…tribalism is the ideological core of all militant terrorists, ignoramuses and criminals, regardless of whether they support state terrorism or renegade terrorism. The Prophet renounces anyone who fights for tribalistic reasons and who eschews the principle of non-combatant distinction in war.



In sum, Islam rejects all forms of tribalism, racism, and bigotry. We must not construct a false caricature of other groups in order to justify oppression, blanket indictments, and collective punishment against them. We must take the lead in upholding justice and the natural rights of not only Hausa, Yoruba, Fulani, Christian and Muslim, but of all human beings.


In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah, we praise Him, seek His aid, and ask His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and from our bad deeds. He whom Allah guides, there is none to misguide him, and he whom He leaves astray there is none to guide him! I bear witness that none is worthy of Worship but Allah, who is alone without partners and I bear witness that Muhammad (Pbuh) is His Slave and Messenger.

“O you who have believe! Fear Allah, (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared, [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” [Surah Ali-Imraan, 3: 102]

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” [Surah An-Nisaa’, 4:1]

“O you who have believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (Pbuh) he has indeed achieved a greater achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).” [Surah Al-Ahzaab, 33: 70-71]

To Proceed:

Verily the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (Pbuh). And the worst matters are the newly invented matters (in Religion), and ALL new matters (in Religion) are innovations into the religion, and all the innovations are misguidance, and all the misguidance lead to the fire.

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All praises are due to Allah who has created humanity from a single parenthood. May His choicest salutations continue to descend upon our Master and Leader, Muhammad (Pbuh) who abolished racism in all its forms.

“O You who believe! Indeed We have created you from a single male and female and We have made you into nations and tribes so that you know each other. Verily the noblest among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold Allah is all knowing, all aware.” (Surah al-Hujurat, 49:13)

Servants of Allah! The world watches with absolute disbelief as ethnic violence once again rears its ugly head in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly in South-West, North-Central, North-East and North-West. Attacks in Ile-Ife in Osun State, Southern Kaduna in Kaduna State, in Benue, Taraba, Plateau and Bauchi States displaced thousands of people and killed scores just a few weeks and years back. Tens of thousands lost their homes, while mobs raped, robbed and even burnt helpless people to death! Have we not learnt positive lessons from our past?

Brothers and Sisters! One of the defining realities of our age is migration. As the world shrinks and economies integrate, international, national and local boundaries gradually become extinct. Mass migration has created a battle for scarce resources and even scarcer jobs. This resulted in the ‘survival of the fittest’, which eventually sparked the xenophobic attacks. Xenophobia is the fear, dislike or contempt of foreigners, strangers or of a people significantly different from oneself.

What lessons do we learn from this human tragedy and how do we ensure that it does not repeat itself again?

We need to begin by acknowledging that the human race stems from a single parenthood. We are all brothers and sisters by virtue of our common parenthood. Race, ethnicity and language are convenient labels of recognition. Allah the Most High said:

“Oh you who believe! Indeed We have created you from a single male and female and We have made you into nations and tribes so that you know each other…” (Surah al-Hujurat, 49:13)

A man once visited the Prophet Mosque in Madinah. There he saw a group of people sitting and discussing their faith. Among them were Salman, who came from Persia, Suhayb, who grew up in the Eastern Roman Empire and was regarded as a Greek, and Bilal who was an African – May Allah be pleased with them. The man then said: “If the (Madinan) tribes of Aws and Khazraj support Muhammad, (it is understood because they are Arabs like him) they are his people. But what are these (foreign) people doing here?” (Implying an obvious dislike for foreigners and strangers), the Prophet (Pbuh) became very angry when this was reported to him. He went to the Masjid (Mosque) and summoned the people to prayer. He then addressed them saying: “Oh people, know that the Lord and Sustainer is One. Your ancestor is one; your faith is one. The Arabism of anyone of you is not (by virtue of the nobility of) your mother or father. It is no more than a tongue (language).” The Prophet further said: “Let people stop boasting about their ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a miserable sinner. All men are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust.” (See Sunan Abu Dawud)

Servants of Allah! Humanity is one unit, the family of Allah/God. Its individuals are members of one society bound together by their common origin, which is so comprehensive that it includes all differences within its oneness.

