National Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Alatoye, talks about religious harmony, Boko Haram insurgency, insecurity and other issues with SIMON UTEBOR
What does Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria represents?
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at represents the renaissance of the true Islam in the way the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) presented it to the world. There have been some additions, subtractions, but what Ahmadiyya does is to put Islam in the right perspective. And putting it straightway in the way things work nowadays, Ahmadiyya believes that Islam is peace and has nothing to do with violence because that is the name and that is why you have the logo of Ahmadiyya – ‘Love for all, hatred for none’. The stand of Ahmadiyya is that religion is personal between an individual and God and nobody should put himself in the position of God to say they want to punish somebody for not practicing their religion or for not being in their sect – that is not Islamic.
Islam means peace with God and peace with mankind and that is what Ahmadiyya has come to preach and that is why we say Islam is a religion of love because that is what Muhammad taught us and that is what Ahmadiyya is doing right now.
If Islam is a religion of peace as you have explained, why are Boko Haram insurgents killing, maiming, kidnapping and terrorising people in Nigeria in the name of religion?
You need to know that what religion came to do is to reform human beings and the extent to which you see a human being behaving is the extent to which that individual has accepted their religion. That is a general principle, including for Islam. Islam has come to reform everybody that has accepted it but don’t forget that before they even accepted Islam, they had their natural traits, natural tendencies and human beings have a tendency to do evil. We can see Suratu Yusuf, chapter 12 of the Holy Quran, verse 54, when Yusuf was able to overcome the evil temptation to sleep with the wife of the King of Misrah and people said he was a super human being. And he said something in Arabic: human beings are created with the tendency to do evil except for whom Allah has shown mercy.
It is the natural instinct of the Boko Haram people to fight in a violent way which is their natural tendency; they need to move up by accepting Islam in the real way the Holy Prophet has preached it because the objective of those who fight for certain things generally, is to control territory, including Boko Haram. They want to carve out their territory. They are also fighting for power because they want to exercise some powers. They want to use power for economic influence. Those are the three major things you will find anywhere in the world where people are violent. It has nothing to do with religion. In fact, it is negative for such a religion.