For fans of Nigeria’s biggest music reality show, last weekend was an
unforgettable one on Nigerian Idol. It was yet another exhilarating
weekend as they were treated to exciting performances from the remaining
eight contestants on the show. After an earlier exit by Sly 1 and Chinedu,
producer and musician of ‘Fokasibe’ fame, DJ Zeez, joined the judges,
Jeffrey Daniel, Yinka Davies and Charly Boy as guest judge.
“As the show reaches its final stages, it is only fitting that we
celebrate Nigeria’s best musicians,” said Producer Lilias Bode. “I am
delighted to see that the Highlife weekend is very popular among the
audiences and fans of all ages. People are connecting to the music in an
intimate way and that is simply because of the fantastic talent we have on
show!” She said.
The theme for the night was highlife/folk music in honor of Nigerian music
legends as the contestants performed famous Nigerian hits from the years
gone by. With the competition in its final stages, every contestant
attempted to give a thrilling performance. Opening the show for the night
was Area Fada, Charly Boy who performed his self-titled song to the
delight of the audience. He was followed by guest judge DJ Zeez who had
the audience sing along to a medley of his hits.
Diwari delivered arguably her best performance, performing Onyeka Onwenu’s
‘You and I’ to the delight of the audience and Judges. Her performance
clearly puts her in the league of top performers on this season’s show.
Next was Honey singing ‘Omoge’ originally sung by Mike Okri. Though his
performance failed to thrill, Charly Boy noted that it was an
improvement from his previous performances. Lynda Giami continues to
improve with every performance as she gave a sweetly sung version of
Christy Essien Igbokwe’s ‘Seun Rere’.
Stephen Onochie continues to solidify his position on the show as a top
contender. In recent weeks, his performances have shown his great talent
and won him many fans. On the night to celebrate Nigerian Music, Stephen
gave an energetic performance of Orlando Owoh’s ‘Iyawo Asiko’ . His
performance impressed all the judges, as he showed not just how good a
singer he was, but also how well he could dance.
Najite was the comeback queen of the show after a performance-gone-wrong
in her Whitney Houston tribute. Singing ‘Wait For Me’, by King Sunny Ade
and Onyeka Onwenu , Najite showed her strong vocal ability, expressiveness
and resilience. Nikki rendered Tosin Martin’s Olomi in a seductive
performance that showed how much Nikki confidence she is gaining as the
competition reaches its final stages.
Before the booming Joe Blue entered the stage, the judges and audience
were already on their feet in anticipation of the unforgettable
performances the talented contestant constantly delivers. With his
signature pose, exotic dance steps, and unique ability to sweep the
audience off their feet, he brought the house down with Felix Liberty’s
massive hit, ‘Ifeoma’. In what was arguably the best performance of the
evening, Joe Blue showed why he is a strong contender to become Nigerian
Idol this season.
Mercy was last to take the stage that night, singing Bobby Benson’s ‘Taxi
Driver’. Mercy, who has distinguished herself as a top performer at every
stage of the competition, thrilled the audience in yet another wonderful
performance. She made good use of the stage, carrying the audience along
in her song. She added a twist to it ending the song by urging everyone to
vote for her.
As the fascinating show draws to an end, the suspense continues to mount
as the hopefuls of winning the ultimate prize begin to grow the
substantial fan base they need to win the show. The winner of the show
will be unveiled at a grand gala in April where A list international
artistes are expected to attend. The next Nigerian Idol will win a grand
prize valued at $100, 000 which includes a management contract and
recording contract. The winner also gets an SUV and many other prizes. For
the other 9 finalists, there are also prizes from lead sponsor Etisalat.
The winner of Nigerian Idol will join the elite group of Idol alumni
around the world, including Stars like Jordin Sparks, Timi Dakolo and Yeka
Nigerian Idol is proudly brought to you by Etisalat in association with
Pepsi and Sony. It is supported by Air Nigeria, Kentucky Fried Chicken and
Megalectrics (owners of Beat FM, Classic FM and Naija FM).
ABUJA-There was pandemonium at the Supreme Court this morning owing to a mysterious fire that forced a 7-man panel of Justices headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, to scamper for safety.
The apex court was on the verge of concluding hearing on a suit involving First Bank of Nigeria, when a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Amechi Nwaiwu, SAN, spotted the uncanny fire that was gradually engulfing the left wing of the court.