Prophet (Pbuh) said:

“Humanity is the family of Allah; the best human is one who is kind to His (Allah’s) family.” (See Mishkat)

As humans, we often tend to pledge indiscriminate allegiance to people of our own kind. We often do so at the cost of justice and impartiality. The Prophet was once asked whether loving your own kind is tantamount to bigotry. He replied:

“No, except if a man helps his own people in doing wrong.” (See Musnad Ahmad)

This shows to love your own kind is but natural, but when that love drives you to support your own kind to subvert the truth and act unjustly it is tantamount to bigotry. The Prophet (Pbuh) referred to this kind of blind patriotism in the following words:

“He is not of us who advocates the cause of racial discrimination, he is not of us who fights in the cause of racial discrimination and he is not of us who dies in the cause of racial discrimination.” (See Sunan Abu Dawud)

Brothers and Sisters! Among the numerous blessings of Hijrah (Migration from one place to another), one of the most important was that of ‘Mu‘aakhah’, the creation of brotherhood between the people, between Muhajireen, the emigrants from Makkah and the Ansaar, the helpers of Madinah. Prophet (Pbuh) assembled them at the house of Anas and told them that the Muhajireen had left all their belongings in Makkah and were now penniless and shelterless. The Ansaar willingly agreed to the creation of a relationship of brotherhood between the two groups. Each Ansari took his Muhajir brother to his house and gave one-half of his entire property to him. Under the guidance of the Messenger of Allah, these two groups became like blood brothers. While the Ansaar considered it a privilege and honour to assist their Muhajir brothers, the latter did not wish to be a burden on them for long. Very soon, the Muhajireen through trade, industry and handwork, were able to stand on their own feet.

Servants of Allah! Macmillan Dictionary and English Oxford Living Dictionary defines tribalism as the state of being organised in or an advocate for a tribe or tribes. In terms of conformity, tribalism may also refer in popular cultural terms to a way of thinking or behaving in which people are loyal to their own tribe or social group.

Fellow Nigerians! Tribalism is pervasive and remains mankind’s most dangerous instinct, and it controls a lot of our behaviour, readily overriding reason. Think of the inhuman things we do in the name of tribal unity. Wars are essentially, and often quite specifically, tribalism. Genocides are tribalism – wipe out the other group to keep our group safe – taken to madness. Racism that lets us feel that our tribe is better than theirs, parents who end contact with their own children when they dare marry someone of a different tribe or colour. What stunning evidence of the power of tribalism!

Brothers and Sisters! Tribalism is the pernicious and deleterious ideology that afflicts all human societies in every time period, originating in the worship of idols and reconstructing itself into many forms throughout the ages. In modern times, we know it as the spectres of racism, xenophobia, supremacism, imperialism, slavery, fascism, genocide and ethnic cleansing. In practice, it rears its ugly head in the shape of prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination.

Allah has commanded us to uphold justice with all other human beings regardless of their race, religion, region or identity. Allah the Most High said:

“O you, who believe, be persistently standing firm in justice as witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. Follow not your desires, lest you not be just.” (Surah An-Nisaa’, 4:135)

Brothers and Sisters! Tribalists, by contrast, reject universal standards of justice. They divide the world into the privileged in-groups and the demonised out-groups, holding to the slogan “my tribe, my people right or wrong.” Their love of their own people and hatred of different people causes them to rationalise and justify the unjustifiable.

Wathila ibn Al-Asqa’ reported that: I said, “O Messenger of Allah is it part of tribalism that a man loves his people?” the Prophet said: “No, rather it is tribalism that he supports his people in wrongdoing.” (See Sunan ibn Majah, Hadith no. 3949)

Love for one’s people is normal and healthy if it leads to good deeds and justice to others, but such love that comes at the expense of justice is not true love at all.

Tribalism by this definition has been rejected by Islam in the harshest terms. Tribalism is a form of “blind following” whose adherents live in “ignorance,” an allusion to the pre-Islamic worship of idols.

Jundab ibn Abdullah reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Whoever is killed under the banner of blind following, which calls to tribalism or supports tribalism, then he has died upon ignorance.” (See Sahih Muslim, Hadith no. 1850)

The Prophet, Peace and blessings be upon him, disowned anyone who lives by the ideology of tribalism or supports it in any way. Tribalists might be outwardly Muslims, but in reality Allah will not count them among the true believers. Or they may be outwardly Christians, but not actually following the true teachings of Jesus Christ.

Jubair ibn Mut’im reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“He is not one of us who calls to tribalism. He is not one of us who fights for the sake of tribalism. He is not one of us who dies following the way of tribalism.” (See Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith no. 5121)

The Prophet delivered an instructive parable to us about the likeness of one who adheres to tribalism:

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Whoever supports his people in oppression is like a dead camel that falls into a well and is pulled out by its tail.” (See Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 4141)

In another narration, the Prophet said:

“The parable of the one who supports his people upon other than the truth is that of a dead camel that falls into a well and is pulled out by its tail.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 3670)

My respected people! The Tribalist who falls into this sin is destroyed, just like a camel that plunges to his death inside a well. The corpse of his sin will poison the well for an entire town, while the towns people must endure the hideous sight and stench as they remove his carcass from their drinking water. Like the rotting camel, all throughout history we have seen the deadly presence of tribalism justify oppression, massacre, murder, and genocide.

