A tale of two judges

Both judges are dead and they both died in their old (?) ages during briefillness. The first was a Christian gentleman, a common law judge at the pinnacle of the administration of justice: a respected member of the Anglican Communion, a supporter of the now moribund Scripture Union of Nigeria and a patron of both the Red Cross and the Girls' Guide. His wife, also late, was a one-time National President of the National Council of Women Societies and the Girls' Guide. He, the late judge, was the Chief Judge of Lagos State for several stable years and was well respected. It is not his landmark judgements (and there were some) that are of interest to us here, rather it was his encounter with the second judge.

Most Muslims must have heard of Sheikh AbubakarGumi. May Allah bless his soul, forgive his sins and grant him AI-Jannah! (Amin). He was the Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal and the Grand Patron of Izalatul Bid'ah wa Iqamatus-sunnah. He won the King Faisal Award (a sort of Muslim Nobel Prize) for Islamic scholarship. Nobody could be indifferent to Sheikh Gumi, several venerated him, many loathed him but all respected him. Sometimes in the 80's, both judges met in the plane on a journey from London to Lagos. They were seated next to each other, the first reading a book on common law, the other reading the Qur'an. Finally, the Chief Judge broke the ice: "Excuse me, I can see that you are a Muslim scholar, would you know one preacher in Kaduna called Abubakar Gumi?"

"Know him?", tile Sheikh retorted, "I've known him all his life. This is him" Surprise and delight were visible on the Chief Judge: surprise that this rather frail and quiet man was the fiery Islamist he had heard about, delighted that one of his life's wish – to meet this man - had been fulfilled. The following night, after the host had given the Sheikh dinner, he confessed: "I have been listening to your Sunday Night Islamic programme on Radio Kaduna via short wave. I monitored your message through the English interpreter and I have stored several of them in cassettes. I have been a judge for two decades and based on the weight of evidence before me, I have concluded that Islam is the truth, every other thing is falsehood. I have read the Qur' an and I could not but acknowledge its veracity."

"Take the logical step, my brother", the Sheikh counselled, "become a Muslim right now!" "No," the Chief Judge pleaded, "I would only be a sympathiser of Islam. My wife, kith and kin, friends - these whole majority of my people - will fight me each step of the journey. No, I cannot". Tried as he could; the Sheikh could not shake him:

"It is true you will not be able to guide everyone whom you love, but Allah guides those whom He wills and He knows best those who receive guidance" (Q28: 56).

After several fruitless contacts between the two judges, the Chief Judge died - far away from Islam, his fear of Allah was insufficient. Sympathy is not enough. AbuTalib, the Prophet's uncle sympathized with and even supported Islam, but he died a kafir (unbeliever) and the judgement of Allah was clear:

"Among the inhabitants of the fire, Abu Talib would have the least sufferings, and he would be wearing two shoes (of fire) which would boil his brain"

said the Prophet (PBUH); (Muslim)

You are a Muslim, right? But your Islam is weak and inhibited: "what would my friends say if I stood up to go and pray from the gathering? Would I be considered chic with the hijab or would I be corporate with a beard? Or yours is that there's no alternative yet to riba (usury) and that zina is not that bad these days; Allah will understand?" Fast and observe tahajjud outside Ramadan? Never, you are neither a fanatic nor a fundamentalist! Stop!!! Listen to your heart's rhythm and let it pulse to the rhythm of Islam:

"O you who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the Shay tan ... " (Q2:208).

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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