By Ibrahim Ado-Kurawa
Wole Soyinka is a Nobel Laureate who won the highest prize for his work in Drama, where he excelled. But as everyone knows, no one who opposes Western ideas will win that prize. In fact, those who oppose their indigenous worldviews are more likely to win it. A good example is Neguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian anti-Islamic intellectual. Ibrahim Maqary, on the other hand, is an Islamic scholar who became prominent at a very young age because of his proficiency and erudition. They are from divergent backgrounds. Soyinka was nurtured in the neo-pagan Western intellectual tradition. Maqary was nurtured in the Muslim intellectual tradition of Sudanic Africa.
The neo-pagan Western Civilization, sometimes referred to as Western Christian Civilization, considers itself as the superior civilization, and all others must judge their practices according to its criteria. The West, since Enlightenment, has continuously incorporated pagan traditions. Hence Roberts’s conclusion that “Europe once coterminous with Christendom is now post Christian and neo-pagan” (Roberts 1996: 583).
The Islamic and Sinic Worlds have resisted Western intellectual domination. Therefore Ibrahim Maqary and other Muslim scholars always speak their minds damning the irritation of Western neo-pagan inspired scholars. Soyinka will insist that he is independent, but this is not true. His ideas of freedom are not original but primarily influenced by Western Neo-Paganism. He is not even a pan Africanist compared to Walter Rodney, Ngugi and Franz Fanon, who resisted colonialism. He was only engaged in sophistry, which is a form of intellectual cowardice.
Yes, there are elements of African traditionalism in Soyinka’s ideas, but they are those acceptable to the West. They include his anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim postures. He supports animism in Muslim majority Yoruba land. Hence despite his liberal pretensions, he never opposed the killings of innocent Hausa Muslims in Yoruba land by Sunday Igboho and other Oduduwa terrorists as much as he opposed the extra-judicial killing of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto.
Like his Western patrons, Wole Soyinka never opposes the killings of innocent Muslims. Hundreds of Hausa Muslims and non-Muslim northerners have been killed by IPOB and unknown gunmen in the South East. Yet, Wole Soyinka and Christian Bishops never protested loudly as they did for the extra-judicial killing of Deborah. Their conception of human beings is rooted in the Western intellectual tradition where the other has no value.
Why has the Neo-Pagan West become so inhuman even though Man has been the pivot of its philosophy since Renaissance? This could only be understood within the context of European history and the abolition of Christianity, and the entrenchment of secularism. Jesus (peace be upon him) did not come to destroy the Law of Moses but to confirm it and give glad tidings of the coming of Ahmad (SAW), the last Prophet. Therefore his followers remained Jews until the conversion of Paul. And eventually, Jewish Christians under the leadership of James, who upheld the Law, were obliterated (Wilson 1984: 126-7). This paved the way for emphasizing only the teachings of Jesus relating to personal piety, and people were encouraged to regard Caesar as supreme in worldly matters (Mark 7: 17).
Subsequently, Christianity became the Roman Empire’s official religion, and the clergy wielded power and influenced decisions. During the theocratic phase, in some areas, the clergy ruled, and the Pope, as the head of the Christendom, crowned the Kings and Emperors. The Church abused this privilege because Pauline Christianity was not equipped for this purpose. This necessitated a Reformation led by the Protestant fathers. In most parts of Europe, the clergy were made to revert to the position Paul intended for them. Many scholars have shown how Protestant ethics led to capitalism (Raghuram 1999: 236). The Catholic areas of Europe also followed these steps, and the influence of religion in public life was gradually reduced. Europeans believe that they were backwards in the Dark Ages because of the influence of the clergy, which caused the “Christian disease” (Lewis 2002).
With the curing of the “Christian disease,” religion became marginalized in Europe, and there was a shift from God as the pivot of philosophy to Man (Aminrazavi 1996: 384). This was the Enlightenment philosophy. According to Kant, one of the greatest Enlightenment philosophers, this current facilitated the emergence of man from his self imposed infancy and inability to use his reason without the guidance of another (Inwood 1995: 236-237). The Enlightenment philosophy preached equality for citizens of the nation but encouraged brutality and even genocide against others.
