Thursday, April 17, 2008

 

MAULUD: TIME FOR DIALOGUE WITH THE MULLAHS

Maulud celebration across the north is a big issue now. It is celebrated with pomp and pageantry and definitely with an acute sense of vengeance. I say vengeance because virtually all the celebrants belong to the Darika and Shiite sects. These sects were at one time muscled and stopped from doing things they otherwise would have done in the realm of what they considered part of Islamic worship. The mainstream sect, Izala, on the other hand remained stead fast in its opposition to Maulud celebration and several other things they considered as bidi'a. In fact the stiff opposition they showed in earlier years may have triggered the vengeance we see now among those who celebrate it. But vengeance it is and it even borders on intimidation. This is seen largely in their simplistic analogy that maulud equals deference and love for the prophet and that those who frown at maulud are enemies of the prophet.

But my main grouse with the celebration is the attendant confusion. First they are yet to agree on a common date for the event. So in theory and practice we see maulud celebration going on throughout the month. Today it is this house, tomorrow it is that section of town and the next day that half of town. In KT we saw individuals celebrating on different days, then staunch Darika families like Iron Baba's doing their own on different days, then we witnessed that for the Darika sect and Shiites doing their own also on different days and at last there was a joint celebration by all covering the whole town. This duplication of efforts serves no purpose but disrupts activities and traffic in down town section of KT. Imagine a month long disruption and the loss to the economy.

A sincere dialogue with the principal actors can go along way in streamlining these celebrations and especially curbing the excesses of the irate youths involved. It is on record that provocative statements had been chanted against the Izala sect and their position on Bidi'a. Imams of all the sects in every state should be brought together to find a way to settle the differences on the issue. It has gone beyond maulud as it is threatening the peaceful existence of the Ummah. A code of conduct must be fashioned out for the maulud and indeed other thorny areas that have proved to be flash points.

I dont know who will call for this dialogue as our political leadership lack the merit to delve into this issue. The politicians as we all know have their principal interests and things like the long term welfare of the people rank low in their calculations. So every community is on its own here. But lest we forget, this year many people were caught off guard. Come next year we might see a fire for fire strategy adopted across the north. God forbid bad thing

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