Pa Alhaji Shehik Imaam Illyas Afolabi Alawe is the Supreme head, Forum of Ratibi Mosques Imam”s of Osun State, Nigeria. In this interview, he spoke on the re- opening of Inisha mosque, reasons why Islamic worshippers should embrace peace among themselves amongst others.
Can we meet you Sir?
I am Alhaji Ilias Afolabi Alawe.
What can we know about you?
I am the head of all Ratibis in Osogbo land.
Sir, Inisha central mosque has been closed down by the government for so long due to the leadership problem that engulfed the religious worship center but today, it has been reopened. What is your opinion about what happened?
The crisis that engulfed the Inisa Muslim Community which led to the closure of the mosque for years was uncalled for and it was even an embarrassing development. Infact, the two sides who fought over leadership position did not fight because of God, they only fought because of their own selfish interest.
If truly they’re fighting in the course of Allah, I don’t see any reason for them to be fighting to the extent of closing down the mosque. Mosque belongs to God, it’s not anybody’s property. The leadership position that we are fighting for can only be given to whoever God says will get it. Whoever God says will not get, will never get It, that’s the God’s promise.
Prophet Ibrahim (AS),when God made him a leader, what he said was that “I accept it but what about my children”. God says, any hypocrite among your children will not get there. Meaning, a deceitful worshipper in the Islamic circle, will not be a leader.
To be an Imam is to lead others to prayer. So , I don’t see reason for them to be fighting. Those that are fighting , to me are doing so, for the purpose of getting rich, becoming famous and influential in life, not because they want to worship Almighty Allah.
Those that involved in this messy situation would definitely account for it in thereafter. The day of Kiyamat, I can say it categorically that, those that are fighting to the extent of shutting the mosque are doing it because of their own selfish interest, not because of God expect if they are not knowledgeable about the religion they claim they’re practicing. I want to ask them to make reference to where they have read, that during the time of Prophet Muhammed (SAW), back then where,a mosque was closed because of the leadership crisis.
I have never heard of where they said, some people fought till a mosque is closed. For the period that the mosque was closed, both groups should think and seek for forgiveness from almighty Allah because they don’t have any reward from God as they delayed God’s work.
I want to implore the aggrieved ones to exercise patience and give peace a chance to reign. They should do it in a peaceful way and whoever is destined to lead the mosque should be allowed.
What I want them to know is that, anybody that eventually emerges would not be there for life. Life is ephemeral, whether we like it or not, we are going to leave one day.
The position they are fighting for now becomes vacant after the passage of its former occupant. So, whoever that is there today , should have it at the back of his mind that he would not be there forever.
They should know that the God they claimed they are defending is still in His position and He’s watching them. He is the God that watches everyone’s deeds and He will ask us to account for whatever we did in this world and thereafter.
From a good authority, we learnt that the people that started the crisis and their supporters are still at loggerheads even as we are talking now, with reopening of the Mosque now, what advice will you give to the warring ones?
I want to let them realize that despite the demise of the former Imam whose exit led to the crisis that led to the death of scores of people in the community, God almighty still spears probably to use you for the propagation of Islam and that is why, you should allow peace to reign.
They should allow the elderly people in that community to settle the matter amicably. I want them to know that it’s only God who chooses leaders. Therefore, they should allow the person that the God has destined to ascend the position to take charge and give the person necessary support because, God who created us knows all what we are doing and He has promised to reward us accordingly, that’s my advice for them.
Islam is a religious of peace, but as human being, what happened is bound to happen as long as we are still living on earth, what do you think they can do prevent future reoccurrence?
What you said is fact. But, if truly they are knowledgeable about Islam and they understand the teachings of Islam as enshrined in the holy Quran, they should have realized that many have died. Even, among those they presumed might have died young due to one reason or the others are still alive , while those believed to live long due to healthy look were no more , that alone is an indication that it’s only God that can make what He wanted to be and vice versa.
They should have faith in God, believe in Him and see Him as the only one who’s supernaturally powerful. It’s quite unfortunate that we that are preaching for our followers on the need to have faith in Allah . We that are preaching peace here and there are now the one causing crisis among our followers.
How will you view the roles of parents in the upbringing of their children to the way of Allah?
Yes. Many have failed. They don’t do things accordingly again. There is no regards anymore, everyone do things the way they want. Some families are created to lead the world to the right part while some families are created to disrupt the peace of their immediate environment. But, today there is a mix up and the reason is that, we have deviated from the old practices. Like in the olden days, if our children wanted to marry, we would carry out some investigations about the family of the bride to be. The kind of persons they are. But, today they don’t do that again. As of today, my own child has gotten married to an Igbo, one has married to an Hausa, Did I know their culture? What did I know they are doing?. This is where the problem lies.
Indecent dressing is rampant among the ladies of nowadays unlike during your own time, Sir, what do you think is responsible for this act among ladies?
I thank you for this question. It is very unfortunate that some parts of our bodies that God created in a private place have now become what they are exposing to the public. Unlike in the olden days, when no lady dare passed by the house of her fiancee but today, they move freely with part of their precious bodies being exposed. And majority of these ladies were parented by Muslims. Many parents have failed in their responsibilities. Islamic religion does not permit women to expose their body. That is part of what I preached about in Lagos recently.
There is no faithful sermon again. preachers are no longer saying the truth. They only praise sing the rich because of the money they are expecting from them to the extent that the riches now have seen themselves as Messiahs. They believe if they don’t give them the money they want, there is no way they can survive. They have forgotten that God said, He didn’t give the life to anyone. He has control over everything.
What is the way forward?
The way forward is for all the clerics to be truthful. They should desist from anything they preach against, that is not good. They should let their preaches reflect in their way of life. They should be of good example to their followers. They should not because of the worldly property lost paradise because, all these worldly things will become a thing of the past in no distance time.
What is your advice for Nigerian leaders?
It’s only God that can do it. If we think that because president Tinubu is at the helm of affairs and he will do it, we are deceiving ourselves because it’s only God that can do it. And God says, for you to have a good leader whose the welfare of his followers would be of paramount, you the followers too must examine yourself. When a leader has intention of doing good and he has eight advisers and out of the eight, six of them are giving him ill-advices while only two are advising him in a right way , what do you think would be the result? There are lots of sins. We indulge on all what Allah forbids us, our women are walking nakedly on the streets and youths are taking hard drugs. We don’t worship God again, then that is the end result.
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