By Dooyum Ingye

In most Nigerian universities, students are allowed to select elective and core courses every semester. This is not the case in my alma mater. As a result, before we commenced 300 level, the department had already selected a list of core courses for us. A new course, Islamic Political Thought 1, was introduced by the department. This new course was not included in the departmental handbook we were given when we commenced year one. For some unknown reason, the department deemed it necessay, and compulsory for every 300 level student. In fact, we were to study the course for two semesters.

I was sad. There were other courses such as Marxist Methodology, Civic Groups, etc which captured my interest, but were excluded. As a student, I had no option but to prepare myself to learn and pass Islamic Political Thought.

We were introduced to topics such as, the role of the Islamic state according to Sheikh Abdullahi B. Fodio, conception of change in Islam: The thought of Imam Hassan Al-Banna, rights of non muslims in an Islamic state, Al-Farabi’s Madinat Al-Fadilah, the political thought of Imam Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah, the principle of Shura and it’s application in an Islamic polity, the Islamic concept of leadership and it’s application in the sakkwato caliphate, the dominant role of Islam in Nigerian politics, reflection of some classical and contemporary Islamic revolutionary leaders like Ayatollah Khomeini, Abul A’la Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, Uthman Dan Fodio, quranic conception of an Islamic state, etc.

It didn’t take me long to fathom the reason why we were made to study the course. You see, the average, dedicated and educated Muslim thinks the best government is that which rules according to the shariah; an Islamic state where sovereignty rest in Allah, and not the people. In this type of state, governance is a form of worship to prepare the subjects of allah for paradise.

The lecturer himself, a renowned professor in northern Nigeria, and an Islamic scholar, believes that Islam is a complete belief system with a central role to play in Nigeria politics. While teaching, he identified the deficiencies of economic systems such as democracy, socialism, etc and, what he called ‘the corrupt and decadent values of the west’ which has destroyed the Nigerian society.

Unknown to the majority of the muslim students, he was trying to plant a seed of dissatisfaction with the Nigerian system in their heads. He used the revolutionary journey of the likes of Maulana Muadudi, Khomeini, Al Banna etc to inspire the students. He believed that the Islamic revolution will only be successful if the younger generation are captured in the class. Of course, a re-educated mind is more resolute and fierce to a cause.

At the end of the session, most of the students failed the course. It was hard for them to swallow the history, works, revolutions of these scholars. I, and one bright Muslim lady were the ones who scored A in the first and second semester. The sad part is, efforts were made to introduce the course in every university in the core north. By now, I believe that most schools are teaching it to younger minds.

(c) Dooyum Ingye 2020