By Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.
Islamic law is Allaah’s legislated law. See: Usman v. Umaru (1992) 7 NWLR (Pt. 254) 377; (1992) 7 SCNJ (Pt.11) 388 P.400. In Nigeria today, there are some tertiary institutions offering the Islamic law/Sharia law. Many Muslims law students of today in my observation do not really understand Islam or the Islamic law. Islamic law too in my humble view, is not the same as Arabic Language, which is just a language of the Arab though the main language of the Quran as revealed by Allaah to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is the view of this paper that some if not many Muslim Law Students admitted into tertiary institutions have the opportunity of studying this very important law of Allaah to assist them to understand Islam more but some if not many, have always missed this great opportunity, hence, this topic to encourage Muslim students undergoing the Islamic law/Sharia courses at the tertiary institutions and those awaiting their admission or about to choose option of course of study in the Universal Tertiary Matriculations Examinations (UTME) to consider Islamic law as a necessity.
In my humble view, studying the Islamic at such an advanced stage of study (i.e. in the tertiary institution) is a great opportunity which must not be missed. The study of Islamic law (though the Islamic Personal Law) gives a Muslim law student a broad knowledge about life. Islamic law added to the Arabic knowledge makes one’s knowledge to be complete if not near completion. However, I have observed from my experience at the University during my days, that many Muslims were not interested in the study of the Islamic law (may be for the fear of lack of Arabic language or lack of orientation about its importance), yet, there were Christians with no knowledge of Arabic language at all, who studied the Islamic law along with us then! Some Christians even took the course to the final year and even some Christians took Islamic law topic as a project topic in their final year! Yet, Muslims were seen running away from the course! Take for instance, in my secondary school examination in the West African Examination Council’s examination, I had sat for Arabic Language as a result of my passion for Arabic Language which I had studied to the Junior Secondary School Level (Al-Ibtidaaiyyah) though with combined syllabus of the Senior Secondary School Level (Al-‘Idaadiyyah). So, I decided in the year 2007 or thereabout to register Arabic Language among my subjects in my external examination.
I had done this to challenge my knowledge of Arabic Language! Fortunately for me, I had C4 in Arabic Language when the result was released! So, when I had the opportunity to register for my UTME in 2008, I was very happy to register Common and Islamic Law as my second choice in the Lagos State University (LASU). At the time of sitting for the Post-UTME, we were instructed to only sit for the first choice, else, our names might not be out for admission. So, I had to sit for the Civil Law which I had chosen as my first choice. Immediately we finished the examination and our results were out, some of us that were eager to study Islamic law but for the first choice problems, appealed to the Islamic law department to convert our admission to common and Islamic law since we had Islamic studies and I have for instance have had B2 in my Islamic studies and A1 in another result which with even my C4 in Arabic language could have qualified me for the Islamic law! The school authority could not concede to our appeal since we have already been admitted under Civil Law. Nevertheless, we asked the then Sub-Dean of Islamic Law and one of the Islamic law lecturers (then Mr Edu) to please advise us on what we could do. Some of us were almost shedding tears for the passion that we had for the Islamic law and the opportunity that we are about to miss! He then advised us to take Islamic law as an elective from 100- 500 levels and that by then, we would have acquired the Islamic law knowledge and that even in Nigeria, it is the Islamic Personal Law (i.e. Family Law) that is recognised by the Constitution of Nigeria. Also that we also stand to be appointed a Judge of High Court or Islamic law courts since we have Islamic Personal Law knowledge and LASU has been accredited to offer Islamic Law. So, this orientation gave us a calm mind to then pursue the Islamic law. I for myself, took the Islamic law as electives from 100- 500 levels especially with interest in the Islamic Family Law aspect! So, today, it is indeed an added advantage for me! Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allaah)! This is also because with my knowledge of the Arabic language combined with the Islamic Law, I felt much more responsible to Allaah (my Lord) and I have also been practising the Islamic Law and being a consultant on Islamic Family Law matters! I also apply the Islamic Family Law to my personal life!
So, since I had all these advantages, I decided to encourage Muslim law students in tertiary institutions to take the Islamic law seriously as a necessity and not to even score low grades and to make themselves proud by studying it! Even if they have no knowledge of Arabic Language, they can still study the Islamic law. Also, the five years as a law student could be enough to acquire/learn Arabic language by making use of the various Arabic and Islamic schools either organisd either by the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) or other Arabic and Islamic School around the campus! To me, it is also an act of worship to study Islamic law (‘IBAADAH)!
Finally, I pray that Almighty Allaah make the study of the Islamic law easy for all of you (as Muslim law students) and to accept it as act of worship (‘Ibaadah)! Aamiin!
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