ASSESSMENT OF THE SOURCES OF DEVIATION FROM ISLAMIC CUSTOMS AMONG THE MODERN-DAY MUSLIMS OF THE NORTH-WEST NIGERIA
This research entitled: ―Assessment of the causes of deviation from Islamic practices among the contemporary Muslims of the North-West Nigeria was motivated by the proliferation of uncompromising groups among Muslims, each with its peculiar forms of deviation. It is an attempt to assess the causes of deviation among Muslims in the North-West Nigeria. The study therefore, adopted the survey research design. Two self-structured questionnaires formulated based on the research objectives and questions which guided the study. The first sets of questionnaires were responded to by Muslims irrespective of their religious ideologies while the second questionnaire were responded base on Muslim grouping. The Data was analysed using frequencies, percentages and tables. It revealed that failure to abide by the religious instructions lead to disbelief, innovations, transgression and immoderation among the Muslims; some Muslims perceived the Islamic rulings on some activities based on the inclinations of their various religious groups; and that the major factors causing deviation are ignorance of the objectives of shari‘ah and forsaking the practice and guidance of the best three generations of Muslims identified by the Prophet (SAW). The major effects of deviations in religious practices Include disunity, misrepresentation of Islam, threat to security and clashes and unrests among Muslims. In view of the findings, the research recommends that the solutions to deviation in religious practices are tenable only in the adherence to the Qur‘an and the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) as understood and practice by the Sahabah (RA). Furthermore, Muslims should accept and respect all religious evidences regardless of their religious inclination.
1.1 Background to the Study
Islam is a total way of life that provides codes of conduct which comprises ways and modes of worship, standards of morals and a good way of life. The Noble Qur’an and prophetic Hadith are the primary sources of Islamic code of conduct, which aim at covering the myriads of problems that arise in the course of Muslims‘ life on earth. The careful study of the Noble Qur’an and Hadith provide a complete code easy for an ordinary man to follow in accordance with the requirement of Shari’ah. The religion of Islam is the complete acceptance and practice of the teachings and guidance of Allah as revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).
A Muslim is one who believes in Allah (S.W.T)and strives to gain Allah’s pleasure through worship in accordance with the revealed guidance, the Qur’an and the Hadith. The goal of Islam is for human being to become true servants of Allah who are equally beneficial to humanity. In view of this, the Qur’an was revealed and Hadith is made a complimentary of the Qur’an in clarification, explanation and expounding. The Qur’an is the speech of Allah, which was revealed through Angel Jibril to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). The revelation of
Quran was in piece meal, which spread over a period of twenty-three years. Thus, the Prophet
(S.A.W) explained every detail of the Qur’an to ensure the correct compliance with the Qur’anic injunctions. In this regards, the Qur’an obliged the believers to emulate and submit to all of the Prophet‘sguidance and instructions. Allah says in the Qur’an:
ٱُّ ٱفجفحفخفمقحقمكجكحئيكخبركلبزبمكمبنبى َّ بي الأح زاب: ٢١
Youhave indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern [of conduct]for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much inthe Praise of Allah. (Al Ahzab: 21)
The Companions of the Prophet (S.A.W) clearly watched the Prophet (S.A.W) and inquired about what appears to be ambiguous to them. This attitude of the Sahabah made them fully comprehend the wisdom of the message brought by the Prophet (S.A.W) and hence attained proper faith. Many verses of the Qur’an commend them and render them (i.e
Sahabah) subjects of emulation too. For instance, Allah stated in the Qur’an:
ُّ ٱهىهييجثرثزثمثنثىثيفىفيقىقيكمكاكىكللمكيلىليما َّ الممبقرة:
So if they believe in the like of what you believe in,then they are certainly guided;and if they turn away,then they are only [steeped] in defiance.Allah shall suffice you against them,and He is the Allhearing, the All-knowing.(Al-Baqarah: 137)
In the same vein, the Prophet (S.A.W) obliged his subsequent followers after him to consider the Sahabah as subject of emulation. He se said: „فََ َْ ُ ْ ِ ُ نَِّ َ ُ نَِّ اُْ ََ اِ اَْ ْ ِ ِّ َ انَّل اِِ يَ
Upon all of you is to adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs. (at Tirmidthi: No: 3891)
Furthermore, the Prophet (S.A.W) identified the generation that witnessed the period of the Sahabah (R.A) and the immediate generation after them with good and correctness in the practice of religion. He says: ، خَْ فَلُ ا نَّ سِ فَلِْ ، ثُنَّ انَّذِ يَ فَ ونفَُ ْ ، ثُنَّ انَّذِ يَ فَ ونفَُ ْ
The best people of my generations is my generation then the generation which proceeds it, then the generation which proceeds that generation (Bukhari: No.2652)
However, in spite of the aforementioned guidance, Muslims started to experience misunderstanding since from the first generation, this culminated to emergence of some ideologies which continued to grow with different people and in different ages. For instance, the political crisis brought about the assassination of the third Caliph and which gave rise to the emergence of Kharijites. Similarly, the political crisis consumed the fourth Caliph and led to the emergence of Shi’ah as a sect.