For example, the French revolution, which was a product of Enlightenment that gave birth to the republic based on “liberty, equality and fraternity”, but it restored slavery after it jailed Toussant L’Ouverture, the leader of the revolt in Haiti who was inspired by the French revolution (Time, December 31, 1999 p. 164). This shift from God to Man led to all the atrocities committed by Westerners who came to regard themselves as superior and all others as expendable. They lost the compassion of Christianity and became Christians in name only. And they were always willing to use Christian missionaries for this agenda. As confirmed by Pope Paul VI, the apostles who were extremists were also willing to be associated with the European imperialists because they regarded all non-Christians as heathens.
The public aspect of Christianity was abolished because the clergy misused the privilege. This was why Roy made his statement: “Secularity and politics are born of a closing of Christian thought onto itself” (Roy 1994: 8). Fukuyama also observed that: “Christianity in a certain sense had to abolish itself through a secularization of its goals before liberalism could emerge” (Fukuyama 1992: 216). This made it possible for some Western Christians to hate others and commit the worst crimes in human history: colonialism and Nazism. As a result, more than fifty million people lost their lives during the Western-inspired Second World War, the worst in human history.
This Western imperialist epistemological vision has enabled Western leaders to commit the worst atrocities against humanity despite human rights pretensions. European Americans committed genocide against Native Americans and Africans to build their economy. It is universally acknowledged that Western leaders lied when they invaded Iraq, as there were no weapons of mass destruction.
They spent trillions of dollars to destroy Muslim countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, causing the worst humanitarian crisis. Since World War II, the worst conflict has been the resource war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) caused by Western companies. Over three million people have lost their lives. No one cares about these atrocities in the West, but their diplomats can talk about Deborah in Nigeria.
Wole Soyinka and some Christian leaders can show their outrage against the extra-judicial killing of Deborah but not the massacre of innocent Muslims in the South East precisely because their worldview is rooted in the Western intellectual tradition. Muslim lives are nothing to people like Wole Soyinka. Hence, he was one of those who signed the petition that the murderers of Tafawa Balewa, Sardauna and military officers of northern origin should be released because the lives of Muslim and non-Muslim northerners eliminated do not matter. And now they want the mob that killed Deborah to be prosecuted simply because she symbolizes the violation of the sanctity of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), not because of any humanitarian consideration since they are selective.
Wole Soyinka has no respect for the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him). There is no problem with this since he is an acclaimed unbeliever, but he should show understanding of the Muslim position as an intellectual. Ibrahim Maqary, on the other hand, as a Muslim scholar, considers the position of the Prophet of Islam as more important than the world and what it contains. Therefore, just as Western imperialists can destroy countries to satisfy their hedonistic lives, Muslims are willing to sacrifice their lives for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon).
Muslims have no history of genocide against non-Muslims or cruel destruction of countries as in the case of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria or evil obliteration of communities like Tafawa Balewa in Nigeria.
Muslims, unlike Western Christians, have not abolished Islam; therefore, they cannot tolerate infringement on the sanctity of the Prophet. This is the worldview of the Muslims, and why should anyone query it? Must Muslims adopt a Western neo-pagan worldview? This can never happen. No Muslim scholar has ever called for the extra-judicial killing of anyone who violates the sanctity of the Prophet. It is the responsibility of the state to take action against those who commit this crime.
There is no doubt Wole Soyinka will continue his pretentiousness that Ibrahim Maqary should be sacked from the position of Imam of the National Mosque. This is one of the reasons why he was awarded the Nobel Prize – to promote Western neo-paganism against Islam. Ibrahim Maqary, on the other hand, will continue to attract the respect of the Muslims for protecting the sanctity of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Muslim scholars will also continue to maintain their position that Prophet must not be insulted and, at the same time, no mob action or human rights violations of innocent citizens.
Ibrahim Ado-Kurawa is the Editor of Nigeria Year Book and Who is Who. He can be reached via email@example.com.