Nigeria: Muslims are also saints.

My desire to return to Northern Nigeria recently was greeted with protest from my friends and family members. I was particularly shocked that people I hitherto thought were lettered displayed naked and shallow knowledge about Arewa. Anyway, against all false security report, I left Sapele in Delta State and toured Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna and Bauchi States.

I arrived Kafachan in Southern Kaduma for a two days visit but got a shocker of my life. It was at the Saint Peter Claver's Catholic Cathedral. The Presiding Priest during his homily asked the Christians that gathered for the Eucharist celebration a punchy question “will Muslims go to heaven?”

I was about responding to the question when something propelled me to look around. Io and behold, many a Christian did not believe that our Muslim brother's have a place in heaven. Wahali, I was scandalized just like the priest. Here, before I empty plate, it is important that I raise some posers. Did God not create Muslims in his own image and likeness? Is heaven the exclusive right of Christians?

If citizens have this inglorious mentality about Islam and Muslims, what will they be teaching their children? It is regrettable that most of us take joy in sowing seeds of hatred, intolerance and discord. Personally, I believe that no religion is evil; I grew up in the North-central town of Lafia among Muslims and had a robust relationship with them. Most Muslims are generally honest, compassionate and easy going. Yes the current happening is the North-East in the name of “Jihad” is regrettable but that should not be a “locus standi” to criminalize Muslims.

During the Episcopal installation of Bishop Kukah Hassan in Sokoto, the Sultan of Sokoto opened wide his door to the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria. If the Sultan, who is the leader of Muslims in Nigeria, displayed such a degree of hospitality to the Princes of Rome, then, I think it speaks volume about Islam and Muslims. Pitiably, many of us will not love to talk about such feat. Methinks it far from been right for Christians to assume the duty of the Chief-Justice of heaven by their actions and inaction. We may pray and fast, sing and dance, quote the bible from Genesis to Revelation but the undeniable truism is that Muslims were created by God like every other person.

Those Christians who claim to be more Catholic than pope will surely be surprised to see Saint Musa, Saint Mustapha and Murtala Sharing table with Saint Peter in heaven as they watch from the pit of hell.

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Articles by Martin-hassan E. Eze