There have been some debates lately in the country championed by my family members, the Muslims, ever since our siblings in the Western Region went on their legitimate protest on the wearing of hijab.
The president also did well in this regard by adding his voice to it and warning head teachers who might take the religious rights of others for granted.
All in all, the points are good and well noted but we as Muslims must speak some honest bitter truths to ourselves and also, in our efforts to achieve equal rights not to go far and step on the rights of others.
The Blessed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was once reputed to have told us to treat our brethren how we would love them to treat us. The Noble and Glorious Qur’an also states:
135. O you who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not lusts (of your hearts), lest you avoid justice; and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do.(Al Qur’an 4:135)
So judging from the miraculous word of Allah the Exalted and the prophetic advise, I would like to take a different path from the one most of our brothers and sisters in Islam have taken.
Most Muslim commentators on this topic have moved beyond the painful infringement of the right of the Muslim to wear her hijab at school or at her work place and are now talking about the rights of Muslims in Christian mission schools. They talk about how Muslims are prevented from practicing their religion in these schools and how that affects our national cohesion and unity. But, for Allah’s sake, that’s a Christian mission school whose sole aim is to propagate the Christian religion and nothing else. If we don’t understand this fundamental principle of theirs, then either we have a problem or we are being hypocritical.
When the mission schools started during the colonial era, they never hid their intention of Christianizing the areas under their control. Our forefathers refused to send our fathers to those schools because of their fears of our fathers coming out of those schools and turning out as strangers to them and worse of all, enemies who will fight against their own religion. This has been one of the main reasons why we still have a low education rate in the northern regions and some zongo areas.
We can understand and forgive our grandparents for their decision(s) but we cannot forgive ourselves for this our current state of inaction. We cannot equally blame the Christian mission schools for our inaction and lack of interest on Islamic issues.
Let’s agree that our grandparents didn’t know the benefits of the modern system of education. Let’s also agree that our grandparents and parents didn’t know you can combine both systems of education.
Let’s further agree that our grandparents didn’t know this modern system of education is not about Christianity. What about us? We know everything and we have been enjoying the fruits and benefits of this modern system and have done absolutely nothing about developing an Islamic education system. We have wealthy business men and women, Members of Parliament and Ministers of State and yet what have they done? We have teachers, medical doctors, nurses etc. and we have seen nothing from. In fact we once had a vice president and nothing was seen. The issue is not about one political party; it’s about our collective negligence as Muslims in Ghana.
Most of usMuslims have never contributed anything to the development of Islam and Islamic institutions and yet want to criticize and dictate to a Christian who suffers to construct its school to propagate its mission. Let’s just imagine a ten year old Christian who was given ten pesewas to buy toffees and this little boy sacrificed his pleasure to pay for his church tithes and those tithes are used to construct a school on behalf of his church.
Let’s also imagine a Muslim Member of Parliament who earns over 7000 Ghana cedis. Let’s imagine that this Member of Parliament knows nothing about Islam and has no interest whatsoever in it and as such uses his/her money the way he/she deems it fit for him/herself only. Let’s just imagine that you are this little boy sitting comfortably in your school and enjoying your sacrifices, and then all of a sudden this Muslim MP, so rich with his salary and allowances, comes to dictate to you how you should run your school. Just imagine how awkward and absurd it sounds.
The Christian mission schools are teaching us a lesson of sacrifice. This mission schools are teaching us to rise up, contribute money and build institutions for ourselves. Then when we build our own institutions, we can then teach them the basic Islamic principle, “there is no compulsion in religion…” (Al Qur’an 2: 256). Then we can teach our children the natural and truthful religion for mankind, educate them about unity of mankind, tolerance and love for humanity. Until we do this, we must cease our hypocrisy and stop blaming the Christian mission schools for our woes. They suffered to build their schools and must run it the way they deem it fit as far as it doesn’t contradict their religious teachings.
We the Muslims in Ghana don’t care about anything Islamic. When a brother even suffers on his own to construct an Islamic institution, instead of us helping them to push the institution forward, we refuse to help them with resources and sometimes even a good word.When they ask us to pay the fees for our wards, we say it’s the work of Allah and as such refuse to pay and yet when that institution fails, we hypocritically blame them. The few Clerics we have, we show no respect to them and don’t care whether they eat or not and when our problems compound, instead of us assessing ourselves, we hypocritically blame others for our deliberately inflicted failures. The Christian mission schools are teaching us valuable lessons on how to handle institutions and value our leaders. It’s either we take it or leave them in peace. In any case, they never forced or coerced our wards to come to their schools. If we think we are not happy, there are other alternatives, the purely government run schools. If there, Muslims are deliberately being targeted and discriminated against, as some people allege during the headmastership of Johnson Saborh (who is now the DCE of Sissala East District) in Kanton SHS in Tumu, then we can complain.
May Allah the Merciful guide us all and awaken us from our deep slumber…May the Peace, Blessings and Mercy of Allah be upon His Last and Final Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad, and make us all meet in Jannah…
I shall In Sha Allah be back…
Source: Fuseini Abdul-Fatawu
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