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The Lion and the Kangaroo – The Da’wah Space in Southwest Nigeria as a case study

I had this idea about making a video on the continuous fitnah within the da’wah space in southwest Nigeria. To limit the risk of negativity, I decided to write instead. Yet, I have struggled to pen anything down for two days straight. This has never happened to me before because once I decide to write, ideas keep popping up and I immediately start writing. I then realized that the confusion among the Muslims in this part of the world is much. So much that one can hardly find a reasonable starting point.

Allah Says in surah al-Mumtahanah verse 5:

رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةًۭ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ وَٱغْفِرْ لَنَا رَبَّنَآ ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ

Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the disbelievers, and forgive us, Our Lord! Verily, You, only You, are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

This verse can be understood in three (3) different ways:

  1. When the Kuffar persecute the believers. This might become unbearable, and they might yield to them by abandoning their faith and values. (May Allah grant our brothers and sisters in Palestine steadfastness and victory over the enemy).
  2. The Kuffar might gain upper hand over the believers and use it as a proof that their religion and way of life is ordained by God. The evangelical Christian movement in the US is claiming this using the barbaric acts of the Israelis on the people of Palestine as evidence.
  3. The believers losing their standard practice of al-Islam, morality, and core teachings of the deen. This will make the religion less appealing to the Kuffar which might result to non-acceptance by them.

The third interpretation is what I want to apply on the unfortunate happenings in our society today! It is not rocket science to know that non-Muslims are attracted to Islam because of its simplicity, core Moral values, Unity in worship by the Muslims, and the zeal to defend, practice, and propagate what they believe in, among many other virtues. The sad thing today is that the Ummah is fast losing all these qualities, and there is one MAJOR thing to blame.: easy access to information and its distribution. Simply put, social media!

For those who studied and researched before the advent of social media, you will remember how hard it is to get assignments or articles done. You spend hours in the library and yet, you hardly get something tangible written down. Arguably, one will say social media is a blessing for scholarship, da’wah, research, and the deen. Unfortunately, it is becoming clearer that we are not ready yet for this blessing and I will give you few reasons:

  1. Haughtiness: It is a word that is broader than being arrogant alone. Haughtiness means “ to appear or think of having the quality of being superior but in an arrogant and disdainful manner.” This perfectly describes an average Muslim active on the social media space today. Gone are the days when Muslims listen to and respect Scholars and Scholarship. Almost everyone is having a dig at it. Fatwahs fly around without an iota of care. This resulted to confusion within the ranks of some sincere Muslims. Who is a scholar and who is not? Who do we ask about the affairs of our deen? As it is common for someone who is haughty, correcting him/her is almost a herculean task.
  2. Maladministration of Information: I intentionally chose this word. Since a haughty person think he is in charge, he is convinced that the way information is handled should be administered by him. Issues that are inconsequential and have no benefit are debated heatedly on social media which results in refutation and counter refutation that is normally laced with venomous words and name calling. Videos made on this get thousands of views and comments instantly while beneficial knowledge barely get a hundred views!
  3. Addiction: Even though this is global, I would like to focus on Muslims who are afflicted by this trial. The better part of the day and night is spent surfing the internet. Not to learn the deen, or market products, but to make posts, comment on posts, gossip (and sometimes slander and backbite), argue about irrelevant issues, and even flirt with the opposite sex! As a result of this, acts of worship suffer, relationship between spouses and closed ones suffer, the mind becomes more corrupt, and even finances suffer for it!
  4. Celebrification of Islamic scholars: This is the worst that has happened so far from the negative usage of social media. Many of our Islamic scholars are being treated like celebrities. The message and action of the speaker doesn’t matter anymore. He can say whatever he likes and must not be corrected. Why? Because he is idolized and loved. Unfortunately, the current trend is showing that some of these men of knowledge are falling for this trap, and it is based on this that I will give advice to them and me.

A certified and stamped document by the government gives any buyer of a property assurance that it is genuine. To be close to perfection in the field of da’wah is to emulate the person whom Allah has certified to have the best of character.

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍۢ

And Verily, you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) are on an exalted (standard of) character. (Surah al-Qalam verse 4).

He (Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) is also to be followed and taken as role model for any Muslim who hopes to be rewarded on the day of reckoning. Allah says in Surah al-Ahzab verse 21:

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌۭ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلْيَوْمَ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرًۭا

Indeed, in the Messenger of Allâh (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allâh and the Last Day, and remembers Allâh much.

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏ “‏ لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ وَلَدِهِ وَوَالِدِهِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ ‏”‏

It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his child, his father and all the people.'” Graded Sahih (authentic).

Our Mashaikh should realize that they are just vessels with the possibility of being used for the goodness of propagation of al-Islam. The messenger was never foul-mouthed, and neither was he hard-hearted. Allah emphasized that he was sent as mercy to ALL mankind, and he exhibited that in words and actions. His main goal was to have people accept Islam and he never transgressed on anyone. He was kind in speech and deeds. In fact, his kindness was mainly the reason why people accepted Islam.

I advise that our Mashaikh groom students and avoid having fans and ready-made students of knowledge. A fan will support you and find excuses for your mistakes even when he doesn’t know you personally. A ready-made student of knowledge (someone who had already studied somewhere else but follows you about) can’t be controlled or admonished. When the chips are down, he will let you know that he didn’t study under you. Someone you groomed from scratch will know you, and you him. It is easier for him to advise you with manners when you err!


Lastly, our Mashaikh should know that they are seen as the bearers/symbol of the deen. Their utterances and actions privately and most especially in public spaces are well noticed. If they act accordingly, a lot of the fitnah we witness today will be reduced to the barest minimum. A lion act with purpose. Time to hunt, sleep, roar, protect, overlook, attack, and even migrate. Its discipline is why other animals respect it. In terms of strength, it is not the most powerful but when it comes to self-confidence and maturity, it is like no other. No scholar should allow society to make him act like a kangaroo that kicks people without being provoked, or because it was slightly provoked, which results to it being seen as a joke and something worth being entertained with and laughed at! As for using social media, it’s like crossing the Rubicon. It can’t be stopped, but it can surely be controlled. That will be an individual effort.

Our Mashaikh (and we) should reflect on the hadith below. May we not be unfortunate in this world and the next.

وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه، أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏”‏‏:‏أتدرون من المفلس‏؟‏‏”‏ قالوا ‏:‏ المفلس فينا من لا درهم له ولا متاع فقال‏:‏ ‏”‏إن المفلس من أمتي يأتي يوم القيامة بصلاة وصيام وزكاة، ويأتي قد شتم هذا، وقذف هذا وأكل مال هذا، وسفك دم هذا، وضرب هذا، فيعطى هذا من حسناته، وهذا من حسناته، فإن فنيت حسناته قبل أن يقضي ما عليه، أخذ من خطاياهم فطرحت عليه، ثم طرح في النار‏”


Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Do you know who is the bankrupt?” They said: “The bankrupt among us is one who has neither money with him nor any property”. He said, “The real bankrupt of my Ummah (nation) would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with Salah (prayer), Saum (fasting) and Sadaqah (charity), (but he will find himself bankrupt on that day as he will have exhausted the good deeds) because he reviled others, brought calumny against others, unlawfully devoured the wealth of others, shed the blood of others and beat others; so his good deeds would be credited to the account of those (who suffered at his hand). If his good deeds fall short to clear the account, their sins would be entered in his account, and he would be thrown in the (Hell) Fire”.


Musa Ibrahim-Katsina

Project Manager, Business Analyst Infinity and T24, Tester, and T24 Technical Consultant.

Mudeer, Daarul Imaam al-Layth International Schools.


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