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Shari’ah does not apply to non-Muslims, say Muslim lawyers


The Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria (MULAN) has stated that the fundamental rule of Shari’ah is that it does not apply to non-Muslims.

The group, which throws its weight behind the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Tanko Muhammed for calling for strengthening of shariah law in Nigeria, said the ‘intolerance’ view of non-Muslims about the matter is uncalled for.

A statement signed by the National President, F.A.R Adeleke and Secretary General, Ismaila Alasa, said: “The fundamental rule of Shari’ah is that it does not apply to non-Muslims. In various states where limited aspects of it is practiced, the Christians and other non-Muslims are not subjected to its application. This is despite the bogey that Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and its proxies have tried to create in order to instill fear in the minds of members of the public.

“Muslims are not members of CAN and they are agitating for Shari’ah to govern their affairs. They have a constitutional right under Section 38 of the Nigerian Constitution to manifest the practice and observance of Islamic religion and its teaching unencumbered. What is CAN’s business in how they elect to run their affairs?” he stated.

Alasa added that: “MULAN finds nothing absolutely wrong with the statement ascribed to the CJN. The statement was made in good faith and called for the doing of justice to the Nigerian Muslim who till today gets the short end of the stick in the country.

“We find nothing unsavory in advocating for an increase in the number of Justices of the Court of Appeal who are well grounded in Islamic Law given the fact that the number of Justices in that court was increased by an additional twenty.

“There is wisdom in asking that those who want to specialize in Islamic Law in the University should be taught in the Arabic language in which the primary source of the law is written. This will enhance a proper grasp of the law on their part and make them better practitioners unlike the present situation where a tertiary language – English – is used with its attendant deficiency,” he stated.

Alasa, however noted that the leadership of CAN should be more concerned with uniting the different segments of our country and deploy its huge resources in the pursuit of justice for all Nigerians.

“In this regard, there will be no need to denigrate any other Nigerian or public officer as was done to the person of the CJN by CAN and its proxies in this instance. We commend to CAN and to us all, Section 24(1) of the Nigerian Constitution, which provides thus;
“It shall be the duty of every citizen to respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interest of others and live in unity and harmony and in the spirit of common brotherhood,” he stated.

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