The Federation of Muslim Women’s Association Of Nigeria, FOMWAN in Kebbi state northwest of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Izalatul Bidi’a Wa’ikammatu Sunnah JIBWIS have pledged to collaborate with the Al-Habibiyya Islamic society to build capacity of Muslims in understanding and fighting corruption.
The Islamic groups made the pledge when the Al-habibiyya Islamic society, an Islamic society based in Abuja, paid them separate advocacy visits to solicit their cooperation and support for its anti-corruption program titled ‘Encouraging Accountability and Transparency through Faith based Interventions EAT-Fin.
The National Imam of the Al-Habibiyya Islamic society, Sheikh Fuad Adeyemi, had during the visits told groups that corruption remained one of the greatest challenges facing the country, blaming the increasing rate of poverty and the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor, on corruption.
“I can tell you that 90% of our problems especially poverty rates in this country will be reversed if we address corruption. As you are aware, money meant for the provision of essential infrastructure that could make life easy for the ordinary citizen as well as create opportunities for further investments have been frittered away by corrupt practices,’ he said.
He informed the groups that though the society in line with the tenets of Islam collects and disburses zakat to the needy and less privileged ‘we have come to understand that if we do not address the root cause of the growing and expanding abject poverty of our people, the number of the people who give zakat may dwindle and then increase the cycle of poverty’.
He told the groups that the essence of the project was to ‘involve scholars, imams and religious leaders to begin to use relevant parts of the Quran and hadith to preach against corruption, to also ask the imams to stream anti-corruption messages into all their sermons’. He said Muslims have an obligation to ‘shun evil and call people to the path of righteousness and we all know that Islam abhors corruption’.
He added that while government addresses corruption by investigating, prosecuting and convicting corrupt people, religious leaders also owe an obligation to speak to the minds of people so that they can shun corruption as prevention is better than cure.
‘We need to talk to our people about the hereafter and remind them of Allah’s injunction so that they can have the fear of Allah and avoid corrupt practices in the first place. Government alone cannot fight corruption. The government needs everyone especially the religious leaders to support it in this fight,’ he appealed.
In her response, the leader of the FOMWAN group in Kebbi Hajia Fatima Sani said the association would be very pleased to work on anti-corruption as ‘women and children bore the consequences of corruption more as it affects services that would have enhanced the survival and well-being of women and children’
‘If you notice across the country we have poor hospital system and provision of basic health care for children. If we address corruption we shall have more of these facilities so we are in total support of the anti-corruption project. As you can see, we established this school to be able to cater for children and we have in this school orphans and vulnerable children, our members contribute money for the running of the school’, she said.
Also in his remark, Sheikh Abdurahaman Isa Jega the Chairman council of Ulammas of JIBWIs HQ Jos, in appreciating the initiative from Al-habibiyya said he will ensure all chapters of its branch of JIBWIS keys into the anti-corruption project.
While speaking, Sheikh Muhammed Bello Umar representing another branch of JIBWIS Kaduna, said the society had been preaching against corruption but that ‘coming from a group outside our own will reinforce what we have been saying and the people will understand that what we have been saying is the correct thing to do.”
According to him ‘of course we all understand the effect of corruption and its impact that is why we appreciate this focus and the way the society has packaged the project’.
The Just Foundation, an arm of the Al-Habibiyya Islamic Society on 3rd of March 2018 launched its Encouraging Accountability and Transparency through Faith based Intervention EAT-Fin in Abuja with a focus in 6 states- Abuja the FCT, Kogi, Osun, Lagos, Kaduna, Niger and Kebbi states.
The project supported by the MacArthur Foundation will train Imams to incorporate teachings against corruption into their daily sermons.
Imam Fuad said ‘the foundation would train Islamic clerics on how to speak on the negative effect of corruption and disseminate same to their followers. As you know if you want anything done or undone, you should start from religious houses in the country. Rather than constantly preaching prosperity, we want to train our Imams to speak against those who use their position to cheat and loot’.
In Osun state the Foundation has trained 50 scholars and would train 300 more in all the other states.
The Foundation has also introduced anti-corruption courses into its Qur’anic teaching and learning curricula. The Al-habibiyya academy which has graduated more than 300 students in 5 years will now have anti-corruption courses taught alongside learning the Quran.