THE DA’WAH ACTIVITIES OF ZUMRATUL JAMIU MUMIN SOCIETY OF NIGERIA OGUN STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Islam is the religion of peace and brotherhood. It is a belief in Divine Monotheism, i.e. belief in one supreme divine being, Allah. It protests against idolatry, inequality and evil ways of the society. Islam enjoins its followers to lead a pure, simple and decent life.1Islam, as a universal religion, was conveyed extensively to
the nooks and crannies of the world through Da’wah activities. Islam has, from the outset, been identified with the act of proselytization. This religion cannot, therefore, be divorced from Da‟wah and vice-versa. This is because, the latter serves as tools for the former. In fact, it equally serves as the backbone through which the Qur’ān enjoins the entire Muslim community to follow the way of the Prophets by commanding what is good and prohibiting what is bad:
Let there arise from amongst you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining al-ma„rūf (all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding al-munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam forbids) and it is they who are successful) Q3:104
Based on the above verse, it is crystal clear that Muslims are to engage in Da‘wah activities. Not this alone, but to as well act as model of moderation, eradicate evils, establish justice and deliver supernumerary goodness to the entire humanity. With this, the Qur’ān extols the Muslims over other creations when it says:
You are the best nation raised up for human kind. You enjoin righteousness and forbid corruption and you believe in Allah…
Da‘wah, as an instrument of propagation of the religion, aims basically at enjoining what is right and forbidden what is wrong. In line with the fact that Muslims are to call the people to the fold of Islam, build a balanced and uncorrupt society and to give adequate sensitization about Islam, the society, Zumratul Jamiu Mumin poses a great interest to be studied for its Da’wah activities.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study aims at achieving the following objectives:
To probe into historical background of Zumratul Jamiu Mumin.·
To examine its Da‘wah Methodology.·
To evaluate its doctrinal beliefs.·
To examine the position of Zumratul Jamiu Mumin with respect to the adoption of Hadith as a secondary source of Islamic Law.·
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Unlike other Muslim organization with main objective of winning new souls and reawakening spiritual consciousness of Muslim ones, the primary objective of Zumratul Jamiu Mumin is to engage various religious leaders, Muslims inclusive, in hot debate regarding religious issues. The society regards only the Quran and Bible as sacred Books of Allah in determining religious issues. The use of Hadith, to them, is seen as an aberration. This idiosyncratic religious attitude held by Ogun State-based religious body is considered worthy to be investigated.
1.4 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The society is recently confined to Ogun State. Our study shall, therefore, be restricted to its religious activities with particular reference to its Da’wah activities.
1.5 HISTORICAL ANTECEDENT OF OGUN STATE
Ogun State is one of the populous states in the South-western Nigeria. It was created on the 3rd of February, 1976 with Abeokuta as its capital. Abeokuta is the largest city in the State and comprises the old Abeokuta and Ijebu provinces. It was one of the nineteen states created out of the former twelve state structures of 1976. The state shares an international boundary with the Republic of Benin to the West and interstate boundaries with Oyo State and Osun State to the North, Lagos State to the South and Ondo State to the East.2
Ogun State, ab initio, had seven Local Government Areas (LGA) at its creation, out of which three additional ones were created to bring the number of local government areas in the state to ten. These are Abeokuta, Egbado North, Egbado South, Ifo/Ota, Ijebu East, Ijebu North, Ijebu Ode, Ijebu Remo, Obafemi Owode and Odeda local government areas.3
In the further creations of Local Government Areas in 1981, 1989 and 1991, the former Abeokuta LGA became Abeokuta North and Abeokuta South LGAs, Ifo/Ota became Ifoand Ado Odo/Ota LGAs, Ijebu Remo became Sagamu and Ikenne LGAs, Ijebu Ode became Ijebu Ode and Odogbolu LGAs and Ijebu East became Ijebu East and Ogun Waterside LGAs, making the total number of LGAs in the state to become fifteen.4
The last local government creation exercise of March 1997 added five more LGAs to the fifteen in existence. There by bringing the total number of Local Governments to twenty LGAs in the state. These are Ewekoro (from Ifo LGA) with its headquarters at Itori, Ijebu NorthEast with Atan as its headquarters, Imeko
Afon having its headquarters at Ipokia and Remo North having Isara as its headquarters.5 Summarily, the state contains the following twenty Local Government Areas:
Abeokuta North ImekoAfon
Abeokuta south Ipokia
Ado-Odo/ Ota ObafemiOwode
Ijebu East OgunWaterside
IjebuNorth Remo North
IjebuNorth East Sagamu (shagamu)
Ijebu Ode YewaNorth(formerlyEgbadoNorth)
Ikenne YewaSouth (formerlyEgbadoSouth)
1.6 THE CONCEPT OF DA‘WAH
Da’wah is Arabic word from the root word “da’a” which means “to call, to invite and to supplicate i.e. to call on God”. In Islamic context, it is used to refer to the act of conveying or calling people to the message of Islam. By this, Da’wah simply means any effort to communicate the message of surrender to God (i.e. Islam) to other people whether through word or example.6 Quran buttresses the importance of Da’wah and those who engage in it. Allah says:
And who is better in speech than he who calls people to Allah, works righteousness sand declare, „I am one of those who surrender to Allah.
