Boko Haram terrorists, referred to as Al-Waliyat al-Islamiyya Gharb Afriqiyyah (Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP), and Jama’at Ahi as-Sunnah Lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad meaning, Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad, have their headquarters in Sambisa Forest, Borno.
The group founded by Mohammed Yusuf now has two leaders – Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Bamawi who was recently appointed by ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).
However, since the dastardly activities of the group started in Nigeria some few years back, many lives and property have been wantonly destroyed and the nation’s security severely threatened. Even with the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari – led administration which promised to wipe out the notorious group within three months, Nigeria is yet to attain the expected peace among its populace.
However, when Boko Haram insurgents started perpetrating their horrendous crimes with the burning of churches and killIng of Christians, they were mistaken for Islamic group engaging in anti-Christianity war. This, however, informed the double standard employed by some public commentators, social critics and even media practitioners referring to the group as Islamic, giving Islam all sorts of undue identities believing they’re representing Islam.
Meanwhile, this group only hides under the banner of Islam to support their evil agenda because it’s a powerful and emotional tool to reemit and inspire followers. To some scholars, however, every activity of Boko Haram violates every major objective of Islam as a religion of peace as there’s nowhere in the Qur’an that supports that women must not be educated. No verse in the Qur’an that supports selling of female children off as slaves or force them into marriage. And there’s no verse in the Qur’an that supports forceful conversion of non-believers to Islam as grossly exhibited by the notorious sect.
However, it suddenly became abundantly clear that the insurgents are not in any way representing the interest of Islam when they started killing muslims, bombing markets, motor parks co-habited by both muslims and Christians. They even went to the extent of bombing the famous Kano Mosque built about 500 years ago on a Friday during Jumat service, killing scores of worshipers, including men, women and little children.
They didn’t stop at this, they also bombed mosques during Ramadan period when even ordinary use of abusive language against a fellow human being is forbidden, let alone killing muslims whom they claim they represent. As if that was not enough, their group went further in their heinous crime by bombing Eid praying ground in Damaturu, Yola doing salah in 2015, killing about 58 worshippers.
Boko Haram also invaded many villages in Borno state, killing and maiming the residents and even their emirs, burning houses and religious centres. And the top most of their condemnable activities was the kidnapping of about 200 Chibok school girls in April 2014 which almost tore the country apart.
Their activities, however, show that they are nothing but terrorists which informed the heavy criticism invoked on them by Islamic scholars across the country and beyond.
However, there are major attributes of a true believer, and none of these could be identified with Boko Haram. And most of these qualities have been exemplified in the lives of every muslim anywhere in the world.
Among them are:
A muslim must be truthful in all his words and conducts.
“O you who believe, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.” – Qur’an 33:70.
“O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah and be with the truthful people” – Qur’an 9:119.
“Be maintainers of justice and bearer of true witness for Allah, even if it (the truth) goes against your own very self, parents, relatives or someone who is rich or poor.” – Qur’an 4:135.
It’s expected of a believer to be sincere in all his dealings with Allah and fellow human beings irrespective of their religions or tribes. And this was supported by the following chapters and verses from the Holy Qur’an:
“Serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience.” – Qur’an 39:2.
“It’s most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say things which you do not do.” – Qur’an 61:3.
“Woe to those who pray but are unmindful of their prayers, who do good to be seen.” – Qur’an 107:4-6
Another quality a muslim must exhibit is unselfishness so as to attain righteousness in the sight of Qur’an, chapter 3:91, chapter 76:8-9 and chapter 74:6.
“You cannot attain to righteousness unless you spend (in charity) out of those things which you love” – Qur’an 3:91.
“They (the true believers) give food, out of love for Allah, to the poor, the orphan and the slave, saying: “we feed you only for Allah’s pleasure. We desire from you neither reward nor thanks.” – Qur’an 76:8-9.
“Do no favour seeking gain” – Qur’an 74:6.
A muslim is also expected to be humble in every circumstance he finds himself.
“The servants of the most beneficient (Allah) are those that walk on the earth in humility.” – Qur’an 25:63.
“Do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exultingly.” – Qur’an 31:18.
