The BBC, Sheikh Makari And Saudi Arabia

In the audio clip of his interview with the BBC which he sent to me Sheikh (Prof) Makari said in answer to the question on Saudia’s effort in preventing extremists from using Hadeeth texts in justifying terrorist activities, 1) that ‘in recent years Saudi Arabia is trying to strengthen its relations with the West, while the West is calling for reforms of policies within the Kingdom that are advancing the cause of extremism in Islam’; 2) that ‘Saudi Arabia spearheads the spreading and teaching of extremist ideologies that have triggered intra-religious strife among the adherents of Islam, as well as inter-religious conflicts between Muslims and followers of other creeds’; 3) that ‘if Saudia wants to satisfy the conditions stipulated by the West on the desired reforms it could do so without encroaching on the sanctuary of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) as there is nothing in the Hadeeth that encourages extremism which will necessitate the vetting by any Complex.…

However, Sheikh (Prof) Makari said the BBC edited out a very important part of the interview in which he said ‘I don’t think Saudi scholars will acquiesce to vetting or eliminating any Hadeeth with authentic chain of transmitters under the pretext of having ‘tendencies’ of advancing ‘terrorism’.’ If the BBC had aired this part of the interview, it might have lightened the ire directed at Sheikh (Prof) Makari by many Muslim scholars and everyday people in the social media.

I will try to refrain from commenting on this unfortunate interview, suffice it to say that I do not agree with the sentiments he expressed regarding Saudi Arabia, and I do not accept that the Kingdom teaches extremism, a subtle reference to the alumni of the Islamic University in Madeenah. The oft-repeated claim that Saudia champions the spread of extremism in the world is nothing more than a claim. It is not fact. The facts do not support that claim. Take for example, Nigeria, which has thousands of Saudi University alumni. Hardly would you find one of them engaged in acts of terrorism or extremism; especially the alumni of the Islamic University in Madeenah. By virtue of their deep study of the Islamic Sciences, they are calm, balanced in views and devoid of overzealous interpretations of the words of Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam).

It is for the Saudi Arabian embassy in Abuja to issue a press release and/or raise the matter at the diplomatic level to exculpate the government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques from the allegations of no mean personage than one of the imams of the Abuja National Mosque.

I believe that my brother and friend was carried away by the false information to which the BBC guided him through the Guardian online page. He was moved by his love of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) to speak against the Complex under the goading of the BBC that denied him enough time to check and verify the news. Speaking with the BBC in that constricted situation was a slip on the part of Sheikh (Prof) Makari. The BBC has not helped Islam or the Muslims in Nigeria by luring Sheikh (Prof) Makari and stirring up in him, through falsehood, the passion to defend and preserve the Prophet’s Hadeeth against human interference, which led to a lot of misunderstanding and acrimony among the Ummah.

I think my brother will gain something from the approach Sheikh (Dr) Sani Umar Rijiyar Lemo adopted when the same BBC contacted him. He took the reporter through the history behind setting up the new complex and how blatantly false and political was the claim that the complex would be used to expunge Hadeeths which promote terrorism and extremism. He explained that the process that culminated into the founding of the Complex started 20 years earlier, when scholars from around the world urged the government of Saudi Arabia to establish something akin to the Quran Printing Complex which is also in Madeenah for the Hadeeth Sciences. The complex will print previously unpublished manuscripts of Hadeeth, collate, distribute and translate Hadeeth works of the past and present. He lauded the work and dismissed claims of censorship, citing ignorance as the only reason anyone would say that.

Allah says in the Quran, ‘Would that when ye heard it, the believing men and women thought good of one another and said,’ This is an obvious falsehood”’ An Noor (Q24:12).

Would that when Muslims heard about the expunging of the Hadeeth by scholars from all over the world in Saudia, they had said, ‘This is definitely false’, knowing the great lengths to which they have gone in preserving the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. Would that people would investigate more vigorously and not accept the words of those who seek to spread rancour at face value. Would that people would give their brothers excuse and not seek to find fault; remembering they could be in the same shoes one day.

I enjoin all lovers of the Sunnah and the Bringer of it (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) to sheathe their swords. The nasty comments and hasty judgements I have been coming across on social media insulting my friend and brother and insulting ‘Wahabis’ like me are not a reflection of any serious understanding of the Deen. They betray shallowness and ignorance. We should all rise above that. Let not those who love the one go beyond their limits and let those who love the other stay within their bounds. There are areas of politics which do not concern us about Saudia. Our link with that country is two-fold: it houses the most sacred sites of our worship and it houses our Muslim brethren. Refrain from commenting on anything you read in the papers or on social media if you do not have all the facts. When you get the full facts, it behoves you to be fair.

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, as witnesses in justice. Do not let the hatred of a people goad you into being unjust. Be just; that is nearer to piety. And be mindful of Allah; indeed Allah is fully aware of what ye do” Al Maaidah (Q5:8)

King Salman has won the hearts of all lovers of Hadeeth with this move. He has written his name in gold in the annals of Islamic history. He is not perfect; I do not agree with some of his recent policies and I will not misuse my position as a columnist to criticise them. I laud many of his policies with which I agree and which will affect my life and those of other Muslims. He is after all the Custodian of the Haramayn (the two Sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah). May Allah reward you, Yaa Abaa Muhammad!

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