Why Islamic Scholars Must Contest For Political Offices In Nigeria, By Ibrahim Khaleel Muazu
Since after the success of President Muhammadu Buhari in the last general election, I arrived at the conclusion that there is no better time for the Islamic scholars, students of Islamic knowledge and other people of sound mind and habit to venture wholeheartedly into the political arena of Nigeria than now. This is because PMB is considered as a person with not only incorruptible antecedents but also a sound and clean moral and religious background.
The wrong notion which existed in the minds of Nigerian Muslims that the political arena should only be filled by ill-mannered and shameless individuals has been the cause of the bad leadership we are currently subjected to in many parts of the country.
The Islamic scholars who are considered the best among the Muslim nation stand the best chance of providing good and accountable leadership being the possessors of both piety and knowledge which are the among the most important qualities expected of any leader. These scholars who are role models to the Muslims in all facets of life should not be confined within the four walls of the mosques.
As far as contesting for election in Nigeria is concerned, the Islamic scholars have given the fatwa (religious injunction) that it is islamically okay for Muslims to contest for political offices even under a non-Islamic dispensation and Islamic scholars are not exempted from this. Also, the constitution of Nigeria allows any Nigerian beyond the age of 18 to contest for various political offices. In other words, every Nigerian has the right to vote and be voted for and Islamic scholars are not are not exceptions.
Among the benefits of the involvement of Islamic scholars in Nigeria’s politics is that it will go a long way in ending the unreasonable religious animosity which exists between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. This is evident in the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari had to pick a pastor as his running mate in order to clear the doubts in the minds of Nigerian Christians that he is a religious bigot. I am of the belief that since Nigeria is a country occupied by both Muslims and Christians, the only way you can earn the trust of the followers of these two religions is by putting their religious leaders at helm of the affairs of the nation.
Some may argue that it is not befitting for the Islamic scholars to contest for political offices because they may lose their dignity and respect since the political sphere in Nigeria is known to be occupied by mostly the shameless and the ill-mannered individuals who have compromised their dignity and honour. My answer to that is, the fact that the ill-mannered individuals occupy the political sphere is exactly the reason why we want the Islamic scholars to come out and contest for the election in order to bring an end to the disease of bad governance we are suffering from. When we put our Islamic scholars on the lead, I believe that being the people who are close to God, it is very unlikely to find them engaged in corruption and impunity. These are people who have the best knowledge of right and wrong.
Others argue that since Islam is against democracy and any other non-Islamic form of governance, the Islamic scholars should not venture into it even though there is a consensus agreement on the permissibility of such. To this group of people I say, this is an erroneous belief which has over the years brought us nothing but backwardness. If it is permissible for a lawyer to practice his profession in Nigeria and be guided by Nigeria’s constitution provided he does not consider the constitution as equal or superior to the Islamic laws, then it is also permissible for an Islamic scholar to contest for a political office under a democratic form of governance as long as he does not consider democracy as equal or superior to the Islamic form of governance. More so, I dare say that no one can discharge this while carefully fulfilling his religious duties better than the Islamic scholars being the most knowledgeable and most fearful of God.
Involvement of Islamic scholars in Nigeria’s politics will surely help in improving the welfare of Muslims in the country and will help greatly in improving National unity, peace and harmony. I believe that with Islamic scholars at the helm of our affairs, religiously inclined problems like the almajiri system, Boko haram and other similar problems would not only be brought to an end but also be avoided in the future.
Ibrahim Khaleel Muazu (Qaloon) writes from Bauchi and can be reached via email@example.com and 07030157819