The development occasioned palpable panic in the court room which was full to capacity with over fifteen SANs in attendance due to some political matters slated for hearing today.
On sensing that the fire was becoming menacing, the CJN ordered a stand down of the case, as the seven justices hurriedly retired to their chambers, with SANs and other court users scampering for safety through the double exit points in the court.
It took the effort of lawyers and court officials to curtail the situation, though its remote cause has remained a mystery.
The atmosphere was serene and frenzy in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Monday, when the people of the state and sympathizers trooped out to the Heroes’ Square, Owerri, to receive the remains of their hero, the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu
The entire stretch from Imo Airport to Owerri was lined up by anxious people, who wanted to catch a glimpse of the great man.
Those who were at the Sam Mbakwe Airport could not contain their emotions when the Nigeria Air Force jet, NAF 917 carrying the body of late warlord touched the airport at about 3 pm, as they cried like babies.
The corpse made a brief stopover at the Government House, before being moved to the Ikemba Ojukwu Convention Centre, where a tribute for the late Igbo leader was held.
No fewer than 10 army generals, who were fully clad in their ceremonial attire, lifted the casket bearing Ikemba Nnewi. This was in line with the directives of President Goodluck Jonathan, that the late Igbo leader be given full military burial.
However, the procession became a carnival of sort when the casket-bearing generals moved in consonance with the military music supplied by soldiers, thereby adding flavor to the event.
To ensure that Imo indigenes paid their last respect to Ikemba, Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha declared Monday work free day. Following this development, schools, market and government offices were closed.
Dignitaries that graced the ceremony included the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, Imo State leader of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Martin Agbaso, among others.
The gunmen came to the station pretending to be complainants before opening fire on officers Gunmen, believed to be members of the extremist Boko Haram sect, have attacked a police station in Adamawa State killing four people and seriously wounding another. Three of those killed in the Sunday night attack on the Shuwa Police Station in Madagali were police officers. The other victim is a civilian while the injured is also a police officer attached to the station. Madagali local government, situated in the northern axis of Adamawa North Senatorial district, shares boundary with Borno state where the activities of the dreaded sect has festered since its first major onslaught. Spokesperson of the police in Adamawa suggested that the sect members carried out the attack to effect the release of some of their members in detention at the station. Eyewitnesses told Premium Times the gunmen arrived the station pretending to want to lodge complaints. "But thereafter they started attacking the police men on duty," the witnesses said. Improvised Explosive Devices were used in the attack which occurred at exactly 8 p.m local time, according to some residents of the town. The invading gunmen carted away arms and ammunitions in the station after dislodging the officers on guard.
Our correspondent say the sound of gunshots and explosion, which ensued during the attacks, sent the people of the town scampering for safety.
The Adamawa State Police Command confirmed the attack, saying three police corporals attached to the division were killed while many others including an Inspector sustained some degrees of injuries.
A statement by the State Commissioner of Police, Adenrele Shinaba, through Altine Daniel, his spokesperson, confirmed the death of three members of he force in the attack.
Meanwhile, report coming in as we try to publish this report indicate that a victim who was hospitalised after he was caught in the crossfire died a short while ago, bringing the casualty figure to four.
Barely two months after an explosion rocked the St Theresa’s Catholic
Church, Madalla, resulting in the death of 43 worshippers another bomb on
Sunday exploded on Morocco Street, Suleja, Niger State in a neighbourhood
accommodating some churches.
The explosion occurred mid day on Sunday when the Christ Embassy and the
Triumphant Ministries International Church located in neighbourhood were still
holding their services.
Although no death was recorded from the explosion, five people including a
baby were severely injured.
Two residents of the building facing the Triumphant Church were among the
injured. A child worshipping at the Triumphant Ministries International Church
was injured on the head by the church’s window glass broken by the impact of
the blast. The remaining two injured were hawkers.
About five cars belonging to members of the Christ Embassy Church were
badly damaged in the blast.
But for the alarm raised by the Head of the Security Unit of the Christ
Embassy, on noticing a sack concealed in one of the cars parked near the
church about 20 minutes earlier leading to evacuation of the worshippers, the
casualties would have been more.
It was gathered that following the alarm raised by the security personnel, the
pastor advised the worshippers to keep a safe distance away from the scene.
