Saturday, 27 October 2012


I rarely look forward to the eid-ul-adha celebration popularly called the Ileya festival where I come from with much zest. I haven’t really thought about why it is called the Ileya festival but I know this Id-ul-adha celebration, I must go home just as the name ILEYA implied. After all, this eid was one of the two days I had to celebrate in a year considering the fact that I had cancelled Birthday celebrations from my calendar. But do you blame me for not looking forward to the most popular celebration by Muslims? Well if you had to prepare the night before by setting up canopies, and on the d- day you had to help in  shaving,  ( do you have any idea how hard this is when using a blade and Allah save you that you do not pierce the skin?  and blowing air into the carcass like you were  a trumpeter before you finally dismember the carcass. While  doing all these your Mom is calling you simultaneously to help in carrying those heavy metal pots,  kindle the fire, set up the sound system (while you are thinking of what halal music you can play before your uncle comes to put in any of KSA’s records) and let me not forget that when guests arrive you have to help in serving  them and also deliver food to friends and neighbors and in the midst of all the bustle you tried not to miss any salah  and may Allah help you if you do have some young troublesome cousins who are pests with a capital P. Before you know it the whole day is gone and you are fatigued and you realize that you did not even eat three square meals, not that there was no food (how can there be no food?) but there was no time to eat. This was not my idea of celebrating Eid; all the things I envisaged about Eid  never was just a reverie I had often envisaged going out   to have Halaal fun. Treat myself nice, Maybe visit an amusement park, just eat out with family and friends in a Halaal restaurant or take a stroll on the beach where my eyes see no evil. All that was just a castle in the air(at least for now).Last year’s Eid was different, one of the few things I anticipate during Eid holiday was the Family reunion; it was the only holiday where I got to meet practically all my family members. It’s a common thing particularly if you‘re from South-West Nigeria that some members of your family would be non-Muslims. I had often thought how wonderful it will be if all my family members were all Muslims, after all Allah says:
 ‘O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah but do (precisely) what they are commanded.’ Q 66:6
  I remembered taking a copy of the Qur’an at home and seeing my aunt’s name on it. What must have happened to make her leave the true path, to leave Islam? So Eid came and I decided that I would ask her what happened. My Grandma was worried about how her grandchildren were not that close. I knew that the fact that we were not all Muslims was a factor .She had called me and told me indirectly on keeping and strengthening the family ties, after all I am first born (you have no idea the responsibilities that come with this position except you’re one) but there was no need for  to remind me of m duty since my deen had greatly encouraged keeping family ties.
It was narrated by Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Allah created His creation, and when He had finished it, the womb, got up and caught hold of Allah whereupon Allah said, 'What is the matter?' On that, it said, 'I seek refuge with you from those who sever the ties of kith and kin.' On that Allah said, 'Will you be
Satisfied if I bestow my favors on him who keeps your ties, and withhold my favors from him who sever your ties?' On that it said, 'Yes, O my Lord!' Then Allah said, 'That is for you.' “Abu Huraira added: If you wish, you can recite: "Would you then if you were given the authority, do
Mischief in the land and sever your ties of kinship." (47. 22) (Bukhari)
 My aunt didn’t show up for Ileya, she didn’t come last year, I thought maybe she was told in her church not to eat the meat slaughtered during Eid, I could not tell. I hardly saw my aunt, maybe a couple of times in a year and now she had decided not to celebrate Eid with us well that just kind of increased the distance between us. I had lost hope of seeing her anytime soon until she showed up the third day after Eid. I was glad and I thought of when both of us would be together so I could ask her; ask her a question that had agonized my mind for years. I got my chance when I had to escort her when she was leaving. We walked silently. What was there to talk about, the hiatus between us had increased over the years but nevertheless I had to ask her. It was cogent. Alhamdulillahi there were no means of transportation available yet so we still had some time together. I pondered on how to ask her, I felt nervous it was not like I was asking a girl out but here I was trying to ask my aunt a very important question, a question that was related to the very reason why we existed and I was reticent. I decided to ask about my cousins. We talked about my cousins and the schools they attended and the education system. I had to ask her now and soon, I had to summon the courage to…
‘Why did you leave Islam?’, I think I said. I don’t know how I said it but it came out of my lips. What would happen next, what would she say, would she say I was disrespectful or just tell me to let it pass. My aunt flabbergasted me, she opened up to me. She was an active member in her youthful days in a Muslim organization, in Lagos. She told me she had  tried to find her a spouse in the organization I thought about what she meant by not finding a spouse, did she mean she didn’t find a spouse or she found but things never worked out, well that did not matter now after all she married a Christian and became one. So finding a spouse could take one out of the deen. I felt uncomfortable with the reason she gave. I knew it was reason why many Muslims converted to other religions particularly females (correct me if  I am wrong). I felt sad and yet I felt lighter; like I was relieved of a burden. We continued our journey and so I tried to call her to Islam. We talked about Prophet Issa and I tried to explain that he was a Prophet of Allah; we talked about the trinity and other comparative issues. She did not seem convinced from my explanation but I was glad I had taken one step in the right direction. She gave me my cousins phone numbers. Soon  we found a means of transportation and a few moments later we said our goodbyes. I reflected as I ambled back home. I thought of  my aunt, her children-my cousins, my other family members who were non-Muslims. I thought of how to call them to Islam, how I could strengthen the family ties. Maybe my generation would be better than the one of my aunt and Dad, maybe Grandma would be happy at how close her grandchildren would be, I pondered. I know I might face resistance well I do not think I have any choice cause this is my call,  MY CALL OF DUTY.  I make dua’ very often that Allah makes firm the members of my family who are Muslims and grant them the understanding of the deen (that is another poser on its own) guide those who are non-Muslims to the right path, for Allah is the one who guides and He guides whom He wills.

