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“Killers Of Deborah Were Blood-thirsty Jihadists And Not Representing Islam” – Supreme Court React (Details below)

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Supreme Court has condemned the mob action that led to the demise of Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education Sokoto State.

In a statement by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, he said the mob action does not represent Islam and it was totally against the law of the land.

According to him, “there is a judicial system in Islam which hears and determines cases including the trial of criminal offences and any body accused of committing an offence against the religion or against a fellow Muslim” the process which the aggrieved mob should have followed.

The statement reads, “Islamic religion is not a primitive religion that allows its adherents to take the law into their own hands and to commit jungle justice.

“Instead, there is a judicial system in Islam which hears and determines cases including the trial of criminal offences and any body accused of committing an offence against the religion or against a fellow Muslim should be taken to the court (either a Sharia or common law court) for adjudication. It is only when a person is convicted and sentenced by a court of law that he will be liable to a punishment which will be carried out by an appropriate authority (in the prison)”

Although it is true that there is the provision in Risala which prescribes the punishment of death on any Muslim who insults the Holy Prophet such punishment can only be imposed by the appropriate authority (i.e. the court) rather than by any member of the society whether a Muslim or otherwise.

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The relevant provision can be quoted from “Risala (treatise on Maliki law)” translated and annotated by Joseph Kenny – Chapter 37 at paragraph 37.19 page 173 as follows- ‘If someone speaks disrespectfully of the Messenger of God (sabb-an-nabiy) he should be put to death without accepting his repentance.’ The chapter begins with the following passage which is instructive-

“37.01 No one may be put to death for homicide unless he is convicted …

(1) adequate testimony (bayyinat) or

(2) his own admission (lgrar), or

(3) as sworn indictment (qasama) if that is necessary …”

It is also pertinent to note that the next immediate chapter following chapter 37 (i.e. chapter 38) in the Risala provides for “judgment” Procedure and Access.” In this subsequent chapter, it is made very clear that decisions on cases including criminal cases are the function of Judges who observe the court procedure and whose actions or decisions are based on testimony or evidence (bayyina) admission (Iqrar) or oath (Yamin) – see Aththamarud Dani (Commentary on Risala) pages 604-707…

All the above explanation of the rule in Risala relied upon by the appellants in their action show that it is the Judge (who is qualified to adjudicate) or the court of law whose responsibility is to apply the judgement.

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Accused persons were merely a bunch of blood thirsty and militants or religious fundamentalists who were all out to satisfy their vindictive zeal against the deceased.

In my view, it is the appellants rather than the deceased who committed an offence against Islam or Sharia by their unjustified action which represents to the public that Sharia is an uncivilized and primitive system which allows or permits the killing of people without complying with the due process of law.

On the above view, Shalla and his friends that killed Abdullar on allegation of insulting the Holy Prophet were sentenced to death by the Supreme Court.

Each of them narrated fully the role they played. The 3rd accused admitted striking the deceased with a matchet on the neck, the 5th accused admitted slaughtering the deceased with a knife, the 6th accused admitted holding and pulling the deceased to the last destination, the 1st accused admitted giving the authority to kill the deceased while the 2nd and 4th accused admitted going up and down to ensure that the deceased was punished. They were all sentenced to death.

This should be the fate of all those who actively or passively support the murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto in line with the above decision of the Supreme Court.

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