The pastor promptly notified the police of the strange object. Barely twenty
minutes after the worshippers moved some metres away from the scene, the
The victims were immediately taken to Suleja Genera Hospital for medical
However two of the injured namely Chike Emefo and Maureen Kenneth, were
referred to the Abuja University Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, owing to the
severe injuries they sustained.
Emefor was said to have sustained deep cuts in his stomach, right leg, lap
and his wrist. He was given blood transfusion before he was taken away to the
The police said five suspects had been arrested in connection with the blast
believed to have been targeted at the two churches.
The Niger State Police Public Relations Officer, Richard Oguiche, who
confirmed the incident, disclosed that five suspects have been arrested. He
said investigations had commenced to unravel perpetrators of the act.
The pastor in charge of the Christ Embassy Church, Pastor Uyi Idubayi, said
that the bomb was targeted at his car.
According to him, three strange men that planted the explosive were sighted
by the security team of the church who called his attention to the suspicious
sack that was left behind by the men.
“Because of what is happening in the country, we created a security team. We
were having the (Sunday) service when the head of the security team informed
me that he saw three strange men near my car.
“On getting there, we saw a sack containing something like a cylinder; so we
knew that it was a bomb. We quickly placed a call to security agents who
advised us to evacuate the church and the surrounding area. But before the
security men got here, the bomb went off, but no one died; only four or five
people sustained minor injuries.
“Jesus Christ is alive; I think their plan was to detonate the bomb when
worshippers would be coming out of the church so they can record maximum
casualties, but God helped us and we discovered the bomb before it could be
detonated”, he said.
Last week, we published a story on 144 virgins fanning a spiritual leader while asleep, as told by Pastors Lovina Iburene and Enoch Iburene, a couple, and founders of the Truth Ministry and Christ World Charity Ministry, Lagos. In a swift reaction, the concerned spiritual leader of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, Olumba Olumba Obu through his subjects, Bishop Joseph C. Dike, the Director of Information and Parson Edjeketa, Resident Priest, Ikeja, Lagos, described it as unfounded saying the couple needs spiritual help desperately. In an interview with Saturday Vanguard, the emissary refuted the claim that 144 virgins fan their leader. “The Bible spoke about the 144,000 virgins, so, we have a body called '144,000 Virgins'. They are young men and women who have dedicated their lives in celibacy to the service of God. The leader from time to time gathers them to teach them the word of God because these people will be able to carry the message unadulterated.” They maintained that fanning him in this modern age of air-conditioners and fans, make the story ridiculous. We bring you the 'Brotherhood's side of the story. Excerpt
Membership of the couple
After the publication she made in 2003, we held a press conference and many media were there and we told them the plain truth that even when you see God, they will draw a man with glowing eyes, and aura of holiness and when you see Satan you still see a man with red eyes, may be the look of an animal with human features. So anybody who instead of seeing God sees demon in likes or reptiles and other funny creatures in his vision, that person has a psychiatric problem. Because it is only somebody with distorted mentality that will start seeing reality out of its proportion. Even the bible says let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Even when they talk about witches, they still see human beings with long nails and some funny features. But brotherhood of the Cross and star preaches nothing but love for one and other whether you are a Christian, Judaic or Muslim, we are children of one father. The mission of Leader Olumba Olumba Obu is to unite the Abrahamic family together. Because the three originate from one source. All of them traced their genealogy to Abraham. So, why should the children of the same father be fighting? So, when we read the publication in your newspaper, we said instead of reacting negatively, we have to state our own side of it, and that was why our father mandated us to come to Lagos and put the records straight. So, that the people who are misled by that first publication will know the truth.
On allegation of two people that ran mad
In 2002, I was made the spokesman and I was resident in the world headquarters. Then we had a programme running in NTA Calabar, every Tuesdays, for one hour. And the objective was to explain the doctrine and the mission of the Brotherhood. And part of it was an open invitation to the public that contrary to what they say that they kill human being and suck blood and so on, we invite people to come see for themselves and announce what they saw. Many people came and the then AIG Police had to send a contingent of mobile policemen to the headquarters and they were there. There was a time a young man went and told a story to the police that he was locked in a room and they wanted to use him for a ritual and that he managed to escape. The police came to the compound and they met their men their and they were led to the place and were surprised that such a thing would happen without them knowing. That was part of the propaganda and rumors they are selling.
