Prof. Salisu Shehu, who is the Director of the Centre for Islamic Civilization and Interfaith Dialogue of Bayero University, Kano, in an exclusive interview with The Daily Reality (TDR), described how he emerged as the presiding judge of the dialogue between Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara and some Islamic scholars in Kano state.
“I want to believe that it was made by the grace of God. I know that several senior, elderly and important personalities were pencilled down and contacted, but some of them declined while others, unfortunately, were out of town. My name was among those that were suggested as options. And, by the grace of Allah, my name was anonymously accepted by the committee and therefore was presented to the Kano State Government. I received my appointment letter a day before the fixed date for this dialogue. I, too, have actually tried to decline because there are many people that are more deserving and competent. Still, the committee insisted and persuaded me to accept this appointment since State Government has approved it.”
There were speculations that those who rejected the offer to chair the session or refused to participate did that due to the gravity of the blasphemous remarks on the person of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). They, thus, and see the whole issue as needless and a waste of time.
“Of course, these are terrible, sacrilegious statements and utterances. And it is disturbing listening to them because they are horrible and disrespectful to the Prophet (S.A.W). But from the perspective of a jurisdiction maxim: “Addarurat tubihul mahzurat“, we have to do something to bring an end to it. And I have seen how this person has been boasting and bragging that all his claims are valid and no one can face him. So I felt it was necessary to accept and participate in this capacity to bring an end to his misguidance That was how I convinced myself,” Prof. Shehu said.
Sheikh Abduljabbar has complained about the time given and has tried several times to provoke you. How did you manage his provocations?
“You see, dialogue should not just be conducted for an unlimited time. We don’t have to stay the whole day. Unless there is no orderliness and good organisation, he was the only one complaining about time. You have all seen how one of the participants open about five books or more in his ten minutes. Abduljabbar had a system [mobile phone or laptop] with him together with two of his disciples. What was their function? Why did he bring them there? Why they were not opening the pages of those books, he was asked to? It was obvious. So it was quite challenging in the sense that you have to control yourself. You have to exercise a great deal of patience because one can easily be provoked.”