The Lekki Muslim Ummah (LEMU) has provided Muslim scholars in Lagos State with adequate knowledge of funeral rites to correct and discourage forbidden innovations (Bidah) introduced in a funeral procession.
Speaking at the seminar, the Chief Imam of the LEMU Mosque, Sheikh Ridwan Jamiu, said that the annual Imams’ conference is a kind of “training of trainers program” intended to improve the knowledge of imams and to promote unity among Muslim religious leaders.
He added that the program also aims to promote cooperation and brotherhood within the Muslim ummah.
According to him, “the program has organized about five or six series since its inception. He has always been well followed and applauded by people.
“It’s a way to promote knowledge among Muslims. It creates a platform through which Muslim scholars can cross-fertilize ideas and learn more about each other, thereby creating friendship and other consequent benefits.
“Imams come from all parts of Lagos State: Ibeju-Lekki, Eti-Osa, Mushin among others. We usually cooperate with the central mosque in Lagos State whose imam would ask them to send delegates. We then provide buses to areas where we have a conglomeration of imams present.
He said their expectation from the program is for Muslim leaders to be on the same page regarding funeral rites in Islam and then go to their congregation to deepen their knowledge.
“We have so many practices that are against Islamic principles and contradict the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). We have raised awareness about this on our own side. But if other Imams do not have this level of knowledge of the Sunnah, every time an Imam says something, somewhere and another Imam contradicts him, it creates confusion in the mind of our audience. But when the imams come together and see the true direction on the subject, everyone is convinced and immersed in it. This therefore means that our congregation will hear the same with regard to funeral rites and practices.
“Our expectation of participants is to be convinced of the message and to have an open mind so that the message can benefit them. And every time they return to their masjid, they have to impart and spread this knowledge to them. Their congregation will also understand Islam better and these foreign and dangerous practices for our faith can be abandoned.
Professor AbdulGaniy Agbarigidoma, a professor at Al-Hikmah University in Ilorin, said death in Islam is not a call for wine and dinner. Saying that prayers should rather be offered for the deceased than organizing unnecessary feasts and celebrations.
According to him, “The Prophet (SAW) said that we should be aware of death. It is part of the remembrance of death to return the rights of people, to ask Allah’s forgiveness and to observe voluntary prayers. We should have at our disposal a registry of people’s assets. Allah Almighty has referred to death in 140 different places in the Quran. This indicates that he wants us to be aware of death.
The university lecturer explained how to take care of sick people in Islam and established that sick people can use different medicines as long as they are halal (lawful/allowed) in Islam. He also sensitized the participants, most of whom are imams of their respective mosques, on how to perform Islamic rites, including ritual baths, shroud and prayers, among others, at the time of death.
“There are consequences of not treating the deceased properly in Islam. Allah says in the Quran that believers should wholeheartedly practice the religion of Islam. Thus, Islam has ethics guiding the birth of ‘a child as well as the death of a soul. These ethics must be respected. When we observe them, it is rewarding. But when we do not, it has consequences for us and for the deceased (if he neglects these rites).
The chairman of the occasion, the president of the Muslim community of Lagos, Professor Tajudeen Gbadamosi, explained that the desire to satisfy cultural pressures and extort material gains are some of the reasons why extraterrestrial practices have introduced into funeral rites among some Muslims.