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#EndSARS as a metaphor


It did not begin yesterday. The infraction of the law by those the law entrusted with its preservation has long been part of our national malaise. No! it did not start days before yesterday- the necessity to put an end to the corruption being perpetrated by those who should stop its perpetration has been part of the dregs of our national memory since decades ago. Thus, when the protest started last week, when roads suddenly became unmotorable, when the home suddenly became unhomely, I thought the time is right and ripe for us all to learn new ways of how to live as a nation; it was high time we unlearn habits that never profited those who came before us.

In other words, one of the reasons we are all suffering as a nation is that we sometimes prefer to remain silent while perpetrators of evil enjoy a field day; we conduct ourselves as if it does not matter even when the ship in which we are passengers take a turn for the worse. Whenever the leadership fails to attend to genuine grievances, whenever we fail to provide direction and hope for our youth, whenever the collective conscience of the society is weakened to a point whereby immoral practices are not suppressed, where people indulge in evils without any sense of shame and even go around vaunting their immoral deeds, whenever good people adopt a passive attitude and are content with being righteous merely in their own lives and are unconcerned with or prefer to be silent when others are committing heinous acts and sins, then the entire society invites its doom. Such a society then becomes the victim of a scourge that does not distinguish between the grain and the chaff.


This reminds me of the story of the people of Sabbath (Quran 2:66-67)
There was a tribe that lived near the seashore. The Almighty and His apostle told them not to catch fish on Saturdays but they disobeyed the command. They prepared holes and tanks and rivulets and dropped them near the sea where fish could be caught. Completely oblivious of the danger, fish came out in large quantity to the shore, entered the rivulets and tanks through holes and were caught. Now instead of going to harvest the fish on Saturdays, the transgressors would wait till the following day, which happened to be Sunday. They would proceed to the sea shore early in the morning fully happy with themselves that they had not touched the fish on Saturdays. They eventually became prosperous as a result of their transgression of the injunctions of the Almighty. They started living a luxurious life. Historians have estimated the population of the town, or rather the village, to be around eight thousand out of which only one thousand complied with the injunction of the Almighty.

The Qur’an narrates their story further: “O Muhammad (s.a.w) ask them (Jews) about the town which stood by the sea; when they exceeded the limits of the Sabbath, when their fish came to them on the day of their Sabbath on the surface of the sea, and on the day on which they do not keep the Sabbath, they did not come…We tried them because they transgressed.” (Quran 7:163). Out of the thousand that complied with the injunction of the Almighty was a group that kept warning the transgressors of the punishment that await the transgressors. But the former did not enjoy the patronage of the majority. “And when a party of them said, ‘why do you admonish a people whom the Almighty would destroy and chastise with a severe chastisement?’ They said (we do this i.e admonition, in order to be free from blame before your Lord) and that they may refrain from evil)” (7:164).


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