The Co-Chairman (Muslim) of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, Lagos State Chapter Dr Saheed Timehin, has urged religious leaders to promote love and unity among the various religious groups in the country.
Timehin, an Islamic scholar, stated this in a lecture titled: “From Convergence to Divergence: Muslims and the Search for Identity”, which he delivered at the Bi-Monthly lecture of Bodija Estates and Environs Muslim Community(BEEMC) on Sunday in Ibadan.
He said that love and peaceful co-existence among human beings had been ordained by God and was what a cleric must preach.
“Love, patience, endurance, and righteousness are the various virtues to be embraced in a society irrespective of religious affiliations.
“The Holy Prophet Muhammad taught us to love, help, and be good to our neighbours irrespective of their beliefs.
“He taught us to love our neighbours, assist them in times of need, share with them our wealth, condole with them in their moments of grief, and to celebrate their successes and achievements,” he said.
The scholar traced the problems the Islamic religion was currently facing to “artificial separation” by clerics, who, he said, stood to benefit from “fuelling the embers of disunity’’.
“In the days of the prophet, Muslims all over the world bowed down to only one God – Allah (SWT); but today, many have started feeding their followers with half truths and turned themselves (preachers) to demigods.
“There was a time some Christians visited the Prophet and asked to be shown a place where they could worship.
“The Prophet offered his Mosque to them to worship. This is an exemplary show of love and leadership.
“I think such display is very rare these days,” he said.
Commenting on President Muhammadu Buhari’s rationalisation that the Federal Government might have to ban the use of the hijab if the insurgents in the North East were to continue to use it to disguise female suicide bombers, Timehin said: “The Hijab is the identity of Muslim women and cannot be banned.
“If t is being misused, the best option is to reduce its size. I don’t support an outright ban because it can create another problem entirely.’’
Timehin advised Muslims to be genuine adherents of the Islamic faith, saying that it would please the Allah.
In his remarks, the BEEMC Chairman, Alhaji Waheed Alli, said that the lecture was important as it would help to enlighten members of the public on issues bordering on religion, societal development, and righteousness.