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Is Jihaad Going on in Northern Nigeria?

Whoever has carefully studied the texts of the Qur'ân, the Sunnah and the statements of the veritable scholars of the Deen, as expounded above, will never fall into the wrong conclusion that the anarchy and chaos going on presently in the Northern part of Nigeria is a Jihâd. It is also a blatant erroneous supposition to say the matter is that of a Jihâd Difaa ('Defensive Jihâd'), as some enthusiastic Muslim folks opine on some Internet forums.

We have brought the statements of the scholars indicating that there is a Jihâd Difaa when a Muslim Community comes under the attack of the enemy. This is unlike when two or three persons in a community come under attack; that case is different. There may be a group of criminals – posing as religious charlatans, who create chaos and pandemonium about, whom the government of the time (Islamic or otherwise) may feel it is necessary to bring their activities to check; for the group to say it is carrying out a Jihad (Difaa or Talab, or whatsoever) when it comes under attack is to make a claim of what is not Islamically justifiable.

The recent Jihad in Dammaaj, Yemen, where a Muslim community came under the attack of the Houthis (a Shia sect) and was repelled is an example of a Jihâd Difâ. Virtually all the scholars of Sunnah of the time say the Jihad was appropriate; that is a Tazkiyyah (testimonial) for it. No reputable scholar of Sunnah, to the best of the knowledge of this writer, gave any Tazkiyyah for the 'Jihâd' in the Northern Nigeria despite its notoriety. Rather it courted a widespread condemnation from scholars, local and abroad. Those close to the scholars are aware of this. For long had Shaykh Ja'far Mahmud of Kano – may Allâh bestow his mercy on him, tried to persuade the leaders (not rulers, take note) of the 'Northern Jihâd' to tread it softly. You would recall that Shaykh Ja'far was brutally murdered by yet-to-be-identified gunmen on the eve of 2007 general elections. No scholar dare talk about the 'Northern Jihâd' now for the fear of being killed. How many Muslims – scholars and laity – have been killed since the beginning of 'the Jihâd to make all Nigeria Shariah compliant!'

Those who try to equate the Dammâj experience with the event in the Northern Nigeria are but making a serious mistake. One, the Dammâj people are known to be scrupulous people as far as the correct disposition to Islam is concerned. They are never known as lawless people, in fact, they remain committed to the crumbling central government of Yemen, and they are ready to cooperate with it in goodness.

As for the brothers – they are our brothers in Islam though we do not share the same views and we shall never fail to criticize them for their excesses – in the Northern Nigeria, they, authoritatively speaking, are lawless people who think it is unislamic to obey the basic traffic rules such as fastening the safety belt, wearing the safety helmet and not speeding above the speed limit. They think they can achieve anything they want to achieve anytime. They had one time carved themselves out of the whole population settling in a place called Yusufari in Yobe State, Nigeria; that was in 2004. The government forces routed them from their den then only to go Maiduguri metropolitan and constitute a menace. They would instruct their members to tear the certificates they obtained from western schools because it was ab initio, according to them, forbidden to attend such schools because of the western pollution prevalent therein, among other reasons they give. They say it was sinful to obey any law if not promulgated in the Shariah.

Being fair to them however, they do not say all of the Western education is haram. That was the wild imagination of the Nigerian press which dubbed them Boko Haram.

Therefore, it would be strange if any constituted authority would allow the activities of the group to go on unchecked. And for the record, the president of the country when the first major 'battle' broke out in 2009 was a Muslim and no scholar of the Muslims had declared him a Kâfir even though he was a democratic president.

There is no doubt that the group takes methodological lessons from Ikhwâni-influenced groups such as Al-Qaeda, the Islamic Jihâd, Hamas, etc. praise to Allâh the scholars of the Deen have denounced Ikhwaaniyyah (the Muslim Brotherhood with its roots in Egypt) and all its offshoots and they have specifically declared the infamous Al-Qaeda (and all groups who share their aspirations such as our brothers in the North) as being at variance with the correct teachings of Islam.

Thus their Jihâd methods such as suicide bombings, robbing banks(they say this is ghaneemah [war booty]!), bombing churches, killing innocent men and women including children, planting bombs in public places, etc. are not the Jihâd methods in Islam. We do not however rule out some elements of conspiracy in the matter. Nigerian society is a very complex one, politically speaking.

That the Jihaad methods of these people (in the general sense) are not correct is what several scholars of Sunnah have referred to.
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