In the brotherhood, we have places they called healing homes. In these homes, no matter the physical and spiritual problems you have, you will be healed. I am talking about confirmed cases of madness. When they come there, with prayer and fasting, they get healed and return to their normal lives. We have it scattered all over and not in one place. So, instead of somebody to come to brotherhood and get mad, on the contrary when they come they get healed. Impossible cases become possible and nobody charges you anything. It is not a case of go bring perfume, or get some special water from Jordan or anywhere. It is through the word of prayer and fasting.
When you come there, nobody wants to know your religion or your social status, or your financial capacity. We only see everybody as our brothers and sisters who came to worship our father. And people have been coming from all over the world. To say some people came to see the leader and ran out mad is part of the delusion, a psychiatric disorder which leads to hallucination. Under that, that person can conceive imagination and that is grand delusion. This is what is happening to my sister. I am sorry, but no matter what she says, she is still my sister in the lord. She and her husband need spiritual help and they need it desperately. Anybody who loves them should help them by taking them to a Psychiatric home. The husband said he got bitten by a specie of insect he does not know and developing into a pus that almost led to his amputation. But he failed to bring a medical report of treatment. I really don't know how to qualify the story.
On some 'crusaders' who died in Osun state
In the year 2001, there is an organisation in the 'Brotherhood' called Christ Universal Missionaries Crusader Fellowship and co-incidentally, I happened to be the present National Chairman. They went on evangelism and they normally go to different locations and countries. At the moment, they are in Haiti, in the Caribbean. Yes, at that time, they went on evangelism at Ilesha, Osun state. While they were evangelising, one young man falsely alleged that while some of them were talking to him, his manhood disappeared. Although we later found out that the young man was paid for the job because they were set-up. They descended on our people and killed 11 of them. At the moment, the holy father is holding it against the judiciary. They are supposed to investigate it and give a report. So, when they brought the news, we told the families that they should relax because when you are in the work of the Lord and you are martyred for the cause of God, it is not an evil thing. But an ignorant person will take Lovina's version to be true. No. And when you see anybody putting on the garment, you become hostile because of ignorance. The people there, based on the story they were told capitalised on it and went baserk and today, they are regretting it. The father consoled the family that as it is in Islam, if a Christian dies in the work of the Lord, he is going to heaven; and the Bible tells us that if you die, you are still with the lord because the flesh is not the spirit. Unfortunately they twisted the story and distorted the facts.
On the 144 virgins fanning the leader
In the Brotherhood of of Cross and Star, every thing we do is in conformity with the scripture. The Bible in the book of Revelation, Chapter 7 speaks about the 144,000 virgins. So, we have a body called '144,000 Virgins', they are made up of young men and women who have dedicated their lives in celibacy to the service of God. The leader from time to time gathers them to teach them the word of God because these people will be able to carry the message unadulterated. They are not thinking about marriage or boyfriend or girlfriend, they are not running after all those things that distract us. They are totally dedicated to the service. Whenever he finishes teaching them, they go back to their quarters. The distance from their quarters to the headquarters, is about 500meters and away from where the leader stays. Then the issue of fanning him; - in this modern age with air-conditioners and fans, it is ridiculous. Leader O. O. Obu is not interested in the such thing. He will not even allow that because he is a leader by example.
In the Catholic institution, the monks are young and educated people, but they chose to give their life in service to God. In the Bible, Revelation Chapter 4 vrs 11, 'Everything that was created was created exclusively for the pleasure of God.' So, our time, energy and every other thing are for God.
About Olumba Olumba Obu
In the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, we call the holy father, Leader Olumba Olumba Obu. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave us a promise that he had so many things to tell us but we cannot understand them. But when that spirit of truth comes, he will lead us to the truth. And from the onset, Leader Olumba Olumba Obu emphasises that he came to do four jobs. One, he came to teach humanity. Two, he came to lead man to the knowledge of truth. Three, he came to prepare man to the standard required by God, so that on the day of judgment, man shall not be found wanting. Finally, he came to establish the kingdom of God on earth. That kingdom is called the 'Brotherhood of the Cross and Star which otherwise is called Christ Universal Spiritual of Practical Christianity. The emphasis is on practical. All these they teach about miracles, wonders; the Bible says it is only a sinful and perverted generation that speaks of signs and wonders. But if you practice the true Christianity and the love of Christ, and how to do the will of God in heaven as it is done on earth, you have to bring it as a compound structure that will teach us the way, gather us into it and the kingdom itself. In spite of the difference in the languages, and races, 'brotherhood' is everything he has created. The air, water,animal in the bush, fish in the water are all part of us. If they are not part of us, we cannot use them. You see, that 'Cross' is the ability to tolerate one and other. If you can stay with somebody who is tricky, but because of the love of God, you accommodate him and overlook his shortcomings- you are carrying his cross. The 'Star' is when there is harmony of love born out of forgiveness and tolerance, you will have peace, joy and happiness. That is how 'Brotherhood' will teach us the way to qualify into the grace of God. And it is that kingdom he came to establish. Our father, Leader Olumba Olumba Obu has come to fulfill that prophecy and that is why we are bold to tell the world that the comforter has come.
