Being an Arabic word transliterated into English, non-Arabic-speaking readers certainly wonder what Ruwaibidhah means. After all, probably even core native Arabs, let alone the Arabic-speaking non-Arabs familiar with its meaning only learned it in the Prophetic Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (SAW) first used it when he prophesied that “There will come to the people years of endemic deception, when the liar will be regarded as honest, and the honest man will be regarded as a liar; the deceiver will be regarded as truthful, and the truthful man will be regarded as a deceiver; and the Ruwaibidhah will talk freely” Who are the Ruwaibidah?’ His companions enquired. He replied ‘vile persons (i.e. persons of little worth) talking on public affairs.” (See Albany’s Silsilatul-Al-Ahadeeth As-Saheeha, Hadith # 1887)
Looking at the trend of public discussions on various aspects of public affairs, I doubt if anyone doubts that the world is already living through these years. The negative influence of the Ruwaibidah in modern-day societies has resulted from the persistently falling standards of measuring the worth of individuals. Obviously, the standards have been hugely compromised at the expense of moral values enabling the Ruwaibidhah to not only attain relevance, but also influence public attitude and, in fact, call the shots on sensitive public matters for that matter.
While in the past, the Ruwaibidhah were easily identified thanks to their crude stupidity, contemptibility and lack of audacity to talk on important public matters openly, the modern-day Ruwaibidhah could be educated, albeit not necessarily proportionately knowledgeable in reality. They could also seem sophisticated, albeit in appearance rather than substance, as they may sound up to date on topical issues, albeit not necessarily discerning. Also, while in the past, the Ruwaibidhah would talk rather nervously in public, the modern-day Ruwaibidhah poke their noses into every issue no matter how grossly ill-informed or misinformed they are on it. Besides, with the emergence of the Internet technology, the modern-day Ruwaibidhah find it particularly easy to churn out their stupidity especially on social media platforms where they insist on sharing an opinion on everything under the sun.
Though every society grapples with its own share of challenges associated with the negative influence of the Ruwaibidhah in its midst, Muslim societies are particularly affected by the proliferation of the Ruwaibidhah amongst them. Brainwashed with largely distorted information, twisted facts and orientalist misrepresentation about Islam, which they have imbibed from some discredited sources claiming to represent and promote alternative understandings of Islamic faith, morals and jurisprudence, the modern-day Muslim Ruwaibidhah have become the tools with which anti-Muslim conspirators pursue their anti-Islamic agenda on intellectual and public relations fronts.
Until recent decades, orientalists have been particularly hell-bent on undermining Islamic religion. Supported by huge financial support from various sources, they had written so many works with a view to distorting Islamic beliefs and values and discrediting the religion, yet they failed disgracefully partly due the absolute infallibility of Islamic religion, and partly due to the fact that they weren’t Muslims in the first place, hence their futile obsession with finding fault with Islam easily exposed their ill motive.
However, now that the modern-day Muslim Ruwaibidhah have replaced them (orientalists), they are equally increasingly active in this regard, and unfortunately, being Muslims, they find it much easy to mislead the gullible and confused among the Muslims.
Though the Muslim community in Nigeria is one the most vibrant Muslim communities in the world, and indeed has huge potential to play a key role in the definitely forthcoming renaissance of the Muslim Ummah’s influence on the world stage, the negative influence of the relatively few but active Ruwaibidhah in its midst threatens to undermine this potential and turn many of them into mere nominal Muslims who, though identify themselves as Muslims, accept only what happens to suit what they consider modernity in it.
These modern-day Nigerian Muslim Ruwaibidhah masquerading as intellectuals are fond of raising unnecessary controversy over an aspect of Islamic creed, ethics or practice, by subjecting it to misleading philosophical treatment, as they also always seek to distort the meaning and intendment of many Qur’anic verses and Prophetic Hadiths and quote them out of their proper contexts in their attempts to drag any aspect of Islamic religion they find unacceptable into some secular and even atheistic contexts to eventually interpret it accordingly. Their unmistakable obsession with being considered “liberal” and “tolerant” betrays their gross inferiority complex, which makes them sound as though they are ashamed of being Muslims.
Now, inasmuch as it’s nowadays practically impossible to stop the Ruwaibidhah who are in fact protected by the constitutional provision of the Freedom of Expression, Muslim scholars and intellectuals are particularly expected to spearhead concerted efforts with a view to addressing this challenge. To achieve this, they need to focus on exhaustive intellectual refutation of the false arguments the modern-day Muslim Ruwaibidhah cling to in the course of promoting their delusion. They need to prioritize this task by allocating enough time for it in their preaching and public lesson activities. This is particularly imperative considering the justifiable worry that while Muslim scholars are busy preaching piety and moral values without addressing this challenge, many Muslims are out there consciously or unconsciously turning into atheists due to the misleading activities of modern-day Muslim Ruwaibidhah.