Fellow Nigerians! Tribalism takes many different forms, but the mindset is always the same. When Tribalists justify themselves in terms of race, this is classic biological racism. Sometimes Tribalists justify themselves in terms of culture, claiming their culture must dominate others, in which case they are simply practicing cultural racism. Even religion itself can be used to construct and justify an ideology of tribalism. If religion is used to violate the human rights of others and rationalise injustice against out-groups, it has become nothing more than religious racism.

Rather, the religion of Islam teaches us to uphold the rights of all human beings, to walk with humility, and to leave the divine judgment to Allah alone. We would do well to remember the fates of the humble sinner and the arrogant worshipper.

Abu Hurairah reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Two men among the children of Israel were the opposite of each other. One of them was a sinner and the other would strive in worship. The worshiper would see the sinner and tell him to stop. One day he found him sinning so he said: Stop! The sinner said: leave me alone, by my Lord, have you been sent as a watchman over me? The worshiper said: by Allah, Allah will not forgive you or admit you into paradise. Later their souls were taken and they met in the presence of the Lord of the worlds. Allah said to the worshiper: Did you have knowledge of me or power over what is in my hand? Allah said to the sinner: Enter Paradise by my mercy. And Allah said to the worshiper: Take him to the Hellfire.” (See Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith no. 4901)

In other words, it is never fair to compare the best of ourselves to the worst of others, lest we fall into the destructive sin of arrogance and braggadocio.

No matter what scheme is used to justify tribalism, whether race, culture, or religion, the outcome is always the same: racist practice. Whoever the Tribalists designate as the out-group will suffer prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination meant to enhance the tribalists own privilege at the expense of those they deem inferior. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji’uun!

Fellow Nigerians! The method of tribalism is to issue blanket indictments of an entire race, culture, religion, or group of people. They will condemn an entire group for the crimes of a few, or misrepresent an entire group by only examining its worst elements. Thus, the purveyors of Islamophobia claim all Muslims are terrorists, the purveyors of anti-Semitism claim all Jews are greedy, and the purveyors of racism claim black people are natural criminals and parasites. In every case, the tribalists construct a false caricature of their victims to be the straw man of their vicious attacks.

My people! Islam teaches us to reject such blanket indictments and false generalisations. Some of the Prophet’s Companions began to have bad thoughts about all of the Jews and Christians, but verses were revealed making clear distinctions the righteous and unrighteous. Allah the Most High said:

“They are not all the same. Among the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) is a community standing in obedience, reciting the verses of Allah during the night and prostrating in prayer. They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to do good deeds. Those are among the righteous. Whatever good deeds they do will never be denied, for Allah knows well the righteous.” (Surah Ali Imran, 3:113-115)

It would be wrong to negatively characterise an entire religious group or a tribe with all its unique individuals and diverse interpretations. For this reason, the Prophet firmly censured the poets of his time who had a habit of excoriating entire tribes.

Aisha reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Verily, the greatest of people in falsehood is a man who insults another man by disparaging the entire tribe.” (See Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith no. 3761)

In another narration, the Prophet said:

“Verily, the greatest criminal among people is a poet who disparages the entire tribe.” (See al-Adab al-Mufrad, Hadith no. 870)

Servants of Allah! If we accept blanket indictments of an entire group, then we are making a claim of collective guilt that will ultimately lead to collective punishment, and collective punishment is a crime of war. Islam rejects collective guilt and punishment, in word and deed, as innocent people may never be held accountable for the crimes of others. Allah the Most High said:

“No soul earns anything except it is upon itself, and none shall bear the burdens of another.” (Surah Al-An’am, 6:164)

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“No man is to be punish for the crimes of his father or his brother.” (See Sunan An-Nasa’i, Hadith no. 4131)

Hence, tribalism is the ideological core of all militant terrorists, ignoramuses and criminals, regardless of whether they support state terrorism or renegade terrorism. The Prophet renounces anyone who fights for tribalistic reasons and who eschews the principle of non-combatant distinction in war.

Abu Hurairah reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Whoever fights under the banner of one who is blind, raging for the sake of tribalism, or calling to tribalism, or supporting tribalism, and is killed in this state will have died upon ignorance (Jahiliyyah). Whoever rebels against my nation, striking the righteous and wicked alike and sparing not even the believers and he does not fulfill the pledge of security, then he has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him.” (See Sahih Muslim, Hadith no. 1848)

My respected people! When the connection between tribalism and terrorism is understood, it will not be difficult for you to see that every violent extremist group, whether white supremacists or a kharijite terrorists or others, all share the same basic tribalist ideology, even though they express it in different terms.