The later generation of Muslims‘ continue to experience the emergence of new ideologiesthat contradicted the teachings of the Quran and the Ahadith. Thus, it is not surprising because it potrayed the fulfilment of the prophecy of the Prophet (S.A.W) that the nation of Muslims shall be divided into seventy-three divisions as reported in the following narration: On the authority of Abu Hurairah who said: the Messenger of Allah said:
فَ فَلََ ِ اْ فَ ووُ لِ إ ْ َ َ ِ لَْ ةً فَوَ ِ َ ةٌ فى لج فى ا ر تر ا ص ر لِ ثِ فَ فَ ِ َ لَْْ ةً إ فى ا ر َ َ ِ ةٌ فى لج انَّذِ
نفَْ سُ مَُُنَّ ٍ َ هِْ اَْ فَْ تَرَِ نَّيَْ أنَّمِ ل ثلْاثٍ َ ِ َ لَْ ةً فَوَ ِ َ ةٌ فَى لج َ ثِْ فَ َ نِ
َ َ ْ فَ ونَ فِى ا نَّ رِ ل يا ر ول الله مي ه ل لْجََ َ ُ ) ي م جه
The Jews split up into seventy one religious sects, one is in paradise and the Christians split up into seventy two religious sects, one is in paaradise.I swear with one who my soul in his control, my nation will split up into seventy three religious sects one is in paradise and the remaining seventy two sect will be in hellfire, they (Sahaba) asked whom oh the Messenger of Allah? He (Messenger of Allah) said “the Jama’ah“.(Ibn Majah: No.4596)
The trend of deviation from religious guidance was not different in the religious practices of Muslims in the northern Nigeria. In the beginning of the 19th century C.E Sheikh Usman Bn Fodiyo launched jihad in Hausaland in order to fight deviation from religion. The success of Shehu in his mission to correct the innovations inserted in the religion brought about the establishment of a Caliphate. However,in 1903 C.E when the British colonials overuled the Caliphate many forms of deviations were introduced in the religion. The religion in some places became adulterated with alien activities that are capable of nullifying the faith of a Muslim and which appear to affect the beauty of the religion. In view of this, this research is designed to carefully assess the forms of deviations, the causes and implications in the religious life of the contemporary Muslims in North-Western Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
A Muslim becomes religiouslygood when he believes and understands the practices and teachings of the Qur’an as explained by the Prophet (S.A.W) and practicedby the Sahabah of the Prophet (S.A.W) or the best three generations identified by the Prophet (S.A.W). Islam therefore, considers the understanding of the Qur‘an and that of the Hadith coupled with healthy and incorruptible intellect to attain to the proper guidance of the religion. Any failure or inability to properly abide by the dictates ofthe Shari‟ahbrings about misconceptions in religion, as well as deviation.
Unfortunately, some Muslims today prefer to follow their ideologies by manipulating the primary religious sources in favour of their selfish desires or promote their organisations in disguise. In this way, some of theteachings of the Qur‘an as demonstrated by the Prophet (S.A.W) are distorted. Many activities were introduced by the Muslims in the contemporary northwestern Nigeria, which are inserted in the religion and appear to be responsible for the irreconciliable situation among the Muslims and rendering the religion ugly in the sight of the non-Muslims. The manipulation of the religious guides appears to be under the hideout of hawa (vain desire) of every person that could claim scholarship without necessary recourse to established principles of Islam. The question that remains is,is it possible to have a form of deviation in religion that could nullify the faith of a Muslim and render him as unbeliever? Or is ignorance an excuse in following all deviations?
