A Reply to Gimba Kakanda’s Cacophony of Misconstruals, By Muhammad Mahmud
Reading your letter to me, in which you criticised my worry and anger about what is going on in the third most important places of my religion, further strengthens my position that the resistance should be doubled, as it is indeed working, the manifestation of which, possibly, prompted your flawed attempt to stop me.
First, I never ever expected any praise from you or any mortal for what I am doing or refusing to do. “My prayers, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, The Lord of the “Alameen” (Mankind, Jinn and all that exists). He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of Muslims”. Therefore, take your praise where it is needed, not to me. I have a greater goal and far wider ambition.
Second, I am not a humanist. I am a Muslim whose religion has taught to revere and sanctify every soul, be it that of human or animal, male or female, notwithstanding the status,region, creed, race or specie of that soul. I adore lives because I am a Muslim not a humanist. I look and crave for whatever will make humans and animals better because that is what my religion taught me, not the other way round.
While I concur with you that commonsense demands that a man find means of extinguishing a fire in his house before trying to extinguish similar fire elsewhere, I believe your erroneous understanding of the situations made you assume that my call for the world to stop the genocide in Gaza is a direct contradiction of my efforts, which you seem not to be aware of, to stop atrocities in my country.
You also need to be educated that, to me, Palestine is my home as a Muslim. For every second, my mind was never off that third most sacred places of my religion, which was forcefully occupied by Jews, who subjected my brothers down there to unprecedented humiliation.
It is my duty, as a Muslim, to do whatever I can, no matter how little, to reverse the situation in Palestine. Therefore, it is irrational to me, for someone to assume that Palestine is someone’s house not mine. That place is not just a geographical expression, as you seem to believe, it is a sacred religious environment, third only to Mecca and Medina.
But put that aside, as I know that, you, and probably your likes, might be pretending to be flabbergasted with this, it is utterly unimaginable that at this time of globalisation, some supposedly enlightened folks still think that we are living in isolation and should ignore happenings elsewhere, even as the world recently stood up for us when the insurgents abducted school girls and flew into the forest.
By this line of thinking, we should never mind happenings save that which directly affect us. But even that argument cannot stand here, because as human beings with conscience, one cannot feel that it is normal that fellow human beings are killed and maimed after their country has been occupied. Normal humans can never feel this is okay. Thus, this argument that we ought to mind only what is happening in our own country only is very wrong. If we are to follow this line of thinking to its logical end, we should never mind what is happening in Nigeria till it directly affects our household.
On the other hand, it is not true that the Nigerian situation is similar to that of Palestine. This misconception or deliberate misconstruing of realities informed your bad judgement about the whole thing. While the Palestinian situation is simply a full religious and territorial war between Jews and Muslims, the Nigerian situation is so complicated that it is ever changing, shaping and reshaping, as such needing diverse and relevant actions at different times depending on the prevailing situation.
While the Palestinians are under heavy bombing from their occupiers, the Nigerian Muslims are daily bombarded and slaughtered by their own brothers. Their mosques and markets are destroyed and their scholars killed by their own brothers. How does this looks similar to the situation in Palestine? While the Palestinians are united in fighting the occupiers and regarding them as enemies, there is so much distrust and suspicion among Nigerians to the extent that Muslims in Nigeria, who are more at the receiving end as testified by the president, are regarded as members of BOko Haram, particularly the northerners.
On the other hand, heartless and sadistic politicians, both from the opposition and government, are exploiting the precarious situation to fuel distrust and tension among Nigerians with a clear aim to wrestle or remain in power. How does this look similar to the Palestinian situation? There are lots of dissimilarities between the two that it is nonsensical to assume that a panoptic approach is required to both situations and as such condemning the first (Gaza) is ignoring the second (Nigeria).
The simple hash-tagging that sparked international protests, which extremely disturbed the occupiers, could not make Boko Haram grimace, as we are witnessing today. What I am doing at home could never be simple hash-tagging. It is far beyond that. You can’t expect me to apply same approach to dissimilar incidences that affect me, I am not that asinine.
Your attempt to hoodwink that only (citizens of) countries with less problems are protesting the genocide was shattered to pieces when you posited that Malala was here not as a Pakistani, an admittance that Pakistan is a bereaved country. Because, as you might probably not have been told, by your primary sources of western media that back the occupiers, like BBC and CNN, the Pakistanis are among the millions of people that are participating in campaigning against the genocide. They and countries like South Africa and Afghanistan even organised mass protests against it, unlike me and my likes who did not even bother to organise that here. The Shiite demonstration is an annual event that would still have taken place even if there were no fighting in Gaza, so it is not directly for this genocide that is our topic of discussion.
