‘Hilful Fudhul’ (League Of The Virtuous) Is Different From The Abeokuta Reconciliation — Leadership Newspaper

I have watched the video clip in which Dr Gumi gave reasons why he took part in the secret conference along with Bishop David Oyedepo, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah and the two heavyweight politicians – Obasanjo and the presidential candidate of the PDP,Atiku Abubakar. In the said video clip (Dr Gumi) claimed that he was called upon to reconcile between Obasanjo and Atiku; meaning a reconciliation between Atiku and his political godfather with a view to burying the hatchet so that Obasanjo may support Atiku’s candidacy in the 2019 elections.

Apparently, this reconciliation is for political gains, from whatever angle you look at it, coming, especially, after Atiku’s emergence as the candidate of the PDP.

Dr Gumi’s attempt to exculpate himself is baffling in that he cited the hadeeth of “HILFUL FUDHUL” as a proof in Shari’ah to what he did. And this is exactly what we dread – a Muslim scholar’s artifice in assigning a place in the Shari’ah for his political manoeuvres.

This is the Hadeeth that (Dr Gumi quoted):

“I was present in Abdullah bin Jud’an’s residence when the oath was covenanted. To my mind, that oath is dearer to me than owning red-haired camels. If I am summoned to it during the Islamic era, I will accept it.”… Al-Baihaqy’s Sunan al-Kubraa (6/596)

Now, “Hilful Fudhul” (League of the Virtuous) is a known incident in the corpus of the Seerah (history) of the Messenger of Allah, Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. We shall examine how this is analogous or not with the reconciliation that Dr Gumi attended in Abeokuta with a view to establishing its propriety.

1- Is the word ‘Hilf’ synonymous with ‘Sulh’ in the Arabic language, or the Shari’ah, or Urf?

Whoever examines the two words will find out that they do not mean the same thing. This is the meaning of ‘Hilf’:

‘The origin of ‘al-Hilf’ (Alliance): ‘is’ Treaty, and Covenant on mutual support and agreement’. An-Nihaayah fee ghareeb al-Hadeeth wal Athar (1/424)

‘Sulh’ (reconciliation), on the other hand, is to make two parties become friendly with each other after quarrelling.

‘And reconciliation is the removal of contention among people.’ Al-Mufradaat fee ghareeb al-Qur’aan (p.489)

Therefore, reconciliation is to ameliorate the contention ‘between two parties’, while ‘al-Hilf’, alliance, is to contract a treaty on something or a covenant on mutual support. There is a mighty space of distance between the two!

2- The difference between the subject matter of “Hilful Fudhul” and that of the Abeokuta Reconciliation.

What happened at “Hilful Fudhul” was a concurrence in the formation of an alliance against injustice and its perpetrators, so that the oppressed could be succoured.

Ibn Hishaam narrated from Ibn Is’haaq that the leaders of Makkah convened the ‘Hilf’ and he said:

“They contracted and covenanted that there would not be an oppressed person among the inhabitants of Makkah, or among any foreigner that entered the city, but that they would come to the aid of such an oppressed person and restore to them their rights and whatever was taken from them.

“From then on, the Makkans christened that alliance as “Hilful Fudhul”.”  Seerah ibn Hishaam (1/133-134)

What transpired in Abeokuta was reconciliation between Atiku and Obasanjo because of their longstanding feud, at a time when the former has emerged as the presidential candidate of the PDP; he needs Obasanjo’s endorsement, thus the reconciliation, which may help him to win the coming election.

Therefore, plainly there is no resemblance between “Hilful Fudhul” and the Abeokuta Reconciliation!

3- Making peace between two (contending) non-Muslims or between a non-Muslim and a Muslim:

On the basis of the Prophet’s saying “If I am summoned to it (Hilf) during the Islamic era, (as the one in the benighted period of Jaahiliyyah) I will accept it.”… Dr Gumi inferred that the Abeokuta Reconciliation he attended was compliant with the Shari’ah, since “Hilful Fudhul” was convened by non-Muslims (and witnessed by the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam), he could, therefore, reconcile between two non-Muslims or between a non-Muslim and a Muslim.

There is nothing in the Hadeeth to support that inference as the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, did not praise the participants of the ‘Hilf’, but rather, his concern was on the subject matter of the alliance which aimed at stopping oppression, assisting those who were wronged and establishing justice. Therefore, the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam did not pay attention to the participants, but to what they did as their reason for the alliance!

Commenting on the Hadeeth of assisting an oppressed person, Al-Qaadhy ‘Iyaadh said:

“Such confederation is permissible since it purposed to uphold the truth as occurred at “Hiflul Fudhul” when he said:‘If I am summoned to it during the Islamic era, I will accept it.’…”  Ikmaalul Mu’allim bi fawaa’id Muslim (8/53)

Similarly, Ibnul Qayyim, in an exposition of the forbidden ‘Hilf’, he expounded the lawful ‘Hilf’ thus:

“Islam confirms the kind of  ‘Hilf’ that took place during the pre-Islamic era as part of what it urges and encourages – mutual support, helping one another, making Allah’s word to be the uppermost, exertion in the cause of Allah, and preservation of unity (amongst people)…” Aunul Ma’buud wa Haashiyatu ibn Al-Qayyim (8/101) 

The composition of the parties in a ‘Hilf’, therefore, is of less significance than the reason for convening the ‘Hilf’. Likewise the reconciliation; if it facilitates a rapprochement between people who will, afterwards, forge alliances to perpetrate oppression, then, that reconciliation is unlawful, because reconciling wrongdoers is oppression in itself.

Also, we have to look closely at the Abeokuta Reconciliation. It is apparent that the advancement of political gains was at the heart of the convention; seeking for Obasanjo’s assent and support for Atiku’s candidacy and to ensure victory in the elections. The Abeokuta Reconciliation was not a gathering to uphold truth; it was rather a political expedient.

The close relationship between Dr Gumi and Atiku is open to all, as well as Dr Gumi’s consistent, even better than the opposition’s, disparagement of the Buhari government, which further confirms that the quasi-secret conference of Dr Gumi and co. was for political capital in favour of Atiku. Even in the video clip under review, Dr Gumi campaigned for Atiku by criticising Buhari, in as much as he said: “Whoever is not satisfied with their current condition, let them vote for an alternative in the forthcoming elections.”

From whatever angle you view the ‘Hilful Fudhul’ Hadeeth, doubtless, there is neither immediate nor remote correlation between it and the Abeokuta Reconciliation; and citing it as an evidence for that sordid meeting is a horrid disservice to Islamic scholarship and the Shari’ah.

On account of the above, the video clip of Dr Gumi that went viral contains egregious mistakes as it betrays textual analysis that is deficient in the understanding of the Hadeeth.

Another grave mistake in the video clip is the attempt to paint, with a takfeer brush, Muslims who opposed his position on the reconciliation, by calling them ‘Maguzawa’, idolatrous Hausas. Honestly, this is a serious mistake that Dr Gumi should correct; as we all know, only innovators in religion declare Muslims as renegades in their creed.

Finally, we call on religious scholars to maintain their position as leaders of the Ummah, and avoid plunging their reputation into (the rocky ravine of) politicking.

Written by Sheikh (Dr) Aliyu Muhammad Translated from Hausa to English by Abubakr Siddeeq Muhammad


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‘Hilful Fudhul’ (League Of The Virtuous) Is Different From The Abeokuta Reconciliation — Leadership Newspaper