
May Allah SWT forbid that we should reach such a stage.