On Boko Haram, Ustaadh Umar Paiko 


Questioner: We have found ourselves in a situation whereby we say Islaam is a religion of peace and definitely from all what you have explained, we understand that Islaam does not condone terrorism or extremism. But we have found ourselves in a situation whereby some people bomb Christians in the Churches and they claim they’re doing it in the name of Islaam, and you have clearly said this is not from Islaam. However, towards the end of your lecture, you mentioned the state of Israel and how their interaction with the western world has made Israel like an…(unclear word)…among the terrorists quote and unquote. That means even when they have done some crime, the western world still sees it as no crime….(unclear words)…and you did mention that Muslims don’t fight back until they’re pushed to the wall. Is it time for the Muslims to fight that…(unclear words)…In Nigeria, to a large extent, Muslims are allowed to practice Islaam freely without any…(unclear words)…The step that this so called Boko Haram are taking; could we say they have also been taking it…(unclear words)…that warrants them to fight, and that is why they are doing what they are doing (that is, killing the people unjustly). All perfect praise is for Allaah alone. I hope my question is quite clear.

Ustaadh ‘Umar Dada Paiko: In the name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. (All) praise is (due) to Allaah, Lord of the worlds. May prayers and peace be upon Muhammad (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam), his households and his companions. To proceed, the question is actually two questions in one. One part of it is an international scene, and the other one is coming back home, but I think they are one and the same thing. (This is) because in international scene, I gave an example; I used Palestine. (Clears throat)…I used that as an example; there are so many examples in the world, there is Afghanistan and so on and so forth. And locally, there is the “Jamaa’atu Ahlis Sunnah Li Da’wati wal Jihaad” in Nigeria. They are all saying the same thing that they have been pushed to the wall and so they are pushing back.

In the case of Al-Qaeda for instance, Al-Qaeda is saying it is fighting for Muslims who are being oppressed in Palestine. Like I have said, the Qur’aan shows that if Muslims are being pushed to the wall, they push back; they fight back. They fight in self-defense. The little problem that I see in what Al-Qaeda does in the international scene is that fighting back is not the duty of a group of Muslims. It is supposed to be the entire Muslim Ummah under one leadership, deciding that they should fight back, and then the leader would appoint those who would do that on behalf of the Muslims, so that if there is any need to employ any tactic in fighting back, it is the leadership of course in consultation with the Shuroo committee that will take that decision. And then (they may) say we will fight back, and this is how we will do it and this where we will start from and so on and so forth. So Al-Qaeda as a group does not have that, because it is just a group out of many groups of Muslims. When it was under Taliban in Afghanistan, they have a Muslim government. They have leadership and there was the head of state of that country and so he (the leadership) in his country could fight back any such oppression if his government had agreed that they were supposed to fight back. But for one group to decide that the whole world should fight back and then to call people to fight is wrong Islamically. It is not right; that is not how it is done. If you leave it to groups to do that, of course they open the door to extremism because one group could interpret it in one way; another group could interpret it in another way, so it is not for groups. It is for the entire Muslim Ummah.

Coming back home, it’s the same thing. It is just that the other one is international while this one is Nigeria, but it’s the same thing. We have a group of young people who have come together to say every other person is wrong and they are right. There is something wrong in this thinking in the sense that it is not guided by the leadership of the Muslim Ummah in the country. Whether we like it or not, the Sultoon is the leader of all Muslims in Nigeria. He is the one that the government recognizes as the leader of the Muslims. And in fact, if you were to ask the generality of the Muslim Ummah who their leader is, more than 70% will say it is the Sultoon. So, such important decision should be left to him. The Messenger of Allaah (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Even if you think the leader you have did not attain his position the right way, as long as he become the leader of the Muslim, he becomes the only one that will be given the responsibility of leading the Muslim Ummah (in important decisions like that).” Like the decision of fighting back against those who have fought us. If the Sultoon says yes, we fight under him if he says no, we will be patient because the pious predecessors have taught us to all be patient and follow the leader even if we think he got to the place the wrong way. But as long as he is the leader, we cannot take some decisions that will affect the entire Muslim Ummah; we can’t take them based on our sentiments. Having said that, of course I would have pointed to the fact that it is wrong for any group to take that as its responsibility. But if the Sultoon…(unclear word)…and comes out to say Muslims will now fight back; (then) it is time to fight.

Unfortunately, in the international scene, we don’t have one person for the entire Muslim Ummah in the world, so it will be left to countries. Saudiyyah can decide that it is time to fight back so and so people; (I mean) the government. Afghanistan’s government can decide. Nigeria’s government can decide. Egypt government can decide. But it is wrong Islamically for groups to take that as their responsibility, because the blood of humans is concerned here and Islaam takes that seriously. If you kill one person wrongly, you have killed the entire world and you will be accountable to Allaah. So it’s a very serious issue that individuals should not take into their hands. I hope I have answered your question sir.


Aboo Aaishah Al Odeomeey


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