P.S. I wrote this piece some months ago little did I  know that my aunt will pass away soon. I wish I could say may Allah forgive her. 

Sunday, 30 September 2012


                Zainab closed the notebook in front of her. She felt a little drained. She had been sitting on the hard wooden chair for over an hour. She looked at the defaced picture on the notebook she had borrowed. She felt a little disgusted at the sight. She knew why Fareedah had defaced the picture. Though the picture was defaced with blue ink it was palpable it was a man in the picture because of the Abiola babes’ football club’s jersey that was visible. Fareedah had defaced the picture because that was the right thing to do according to Islamic principles. There were many Ahadith that talked on the prohibitions as regards picture making and images of animate objects in general. Zainab recalled one of the hadith on prohibition of picture making.
Narrated Said bin Abu Al Hasan
While I was with Ibn 'Abbas a man came and said, "O father of 'Abbas! My sustenance is from my manual profession and I make these pictures."Ibn 'Abbas said, "I will tell you only what I heard from Allah's Apostle. I heard him saying, 'Whoever makes a picture will be punished by Allah till he puts life in it, and he will never be able to put life in it.' "Hearing this, that man heaved a sigh and his face turned pale. Ibn 'Abbas said to him, "What a pity! If you insist on making pictures I advise you to make pictures of trees and any other unanimated objects."(Sahih Bukhari)

Zainab particularly liked the hadith amongst all other Ahadith that cited the prohibition of images because of the approach Ibn ‘Abass used in correcting the man. She liked the fact that Ibn Abass understood the plight of the man and he helped him in finding a Halaal substitute. Zainab noticed Fareedah missed a spot in the face so she helped to deface the image completely by shading the spot Fareedah missed. Zainab preferred to buy books that had no images on their front cover. She felt defacing your books did not make you natty.
                Fareedah was in her sophomore year in the notorious department of Chemistry, well by most students’ verdict it was. Zainab was in her penultimate year in the department of Botany. She was retaking a course in Organic Chemistry which students from her department had to borrowed from Fareedah’s department. Zainab could not really understand why she was retaking the course for the second time. It was no news amongst students that there was an invisible conflict between Fareedah and Zainab’s department. Many students in Fareedah’s department often failed the organic chemistry course. There was another course which was also borrowed by Chemistry students from Zainab’s department. It was a course on Taxonomy. In turn many students from Fareedah’s department also had problems with that course. They either failed it or their result was not released, in the end the upshot was the same – the course had to be retaken. Zainab knew her case was one of being the grass in a fight that involved two elephants. She hated being the grass and so did Fareedah. She too was a victim of Zainab’s department. The rift between the two ladies department did not stop them from being roommates and most importantly very good friends. 
                Zainab yawned and stretched her limb on the chair. She liked reading in her Faculty’s mosque. Though it was a make shift mosque. The floors was bare earth but it was fenced with sheets of tarpaulin. It served many purposes apart from its primary purpose of a place observing the obligatory prayers which included being a good reading spot for Zainab. By location it was truly the central mosque since it was at the center of the institution. The mid-semester test was coming up in a few days’ time and Zainab had not really had time to attend classes. It was difficult to attend another class especially when it was from a lower level. Time-tables where not permanently fixed and sometimes it clashed with some courses she was taking at her own level. She had borrowed Fareedah’s note to catch up. She hoped that this time around Fareedah’s department would grant her freedom. Drawing lines and circles and arrows and letters in the name of reaction mechanisms was not her idea of fun.
