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Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

It is the duty of every Muslim to strive to the cause of Allaah by seeking knowledge and call to goodness with wisdom and best manner. A Muslim is not one who injures his or her neighbours (Muslim or non-Muslim) without just cause. The enforcement of the principles of Islamic law is sine qua non to our uccess in this life and the Hereafter. In Nigeria, the battle for the enforcement of full shari'ah has been rough and tough. The intolerance of the non-Muslims cannot be over-emphasized even though they have been assured times without number that shari'ah implementation in Nigeria would not tamper with their rights and freedoms. The shari'ah is for Muslims alone and any non-Muslim who subscribe to it.

Notwithstanding the bottlenecks affecting the attainment of full shariah for Muslims in Nigeria, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) still comprise of some aspects of the shari'ah on personal status (Islamic personal law). How far have we (Nigerian Muslims) been able to apply it in our daily lives? 

As we continue to clamour for full shari'ah application in Nigeria, it is very important for us to make use of the little opportunities that the Constitution has afforded for us. The effort of having the 'Ahwaalus Shakhsiyyah' inserted in the Constitution is credited to some devout Muslims in Nigeria. The non-Muslims do not want anything shari'ah to be mentioned in the constitution at al. They were dogged and determined to deny us our religious rights completely. 

Some constitutionnal experts have argued that the Constitution of Nigeria as it is, is fraudulent. The Constitution did not follow the due process of constitutional enactment. It does not reflect the true nature of the country. Otherwise, it ought to have accommodated full shari'ah for Nigerian Muslims. Apart from this, the Constitution lied against itself in its preamble saying that Nigerians gave the law to themselves. Where did we sit to agree to give it ourselves? All successive constitutional conferences to give the country a befitting constitution either ended in crisis or without any implementation. This present Constitution was hurriedly packaged by the military government of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1999. 

It is surprising to see Muslims clamouring for shari'ah and yet, we do not comply with the minute aspect of it as guaranteed by the Constitution. We have no excuse not to practise the shari'ah in our homes and Muslim communities. We don't have any legal impediment. As fraudulent and fake the Constitution is, it still guarantees some religious rights for Muslims. A lot of Muslins are very poor in the application of Islamic personal law. One thing we should note is that majority of the Muslims, especially the ruling class, pay little or no attention to attainment of full shari'ah implementation in Nigeria. Deep down their minds, they believe the shari'ah cannot be implemented. They do not even believe in its implementation. The Zamfara State scenario at the inception of 21st Century is a typical example. They deceived us with introduction of the shari'ah in several parts of the Northern-Nigeria for their own political benefits. But their actions in subsequent years showed that they were unserious about it. Now, they are quick to think any Muslim who clamour for implementation of shari'ah in Nigeria is an extremists. When last did any of the Muslims in our Parliament raise the issue of shari'ah implementation in Nigeria?

Let us not deceive ourselves, we must show great commitment towards Islamic personal law. If we endeavour to practice Islamic personal law very well, the attainment of other aspects of the shari'ah would not be too difficult. After all, the shari'ah as we have it from Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم was not revealed in full at the same time. It was revealed and enforced in piecemeal. Without  sincere commitment towards Islamic personal law, we can't move forward in our quest for full shari'ah in Nigeria. 

By my experience, I have noticed that one of the headaches of our non-Muslim colleagues in the legal profession is; how did the Islamic personal law enter the Constitution? They always ask themselves where were they when the 'shari'ah' was smuggled into Nigerian constitution? They have been trying to make attempts to expunge it from the constitution or have an equivalent of it for the Christians too. They have tried unsuccessfully to introduce Christian Courts.

The attainment of full shari'ah in Nigeria is dependent on how far we are able to practice and implement Islamic personal law. As we all know, the shari'ah application starts from the family as the smallest unit of the society. If we continue to violate Islamic principles in our households, full shar'iah implementation in Nigeria would continue to be a mirage. Most of those who call themselves jihadists these days are suffering from deep ignorance and arrogance that can only be cured by them surrendering themselves and learn properly from scholars. The way they are going about killing people unjustly, nothing can be achieved because they are in plain error. They are upon the ideology of the khawaarij.

Islamic personal law as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) entails, family relationships, marriage, divorce, custody of children, waqf (endowment), wasiyyah (will), wiratha (inheritance) and so many more. See S. 277. 

Shari'ah starts from our homes and dealings with people (Muslims and Non-Muslims). This was how the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم started. Did he start by killing the unbelievers? He started by preaching with his good behaviors. He treated his families well and was emulated the Companions رضي الله عنهم. 

Our destiny is in our hands. If we cannot practice shari'ah in our homes, full shari'ah is not possible. Every society is a product of families and smaller communities. For us to understand what is being discussed here properly, the following points are helpful:

*The constitution gives Muslims right to conduct their marriage in accordance with Islamic law, some of us are going to the Marriage Registry governed by the Marriage Act. Where is commitment? 

*Nigerian Constitution allow us to distribute our estate in accordance with Islamic law, we still see many Muslims writing their wills in accordance with Wills Act. Where is commitment? 

*The Constitution allow us to train our children in an Islamic manner, we see Muslim parents neglecting this great responsibility. They buy skimpy dresses for their female children, and plait hair for their male children. Their femal children don't wear hijab. We even see some so called scholars saying hijab is not compulsory. Where is commitment? 

*The Constitution permits us to marry when we have the means to avoid zina and several immoral activities, some parents would insist their children must have their first degree or second degree first before anything. Where is commitment? 

There are many more examples on this. So, let us fear Allaah and stop deceiving ourselves, Allaah has been kind enough towards us, we the Muslims of this generation are negligent and very very unserious towards our religion. 

May Allaah guide us aright.

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