“Do not ascribe purity to yourselves. Allah knows best who is righteous.” – Qur’an 53:32.
A true believer should also learn to be patient in time of adversity or misfortune.
“Allah loves those who are patient.” – Qur’an 3:145.
“Give good news to the patient, who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: “We are Allah’s and to Him shall we return.” – Qur’an 2:155-156.
Another outstanding attribute of a muslim is FORGIVENESS. This is supported by a number of verses of the Holy Qur’an.
“Pardon (people) and overlook (their faults). Don’t you love that Allah should forgive you.” – Qur’an 24:22.
“(The dutiful are): those who restrain their anger and pardon people. Allah loves those who do good to others.” – Qur’an 3:134.
“Whenever they (true believers) are angry, they forgive.” – Qur’an 42:37.
“The recompense of evil is punishment like it. But whoever forgives can evil; committed against himself and amends (matters), his reward is with Allah. And whoever is patient and forgives, that’s a matter of great resolution.” – Qur’an 42:40,43.
In a related verse of the Hadith (teachings) of the Holy Prophet Muhammed. He (Muhammed) (SAW) also enjoined muslims to embrace forgiveness. It was reported that when Prophet Muhammed (SAW) defeated his enemies in Makkah (Mecca) and returned to that city as its conqueror, he forgave them in the following words:
“No reproof be against you this day, Allah may forgive you, and He is the most merciful of those who show mercy.”
PURITY AND CLEANLINESS
A muslim must be pure and clean both physically and spiritually.
“He indeed is successful who purifies himself (in mind and body), and remembers the name of his Lord, then prays.” – Qur’an 87:14 & 15.
Qur’an 74:4-5 – Honesty and transparency. A true believer must be honest in every situation. He must be transparent in his transactions as he will be made to give comprehensive account of his deeds on the day of judgement. The Qur’an has enjoined a true believer.
“Don’t go near the property of an orphan, except in a godly way, till he attains maturity. And fulfill the promise (you make). Give full measure when you measure out and weigh with a true balance.” – Qur’an 17:34-35.
“Do not swallow up your prosperity among yourselves by false means nor offer it as a bribe to the officials so that you may swallow up other people’s property unlawfully while you know.” – Qur’an 2:188.
CONSIDERATION AND RESPECT FOR OTHERS
“O you who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own until you have asked permission and greeted the occupants. And if it’s said to you, “Go back”, then go back.” – Qur’an 24:27-28.
“O you who believe! Avoid most of suspicion (against others), for surely suspicion in some cases is sin and do not spy (into other people’s affairs), not let some of you backbite others” – Qur’an 49:12.
“Whatever you’re greeted with, greet with the one better than it, or return it (in the same terms at least).” – Qur’an 4:86.
A muslim is also expected to be courageous and ready to conquer fear. Then, believe that Allah is sufficient for him.
The Qur’an relates this in a number of chapter and verses, including:
“Those to whom men said: People have gathered against you, so fear them; but this increased their faith, and they said: Allah is sufficient for us and He is an excellent guardian.” – Qur’an 3:173.
A muslim must also be moderate in his spending, eating and drinking but must constantly do good and search for knowledge in the cause of Allah and his Holly Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
“Eat and drink, but do not be immoderate.” – Qur’an 7:31.
“Do not chain your hand to your neck (so that you’re mean in spending), nor stretch it out the utmost limit (so that you waste everything).” – Qur’an 17:29
This was corroborated by the teaching of Prophet Muhammed which says:, regarding the performance of religious duties, “Religion is easy, but anyone who exerts himself too much in religious devotions will get overcome by it. So, you just act rightly, and keep to the mean, and be of good cheer, and ask for Allah’s help in the morning, evening and a part of the night.” (Bukhari).
This is another quality of a muslim as stated in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith of Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
“Be of good cheer.” (Bukhari).
“It is an act of charity to meet your fellow with a cheerful face.” (Mishkat)
On a final note, Qur’an chapter 33:35 also says: “The truthful men and women, the patient men and the patient women, the humble men and the humble women, the charitable men and the charitable women, the fasting men and the fasting women, the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard their chastity, the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah much for all these, Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.”