By Sheikh Muhammad Turi
In the name of Allah who states “And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead; nay they are alive but you do not perceive” Q2:154
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His chosen servant, our master Muhammad (S) and his noble progeny.
With best regards and well wishes to the respected readers appreciated by the Sheikh and reintroducing my humble self, I wish to carry on with this piece. Although a little was written on this topic earlier, this can enrich our readers’ knowledge especially as the event is fast approaching.
The annual day of martyrs was deliberately set aside to correspond with the martyrdom of Imam Musa al – Kazem on similar date -25th Rajab- as a result of poisoning under the Harun – led Abbasid regime. The programme is meant to honor the over 200 martyrs of the Islamic movement oppressively murdered in its about 40 years history of existence.
Yaumus shuhada or the day of martyrs is an annual event of the Islamic movement in Nigeria to cherish the great sacrifice of its martyrs. Established by its insightful leader, the foundation came about in the last 24 years when the movement recorded its second martyr – Malam Abubakar Shehu Madowama – as a result of a brutal police attack to a peaceful procession defying blasphemy against the noble prophet and his honorable wife Sayyidah Khadija at Katsina in 1991.
Generally speaking, the Islamic movement has recorded 209 martyrs from 1982 to date. Many were recorded in the Abacha clampdown, Sokoto brutal attacks and Potiskum and Zaria terrorist massacres respectively. This not withstanding other forms of persecution suffered which the world is evidently fully aware.
However, of all the historic attacks on the Islamic movement, the Zaria QUDS DAY INTERNATIONAL was the worst. The day was the most memorable in the Islamic movement in which 33 of its members were lost along with an innocent Christian neighbour. In addition to that about hundred casualties sustained various degrees of injuries. The day was initially declared by Imam Khomeini (may Allah have mercy on him) in 1979 to express solidarity and unflinching support to Palestinians and other oppressed of the world. Ever since, it was observed by countries, human rights activists and civil liberties organizations including anti – Zionist Jews!
In the last year’s event protesters have earlier stormed the streets of Paris as they did same in central London to protest the three – week long unstopped massacre of defenseless Palestinians mostly women and children by the merciless Israeli government. It was for the same purpose the procession was held coincidentally on 25th July, 2014 in Zaria and other towns as the 32nd in 35 years with peaceful historic record.
But after its peaceful conduct, the military arrived and shot live bullets at the calmly dispersing crowd killing many and arresting others. In the end, thirty three were martyred including three undergraduate sons of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and an innocent Christian that inquired the military on the unnecessary attack! Mr. Julius Anyawu was the Christian gentleman killed in the incident. The Islamic movement has sympathized with his family and relations. During his burial rite in his hometown in Imo, Sheikh Zakzaky sent a delegation under Pastor Yohanna Buru of the Christ Evangelical and Intercessory Fellowship, Kaduna.
In a press interview, the leader confirmed unprovoked shooting and killing of brothers after the peaceful procession. With the spread of the sad news and owing to the good relation of the Islamic movement with all peoples, sympathizers began to troop to the sheikh’s Gyallesu residence for condolences.
Of the earlier International messages received were those of Ayatollah Uzma Sayyid Ali Khamne’i, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah and London – based Islamic Human rights commission. Others include Centrum Initiative for Development, Human Rights Advocacy, Christian Association of Nigeria and Mr. Sam Nda – Isaish, founder of LEADERSHIP HOLDINGS.
In an appreciative response to a group of old SAS classmates of 1975, the sheikh said “There is nothing I can say, except to offer gratitude for coming from different places, amidst tight schedule in this month (August) of rainy season to condole and extend friendship. You can only know your bosom friend in two occasions; he rejoices with you in period of happiness and mourns with you in sadness. That is when you know your bosom friend, he who rejoices with your happiness and grieves with your sadness”
With the help of the Islamic human rights commission, the case was taken to UN Human rights commission where the sheikh addressed its session on the 18th of September, 2014. The IHRC has also presented its report on fact findings to Nigeria. Some human rights activists and civil liberties organisations have vowed to do their best to ensure justice.
