ALERT: Islam in Yorubaland

by Femi Abbas
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Femi Abbas

Monologue

Promise is a debt. Its fulfilment or non-fulfilment is a silhouette through which the true identity of its maker can be easily deciphered.

Last week, a conspicuous figure of ‘ALERT!’ was posted to draw the attention of today’s Yoruba Muslims to the occurrences of yesteryears, about Islam, in the South West region of Nigeria, which came to determine the social status of today’s Muslims in today’s Nigeria.

As an explanation of that ‘ALERT’ it becomes necessary to unmask thecloaked masquerade of history that had long dominated the intellectual scene of the South West of Nigeria with fabricated and unverified fictions.

Clarification

The Yoruba Muslims of the South West of Nigeria have been ensnared in a cobweb of dilemma for quite some time. The dilemma began with their fortuitous wish to be transported from an arena of ignorance into an island of knowledge, either for the purpose of ascertaining their identity as true adherents of Islam or for authenticating that divine religion as the only true way of life for the rightly guided people or both. And the means by which to do that, at that time, was across a lake of uncertainty.

Ever since the arrival of Islam at certain spiritual shores in the South West territory of a country which came to be named Nigeria, the Muslims of those shores have never been fully privileged to gain a lasting spiritual respite from the spate of blackmail and psychological intimidation to which they are continually but consistently subjected through destructive media propaganda.

Why and how this situation arose is a matter of many coded historical episodes that need to be historically decoded.

GENESIS

If there is any abstract orphan in an African country called Nigeria today, that orphan has no name other than ISLAM.

By definition, Islam means PEACE, theoretically and practically. That name (ISLAM) is the ordained divine guidance for mankind, from the Almighty Allah, the practicalization of which came to be called religion.

Islam became an orphan in the South West Nigeria because of its solo journey to this region as well as its solo sojourn in the strange land of spiritual irredentistism, before it became embraced as a grassroots religion.

Unlike Christianity which was physically accompanied by a retinue of diverse denominational evangelists, from Europe, Islam crept quietly into South West Nigeria, all alone, like a hopeless wayfarer, and it lived solitarily like a propitious orphan, for a long time before it was adopted like a child of hopeful future.

Although the memorial agony of that experience continues to linger till today, with a sense of mystery, the long anticipated future hope seems to have arrived on stage with us, at this time, in preparation for an unprecedented leap into an uncatchable spiritual firmaments.

REMINISCENCE

Like a lily by the mossy stone, Islam came to the South West of Nigeria, to find itself in the midst of aggressive predators who are calously threatening to devour it, left, right and centre, even as the population of its adherents
Keeps growing geometrically.

FIRST STUMBLING BLOCK

At its inception in some parts of
South West Nigeria, in the early 15th century, Islam’s first encountered stumbling block was paganism which took centuries to overcome.
That was followed by the seemingly implacable antagonism of Christianity
Which came with colonial might of canonical laws and finan3cial force.

Throughout that long period it was the European colonialists that were documenting
the spiritual and mundane history of the Yoruba people generally, based on their own perception of life. Even a so-called most authoritative
book on the history of
Yoruba people, which was entitled ‘History of the Yorubas’ by Samuel Johnson, and published in 1921, was written from Christian perspective, by a Sierraleonian born Christian, who later traced his ancestral origin to Oyo, in the South West Nigeria.

The Christian authors of that time only took undue advantage of the Roman literacy introduced to them by the British colonialists to embark on writings of those books in favour of their Christian religion. And, of course, the language used in writing that book was English. Today, however, there is an obvious difference.

And, the difference can be found in the blessed upsurge of highly gifted Muslim intellectuals, including Professors and professionals across the Yoruba land.
With this pleasant development that entails advanced literacy and binocular knowledge, Islam can be confidently said to have come of age in this region. And, thus, for the first time, ever, a unique compendium of authoritative writings, from authoritative historical perspective, has been packaged into a book about Islam in the South West Nigeria. The book is entitled ‘ISLAM IN YORUBALAND’.

What are the facts contained in this book? What are the differences between those acts and the fictions hitherto written, as history of Islam in Yoruba land, by Christian Evangelists whose writings were heavily coloured by their evidently biased perception of Islam in Yoruba land.

Please, watch out for some details, about the contents of the book, as written by some Muslim experts, to put the records of Islam in South West Nigeria, in proper perspectives, as from next Wednesday. It is authoritative. God bless you.

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