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Islam and democracy

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Islam, politics

The religion of Al-Islam is a ‘Beautiful Bride’ to behold. It spoke eloquently about every aspect of human life. Not even a solitary issue or subject matter was excluded. It unmistakably taught us how to perform or carry out several obligatory acts of Ibadah (worship). It gave explicit clarifications on how to observe the five daily prayers, fast in the month of Ramadan, give Zakkah (alms) and perform Hajj (pilgrimage), among other rewarding devotions.

Basic, supererogatory and even mundane activities are not left out. There are clearly spelt-out ways Islam commands and enjoins one to perform them. Is it marriage, celebration of religious festivals, salutation, sleeping, visiting rest rooms, gazing, walking, trading, and talking, to mention but few? They all have their peculiar manners Islam instructs them to be done.

Leadership, as a fundamental concept, enjoys the same privileges as other human affairs in Islam. Though, it is a multidimensional subject. Yet, it is something which Allah greatly dignified in numerous verses of the Quran. Allah’s commandment that believers should follow his divine laws, the prophet’s moral teachings and constituted authorities is glaring in Suratun-Nisa, Quran 4, Verse 59.

Another point so instructive is that, as Muslims, we are leaders in diverse aspects according to a Prophetic tradition reported by Abdullah Bin Umar, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W). Meanwhile, it should be noted that Nigeria is not an Islamic, but a secular state, which practises democracy.

CCB tempered with the asset declaration forms I submitted ― Onnoghen

Successive generations of Muslim leaders who steered the affairs of some religious, traditional and political institutions terribly failed to advance the cause of their fellow Muslims and teeming Nigerians. They showed little concern about the welfare of those they superintended over. They were insensitive and not responsive to the plights of their people. They looked the other way when natural and human-induced disasters ravaged their people, communities, societies, states, and in extension, the country.

The result of their misgovernance, inaction, and crass ineptitude is evident in the dehumanizing poverty affecting mostly Northerners, illiteracy, underdevelopment, ethno-religious bloodlettings, Al-Majiri syndrome and Boko Haram insurgency, among other woes.

Moving forward, it is incumbent on Muslim leaders across all boards to resolve to offer exemplary, accountable and selfless leadership service that will better the lots of the masses, their followers and subjects, while also helping to entrench good governance. They should prioritize masses’ welfare and eschew corruption.

In fact, Islam demands that leaders pay attention to their followers’ needs. It is imperative that our clerics and religious scholars regularly admonish Muslim public office holders and traditional rulers on the divine injunctions regarding leadership and governance. In other words, they should not auction their ‘good conscience’ for filthy lucre, but instead be bold, sincere and articulate in speaking truth to power. There is also the need for them to avoid turning themselves into puppets or sycophantic megaphones, who derive joy in doing the biddings of overbearing politicians at the expense of Allah’s sacred decrees.

On their parts, Muslim lawmakers in both the States House of Assembly and National Assembly (NASS) should primarily be concerned with enacting good laws that will enhance the socio-economic well-being of the masses, develop infrastructure, better ordinary citizens’ quality of life, and also engender good governance. The crop of Muslim politicians who were returned elected during the recent general election must ensure they fulfill their campaign promises to the electorate. They should protect the people, and treat them fairly with justice. Our Muslim leaders must ensure that citizens of every creed, race or gender—able-bodied or disabled—should be given the same right and privilege in their domains, states or in the country.

 Abdulsalam Mahmud


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