‘Salaam alaykum, Marie curie’, Fareedah said as she entered the mosque.
‘Walaykum salaam’ came Zainab’s reply indolently.
‘By the way I am no Marie Curie, I’m a Botanist not a Chemist’, Zainab added. This time her voice was crisp.
‘Botanist or herbalist?’, Fareedah said teasingly as she moved towards the desk where her friend sat.
‘Na you sabi,’ came Zainab’s reply.
 Suddenly a lady clad in a stripped tight long sleeve turtle neck top with an orange pair of pants came into the mosque. She had on a small transparent white scarf on her head which only covered half of her head making it look like a convertible.
‘Salaam alaykum please where can I get some water for ablution?, came the tiny voice from the lady, as she looked at Fareedah. Fareedah turned away in disgust and mumbled ‘walaykum salaam’ in a diminutive voice that the lady couldn’t hear. Fareedah snubbed the lady. The lady feeling embarrassed left the mosque in a flash.
‘Ukty Zainab did U see that? ‘
‘Can you imagine someone coming to the mosque dressed  like that….’.
‘She could not even cover her hair properly….’
‘and is it the right time to observe Solatul-Asr….’
‘… in less than hour the sun would soon set’.
‘Ehnnn,  it is truly the end of time. People don’t have taqwa. Can you imagine….’
‘Fareedah!’ Zainab said in a husky voice. She breathed in and out and mumbled some words as she shook her head.  Fareedah could read Zainab’s lips. She had made the dua to be said when one was getting irate. Zainab had sought refuge in Allah from Shaytan the accursed one.
‘Fareedah Olaide’ Zainab said calmly this time around. Fareedah looked surprised. It was only on very bizarre for Zainab to call her full name.
‘Fareedah, how soon you forget. Don’t you know that lady was just like you’. Zainab said turning her position in the hard chair in such a way that she could look at Fareedah properly straight in the eye.
‘Just like me?...’
‘How?.... in what way…?’, Zainab asked looking befuddled.
‘Yes, just like you’ Zainab said even more confidently corroborating her statement.
‘Don’t you remember when we first met. Then, you were in the pre-degree science program. It was at the Sisters’ seminar event and you came in looking like you were a contestant for MBGN. There was no available space to sit and you were feeling awkward already because of the way people stared at you. Even though it was a female only event. You still got that look that you were not welcomed…’ Zainab said
‘I was not welcomed, didn’t you see their eyes? I was petrified. It was as if they wanted to devour me. I had never felt so scared in my life. It felt like I was an outcast. I wished the floor would open and swallow me that day. I felt I was in the wrong place.’ Fareedah added
‘I know, roomie. I really understood how you felt but then do you remember I came to you, held you by your shoulders which if my memory doesn’t fail me was bare and guided you to a seat at the back.’, Zainab continued as she zipped  up the sleeves  on the left hand of her Jilbaab.
‘I was so surprised that anyone there could be so kind to me and that is why I am so glad that you’re my roomie. You’re so bea-you-tiful...’ Fareedah interrupted.
‘Bea-you-tiful? What does that mean?’, Zainab queried.
‘It means you’ve got a beautiful character.’ Fareedah riposted.
‘May Allah make me better than you say I am and forgive me for what you don’t know about me,’ Zainab said as she blushed. She had tried to conceal it but it was apparent.
‘Fareedah, if you remember that day, I didn’t condemn your dressing contrary I praised you for attending the event. Most pre-degree science students hardly attend religious events. The excitement of being in a higher institution gets into their head. They have forgotten that their names are only written in pencil and it could be erased easily, they are  not fully fledged students of the University yet. But there you were that day attending an Islamic event. I really admired that about you.’ , Zainab said as she rested her chin on her hands. Her elbows rested on her laps and her hands where in a lock. Her posture provided a good support for her chin to rest comfortably on of the back her hands.
‘I was so surprised you treated me that way, you’re different….’,Fareedah said as she rolled out a  mat on the bare earth.
‘I’m not different, I was just practicing what Islam taught me’, Zainab interrupted.
‘Do you remember the hadith, in Sahih Bukhari that the Rasul said…’
‘Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam’, the two ladies said in unison.
‘The best among you are the best in character ' , Zainab concluded.
‘Now, Fareedah I want you to reflect on what happened some moments ago. Look at that lady that came into the mosque and also look at yourself a few years ago when you came into that hall during the Sisters’ seminar. Is there any nexus? ’ Zainab catechized.
