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HomeHeadlineThe Bones of Today - They Are Carrying The Dogs

The Bones of Today – They Are Carrying The Dogs

Jameel Muhammad 

For the Imams – I don’t know how to convince them to steer away their focus from money and size of followership

By Jameel Muhammad

A friend of mine, jokingly, asked me to apply for the Imamship of Apo Legislative Quarters Mosque. I told him that this is not how an Imam to a mosque emerges. At ATBU Bauchi, where I attended my University, for instance, we used to have the Mosque Steering Committee (MSC), which searches, through a stringent set of criteria for leadership and spiritual qualifications, to appoint an Imam. The Mosque Steering Committee is membered by seasoned and experienced community leaders, and as well great scholars of the Islamic religion.

But my friend enlightened me that this is not what is obtainable, today, in majority of the city mosques, most especially mosques built by individuals. Knowledge and leadership qualifications do not matter. Lobby, patronage and personal loyalty do matter.

A politician, for instance, poorly learned in Islam, embezzles public treasury and then builds a mosque. Then, a selfish Muslim, with average knowledge of Islam, applies, or lobbies to be the Imam, and he is so granted on patronage and personal loyalty. Even where Mosque Committees exist, most of them are headed by money bags and politicians who are poor in the knowledge of the Islamic religion.

This is a classic case of THE BONE CARRYING THE DOG. Instead of the scholar leading and guiding the other, it is rather unfortunate that the other is “leading and guiding” the scholar. A skewed value system, this is!

Even in our mundane lives, there is a very thorny and nauseating example: a rogue, unlearned and poorly schooled politician embezzles public treasury. He uses the dirty money to bribe a professor, or a doctorate holder, to pass him through an election screening exercise. He then bribes another professor, or doctorate holder, to declare him winner of an election. He now turns round to “lead” the professor and the entire body of knowledge in the system. Another case of THE BONE CARRYING THE DOG.

My friend told me that more than 80 percent of politicians have come not to lead, but to make free money, build flamboyance and then get attention of the vulnerable. But, then, why is our body of knowledge and intellect – the professors and doctorates holders – also vulnerable?

Even social media followership, according to my friend, is tied to political flamboyance, even if such flamboyance lacks integrity, knowledge and intellect. It is easy to see people of knowledge and academia following, serving and applauding politicians who are poorly grounded in knowledge, intellect, integrity and leadership.

I am confused! I know that the bone should not carry the dog, but I don’t know how to convince the dog that it is its own capacity and responsibility to carry the bone, even if it is not going to make the bone its “meal”.

So also, for the Imams – I don’t know how to convince them to steer away their focus from money and size of followership; they should focus on knowledge, teaching, piety and leadership. It is better and more classy to have a small followership of people with good integrity and understanding than to have a large zombie followership.

The bone is still carrying the dog.

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