Our leader used to tell us even if you are baptised and you decide to leave tomorrow, you're free because you are not bound by any oath. Nothing will happen to you, it is an open door.
Lovina Amangala Iburene was overwhelmed by the signs that manifested at 34 Ambrose street, Calabar where a mere mortal claimed the personality of God. Like many who were desperately searching for divine solution to their problems, she succumbed to the manipulations of another homo sapient and believed she had found her God. She was promised sun and she saw it, she was promised miracle and she waited patiently for 14years for it. People came in droves including eminent personalities by her own estimation and she was convinced that was where her salvation lies. She invited her family members including friends and became obssesed with Olumba Olumba Obu, the sole spiritual head of the church who she held as her God until she was numbed to the reality of her error.
Lovina who is now a Pastor and founder of the Truth ministry and co-founder of Christ world Charity Ministry, Lagos and her husband, Pastor Enoch Iburene narrated their story to Saturday Vanguard.
“I became a member of the Olumba as a teenager in 1987 and what do you expect a teenager to know. I was doing something with the army then and I was to be flown abroad for a training, but I left the job unceremoniously. Later, I ended up being duped. So, I entered the 'brotherhood' of Olumba believing that he is God. The former governor, Melford Okilo was a member then. We used to see him how he disappereared and re-appeared. So, people believed him and so many people were converted. He would suddenly appear in their homes and tell them to come to the 'brotherhood'. “
She explained that so many manipulations she saw decieved her believing that that was God. “You know that this kind of manipulation can convinced anybody because when he promised he would give you a gift and suddenly you'd see that gift, you'd believe him. He'd say, I will give you a sun and suddenly you see the sun. They used the Bible and we were convinced. I took my mother and sister into it. There was this day two people came to test the powers of Olumba and they ran out mad. These people were non 'brotherhood' members, but it touched me and I began to wonder whether that was a true God. If really these people didnt know that you're God and you now make them to go mad, it means it is not a true God.”
But that was only a tip of the ice berg as more revelation stunned her. She continued: “the son Rowland that is heading the brotherhood now has been a canal person. He had shown before his father's death that he was interested in the throne. It was the daughter, Eli, that was very close to olumba and deep in spiritual affairs, but when the father went blind, he prevailed on the father to crown him as Christ and it was done on April 14, 2000.”
“At that point the brotherhood divided into two in line with the son and daughter. It was so fierce that they were killing each other. Many people are bowing to him as Jesus Christ today. He had told them he would never die but the man Olumba died in December 2003 and was buried there. But they are busy deceiving people that olumba is sleeping,” she said.
Enoch Ibruene, the husband of Novina and Pastor of Truth Ministry and Lovers of Christ Church
was in Olumba for 14 years where he met his wife, Lovina. He said soon after they left the 'brotherhood' unknown people have been going after their lives. “they wanted to kidnap us and you know in Lagos, they have their members and and branches at Ikeja, Kirikiri and other places in Lagos, we used to see them,” he said.
“There was a time they wanted to take legal action agaisnt us but they dropped the idea because some people from the brotherhood offered to testify in our favour. A magazine published a story of a woman who delivered tortoise in the brotherhood. He later confirmed that he was the cause of it. Thereafter, Olumba told the congregation that he could turn into animals and at other times warned that nobody should eat fish. Many people left because of the level of deception in that fold.”
“Sometimes in year 2000, before he died, he sent some missionaries to Osun state to evangelised, then we call them 'crusaders'. They hired many buses for the trip and when they got there, there, the message was not only rebuffed, but the crusaders were burnt alive. When the news got to Calabar, Olumba told us that all their souls were with him.”