The proliferation of Muslim organizations and their struggle against one another appear to be problematicto the religion. Some introduced various activities to attrack and maintain membership without necessary reference to Islamic values. The growth of immoral activities in the name of Islamic organizations may be looked disturbed and unacceptable when the general principles of Islam are reflected upon. To what extent Muslim organizations is permitted to engage in any foul play in order to establish political authority or economic buoyancy?Or whose activities in Islam stand to be perfect and incorruptible worthy of emulation?
1.3 Objectives of the study
The study aimed at attaining the following objectives, to:
- examine the nature and implications of religious instructions to the life of a Muslim
- assess the Perception of the Muslims in Norh West, Nigeria on sectarian activities attributed to Islam
- examine the factors responsible for the deviation in religious practice of the people in the contemporary North West, Nigeria
- examine the extent of the effects of deviations in the religious practices of religious groups in the North West, Nigeria
- examine the activities and religious ideologies of various religious groups in North West, Nigeria
- proffer solutions in the light of the Shari’ah to the nature and implications of deviation in religious practices among the religious groups in North West, Nigeria
1.4 Research Questions
The study raises many questions, among them are:
- What is the nature and implications of religious instructions to the life of a Muslim?
- What is the Perception of the Muslims in Norh West on sectaian activities attributed to Islam?
- What are the factors responsible for the deviation in religious practice of the people in
Contemporary North West, Nigeria?
- What is the extent of the effects of deviations in the religious practices of religious groups in the North West, Nigeria?
- What are the activities and religious ideologies of various religious groups in North
- To what extent Shari’ah guide can provide solutions to the nature and implications of deviation in religious practices among the religious groups in North West, Nigeria?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Islam has repeatedly warned against all temptations to deviate from its teachings. However, some factors may likely lure some to deviations unknowingly, while others may deliberately engage in acts of deviation without necessary understanding theimplications. Therefore, any research that aims at clarifying the implication of religious deviations is not only going to be significant in establishing proper faith in North-west of Nigeria, butit can be viable means of solving some problems confronting the North West States particularly on issues of disunity among the Muslims in the region.
The study will further enhance Muslims’ comphrehension of the true causes of deviations in the religious practices, and howthe possible remedies will guide to the avoidance of falling into confusionand deviant practices that are destructive to the life of a Muslim. The outcome of the research willlead to the promotion of the course of Islam through the unity and mutual understanding expected to be established from the finding of the research.Similarly, the study may alsocurb the spread and emergence of new deviation because it is expected that Muslims will become more aware of the trend and plot of religious deviations.
The unity and mutual understanding that is expectedto be attained among various groups of Muslims in north-west may definitely curtail inter-religious conflicts and hence security of the communities. Therefore, the government will definitely benefit in the management of security challenges.
In a nutshell, the work is a means of providing insight into religious complexities of the North- west and the likely solutions in the light of shari’ah guide to the nature of deviation
in religious practices. It may serve as roadmap which may answer many of the
misconceptions and misinterpretations associated with the religion based on deviant activities of some Muslims.
1.6 Scope/Delimitation of the Study
This study is restricted to the activities of four selected Islamic religious organization in theNorth-west political region: Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto states. The organisations include: MuslimSufiMovement (Qādiriyyah andTijjāniyyah orders), Jamā
atu Izālatil Bidah wa Iqāmatis Sunnah(‘Yan Izala)Islamic Movement of
Nigeria (Yan Shia) and Qur’āniyyun. These organizations are selected because majorityof the Muslims inNorthwestern Nigeria may likely have a link or inclination to these organizations either directlyor indirectly, while other, usually are off shoots of the four maingroups mentioned above. Also the study limited to the actvities of Muslims groups in the region between 2010 to 2020 C.E.
ASSESSMENT OF THE SOURCES OF DEVIATION FROM ISLAMIC CUSTOMS AMONG THE MODERN-DAY MUSLIMS OF THE NORTH-WEST NIGERIA