You put aside all manners of honesty, morality and truthfulness, when you ignobly claimed, albeit without any proof, that I internationalised my empathy to show that all is well in my home. This is the height of fallacy and roguery. Can you give one single proof to substantiate this claim?
Truth is, you are so annoyed that I refused to be parochial like you, to cage myself in an extreme individualism garbed in a feigned patriotism that seek to limit all my attention to where westerners expected of me, so as to fit as “modern” Muslim. In other words, you are annoyed that I complied with the injunction of sharia to “be mindful of the affairs of Muslims wherever they are”. You couldn’t find anything to smear me, so you chose to fabricate lies to console your worried mind.
Contrary to your claim, I inform the world more about my problem at home than the Gaza hashtag. I, and my likes, posted more on our domestic problems than the Gaza issue that only started few weeks ago. We wrote articles, debated, posted pictures, critiqued, condemned and commended on issue that directly affected us here at home. In fact what we wrote or posted on Gaza could not take one percent of what we wrote about our home problem. This can be verified by simply going through our outputs.We never ever claimed that all is now over at home. Where and how did you get this chicanery that I am pretending as if all is well at home?
We have been more than half as passionate about our problems than the happenings in Gaza. Are you not aware that we have been praying every time for the return of normalcy in our country? (I am aware that you don’t give much importance to prayers). Are you not aware how many of us risked their lives by publicly calling for the halt to the bloodshed? Are you not aware how many paid with their lives for this? Are you not aware that the civilian JTF are out there with sticks facing well trained insurgents? Are you not aware that many successful operations by Nigerian troops were on tips from our people who risked paying with their lives? The list is endless.
Perhaps, you will only agree that we are passionate if we and our wives troop to Abuja and wailed at your camera to upload to God knows where. Perhaps you expect us to be so passionate to the extent that we publicly insult our religion and disassociate ourselves from it because some people did what we believe is wrong. This we will never do.
You amaze me with your audacity to play with my intelligence that the ongoing genocide is about Abu Khudayr, who was killed by the occupiers. C’mon pal, it is not about Abu Khudayr, it is about the occupation. I don’t think you are too dumb to miss this. Either you are so ignorant about the history of the happenings there or you are mischievously downplaying the real issue. For your information, the ongoing genocide is a continuation of centuries of conflicts at that venerated place, between Muslims (that is we) and the West. Read Ibn Katheer’s Albidayah and free yourself from that bondage.
Your holier-than-thou posture was betrayed by the following from you: “…while all the killed and abducted Dantatas and Asma’us and Johns and Naomis of Yobe and Borno are seen as mere statistics, unworthy of collective advocacy by you.” Advocacy my foot! I can’t believe this. So all the accusations you have been throwing is just for me to only advocate while my people are killed by the day? I expect better from you, my friend.
We not only advocate and pretend to do our role, like you, but we actually engage the problem. Both from ideological point of view and the physical confrontation. We lost many people, none of whom you ever deemed fit to even recognise. So many Islamic scholars paid the ultimate price just like so many youth members of civilian JTF. It is a shame that all you expect from us is to resort to “advocacy”. You see, you and your horde of brainwashed yan Boko, are so delusional and obsessed with yourselves to the extent that you presume every effort by anybody as null and void unless it complies with your westernised way of thinking. That is why, sometimes, we only read you and grin, not minding to even waste our time commenting.
I understand that you are angry with me for unflinchingly supporting Palestinians, on what you called “brotherhood of faith” ground. You are obviously not happy for that. Had it been I supported them on “humanitarian” ground, you might be happy. But that mark the breaking point between us. Because as a Muslim, I do everything as commanded by my religion, and I pay no attention to whose ox is gored for that.
The Almighty Allah bonded all Muslims together as he declared that “Believers are indeed brothers (and sisters).” His Messenger also said “A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim”. “He who does not pay attention or care about the affairs of Muslims is not among them”. “Muslims, in their love and affection towards each other, are like one single body. If a part of him is sick, the rest of the body would be in pain or fever”. This last Hadith is an answer to you. It might give you an insight as to why the Palestinian issue and pain, as my “brother in faith” is mine.
You inquired: “But, wait, what sort of a human being is responsive to the tragedies that fall upon just the people of his faith?”
You can ask your Christian friends that question. They are the ones who turned your much cherished #BringBackOurGirls into a Christian affair. They are the ones who only condemn attacks on churches and Christians. But we, Muslims, never did that. We condemn attacks on any human being.