‘Yes, I was just like her’, Fareedah replied soberly,  as she looked down, staring at the design on the mat she sat. She could not look at  Zainab in the eyes.
‘Fareedah, do you remember how you whined so much about the way you were treated that day by most of the sisters at the event and now look at what you did to that lady who wanted to come and observe Solah’ , Zainab  continued.
‘Do you know the verse that scares me most in the Qur’an?’ Zainab asked. It was a rhetoric question but then someone had to break the silence.
‘What verse is that?’, Fareedah asked raising up her face to look at Zainab.
‘The first verse of Suratul Muhammad…’
‘Allah says: ‘Those who reject Allah and hinder (men) from the Path of Allah. He will render their deeds vain’
‘I don’t want to be the one to hinder people from Allah’s path, I don’t want to be the one to stop people from becoming better Muslims because of the way I treat them. I don’t want my deeds to be lost, or to be in vain. Look at the Seerah, a lot of people accepted Islam because of Rasul’s character. He did not have to convince them in believing in Allah. His character was enough.’ Zainab said with so much verve.
Fareedah looked at Zainab in awe. She did not know which one made her marvel at Zainab, the content of what she was saying to her or the fact that Zainab had the potential to become a great orator, She imagined Zainab giving them a lecture during a Sisters seminar event rather than having a male lecturer after all the sisters’ seminar was a female only event.
‘Walahi, I have never thought of that ayah like that’, Fareedah said looking stupefied.
‘May Allah forgive me, I hope I get a second chance’, Fareedah added.
‘Don’t worry Inshaa Allah you would get a second chance’. Zainab said as she handed over Fareedah’s organic chemistry note.
‘By the way, next time just buy a book with no image on the front cover’ Zainab added.
‘I wanted too it’s just that you can hardly find any books with no images on the front cover,’ Fareedah retorted.
‘I think I know what gift I would get for you for Eid’, Zainab said smiling. The Eid-ul-adha festival was around the corner. Zainab had concluded that she would give Fareedah a copy of the book ENJOY YOUR LIFE by Dr. Muhammad Al-Arifi’. It was an excellent book on good character.
‘What are you going to give me? Please tell me?’ Fareedah implored.
‘That is for me to know and for you to find out’, Zainab replied in a girlish way.
‘Haa Ukty Zainab, even with your Jilbaab you are still fun to be with, you’re truly different’,
‘Is there any place in the Qur’an and Sunnah where one should not be fun to be with as long as one does not exceed the limits…’ Zainab said,
‘I don’t know why people always have the feeling that once you dress in a way that shows you’re a Muslim you’re tantamount to being dreary’ Zainab continued.
‘Abeg, don’t dull me’ Zainab concluded as the two ladies left the mosque.
                Fareedah gazed at her reflection in the mirror as she used a pin to hold her hijab. She recalled how she often stood in front of the mirror admiring her body. She would pose in all form of postures and ponder if she had the right statistics for a super model. Back then she was so full of herself but here she was now, all covered. She was grateful that Allah used Zainab’s character to make her become a better person. She felt guilty as the thought of the lady she had snubbed in the mosque some days ago in the mosque came to her. She wished she would have a second chance so she could make it up to her. Zainab squeaked as the pin pricked her thumb. There was no one to ask her what happened. Zainab had an early morning lecture so Fareedah was left all alone. The prick wasn’t deep since no blood came out.  Fareedah looked at the mirror and made the dua when one looked in the mirror. She liked saying the dua because it linked one’s looks to one’s character. She wondered if all the beautiful women in the world said that dua when they looked in the mirror maybe they would both be bea-you-tiful and beautiful. ‘How wonderful that would be?’, Fareedah thought. But she knew better. It was intermittent to see a physically beautiful woman with beautiful character.
‘Salaam alaykum, sister, why don’t you come sit with me’ Fareedah said. She shifted her position on the seat to provide space for a lady standing beside her. The lady was wearing a tank top with a skirt which barely covered her knees. Flabbergasted the lady turned to look at who had said the Teslim to her. She could not believe it when she saw it was the same person who had treated her like she was the most sinful person on earth. Even someone that stood nearby was surprised at the scene. Fareedah had spotted the lady earlier as she came into the lecture hall. She felt hopeful and smiled on seeing her. She didn’t know her second chance would come so soon.  The class was a faculty course. She realized that the lady must be in the same faculty as she was but because of the large class she had not known her before.
‘Salaam alaykum,’ Fareedah repeated this time stretching out her hands towards the lady.
