Monday, 13 June 2016

Lessons From My Son

I watched him as he placed his two small hands on the floor and supported himself to stand up.  He smiled at his mum as she stretched out her hands, calling his name, cheering him on so he could walk towards her. He tried to balance on his feeble legs and then he carefully took a small step forward. His mother kept cheering him as she moved backwards with her hands still stretched. He smiled again at her and cackled as he tried to take the second step, but alas he lost his balance. His mum rushed forward and he fell into her hands and she carried him up playfully and tickled him.
 ‘When are you going to start walking?’ she teased him playfully.

My wife and son had both been practicing on how he would start walking. He was going to clock one in a few weeks’ time. Sometimes I joined them to encourage him when he stood up to balance and tried to take the first steps and at other times, I just watched him in earnest as he fell several times and did not hesitate to stand up and try again. He did not look worried or sad or dejected when he fell on his bottom. He did not cry or wait a long time before he tried again. Sometimes, I looked at his clear, beautiful eyes and I wanted to ask him so many questions. I wanted to ask him where he got his strength to stand up and try again. I wanted to ask him how he looked so happy even when he fell.  I wish I had his strength, I wish I had his resilience, I wish I had his smile even when things did not seem so good. My son did not answer my questions, he just smiled at me. But then I think his smile had all the answers. That even if sometimes life was hard, in the end, everything is going to be alright.
‘That’s my boy, come on you can do it’, we all cheered as my son took his first steps on the 12th day in January.  He smiled happily as his mum grabbed him when he almost tripped on his 5th step. We were both so proud of him. It was indeed a joyous moment and now when I call his mom and ask how he is doing as regards his walking. She says proudly that our son now walks confidently as if he never failed at it. I smile with happiness as I realize the great lesson my son taught me… NEVER GIVE UP.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015


All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Al'amin. Allah blessed my wife and I with our precious sprout a wonderful baby boy and his name is... Abdus-Samad. Surprised! yes, I know you are. What happened to Mus'ab? may come as a surprise to some as a lot of people had expected that my son would be named Musa’b after my favorite companion, Mus’ab bn Umayr in fact a lot of people called him Musa’b even from the comments on my Facebook wall when I announced his arrival a kunya (A kunya is a refers to a bearer's first-born son or daughter or a nickname) people had attributed to me even before I got married. Nevertheless, when my son arrived I suggested to  superwoman (that’s what a friend here in KFUPM called my wife when he learnt she began and wrote her exam on the day she put to bed, I’ve decided to let the nickname stick) that we should give my Dad the honor of naming our first child and though I could sense  it that she was  little skeptical about it, after all, her friends often called her Umm Mus'ab and she like it and was used to it so I understood but then she succumbed to my suggestion since she realized the wisdom therein.

My son is really special. He is similar to a photon in the sense that his arrival promoted a lot of people just like the absorption of a photon promotes electron to higher energy levels. His arrival promoted my wife and I to Mom and Dad, he promoted my parents and in-laws to grandparents, he promoted my siblings and brothers in-law to Uncles and my sister-in-law to aunt. He promoted my grandmother to great grandmother. So you see he’s really special. Though some people believe that it is a custom amongst the Yorubas that a first child is named by his grandfather, however this is not common at least not now. I do recall when I was in Secondary school during the so called ‘summer’ (I don’t know why they call it summer since there’s no summer in Nigeria) coaching lessons in Regal college Sagamu. One of the teachers who was (is) a Christian had a daughter who was named Mariam. So one day, someone inquired why his daughter was named Mariam after all he was a Christian. He narrated that he was from a Muslim family and so as the customs of the Yoruba people his father had the honor of naming his first child which was his daughter and so his wise father named her Mariam. That day, I realized the wisdom in what my teacher’s father did. He must have still had hope that his progeny would someday revert to Islam and so he gave his granddaughter a special name, a name that might someday lead her to Islam her fitrah.
The thought of me giving my father the honor of naming it just didn’t occur to me. It was something I had thought of since last year when I asked my longtime friend Abdulkareem Bello (now Abu Umar) why he named his son Umar after all his kuniya was Abu Abdul-A’alim. He said he gave his father the honor of naming his son and then that moment I realized the wisdom in what he did. Abdulkareem Bello and I have been friends since his pre-degree days in Lautech (then I was in my first year). We were both regular guys in the beginning and he much more than I did utilized the advantage of being in the shelter, of becoming a stranger. He became a student of knowledge attending Madrasah, Halaqahs and even teaching people how to read the Qur’an though I guess  the only thing we had in common in our respective  final year was that  he went on to be the coordinator of the Muslims in his faculty(Engineering) while I held an equivalent position in mine(Sciences). However, amongst my friends who became better Muslims while in school, Abu Umar is one of those very few people who applied wisdom with the Islamic knowledge he acquired (and that’s why I have a lot of respect for him) unlike most of us that allow our youthful exuberance in the name of ‘Agboye’ make things worse rather than make things better. We forget that there was a time that we didn’t know anything at all and because now we have had the opportunity to listen to a few lectures, understand some things about the religion then we can just change things suddenly or feel we are at a ‘higher level’, we end up cutting family ties and in the end we end up not achieving that desired change. How soon we forget that the little we knew or even the fact that we remained Muslims before really understanding the deen is due to the fact that our parents were Muslims. I recall when I was really young, I had performed ablution and later I went to urinate. My mum told me to perform ablution again that my ablution was invalidated. That was the day I knew that urinating invalidated ablution and my mum taught me that and so now if I may have more Islamic knowledge than my mother wouldn’t it be foolish of me if I did not apply wisdom in trying to correct her if she did something wrong with respect to the deen. 

So despite your ‘better’ understanding of the deen, you can still be humble to your parents and honor them with the great responsibility of naming your child. You make your parents feel special that you still hold them in high esteem despite the differences you might have in the understanding of Islam. It is really a good way of strengthening family ties as long as the name is a good name in the requirements of the Sharia. So what happened to Abu Mus'ab?…well I am still just that we might have to wait a little while for that kunya to be official,  maybe a few years and Allah knows best. For now, Abu Abdus-Samad will do since that is confirmed. May Allah bless Abdus-Samad, keep his feet firm on the right path and grant him good in this world and the hereafter.