Law breakers are law breakers, Shi’ah is all about faith and good conduct
The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), shortly after his weekly Qur’anic Commentary at Hussainiyyah, drew the attention of people to the law banning the commercial use of motor cycles in Kaduna State, which came to effect on Wednesday 21st May, 2014. This is the translation of the speech by Sheikh: There is something, either yesterday or today, the law banning carrying of passenger on motorcycle will commence. Even before the law comes into effect, I overheard some people spreading rumours that Shi’ites will not comply with the law and that, ‘once they don’t comply, we will not also comply.’ Well, as far as I know, this is not an issue of Islam or Christianity, or Shi’ah or Sunnah. It is a state law, which appears nevertheless thoughtless and meaningless. It has nothing to do with Shi’ah or Sunnah. I don’t see how it affects religion, and thus, why someone called ‘Shi’ah’ will not comply with it. Some even take it upon themselves to abate noncompliance with the law. I said, ‘this is foolish. If you don’t want to comply with any law, you won’t refuse compliance in the name of Shi’ah.’ Is this clear? Your name is then not Shi’ah. Your name will be breaker of laws enacted by simpletons. You are not Shi’ah. Jesters enacted this meaningless law! It wasn’t law that made people to be riding bikes. It is poverty and misery that compels them to. So it is not law that will be used to stop them, but an improvement in their conditions, such that they will no longer require riding bikes. Why do you think people use bikes as taxis? They are compelled to. If there was no poverty…were people previously using bikes for commercial transit? Who ever thought that bikes will be used as a means of commercial transit? So, if you change people’s miserable conditions such that they will no longer require using bikes for mass transit, you will never see it again being used as taxis. Period! Then they said the ban is not on use of bike for commercial activity, but the ban is on riding with a passenger on motorbike. In other words, even if the bike belongs to one, he cannot take a passenger. This even makes it more foolish. One Commissioner was even quoted as having said ‘even if it was one’s wife and one is riding her to the hospital, it is outlawed.’ What this means is that even if she was going to die, she should be allowed to die! Well Mr. Commissioner, how many thousands of former commissioners do you know in town? Soon you too will join them as a former. Even empires with dynasties, don’t they eventually come to an end? How much more, governments in Nigeria that have short tenures. What these people ought to do is not to enact a law. They ought to provide an enabling situation that will obviate use of bikes for commercial purpose and then bikes will not be used as taxis. Simple! But enacting law here is meaningless. You wait and see. It will be enforced only for a short while. As long as poverty is prevalent in the society, they will even employ worst things than bikes for commercial transit. Bicycles are not even being used here yet, as is being done in other lands. Yes, use of bicycles as taxis! In some places, they use donkeys and in some other places, even people carry others and ferry them as taxis. Carts drawn by donkeys are all used. What they should be conscious of is the situation of the people. My position is that if anyone breaks this law, his name is not Shi’a. Is this understood? He is not Shi’ah; he is a breaker of government law. He is not Shi’ite. I am saying all this because I overheard all what has been happening especially in Kano, where the law has been in existence for a while now, that people simply dress as those they call Shi’ites or dress in black attire. I was told of someone who arrived with his wife wearing Nikab at a checkpoint. The policeman told him he will not stop him, but he knows he could be stopped in other subsequent checkpoints because those who pass without hindrance don’t use this type of Hijab. And they tie black material on the bike. The man then told his wife to remove the (black) Nikab to tie on the bike. He then rode on, he too is Shiite! Here too some people were overheard asking what do Shiites do that they were allowed to pass without getting off their bikes (that was before the ban on taking a passenger on bikes, but people were told to disembark before crossing checkpoints). They were told that they put ‘YA HUSSEIN.’ Some members of association (Izala) said “we get it!” They looked for YA HUSSEIN and stuck these with ‘LABBAIKA YA RASULALLAH’ and ride past checkpoints too, and it will be said they too are Shi’ah. I was even told of someone who was stopped and told to disembark. He now saw another cyclist with dirty clothes (a mechanic) came and rode through the checkpoint without being stopped. On enquiry, he was told that his attire isn’t like theirs. He wore short knickers, while the other one wore black. But clearly the other is a mechanic even from his dirty coat. He just rode past, that he was wearing black. Shi’ah is not synonymous with black attire, or tying a black hadkerchief, or even simply riding past checkpoints! That is not Shi’ah. Shi’ah is belief and support for the Imams from the progeny of the Prophet (S) and good conduct. It shouldn’t be that every Dick and Harry will just dorn black to pass checkpoints and claim he is Shi’ah. There was a time people used posters, red caps and so on. That has now abated. People used to stick posters and pass unhindered. There was a time some drivers who were members of the Movement came to complain to me that everyone was just sticking posters and passing, which worries them. I told them to ignore them because very soon they will stop sticking posters. Then shortly thereafter, there was a clampdown on us. Those with posters were being sought to be shot! Everyone stopped sticking posters. Therefore, Shi’ah is all about faith and good conduct, not black handkerchief and passing through checkpoints, or taking passengers on motorbikes. It is understood? I am saying all this because yes when we had the mourning sessions, there was a ban on use of bikes after 9 pm. At that time our mourning sessions extended to 9:30 to 10:00 pm. We therefore solicited for their understanding that our program extends to that time, and we should be allowed to move en masse after closing. They obliged us. So, our members used to come and pass. That was why it was usually announced here that people should be in groups and not go singly. Some people seized that opportunity to follow. For this, there is no problem because we sought for their cooperation and understanding. Even when they mounted checkpoints and people were not allowed to ride through, we were given concessions. We were not passing though with riders just because of Shi’ah. This should be clear. There are two parts to this; Let no one ever claim he is Shi’ah and will therefore break laws in the name of Shi’ah. That is not the meaning of Shi’ah. On their part, to those who enacted tactless laws, you should understand that you exhibited thoughtlessness. It is not law you were supposed to enact. You are supposed to create an atmosphere that people would not be compelled to ride commercial bikes. Additionally, you should not have declared that it was riding with passenger you are outlawing. You should have maintained the commercial riding. Yes, if someone has his bike and he wants to take his wife to the hospital, what do you want him to do? Or if he wants to ride his wife to somewhere, what should he do? What is his crime here? Or someone wants to take his child to school, then what? They said it is riding with a passenger they outlawed. The law is completely thoughtless. Anyway, they should reconsider their law. However, if someone breaks the law, what is he? Law breaker. Is he Shi’ite? (No!) That is the point! Wa sallallahu ala Muhammadin wa alihid-Dahireen.