In sum, Islam rejects all forms of tribalism, racism, and bigotry. We must not construct a false caricature of other groups in order to justify oppression, blanket indictments, and collective punishment against them. We must take the lead in upholding justice and the natural rights of not only Hausa, Yoruba, Fulani, Christian and Muslim, but of all human beings.

Fellow Nigerians! Remember, whether you are a Hausas, Fulanis, Yorubas, Igbos, Kanuris, Nupes, Igbirras/Ebiras, Igalas, Okuns, agatus, Tivs, Idomas, Katafs, Biroms etc., the first thing I want all of you to understand is we are all human beings and Nigerians, and Allah the Almighty created us to live together and benefit from each other’s gift, wisdom and experience. Further, no group or tribe can claim ownership of the Nigerian state; being different in tribes isn’t a reason why others will be maligned, belittled, vilified, denigrated, bad-mouthed, aspersed, dress downed, attack, killed and demonised. Therefore we must fear Allah/God and avoid any tribalistic behaviours that will jeopardise our peaceful co-existence.

Let’s join hands together to move the country forward, in order to have the blessing of sustainable peace, unity and progress.

The Black, White, Yellow, Africans, Americans, Arabs, Europeans, Asians, Northerners, Southerners, Westerners, Easterners, etc. are all the same in the eyes of Allah. We should not be deceived by our colour, tribe or anything.

Brothers and Sisters! Before I conclude my today’s Sermon I must commend the then acting president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, for condemning the chaotic incident and for ordering the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to swiftly intervene and ensure the return of peace and order in the ancient town of Ile-Ife.

I must also thank, salute and commend the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi for his fatherly role in resolving the squabble between the warring factions, and the inauguration of a truth and reconciliation committee to ensure peace between the Yorubas and Hausa community in the ancient city.

I must also thank and salute Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the Governor of State of Osun for his timely intervention by acting promptly towards ensuring that the clash does not go out of control.

I must also thank and commend the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso for his visit, donations and kind words, and for being proactive in resolving the recent squabble between the Hausa and Yoruba before it escalates.

I also salute the security agents, Sarkin Hausawa of Ile-Ife, Alhaji Mahmud Madagali and all the South-West and Northern political, traditional/community and religious leaders for their timely contributions and efforts towards ending the crisis. They has done a commendable job and therefore we should all salute them for that good job.

I sympathise with everyone affected by the crisis and begged those involved to embrace one another by being your brother’s keeper.

Oh Allah make our country, Nigeria safe and the other muslim countries in general, oh Lord of the universe (jinn and mankind). Oh Allah protect our safety, our Imaan and our peace in our native lands, unite us and rectify those placed in authority over our affairs (our leaders) and don’t hold us to account for that which the foolish amongst us have done, and protect us from trials the apparent and hidden of it. Oh Allah show us the truth for the truth and help us to follow it, and show us the falsehood for falsehood and help us to stay away from it, and make Imaan the most beloved to us and beautify it in our hearts, and make disbelief, lewdness, injustice and rebellion most hated to us and make us from those who are guided.

Oh Allah unite us, rectify our leaders, oh Allah guide them to that which is good for themselves and to that which is good for us. Oh Allah make them a means for our safety, and make them a means for our word (unity) to be one, and make them a cause for our coming together, Yaa Al-Hayyu (Oh The Ever Living, The One who cannot die), Yaa Al-Qayyum (The Self Sustainer), Yaa Sami’ (The Hearer) of the supplication. Oh Allah safeguard our country. Oh Allah bring ease to the Nigerians from that which they face from sufferings. Oh Allah give us immediate ease. Oh Allah give us victory with a happy outcome. Oh Allah make ease for the Nigerians from every difficulty and from every suffering, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Reliever from every distress, Oh answerer of the supplication, Oh Helper of the grieving, Oh ever living, Self Sustaining, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Owner of Loftiness and Nobility!

O Allah! Make us among those who earn your forgiveness and acquire safety from the Hell fire, Ameen.

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. Prayers, peace and mercy are upon our beloved Master, Muhammad, the son of Abdullah (Pbuh), his family and Companions.

May Allah grant us the ability to mirror the beautiful teachings of our religion and may He cleanse our hearts from all forms of pride and arrogance. Ameen

And success comes from Allah, and He the Most High knows best.

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jumada al-Thaany 18, 1438 AH (March 17, 2017), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached for advice and corrections via: +2348038289761.