Murphy Afolabi: Exclusive Authority of Allah Determines Life after Death

Murphy Afolabi: Exclusive Authority of Allah Determines Life after Death

In accordance with Islamic doctrine, death is viewed as a natural process signifying the transition from the physical world to the realm beyond human perception. It represents the separation of the soul from the body, and it is a universal experience that all souls shall undergo.

The intricacies of the afterlife remain beyond the grasp of human comprehension. While the holy Qur’an provides certain vivid descriptions of the hereafter, it is not within anyone’s capacity to issue a definitive ruling on Allah’s judgment of individuals.

There exists a commonly held belief that the souls of sinners depart in a painful manner, whereas the righteous pass away peacefully. Opinions diverge regarding the abode of souls the deceased.

Murphy Afolabi’s Demise and Associated Matters

Following the passing of renowned Yoruba Nollywood actor Murphy Afolabi, a Muslim scholar made a statement emphasizing that it would be inappropriate for an Imam to offer prayers for the deceased actor’s remains. The scholar justified this stance by referring to Afolabi’s portrayal of spiritualist roles, suggesting that he was a “nominal Muslim.”

This statement from the Imam generated reactions within the Muslim community. It gained significant attention, prompting i-News Nigeria to conduct interviews with two knowledgeable Muslim scholars regarding the matter.

It is incumbent upon us to dispel misconceptions widely held by non-Muslims, as these misconceptions can lead to the mockery of Muslims and the tarnishing of Islam’s reputation.

Reactions to the Statement

Commenting on this issue, Imam Saheed Oladele, spokesperson for the Nasir Fathi Society (Owutu Branch) in Isawo, Ikorodu, Lagos, criticized the Imam’s remark as a premature conclusion. He maintained that some individuals prefer to keep their spiritual beliefs private.

“Due to various reasons, some individuals choose to conceal their faith. In Qur’an 40:28, a man concealed his belief due to the persecution he faced during that time. He decided not to publicly announce his submission to Islam,” stated Imam Oladele.

He further explained, “An Abyssinian King named Najashi supported Muslims and embraced Islam, but he did not observe the formal prayers. His people remained unaware of his acceptance of Islam.”

Imam Oladele added that Prophet Muhammad instructed Muslims to pray for the king’s remains upon his death.

He asserted that as long as an individual has declared their faith in Islam, it is the responsibility of the imam to perform all the necessary rituals.

Furthermore, he urged Muslims to wholeheartedly practise their religion and openly declare their faith to establish themselves as genuine Muslims.

He also advised Muslim leaders to adopt a peaceful approach, emphasizing that “Islam promotes peace.”

“Imams and Alfas should strive to preach peacefully to avoid alienating Muslims,” he concluded.

In response also, Abdul-Wasiu Temitope, an Islamic and Arabic Studies teacher at Landmark College, Ikorodu, reiterated that every Muslim is obligated to recite the Kalimah, thereby affirming their status as Muslims.

“In the event of death, it becomes the duty of the Muslim community to bury and offer prayers for the deceased who professed the Kalimah. It is a collective obligation (fardu kifaya),” he explained.

He further cited Qur’an 4:94, which states, “Do not say to someone who greets you with peace (assalam alaykum) that you are not a believer.” A person who believes in the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad is considered a Muslim.

He concluded that the status of being a Muslim should not be confused with that of a mu’min (believer). The latter represents the pinnacle of submission to the will of Allah which is demonstrated at its peak.

The understanding of what lies beyond death remains elusive to humanity. It is advisable for Muslim leaders to refrain from generating unnecessary disputes, particularly those pertaining to religious matters.

Akeem Alao

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