‘Walaykum salaam,’, the lady replied as she slipped into the space Fareedah had provided for her still surprised at the kind gesture she was receiving from Fareedah.
‘I’m really sorry about last time, Please forgive me. my name is Fareedah, What’s yours?’
‘I think I’m about to be punked’, the lady muttered. Hoping Fareedah wouldn’t hear.
‘Memunah but people call me Sade’, came the reply from the lady as Fareedah released her grip. Letting go off Memunah’s hand.
The lecturer came in a few moments later. The din in the hall came to a halt as everybody tried to settle down.
‘By the way you’re not about to get punked, after all this is not M-T-V and I prefer  the name Memunah. It’s a nice name.’ Fareedah whispered in such a way that she was sure Memunah would hear. Memunah turned to look at Fareedah and smiled.
‘Apology accepted’, Memunah said as her smiled widened. No doubt today would be a day she would always remember.
Fareedah felt happy within. She was glad her second chance had a good start. Truly Memunah was just like her.

Monday, 3 September 2012


                Aqeel heard the echo from the speaker. He knew that voice anywhere and anytime. He flashed back to his first year at home.  Home, he had referred to the University which had become his alma mater has his home. Back then, by just listening he could tell whose Artist song was playing even if he was just listening to the song for the first time but before he left home he could tell without asking if the reciter was Sheik Al -Shatiri or Sheik Al-Sudais, he could tell if the lecture was being delivered by Mufti Menk or Sheik Khalid Yasin without asking. Home had changed him and he really missed home to. He missed attending Al-Ushra programs; He missed the comedy that often took place during the Q & A section during Halqo classes. He missed the countless numbers of meetings he had to attend; He missed sleeping in the University’s Masjid.  He missed attending Nikkah and Aqiqoh ceremonies. He missed the gist with his brothers about Mandhira Khan. He missed the fact that no one had asked him if he had found Aqeelah. He knew what they meant by asking after Aqeelah. Aqeelah was the name of his potential spouse, who at present did not exist but then He often replied, ’She’s still at the spelling bee.’ He had come up with that excuse after watching the movie titled, ‘Aqeelah and the bee’. ’ He missed the Jihad, He missed home so much and so he was so glad that he had returned, even if it was just a brief visit. He could not wait to get into the hall where the sound emanated from. To be greeted with smiles and hugs and the words ‘Salaam Alaykum’.
                It was the formal event of the annual Jihad week program. The Hall was filled and it was a surprise to see people standing by the windows at the side of the hall. Aqeel was deep in thought as regards getting a spouse. The flash back he just had brought worries about finding a spouse. He smiled as the thought that he might find HER here came to his mind. It was kind of difficult finding a spouse after leaving home. ‘I don’t care if she doesn’t bear the name Aqeelah’, He said in a monologue. Aqeel had actually come to collect his transcript from his alma mater. Getting a job was kind of hard and finding a good job was harder. He had concluded that he had to earn a Masters’ degree to raise his chances of getting a good job. He had sent someone to help him get the transcripts from the Students Affairs Unit, SAU but his contact in school was having a difficult time getting the transcript. His contact had complained that he was often told by the members of staff that he should come tomorrow. In his annoyance, his contact had nick-named the SAU, The department of tomorrow never dies. Aqeel hoped his presence would facilitate is getting of the transcript.      
                Aqeel was impressed at the large crowd he met at the venue. ‘Subhanaalllah, Publicity and Mobilization committee must have done a great job ’. He said. He recalled the oft-repeated complaint of low turnout of people at Islamic events during  committee meetings.  Then he had suggested that if ITEM 7, was well taken care of, automatically that would serve as PRO for the upcoming events. Naturally people would talk about the food they ate and tell those who didn’t attend how they had missed but his idea was never implemented. It was mainly because there were no funds to carry out Aqeel’s idea of ITEM 7 and partly because there was apprehension that people might not be sincere on the reason why they attended Islamic events.  Aqeel entered the hall smiling as he was ushered in. He had envisaged that he would hear calls of ‘GRAND AMO and Salaam alaykum’ simultaneously. He was perturbed at the reaction he got.  A few glances fell on him but they turned away immediately to the direction of the podium. There was no Teslim, no hugs, no handshakes, and no shouts of ‘MY AMO’. ‘Am I not at home… or am I in the wrong school? Aqeel thought.’ When did I become a stranger at home’? He continued. Aqeel looked around the hall; there was hardly any face he knew.  Had he been gone that long? It was just two years, ‘Just two years…’ he muttered. ‘And I am now a stranger…’ He supposed.  ‘…a stranger at home’ Aqeel continued. His rubbed his eyes; they were wet with tears as he walked trying to find a place to sit down. Aqeel could not bear the pain. He decided to come out and BREATHE. The sun was at its zenith. Aqeel decided to find a shade. He noticed the bus which he had often driven when he was the AMO parked under a shade. His face lit up as he saw the bus, which he had nicknamed ‘Agboye on wheels’.  It was part of the duties of the Assets Maintenance Officer to take care of the bus that belonged to the Muslim Students on campus. After all the bus was one of the major assets they had. He recalled the day he had named the bus ‘Agboye on the wheels’. The word Agboye meant understanding in the Yoruba language but it was generally known that the understanding in Agboye referred to the understanding of the religion.
