How to Live Peacefully with One Another in the North By: Jauro Bose Hammadu
Peace, I have been wondering what went wrong with our societal norms and values that we have inherited from our forefathers from time immemorial. Our cherished values and rich culture which we are known and identified with are not with us now. Look, whether we like it or not, Allah created us all and He made some of us Muslims while others non-Muslims. Why did He create us as such, is not my/your problem. The basic thing now is we are Muslims and, in sha Allah, we will live and die as such and our non-Muslim brothers will also wish to live and die as such. In other words, no pressure, name-calling or intimidation will make each side abandon his belief or shift ground.
Since this is the case with us, let us know our differences, identify our weaknesses and learn to live together without provoking or irritating one another. For instance, there are certain things that I, as a Muslim, consider sacred and, therefore, a no-go area for any non-Muslim. I will not accept any sacrilege, profanity or blasphemy as far as these things are concerned. In fact, I will sacrifice my precious life in defense of these things. Things like the sanctity of the mosque, Holiness of the Qur’an and, above all, the inviolability of the honour, reputation and name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are very serious as far as every Muslim is concerned. If the honour of the Prophet (SAW) is willfully violated or abused or subjected to making jokes or opprobrium or my mosque is intentionally desecrated or my Qur’an is bastardized and torn apart, nobody should expect me, or any Muslim for that matter, to take it lightly. Although, I know quite well that I am supposed to display maturity and never to take law into my hands no matter the provocation, but because of the level of deprivation I am subjected to in my country, I may not remember maturity or decorum in times of panic and extreme anger. In other words, I am oppressed and depressed by my political leaders to such an extent that I do not think rationally and my patience is being mistaken as cowardice and docility. This, coupled with other harsh living conditions, may force me to fight irrationally and may not allow me to reason well in times of provocation. Please bear with me. MY NON-MUSLIM FRIENDS SHOULD TAKE NOTE OF THAT AND STAY CLEAR OF THE NO-GO AREAS.
On the other hand, I know many non-Muslim friends who exhibit traits and characters that are worthy of commendation and, in fact, some could be misunderstood as Muslims because their characters are Muslim. These non-Muslims usually complain that they are being labeled as “arna” and they don’t like it because they are none. Let me use this opportunity to say that Islam, as far as I know, recognizes Christians and Jews as “People of the Book” and, therefore, they are not “arna”. Of course they are not Muslims and, therefore, they are unbelievers. Arna means those who practice any religion whose origin is not from God, i.e. a fabricated religion as opposed to a divine one ordained by God.
In my view, our Christian friends do not deserve to be called with a derogatory name of “arne or arna”. This is more so due to the fact that they hate to be addressed as such. Let me use this medium to call upon all Muslims to please refrain from and stop calling them with this name. Please get me right, I am not saying they are not unbelievers! They are! But in so far as we want to live peacefully with one another, there is no point in calling somebody with a name that he does not want. There may be other things which my non-Muslim friends may find offensive and unfriendly, which I do not capture here, please let us know and note them so that we can refrain from going close to or doing them. LET ALL MUSLIMS TAKE NOTE OF THIS.
Furthermore, I know many families who have Muslim and Christian members, who are of the same father and mother or even a Muslim father and a Christian mother living in the same house. In southern Nigeria, whether you are Mohammed or Luka or Aishatu or Alheri or Ibrahim or Matthew or Janet or Godiya, you are just a Hausa-Fulani. Let us understand these basic things and talk about how to cement our relationship and move our nation and states forward. No nation or state can move forward or develop in an atmosphere of hatred and belligerence. Other sections of Nigeria are busy building their regions and developing rapidly, while we are occupied with trivial issues and small matters that will only lead us to destruction. Take it or leave it, a Muslim will never chase or destroy Christians and Christianity from the North, in the same way that a Christian will never chase or annihilate Muslims and Islam in the North. The earlier we realise this, the better. After all, in times of crisis, only the masses suffer. Let’s tolerate one another and move our country forward!
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