In Nigeria, graduates under 30 years of age are mandated to serve the country for a year, putting to use the skills learnt in the University or elsewhere to use in various parts of the nation. At the beginning of the programme, the graduates are assembled in a camp for less than a month. This seems to mark the highlight in the lives of many fresh graduates. Tales of the notoriety of life in camp abound. Alcoholism, indecent dressing, lewd talk, free interaction with the opposite sex, lust, fun etc. are the buzz words when it is time for camp. Most are posted to a faraway state away from prying, rebuking eyes so youths really let their hair down.
On camp, it was amazing to see Muslims partake in all the wanton display, partying all-night with no thought of tomorrow, skipping prayers and drinking alcohol, freely mixing with the opposite sex and some losing their virginity on the football field. I guess being Muslim does not confer immunity of misdemeanour.
A lot of us are Muslims by name only and none of our actions correspond with Islam. We learn about Islam as children but act on our false desires; we click our heels in the air rejoicing that so long as we are Muslim, we will not abide in Jahannam forever.
Reading the verses listed above, one would almost assume the Quran was talking about Muslims not the Jews. The Qur’an does not tell us these stories of old for the sake of folklore; these tales are to caution us and to draw a parallel between then and now. History often repeats itself. Allah once favoured the Jews, Children of Israel (2.122) as He has now favoured us (49.17); the mistakes they made, we have begun to make. As they backslid, so are we beginning to.
Perhaps, in recognising ourselves in them, we will retrace our steps in time and heed Allah’s admonitions.