How the couple met and married at Olumba
I was recovering from the humiliation I got from a previous relationship when we met. I went visit my cousin and I met him there. He was a close friend of my cousin, he was trying to invite my cousin to Olumba and I got facinated to know him. I was attracted to him first of all because he was in Olumba and every other thing went well and we became married a few years later.
When asked that at least there was some good thing about Olumba considering the union at the brotherhood', the couple retorted: “Not necessarily, God is mysterious in his ways. God brought us together in the brotherhood, but it was not as if we benefitted in Olumba.
You see, Olumba realy perfected whatever he really had in mind. There was a demarcation between him and the people, he did not mix with the people, he only came out to minister. One good thing about him was that he ministered like an angel. He was brilliant. You will hardly hear his ministration without getting convinced. That was the gift he had. But the Bible says even the devil can disguise himself as an angel of light. In fact if he had told me to go kill, maybe I would have done it. A lady pastor of one of the churches today who was a member said he had once asked her to go kill. I believed in him, I remember how I gave out everything I had for him. I told people then that I had found my God. It was a time of sheer ignorance.
Their experiences in the 'brotherhood'
My experience about the deception in the 'brotherhood' is that the man is evil. When I was there, an insect bit me on my hand. The hand became swollen immediately. Pulse began to come out of it and I went through serious pain everyday for one and half years. The hand was on the verge of being amputated but I said no, it will not be amputated. People said I have donated my hand to Olumba. I later summoned the courage to go ask him and he said: “Yes, he was the one and that whatever happens, I should take it like that. But since we believed in him, we continued.
Right there, they have 144 virgins which they say will inherit heaven. When he was alive, some members of the 144 virgins will kneel before him fanning him, even if he was sleeping. Singing 'oh God, we welcome u', another group will go in and on and on. Some donated their children for the man called God on earth. Even now, people still immersed in that deception because so many are searching for God and dont know the right places.
I embarked on serious prayers with fasting before I got my hand healed.
How they left Olumba
Pastor Lovina told Saturday Vanguard that she was first touched by the Lord in early 2001, adding that she had to convince her husband threathening to abandon him and Olumba. “Early in that year, I began to feel strange sensation all over me. Each time we are calling his name, I felt pain in my body. So, I told my husband I was not sure I wanted to belong anymore. He said to me 'what are you talking about' just because he so much believed in the man.” I couldnt help it any longer and I told him I was ready to leave him and Olumba. He later agreed with me and we left. Again, there was this believe that if you burn your garment, you are going to go mad. We summond up courage and burnt it and we are still alive.
Then we had two bibles. There was a day we ministered to some people in Ikeja. I got home before my wife and dropped my Bible on the bed. As I was removing my shirt, I was amazed by what I saw. I saw a bright light that came suddenly in the room and within a second, the Bible disappeared. The other Bible had earlier disappeared from my wife after an interview with 'The Week's Magazine. I knew he wanted to frustrate us, but he failed.
It is not uncommon to see some Muslims criticising the celebration of the birth of the prophet saying it is innovation and therefore not acceptable. Innovation – Yes!, unacceptable – No! Congregating to recite the Qu’ran, narrating stories about the Prophet’s birth, or qassidah which moves hearts and drives them to do good and work for the hereafter; then possibly serving food, and afterwards everybody departs is one good innovations that is rewardable, because it involves venerating the status of the Prophet and expressing love for him and joy for his honorable birth. The Prophet’s birth is the greatest bounty to all mankind.
A believer should express thankfulness for His bounties. No doubt we are commanded to sacrifice an animal on the birth of a child and distribute the meat to people which is an expression of gratitude and happiness with the newborn. It is not out of place to show joy at the remembrance of the birth of the Prophet. But let us critically look at what the word innovation means in the context of the religion. Innovation is anything that did not exist during the time of the Prophet. But some are good while others are bad. Imam Shafi’i and Imam Nawawi, declared that innovations could be divided into good and bad, based on their compliance with, or deviance from religious law. Al-Nawawi explained that it is any act done without a previous pattern. It could be good or bad, based on their compliance or deviance with the existing law. It means innovation could be disagreeable when it is viewed within the context of good or bad, unlike in the context of language where everything that has been originated without a previous pattern is called innovation regardless of whether it is good or bad. This explains the hadith of Tirmizhi- “He who inaugurates a good practice in Islam earns the reward of it, and of all who perform it after him, without diminishing their own rewards in the least. “ Note: inaugurate here means to establish a practice whether through personal reasoning (ijtihad) or derived from the rules of religious law.