Building Stronger Ties
The understanding expressed by the movement to the family of Julius Anyawu was not unconnected with the sheikh’s known position in ensuring peaceful co-existence in the society. During the 2011 post presidential violence, the medical wing of his movement creditably aided the innocent victims irrespective of tribal and religious inclinations across the country. This move is worthy of emulation by both sides as development is never possible under chaos and bloodshed.
Allah states “strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and pagans: and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou Find those who say, we are Christians because amongst them these are men devoted to learning. And men who have renounced The world, and they are not arrogant” Q5:82
Apparently, we need this level of religious understanding and tolerance in the country. Late Imam Khomeini demonstrated this trend in his country especially during occasions.
On the eve of Christmas celebration in 1978, the Imam addressed the Christian world and Iran in particular: Salutations and peace of Allah be upon Jesus the son of Mary, the spirit of Allah and His great prophet who used to raise the dead and waken the sleeping ones. Salutations of the exalted Lord and his mercy be upon his great mother, the virgin Mary, the pure and truthful lady, who presented, through divine blowing, this type of child for those who burn in love of divine mercy. Greetings to the clergymen and monks who forsake the sinful self in favor of contentment with the teachings of the Messiah and to the independent Christian community who get inspiration from the heavenly teachings of the Messiah.
I call upon you Christians in the name of the oppressed nation of Iran, to pray in your blessed days for our nation that has been in calamities under an oppressive ruler, and pray unto Allah to bless it with a relief.
In line with this, we reiterate good exhortation on the basis of knowledge and reasoning, peaceful coexistence through good neighborliness, cordial relations and mutual respect based on heavenly teachings for our societal development. At this juncture, it is imperative to commend the efforts of the sheikh and Pastor Yohana Buru respectively.
Performance Of The Foundation
Basically, the foundation was established to address the moral and financial needs of the children of martyrs particularly on Education, health and empowerment. As an orphanage, a number of sources have been designed to support its activities;
Shuhada dues: A monthly payable amount adding to N1, 200= per annum, by members, their family and sympathiezers. Extensively, special classes were introduced for the intending and capable members to patronize from N24, 000= to N1.5m beside optional donation open to all. The payment is made to Lajnar Mu’assasatus shuhada ventures, through bank teller at any First Bank branch on account no. 2005968743.Hides and skin: This is another avenue for fund generation where members and other volunteers are encouraged to contribute to the cause of the foundation during Eid – el -Kabir. Guidelines on logistics and preventive measures are made available to the intending donors before the ceremony.
iii. Investment: Relevant materials are produced by the foundation for sale with the rationale of raising fund for its increasing responsibilities. The materials are mainly souveniers sold during occasions which such as shroud, jotters, umbrella and annual magazine among others.
Although there are more expectations from the foundation when compared to its sisters in Iran and Lebanon, but its performance is above average. We can say none of the 350 children of martyrs is outside school. Last year, Sister Asiya Shahid Adamu Aliyu, an International student in Iran was remarkably honored for moral and academic excellence.
Besides shouldering the educational, health and empowerment needs of the children of martyrs, it extends similar gestures to a certain extent to their parents on humanitarian grounds with some dose in social responsibilities.
The sacrifice of its officials is very commendable as they work around the clock freely to achieve the desired objectives, bearing in mind that the work is a trust to which they are not only accountable to the leadership of the Islamic movement but Allah the Most High. As we pray for Allah’s abundant reward to them, we urge them to remain sincere, steadfast and exercise more patience and perseverance in the discharge of their duties.
With increased number of martyrs and children, no doubt, there are many challenges with the regard to moral, financial and above all administrative aspects of the foundation as the most important institute with financial base in the movement.
Finally, we pray to Allah to accept our martyrs, give a befitting recompense to their murderers, guide, protect and actualize the sublime of hope of the leader of the movement sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.