Your misconstruing the bond of brotherhood between Muslims as been “only responsive to the tragedies that fall upon just the people of his faith”, further exposes your either misunderstanding of the religion or unacceptably limited knowledge about it, but which you always want to talk carelessly on.
First, the verse and Hadiths quoted, and their likes, are not limiting Muslims’ responses to calamities or tragedies to only members of their faith. In contrast, there are other texts encouraging Muslims to help the needy, save lives, help the downtrodden, feed the hungry and so on, without limiting us to those of our faith only. In fact, those texts, I think, are more than the ones cited on Muslims’ brotherliness. Not only humans, we are encouraged to preserve and protect the lives of animals and be gentle with them. For you to claim that Islam only encourages us to respond to atrocities committed on Muslims only is very unfortunate.
You kept regurgitating your flawed conjecture about the similarity of the Palestinian situation and ours. They can’t be collocated as I pointer earlier, and that dislodged your argument that our hash-tagging Gaza and retweeting supportive tweets is less than our active confrontation of our problems at home.
You seem to forget or ignore that we are doing all this as a religious duty not as a payback or with an expectation of payback from our brothers. The whole world forgot our race and creed when they stood for us on Chibok. We are not racists, neither are we tribalists. Our religion abhor those despicably parochial purview within which you want us to view issues.
It looks more likely that you are more in need to read more than me. You need to understand that the Palestines are also Semites. When you cautioned, mischievously, that I will fall into Anti-Semitism for feeling bad about killing children and elderly, I was flabbergasted. I wondered whether a new definition of Semite has popped up. Alhamdulillah, I read a fair share of history books to be enlightened enough about the Palestine to the extent that the revisionists versions failed to redirect my attention. I advice that you read as a human with discerning mind, not reading only literatures that will make you ape absurdities.
Your fear that I might think like an Aryan German who think they are the best of humans, is baseless, as I told you that I am a Muslim. To me, the best is the most pious. We don’t position people or race based on those features. I thought you use to read Qur’an. If you have been reading and understanding the Qur’an, you wouldn’t have wasted time trying to exonerate some Jews from the horrors of Zionists. I don’t think there are a people so accused in detail, in the Qur’an, like the Jews. Yet the Qur’an, as usual, was very fair to them when it was clearly clarified that the Jews are not all the same. Some virtues of some of them were extolled in the Qur’an. Thus, as a Muslim, I felt amazed that you think you need to tell me the danger of generalisation. Though when you are referring to us, northern Nigerian Muslims, you gleefully generalised.
I was really amused when you laboured to tell me what I know about the prophets who were Jews and their status in Islam. Are you under the illusion that, even though Allah clearly stated that the Jews are the most hostile to Muslims in the whole world, there were no Muslim Jews at that very time. I will advise you to read Islam and understand it well, my brother, your are exposing too much of the unenviable stuff you are made of.
You shouldn’t have minded being didactic and/or pedagogic about Einstein et al to make a point an elementary school pupil knows much about. There is nothing special about those inventions by the Jews to me, because I have a handful of Muslims some of whose works on scientific field made their works a reality. Knowledge, as we have known, is not a preserved treasure of a given race, colour or creed. The cumulative efforts of others are further expanded and built on to further arrive at a step further. By the way, Einstein was against the Zionists. We all know that.
You wrote that “Unlike you, whenever I see a group of people, the first identity that strikes me is the human”. This is debatable. Because, first, I am the real humanist. I am a humanist because I am a Muslim, and a Muslim is commanded by his religion to be more humanist than the bunch of pretenders that you are. I pointed this earlier.
Second, this very piece exposed your inhumanity as you seek to distort the real and actual bone of contention between the oppressor (Jewish Occupiers) and the oppressed (The Palestinians). You also, subtly, justify the aggression on humans under attack (Palestinians) under the guise of worn out caution on the so called anti Semitism. You clearly came out in defence of the Jews and accused the Palestinians of never caring about my situation. Thus, you implied, I should forget about them.
The piece also exposed your racism, which you claimed to be against, just as it protruded your blanket judgement on northerners as you caution them not to generalise on others. See?
No my friend you are confused and disturbed that I choose to follow my religion, a way you think I should not follow and wished I should put aside.
I always pray “Rabbana La Tuzigh Qulubana, ba’ada izh Hadaitana, Wa Hab lana Min Ladunka Rahmatan, innaka Antal Wahab”. Amen.