Over a 2-day period, 25 Imams and Islamic Scholars , joined by another set of 23 Muslim women were told why Muslims scholars and all those involved in propagating Islam must be engaged in economic activities and not to rely on their congregation for emoluments.
Opening the “Capacity Strengthening and Empowerment for Imams, Scholars and Women” organised by the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society in collaboration with the Mac Arthur Foundation, Imam Fuad Adeyemi the National Chief Imam of the society told the participants that “a financially independent cleric was less disposed to corrupt practices than one who relied solely on his followers for income”.
Imam Fuad Adeyemi said that, “Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society through the support of MacAthur foundation and other donors is committed in the service of Allah through teaching, mentorship, skill development training of Nigerian youths, promotion of social services for the good of Nigerians as well as promoting inter faith Cohesion.”
“If they have legal sources of income they would be able to contribute to anti-corruption efforts. An unemployed Imam is a potential risk to the fight against corruption,” Adeyemi said
Speaking on the “Necessity of Income Generating Activities (IGA) for Islamic Scholars/Leaders”, the MD/CEO, Comerel Travels-Nigeria, Ustaz Abubakr Siddeeq Muhammad, urged participants and the nation’s leaders at large to look at who is going to do the work and not someone they like or dislike before assigning roles and responsibilities.
He cited the example of Khalid bin Waleed, one of the notable companions of Prophet Muhammad that was appointed based on his competency in expeditions. “He (Khalid bin Waleed), however had more excesses such that Prophet Muhammad would seek refuge from Allah after Khalid committed excesses by killing people contrary to the instructions of Prophet Muhammad that no soul should be killed during the expeditions,” he said.
To illustrate that competence and skills was more important in business than filial relations; he cited an example of Prophet Sulaiman who had asked among his servants who could bring Queen Bilqis throne to him. In their responses, “Someone said he could do that between dawn and dusk but yet another one said he could do that in a blink of Prophet Sulaiman’s eyes, and that was done.
“This is to show that competency should be given priority.”
Also speaking, the Director General of National Directorate for Employment NDE, Mr. Abubakar Nuhu, represented by Mr. Issa Abdu informed the participants that NDE was created “to design and implement job creation programmes that will promote attitudinal change, employment generation, reduce poverty, and enhance wealth generation”.
He said through partnerships with agencies the NDE provided opportunities for Nigerians to maximize their potentials and take advantage of opportunities in areas that are mostly neglected or ignored.
Speaking on profitable ventures, the Secretary of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Mallam Yunusa Haladu Yabawa said farming and the value chain of agriculture is an area that is in dire need of committed investors.
He charged the participants to form cooperative societies for ease of accessing loans and also to make it easy for them to get facilities from the AFAN.
In his own presentation, the Imam Tajudeen Adigun PhD, told the participants that prudent use of resources and financial discipline is key to determining sustainability of any venture. He asked the imams to be ‘moderate, be contented and then shun unnecessary competition”.
Responding to questions he told the Imams that if at any point they were to choose between being Imam or getting a gainful employment in any legitimate venture, he would charge them to “leave the imam or pulpit and go and take up a job’. He explained that Allah will not ask them why they were not imams but Allah will ask them why they did not provide for their families