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Kano Kogo cleric

By Mohammad Qaddam Sidq Isa

Even from afar one can perceive the extent of public anger in Kano and beyond over the heretical utterances of one Abdul-Jabbar, a Kano-based “cleric” on a mission to discredit the Sahaba and the successive generations of Muslim scholarly authorities over the centuries.

Muslims pray at the Kofar Mata central mosque Kano

Operating from his so-called As’habul-Kahfi centre otherwise known as Kogo in Filin Mushe, a Kano inner-city neighbourhood, he introduces blasphemous interpretations to authentic Prophetic Hadiths to deny the authenticity of the Hadiths and discredit its narrators i.e. the Sahaba and the subsequent generations of Muslim scholars who have over the centuries collected, preserved and disseminated it.
To prepare the ground for his purported logical questioning of the authenticity of any Prophetic Hadith he targets, he begins by interpreting it out of its context then subjects it to his flawed literal understanding of the Arabic language to come up with a heretical interpretation of his own and reject the Hadith on that basis.
He also adopts Mu’tazilite, Orientalist and Shiite philosophical criticisms of Hadiths albeit without citing the sources; he instead brags that they are his own conclusions following his profound intellectual efforts and critical analyses to purge Islam of what the Sahaba and their successors over the centuries ascribed to Islam, according to him.
Many people rightly wonder how Abdul-Jabbar, who often struggles to just recite the Qur’anic verses yet hardly gets it right, would claim to come up with the right interpretations of the Prophetic Hadiths contrary to the perception of the very generation who the Messenger of Allah (SAW) addressed i.e. the Sahaba.
His obvious and gross inadequacy in the basic Qur’anic recitation (not even memorization) skill disproves his claim to Islamic scholarship, for there’s absolutely no way anyone can be an Islamic scholar without mastering the Qur’an in terms of recitation skill, its science, Tafseer, jurisprudence and other related disciplines in all of which Abdul-Jabbar is grossly inadequate.
While any fair-minded fellow with a reasonable background in Islamic scholarship can attest to that, it isn’t a coincidence that he attracts largely narrow-minded, overzealous and thuggish followers who massage his ego to sustain his empty pride.
What’s hardly explicable, however, is how some others who aren’t necessarily his followers have turned themselves into his apologists just to spite those who challenge him. Out of sheer prejudice, some folks desperately struggle to justify or at least downplay the implications of his heretical views simply because most of those who challenge him are Sunni Ulama with whom such folks have underlying philosophical, ideological or sectarian differences. They are mostly Ulama-hating “liberal” Muslims, Shiites or bigoted Sufis.
Though the Ulama in Kano and other states are doing their best in terms of countering Abdul-Jabbar’s delusions with compelling scholarly arguments, they need to do more in addressing the implications of discrediting the Sahaba. This is because many people don’t seem to realise the magnitude of those implications. Many people reject vilifying the Sahaba only because they consider it unethical, which is absolutely right. However, not many of them realise the real target and agenda behind it.
In reality, the Sahaba per se aren’t the ultimate target in this regard after all; the ultimate target is the Islamic religion itself. Because being the only generation fortunate enough to have learnt the Qur’an and imbibed Islamic religion including its fundamentals, worship rites, injunctions, moral values etc. directly from the Messenger of Allah (SAW); practiced it in his presence, propagated and taught the subsequent generation, discrediting the Sahaba is necessarily tantamount to rejecting the authenticity of the Qur’an itself. Because you cannot discredit them yet claim to believe in the authenticity of the Qur’an since they were its only transmission source. In other words, you either believe in their trustworthiness or simply reject the Qur’an; a belief in the authenticity of the Qur’an and discrediting the Sahaba are and will remain mutually exclusive.
Though the Sahaba were fallible as individuals, their consensus was/is absolutely infallible as indicated in various Qur’anic verses. Besides, with the exception of the prophets and messengers of Allah, no human generation ever received the amount of Allah’s Accolade in the noble Qur’an close to what they received, which confirms His Pleasure with them that, in return, guarantees them paradise as clearly mentioned in many verses in the noble Qur’an.
That’s why over the centuries, the integrity of the Sahaba has always been the target of anybody with a mission to irreparably undermine Islam and empty it of its substance. Shiites and Orientalists have been particularly unrelenting in this regard, but Allah the Almighty has always and will always preserve His religion.
Now, though the Kano State Government has rightly banned Abdul-Jabbar from public “preaching” and closed down his notorious Kogo, the Ulama shouldn’t relent in their commitment to refuting his delusions intellectually. After all, his books and lectures on video and audio formats would continue to circulate. He may also carry on his activities in other states.
In any case, as it has always been the fate of his likes over the centuries, he may equally last for some time propagating misguidance before he ends up in the dustbin of history in due course. And unless he repents and retracts, he will definitely stand before Allah the Almighty for a trial between him on the one hand, and the Sahaba and other individuals and generations he has spent his life vilifying, on the other.

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