By: Syed Mudaser Mosvi, Parisabad, Budgam
According to the American based “Pew Research Center”, there were 3 million Shia Muslims in Nigeria. While Iranian based notable Shia Institution “Majma Jahani Ahlebayat portal” mentioned 7 million Shia Muslims in Nigeria till 2008.
In addition to these institutions several world famous personalities and news providers including Nigerian Shia Organization “Islamic Movement” reported 12 to 15 million Shia Muslims.
However, no regular census or precise data is available, it is sometimes disputed that the country is having 180 million population, but the data of Shia Muslims is not tangible. Western media have shown least Muslims in Nigeria, while the figures associated with axial resistance are different. Nigeria’s 50 percent population is Muslim, and 40 percent of the population is associated with Christianity. The remaining 10 percent population is comprised of non-Muslims and non-Chrinstians.
It is easy to infer from these figures that there is a substantial number of Shia Muslims in Nigeria, and it is worth noting that no reference or report of Shia Muslims in Nigeria could be seen by an international organization before 1980. The present several million Shia “Ulemas” in Nigeria is the result of preaching by Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky. This is a great characteristic of the century.
Nigerian Shia Muslims are probably the most oppressed Muslims. The oppression and persecution is a sign and symbol of the Shia Muslims in Nigeria. The Nigerian government attacked Shia Muslims (who were gathered in Imambargah at Zaria) in 2015, according some sources, 2000 Shia Muslims were martyred. While a prominent Shia leader Alama Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife were arrested. Their 3 sons got martyrdom in the attack. Before a year their 3 other sons were martyred in a peaceful protest which was taken out to support the oppressed people of Palestine. After martyrdom of his 6 sons, a son and two daughters are under detention.
Sources revealed that Alama Sheikh Zakzaky had been poisoned by the government in prison. Doctors examined the Sheikh Zakzaky and exposed his severe health condition. The human rights organizations across the world demand his freedom and free treatment. The Nigerian Supreme Court has also ordered his release, but the government and the Nigerian army are not releasing them. He sacrificed his real treasure in the form of his 6 sons. He proved a real leader by his thoughts and actions.
On the other hand, the Shia Islamic Movement has been protesting against the release of Allama Zakzaky all over the country. People associated with human rights organizations, and other countries, demonstrating to pressurize the Nigerian government so that the necessary facilities for his treatment may be provided.
In these 20 to 30 years, the peaceful resistance of Nigerian Shia Muslims, education and cultural activism is unprecedented than many other nations. In just one year, thousands of Shia Muslims martyred in Nigeria, neither they challenged the government nor done any rebellious action. Such peaceful resistance portrays a sign of their “peaceful and civilized nation”. Pray to Almighty Allah for freedom of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife and recover their health soon.