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SAUDI STAMPEDE AND MATTERS ARISING, By Musa Azare

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SAUDI STAMPEDE AND MATTERS ARISING, By Musa Azare

NEWISSUES, Abuja

Since the tragic stampede that occurred at the Jamrah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during this year’s Hajj Mabroor, I discovered that more energy has being dedicated to apportioning blame and name calling, which triggered a needless diatribe between pro and anti Saudi Arabian kingship, with Islamic Republic of Iran, IRI and large followers of the Shia’a sect, leading the blamers camp and Sunnis, especially in Africa, leading the defenders camp. The energy deployed, and the zeal shown, far surpassed that which we should have devoted in paying tribute to Shuhadas who lost their lives in one of the most tragic human catastrophe that happened to humanity. Our collective humanity was lost to our pettiness. I find this rather sad, and I think the time has come, when my silence is not golden.

saudi stampedeAs at the last count, I was tagged in about 87 different post on Facebook alone, from both sides, and even by some interested persons among our Christian brothers since the incidence, with each side seeking to hear my views about the issue. I deliberately refused to comment because I know too well that my views will not go down well with both sides. I just keep on praying for the repose of the departed souls and the fortitude to their families, and humanity in general to bear the losses.

A tragedy never gives notice, that is why it is a tragedy! This is how I see it. However, I was bitter against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when her authorities jumped the gun and blamed the incidence on Africans, who were described as “unruly.” Similarly, I pick offence in the Kingdom’s inability to give convincing explanations of the remote and immediate causes of the stampede beyond blaming the “unruly” Africans.

I also see no logic in Iran’s persistent reproach of the Kingdom instead of paying attention, even to the enormous work of clearing the corpses that littered the path to the Jamrah, and their proper disposal according to the provisions of Shariah.

Tragedies do occur, but it is grossly unfair to hide behind this one, to blame Saudi Arabia for the poor management of the Hajj operation. This is the country that has been managing the Hajj operations since time immemorial. And these tragedies do occur from time to time. Why do we suddenly formed this opinion that the Kingdom can no longer manage the operation? I may be wrong, but I don’t think there is any country that ever assisted Saudi Arabia in the management of Hajj.

The historical schism between Saudi Arabia and Iran has never been Islamic. Islam is just being used as a strategic tool by the two countries. It is purely political and economic. A pure power struggle between two of the most influential Islamic countries in the world, which has torn apart the spirit of brotherhood as taught by Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and it is, sadly, Islam’s Achilles heel!

The Glorious Qur’an commanded us thus; “And hold fast to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves” Quran 3:103.

Be it Sunni, Shia, Hanafi, Hambali, Maliki, Wahaabi, Salafi, Tabliqi, Zaidi, Ja’afri, or any other name you divide yourself by. Our Naby (SAW) used no such names and made no such divisions. The Holy Qur’an further states, “As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou (Naby SAW) hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did. Quran 6:159.

Any Islamic cleric that will sincerely gives a commentary of the two verses above will tell you that sect is alien to Islam. Sect is not Islam, simple!

I am a black man, an African, and give glory to my Creator Who in His infinite wisdom made me so. No apology to Saudi or Iran or anyone whosoever and whatsoever. I will never allow myself to be dragged into a battle that is not mine. Let everyone fights his or her own battle. The battle ahead of me is more important. The two vastly rich countries have put behind them the problems electricity supply, unemployment, poverty, diseases, corruption (at least comparatively), and other social and economic challenges. While these vices thrive in my home front. This should be my priority, no more, no less. If you like like call me “wawan dan boko” or whatever name you like. I don’t bother at all!

May Allah grant Aljannatul Firdaus to all of our brothers and sisters who lost their lives during this stampede and all other human tragedies wherever they may have occurred, Ameen.

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