 ‘Salaam alaykum Grand AMO’, Maruf said as he gave Aqeel a bear hug.
‘Walaykum Salaam, Maruf’, Aqeel said with a smile. At least someone remembered him, Aqeel thought. Maruf was a member of the Asset Maintenance committee in his first year,  then Aqeel was in his final year. That was where they had met. Aqeel was not surprised when he learnt Maruf was now the AMO.  He had shown the zeal right from his first year.
Aqeel sat in the front seat of Agboye on wheels. He looked around the bus. It had not really changed. An awkward feeling came over him as all the memories he had shared with the bus flooded his head. Maruf had tried to start the bus but it had refused to kick-start. He got down in a jiffy to check what was wrong with the bus. He was far from calm. He was already late. He was supposed to be at the University’s central Mosque to carry the food meant for the event. Aqeel held the steering with his left hand and asked, ‘Do you remember me or have you forgotten me too?’ He knew he could never get a reply from Agboye on the wheels. He was not James Bond whose car talked to him.
‘Why don’t you check the battery’, Aqeel called out to Maruf who was panicking already. A few moments later they were in motion.
‘Jazakumullahu Khairan’, Maruf said
‘After all these years you still know what Agboye needs to make her work’ Maruf continued. As he revved the engine in his race against time.
‘No wonder you are the grand AMO’, Maruf concluded. 
‘Wa iyyakum’, Aqeel retorted.  
‘Grand AMO?’ Aqeel thought. He had served as the AMO for three consecutive years till his final year and yet with all that in just two years. He had been forgotten. Truly there was no point in doing things to be seen by people and be praised.  Even if it was kind of hard to purify your intentions, one had no choice but to try. What was the point of doing things to earn people’s praise?  That was something that could not even last a few years let alone a life time.  
‘Please just drop me at that junction’, Aqeel said. Pointing to a T- junction some meters ahead.
‘I thought you were coming…’
‘No,’ Aqeel said cutting Maruf short.
‘Need to get some rest,’ Aqeel concluded as he got down from the bus carrying his bag.
‘Are you sure about this, you know you might get to find Aqeelah if you come’, Maruf said smiling wryly.
Aqeel waved his hand indicating he was not interested.
‘See you later then, GRAND AMO’, Maruf said as he sped off.
Aqeel walked to the hostel where he had lived all through his stay in the University. He could not help but think about all that had happened recently.
He pondered on the words of his Lord.
‘While he who will come to Him as a believer and has done good deeds shall have the highest ranks.  Gardens of Eden, beneath which rivers flow, live therein forever; such is the reward of those who purify themselves from evil.’ Q 20:75-76
‘Forever, Reward, Purify and Evil ’, those words kept recurring in his mind. Aqeel sighed  as he trotted on the deserted street that led to his former hostel. He had to purify his heart from the evil of Riyaa so as to earn the reward that would last forever. It was not a nightmare after all. He was a  stranger at home.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


No doubt we must have noticed that the Sun has not been friendly recently. The temperature of the earth surface is sky rocketing. One of the colossal challenges we are facing in this century is global warming and there needs to be a global warning.  A severe warning to be given by scientists and religious scholars on the need to save the earth, to save our home.  Though it may seem there is awareness about it since even celebrities are going green like Leonardo Di Caprio who was involved in the documentary, the 11th hour but on the whole people are still in the dark about this menace.
But how did it all begin after all Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
‘...On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time.’Q2.36
And also Allah says
 ‘He it is that has made you inheritors in the earth.’ Q 35: 39

From the above verses we can see there in the evidence that earth is meant to be our dwelling place, our home and not the Moon or Mars or some other planet. The earth was not like this some centuries ago so who messed things up?  We, humankind did. We that Allah put in charge. We that the creator made the inheritors of the earth. Is this how we will act if we inherited a company from our parents? We are all guilty of making the earth what it is today.  Scientists have laid down the root cause for this situation as the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide let out to the atmosphere by our industries and automobiles. Our fast cars, our luxury life our excessive love for this dunya all brought us this catastrophe. Allah says in the Qur’an:
Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the meed) that the hands of men have earned that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from Evil)’ Q 30:41
 If the global warming situation continues the drastic climatic changes would cause devastating results in seasonal winds, melting of polar ice caps, and rise in sea level and land inundation especially in crowded areas. New diseases would spring up which may be challenging to the medical world.