Another hadith which says: "Wa sharrul Umoori Muhdathaatuhaa, Wa kulla Bid’atin dhalalah, wa kulla dhalatin fin-naar” meaning: Every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance goes to Hell fire. “Beware of innovations, for every innovation (kuli bid'ah`) is misguidance.” According to Imam Shafi, such an objection stems from the misinterpretation of the term kulli (“every”) in the hadith to be all encompassing without exception. He summised that whereas in arabic it may mean “nearly all” or “the vast majority,” it is a term which meaning emcompasses 'every.'
Other reports suggest that the companions rejoiced and sang poetry regarding the birth of the Prophet (saw). The Prophet’s uncle, Abbas ibn AbdilMuttalib, composed poetry commemorating the birth of the Prophet (saw) and then sought permission to recite. The Prophet not only permitted it, but prayed for his uncle asking Allah to protect his mouth. Then, Abbas (r a) recited what was possibly the first poetry for maolid ever, “And when you were born (O Prophet) the earth shone bright and the horizon was radiant.”
Eminent scholars like Sheikh Abdulallah Al-Ilory of blessed memory (r.a) never spoke against celebration of maolid. I have spoken with others like Sheik Mustapha Zuglool, Sheikh Ibrahim Garuba Akinnola-chief Imam of Lagos state, Sheikh Seifudeen Olowooribi of Ikorodu; and I have heard Sheikh Sheik Daud Abdul Majeed Eleha (Alfa Nla), Sheik Abdullah Gbade Akinbode, Sheikh Robiu Adebayo talked about maolid in glowing terms, including Shiekh Abdul Ganiyy Bello my mentor. These eminent scholars who read far and wide did not differ on the celebration of Maolid. To date, I have not seen any of the classical jurists condemning the practice.
But come to think of it, there were many practices instituted by his close companions after the Prophet’s death (s.a.w) innovation as you may call it; which are among the major feat of Islam. The compilation the Qu’ran in one book; adding the first call to prayer on Friday; (during the time of the Prophet (s.a.w), Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, the call to Friday prayer used to occur when the Imam sat on the pulpit. When it was Uthman’s (r.a) time, he added what is now known as the first call). Tahajjud prayer in congregation: The Prophet (s.a.w) did not pray this prayer in congregation because he feared it would be made obligatory,and during his period this prayer was not observed in congregation, but after the death of the holy Prophet (s.a.w) during the caliphate of Umar (r.a), it was performed in congregation by the order of Umar among other, ditto with the tarawih prayers. But today, they are performed in congregation especially.
Besides, the celebration like I said earlier is in remembrance of Allah and birth of the Prophet where zikr is held, recitation of the Quran is done, qassidah is rendered, and lectures are given, I do not think there is any hadith which go against these act for whatever purpose. A hadith narrated by Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad, lbn Majah says: “When any group of men remember Allah, angels surround them and mercy covers them, tranquility descends upon them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him.”
All of these are forms of worship. The love of the Prophet (s.a.w) is a worship that is necessary for faith, since the love of the Prophet is part of one’s faith.
During the Rabiu-Awwal 12, it is good to spend some time whether in the company of others or in jamat to reflect on the episodes and events of his unique life from the time the great Prophet was born to his adolescence, from his prophet hood to the beginning of revelation, the trials and sufferings endured while calling men to Allah, the Hijra, the great and heroic battles against paganism, the creation of the Islamic State, the farewell pilgrimage, and finally, the moment when revelation to earth came to its conclusion with the demise of the blessed Prophet (s.a.w)
On the merit of what is done at the organised Maolid celebration, it is an act of worship and no one knows which act he would do last before breathing his last. Activities such as recitation of the Quran, listening to the stories and life of the prophet, lectures could add up to the act of ibadah and good deed of a muslim before he passes on and therefore it should not be condemned. What is important is to stay away from haram, shirk and Kufr and try to follow hadiths in order to fulfill the claim of being strict followers of the Prophet. (s.a.w)It is not about teaching a new thing but about doing the existing thing in a new way. The aim is rather to create an environment of tolerance where individuals, both for and against it, can appreciate the position of one another.
You may send your reactions and comments on this issue. Alimighty Allah knows best.