Da’wah, in fact, was the basic mission of the prophets of God. They were raised up among their respective people to call them to the worship of Allah alone and to abandon the worship of the various false gods that they had invented.7 Allah says:
And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (nation)
a messenger (proclaiming): „worship Allah (alone),
and avoid Taghut (all false deities). Q16:36
Also the task of spreading the message of Islam became a duty on every Muslim when the prophet (S.A.W), in his farewell message, enjoined Muslims who were present to convey the message to those who were absent8. In addition to this, Quran explains the quality of Muslim Ummah as the best Ummah based on the sole duty of enjoining righteousness and forbidding corruption. Allah says:
You are the best nation raised up for humankind. You enjoin righteousness, forbid corruption and you believe in Allah… Q3:110
Calling people to Islam (Da‘wah) is an important task and a glorious mission because it means calling people to worship Allah alone which is the sole essence of creation. Allah says:
And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and mankind
except that they should worship Me (alone)
Furthermore, Allah does not only encourage Da’wah in the Quran but also explains the way it should be carried out. The methodology to be adopted for Da’wah is clearly explained in the Holy Quran. Allah says:
Invite (call) to the way of your Rabb (Lord) with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best (and most gracious)…
The analogy of the above verse, by virtue of extensive deduction, forms the real concept of Da’wah, which is calling with Wisdom, Beautiful preaching and Best argument. This is best way of calling people to Islam. Also in another verse of the Quran, Allah enjoined Moses to be lenient when talking to Pharaoh. Allah says:
Go both of you to Fir‟aun (Pharaoh), verily,
he has transgressed. And speak to him mildly,
perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).
1.6.1 OBJECTIVES OF DA ‘WAH
Da‟wah, as an instrument of calling people to the Islamic fold, therefore, aims to achieve the following objectives:
Conveying the message of Islam to non-Muslim and inviting them to Allah.·
Making efforts to remove misconception about Islam and Muslims.·
Making efforts for the integration of new converts into the Muslim community.·
To develop material resources, recruit manpower (volunteer) and provide training for Da’wah workers.·
These and many more are parts of the objectives of Da’wah.
It is important to know that the goal of Da‟wah is not to force the non-Muslims to convert into Islam but inform them about the religion. They are to make the decision based on their own freewill after the message is conveyed to them. This is evident in the Holy Quran where Allah says:
There is no compulsion in religion.
Verily, the right part has become
distinct from the wrong path. Q2:256
The purpose of Da‘wah as well, is to bring all people out of darkness and into the light. Islamic Proselytizers are to convert the non-believers neither through compulsion nor coercion rather through persuasion, proselytization, true-faith and realization. They are to purify people of unwanted qualities and teach them the way of Allah and wisdom behind the acceptability of Islam.
1.7 DA‘WAH IN NIGERIA
Da’wah in Nigeria is as old as the religion itself. This is because the religion got to the country through the instrument of Da’wah. In Nigeria, according to I.O. Oloyede (2014), Islam was first accepted by the Kanem Ruler, Umme Jilmi (1085-1097). He was introduced to Islam by the scholar, Hamed Muhammad Mani.9 This made the scholar, Muhammad Mani, the first person who introduced the religion to the country. Ummi Jilmi‟s son, Dunama 1 (1097-1150), also followed his father‟s interest in Islam, learning and practising it and was reported to have gone on Hajj, Oloyede maintains.10This trend continued till the reign of Idris Alooma when the religion flourished more. Mai Idris Alooma (1570-1602) of Bornu had far-reaching and more extensive Islamic
campaign than his predecessors, building mosques and Islamic schools, thereby strengthening the foothold of Islam in Bornu-Kanem axis.11
Historical antecedents show that a time was in some parts of this country-Nigeria-when Islam comprehensively governed the lives of the people. Everything, at that time, was being done within the framework of Islam. In fact, there is no doubt that Arabic was more or less the official language and Muslim scholars were alive to their responsibilities moving from one town to another spreading the religion of Allah, promoting the Islamic education and purifying the society from corruption and Kufr, e.t.c. Undoubtedly and without any exaggeration, that time could be marked as the golden era of Islam in Nigeria.
The exact period that Yorubaland came in contact with Islam is still unknown, but historians between the 14th and 15th centuries during of Mansa Kanka Musa of Mali Empire. The first mosque was built in Oyo-Ile in 1550 A.D, although it was to serve foreign Muslims in Oyo as there were no Oyo Muslims at that time.12 Islam was known to Yoruba people as Esin-Imole, a patronymic reference to Mali. This means that the Malians were the pioneers of Islam in the region, Yorubaland. The activities of Du’at, especially during the jihad of Uthman Dan Fodio (1804-1810), helped the religion to spread to other parts of Yorubaland in which Ogun Sate is not left out. This was when many scholars, from Hausaland through Ilorin, came to Yorubaland with sole aim of spreading the religion.
However, with the colonialists‟ invasion of this country, the tempo with which the Da‘wah was progressing was halted. This was done through numerous measures notably but certainly not exclusively such as modification of the Sharȋ‘ah, relegation of Arabic and Islamic education to the background. The measures increased tremendously and multiplied to include imperialism, Zionism, secularism, communism and socialism among others. All these forces combined together to ensure that the cog put in the wheel of Islam is not removed. The unscrupulous activities of the whites sprang the Muslims to come up with many strategies to revive Da‟wah‟s spirit of the Muslims. This led to the formation of different organizations, societies and group of individuals to engage in various forms of Da‟wah in their respective domains. These societies and organizations include the following among others: Ahmadiyyah Muslim Jama’ah, Ansaru-d-Din Society, Jama’tu Tabligh in Nigeria, Zumratu-l-Islamiyyah Society of Nigeria, Nawairud-Din society of Nigeria, Muslim Association of Nigeria, National Council of Muslim Youth Organizations (NACOMYO) and of course Zumratul Jamiu Mumin Society on which this work is based.
1. Raheem. A. 2003. Islamic History. Delhi: Royal Pu