As described in an article in Science Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems, ‘‘Between one-third and one-half of the land surface has been transformed by human action; the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased by nearly 30% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution; more atmospheric nitrogen is now fixed by humans than by all natural terrestrial sources combined; more than half of all accessible surface fresh water is put to use by humanity; and about one-quarter of the bird species on Earth have been driven to extinction . . . All . . . trace to a single cause, the growing scale of the human enterprise. The rates, scales, kinds, and combinations of changes occurring now are fundamentally different from those at any other time in history; we are changing Earth more rapidly than we understand it. In a very real sense, the world is in our hands and how we handle it will determine its composition and dynamics, and our fate.”
Presently, we are already feeling the impact and effects of this situation. It is not an issue of the scientist alone; every individual has to join hands on saving the earth from global warming. Though it is really going to be tough to save our home,

The Causes
Practically all kind of motor vehicles including cars, buses, airplanes, ships, and off-road vehicles, Chemical and petroleum refineries, Manufacturing facilities, Commercial operations such as dry cleaners, bakeries, and garages. Plants that generate electric power by burning coal or oil are not left out. They all cause global warming since they produce green house gases as the population grows, consumption per individual grows. Technologies are becoming larger too. Thus, the scope of all the activities just mentioned grows too. Without concerted effort to prevent it, pollution and other forms of environmental degradation will also grow.
Visible Effect of Global Warming:
·         Increase in earth’s temperature
Climate models developed by scientists indicate that the Earth’s oceans will warm before the Earth’s atmosphere. This is resulting in sagging roads, sinking pipelines, and rapid multiplication of insects that feed on the state’s spruce forest. Africa’s highest mountain is in Kenya, Mt. Kilimanjaro with its famous ‘‘Snows of Kilimanjaro.” As compared with a 1912 survey, 82% of the icecap has melted. If current rates continue, melting will be complete between 2010 and 2020.Also mountain glaciers in places as far apart as Peru and Tibet are also melting shows Peru’s Qori Kalis. This glacier shrank
33 times faster between the years 1998 and 2000 than it did in 1963 to 1978.
            Another visible effect is the ozone layer depletion. This will be discussed in details later.
Carbon dioxide- More than just a greenhouse gas.
CO2 is the major greenhouse gas accounting for more than 50% of the current warming when all greenhouse gases (except water vapor) are added together. CO2 does not powerfully absorb infrared radiation. However, its concentration at 370 ppm is much higher than other
Greenhouse gases. It is also persistent, with an atmospheric lifetime of over 100 years. Human activities emit more than 6 billion tons (5.4 billion tones) of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.
Carbon dioxide sources
Worldwide the major source of CO2 is fossil-fuel combustion (coal, petroleum, and natural gas), contributing about 80% of anthropogenic CO2. Coal has the greatest carbon content among fossil fuels, and emits more CO2 when burned than petroleum does. Natural gas emits the least CO2. Coal-burning electric power plants are the major CO2 sources in many countries from the United States to China and India. Petroleum-burning motor vehicles contribute about 25% of the CO2 in the United States.  Deforestation contributes too because when felled trees are burned, their stored carbon is released as CO2. At the same time, deforestation leaves fewer trees to take up atmospheric CO2. Trees that are grown on a sustainable basis make no net CO2 contribution. In sustainable growth, as much tree biomass is grown as is harvested on an ongoing long-term basis.  Natural CO2 sources include releases from oceans and land, and plant respiration.CO2 is a waste gas respired by animals, plants, and many bacteria. Some people sometimes express belief that an increasing human population breathing out CO2 is the reason that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing. This is not true.
            The major reason for increased CO2 is fossil-fuel burning and, secondarily, deforestation.  CO2 is also an acid precursor. In the presence of atmospheric moisture, part is transformed to carbonic acid. CO2 reaching water bodies is converted into carbonic acid, bicarbonate, and carbonate. Carbonate accumulates in shells and coral, and eventually in ocean sediments.
There is concern that, because oceans are such a large sink for CO2, the pH of ocean water may eventually decrease enough to damage ocean life. This is an area of active investigation.
