So many men and women have told me that they read me on Facebook but they neither hit the ‘Like’ button nor make a comment. But they encourage me on to continue because, as they said, I have changed their thinking on many subjects on politics and religion that I have written on. Therefore if I draw your ire for any of my writings, it is because of the way I understand the subject on which I wrote. As I am fallible, I always apologise on the face of superior argument. But not if I am convinced of the rightness of the course of my action, we may have to part ways.
On today’s topic, I was privileged to have seen the first or preliminary version of the building of the proposed Islamic University, Hadejia, in Jigawa state and I have also seen some of the building structures in the proposed Islamic university in Shinkafi, Zamfara state.
I am an ordinary Muslim, as I have always maintained. So I subscribe to what I believe based on what I have been taught. And I am still learning.
Establishing Islamic University by the Izala group is an excellent iniative and we must give credence to the group especially the Chairman Uztaz Bala Lau and the group’s Secretary Shaikh Kabiru Gombe. In my humble opinion however, the university in Hadejia should be an Islamic University of Technology while the one in Shinkafi should be University of Agriculture and Medical Sciences.
My advise is predicated on the fact that there is nothing in Islam that prevents the technicians, agriculturalists and the medics that may be trained in these universities from being Islamic clerics. That way, Muslims can reduce Almajiri and blind/leprosy beggars on the streets. These two diseases are so endemic in the North principally because the diseases mainly afflict the poor and the ignorant and though curable they are left to become endemic mostly in the Muslim North for lack of proper hygiene, environmental factors, illiteracy and poverty. A Medical Islamic University will be a sound solution for eradicating them and therefore freeing a large population of northerners from begging.
An Islamic Medical University will also reduce mobidity and take care of maternal mortality. The North’s challenges are mainly poverty occasioned by climate change, irresponsible polygamy and unbridled birth by fathers who deliberately shy away from their responsibilities. And the resulting consequences are Boko Haram, kidnapping and cattle rustling criminality that draw us back in trading and industry that the North was known for.
Islamic Agricultural University in Shinkafi, Zamfara state is also the surest way of improving agriculture including animal husbandry. Graduates from the university would be equipped to improve artificial insemination in animal birth which would not increase the size of stock for domestic consumption and export but would change our livestock breed, improve quality and quantity of meat and milk, improve fishery and poultry production just. The graduates of the Islamic University of Agriculture in Shinkafi at the fringes of the Sahara, will help not only in training experts in devising means of fighting desertification and climate change but will promote grassing and grass farming for improving animal feeds and desert resistant trees and crops.
I know very well that knowing and practicing one’s religion is the reason we are created as Allah says in the Qur’an chapter 51:56 –
“I created the jinn and humans for nothing else but that they may worship Me.”
But we can not worship Him who created us in a proper manner unless we eradicate poverty and ignorance that in turn eradicate diseases. Undoubtedly, I have not seen how a poor, unenlightened ignorant person can “properly” worship Allah.
Saudi Arabia and all the Arab countries have since realised this. Saudi Arabia’s first class Medical Schools are 7 in number today. They include King Saud University, King Saud University (KSU) a public academic institution in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz University, Alfaisal University, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Khalid University, King Faisal University and Jazan University.
In addition, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Guard established their own medical colleges—King Fahad Medical City and King Saud bin Ab- dulaziz University for Health Sciences respectively—raising to 21 the number of medical colleges in Saudi Arabia.
Unfortunately the only scholarship Saudi gives Nigerian Muslims is to study Islam while their own children study sciences.
Science and Islam are not mutually exclusive. One can be a Medical doctor, an Engineer, and Agriculturalists and Technician and still be an Islamic Cleric.
These two proposed universities must not teach Islamic Studies only. Otherwise we shall end up like Afghanistan which is now the world’s most destructive terror network centre.
Though the case of Afghan Taliban is a far more complex story that I wrote about about two months ago, I believe teaching young Muslims the religion of Islam only in the midst of poverty as pervades Northern Nigeria today without teaching them the way to bring food to the dining table, would amount to supporting Islamists rather than teaching them love for one’s country.
To be continued…
Rt Hon Sadiq Ibrahim Dasin
Former National Assembly Lawmaker
From Adamawa state.