Muslims Are Intolerant – Ursula Owusu

Abdul-Razak Ishaq, a young Muslim has described his fellow Muslims as intolerant.

In an article shared by Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful on her facebook wall Abdul-Razak shared his displeasure of how some Muslims are reacting to the comment by Prof Frimpong Boateng that Muslims should consider using messages to call for prayers.

The minister’s comment which didn’t go down well received a lot of backlash from the Muslim community.

It is unclear why the Minister of Communication shared the post on her Facebook wall but some members of the public are questioning whether she endorses the comment by the Abdul Razak or not.

This is captured in the statement below

Professor Frimpong Boateng and the Azan Palaver

I am very appalled as a Muslim at the response of sections of the Muslim population towards the harmless comment by Prof. Frimpong Boateng on the matter of the Azan (the Muslim call to prayer). I used to fight the notion that Muslims are intolerant or that Muslims are violent. However, I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that indeed Muslims are intolerant. I shall return to the subject of intolerance shortly.

First of all, the Azan is not wajib (compulsory). Rather it is mandub (recommended). So not calling the Azan before prayer does not affect the validity of prayer. Indeed, in many western societies today, Muslims do not call to prayer through loudspeakers. Is the prayer of the people of those societies not valid? Today there are mobile applications that remind us of the time for prayer at each of the stated times. Besides, I don’t know of any Muslim who cannot tell you off head, what the times of prayer are. Prayer times are known by every practicing Muslim as a matter of course. So when Frimpong Boateng says we should consider mobile technology as an alternative to calling the Azan on loudspeakers, he is late. Because it is something that we do already.

Secondly, neither Bilal ibn Rabah nor Abdallah ibn Makhtum ever called the Azan with the aid of loudspeakers. (Bilal and Ibn Makhtum were the two most famous muezzins in the time of the Prophet. A muezzin is a person who calls the faithful to prayer). Indeed, the loudspeaker was unknown in the Muhammadan era. So what is the fuss about loudspeakers?

Thirdly, there is an Islamic jurisprudential principle called maslaha (public interest). It is trite law in Islam, that at any material time, the public interest should supersede a dogmatic adherence to law. For example, there was a period in the time of Caliph Umar, when he suspended the punishments for theft because there was general famine and hunger. This is because he surmised that some people engaged in theft in order to survive and not as deviant behaviour. So if there are neighbours who feel disturbed by noise from loudspeakers, good Muslims should be able to discard the loudspeaker for the public interest. So when Prof. Frimpong Boateng says, “Muslims should consider the use of text messages…” he is not out of order nor has he said anything monstrous. Mind you he didn’t say “government should consider banning the Azan.” So if Muslims would not consider his suggestion, where is the fight? When did it become Islamic to attack people who make suggestions? How does a suggestion by a lone member of government become law?

I can see the NDC have made a political market out of this. They are pathetic. I have heard a voicemail, in which a woman threatens Prof. Boateng with death. She hurls unprintable insults on Prof. Boateng and takes political advantage to insult Muslims in the NPP, labeling them as kufar (unbelievers). This woman and her ilk in the NDC are the ones that give Islam a bad name. This propaganda won’t wash. They should find something else.

Let me conclude by telling the NDC folks who do politics with Islam, that they are in the wrong business. Ghana is not a theological state. So people are free to speak their minds and make suggestions. Islam is a religion of peace. Indeed, Islam means peace. The use of threats or violence to counter speech that allegedly impugns Islam is very uncouth. In any case, Prof. Frimpong Boateng has not impugned Islam. We disgrace Islam too much by our unwarranted reaction to harmless issues. Salaam!

Abdul-Razak Ishaq

Kalpohin Estates, Tamale

What do you think?

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