·         Methane (CH4)
Methane (CH4) is a simple hydrocarbon gas accounting for about 20% of the greenhouse effect. It is second in importance only to carbon dioxide. Its atmospheric concentration is only 1720 ppb or 1.72 ppm. This is a level more than 200 times lower than that of carbon dioxide but molecule for molecule, methane has almost 25 times greater ability to absorb infrared radiation from the Earth than carbon dioxide. Fortunately, it has a much shorter atmospheric lifetime, about 12 years.
Methane sources
Agriculture is a major anthropogenic source of methane. Domestic ruminant animals, especially cattle and sheep, emit about 15% of all methane. Rice paddies produce methane too. Landfills produce almost as much methane as agriculture. The anaerobic bacteria within landfills degrade organic wastes such as food, paper, wood and plant debris. By themselves
Other sources are methane leaks during coal mining, and flaring of natural gas from oil wells. _ Natural methane sources include Arctic tundra and wetlands where anaerobic bacteria break down organic material. Tropical termites release methane as a result of their symbiotic relationship with microorganisms; so do millipedes, cockroaches, and scarab beetles. Tropical insects or those living indoors, for instance, cockroaches, produce especially large amounts.
Other greenhouse gases
The synthetic chemicals, CFCs, are potent greenhouse gases, but the Montreal Protocol has banned CFCs, and they may become insignificant as greenhouse gases. The per fluorocarbons (PFCs) are byproducts of aluminum smelting and are also used in semiconductor manufacture. Some other industrial chemicals are potential greenhouse gases but these are under control.
The Ozone layer
The lower 10 km of our atmosphere is called the ‘‘troposphere.” It is the atmospheric layer within which we live. The troposphere contains about 90% of all air molecules. The stratosphere lies just above the troposphere, 10 to 50 km above Earth. Although it contains but 10% of the atmosphere’s air molecules, it has 90% of its ozone. Only 10% of ozone is in the troposphere. Stratospheric ozone absorbs more than 95% of the sun’s UV radiation, which would otherwise reach and damage human, animal, plant, and microbial life. In the stratosphere there is an ongoing natural cycle in which ozone is formed, destroyed, and reformed.
Reaction 1. The energy of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation breaks diatomic oxygen (O2) into single oxygen atoms (O).
O2 + UV radiation → O + O (oxygen atoms)
Reaction 2. An oxygen atom reacts with O2 to form ozone (O3).
 O + O2 → O3
Ozone Depletion
CFCs, halons and related chemicals are released at ground level, and later reach the stratosphere. There, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light breaks them down releasing chlorine and bromine atoms. Chlorine and bromine lead to stratospheric-ozone destruction. Less ozone means more UV radiation reaches Earth. More UV light increases the risk of adverse effects on:
• Plant growth on land and phytoplankton growth in oceans and other waters;
• Animal skin, eyes, and immune system.
Figure 8.2
Reaction 3. UV radiation dissociates an O3 molecule into O2 and one oxygen atom.
 O3 + UV radiation → O + O2
Reaction 4: Remaking ozone.
 O + O2 → O3
Destroying ozone with CFCs
CFC-12 (Freon) is the best-known CFC. Its formula is CF2Cl2. Below are reactions that result in ozone destruction.
Reaction 1.
            CF2Cl2 + UV radiation → CF2Cl + Cl (single chlorine atom)
Reaction 2a.
Cl + O3 → O2 + ClO (chlorine monoxide)
Reaction 2b.
ClO + O → Cl + O2
Net reaction of 2a and 2b is:
Reaction 2c.
 O3 + O → 2O2 (the ozone has been destroyed)
One ClO molecule can catalyze the destruction of many thousands of ozone molecules. Chlorine is eventually converted to a water-soluble chemical such as hydrogen chloride (HCl), which can then be deposited from the stratosphere.The ozone depletion observed so far, is due to only a small fraction of the CFCs already in the atmosphere. Even when-and if-production of CFCs is completely stopped, their maximum effect will be felt decades in the future. They are waiting up above us like a time-bomb.

Making your Deen Green
Muslims have ignored this part of their deen.  Our emphasis in schools, khutbahs, lectures, Islamic courses is primarily on rituals, on spiritual growth at the expense of this very practical aspect of Islam. If we believe that everything belongs to Allah and that we are just transiting then we have to treat the earth as His amanah – a trust of which we are the guardians, the khulafah. We need to approach science with Tawheed.
 Abu Sa’id Khudri reported that Allah’s Messenger said:
The world is sweet and green and verily Allah is going to install you as vicegerent in it in order to see how you act.”(Muslim)
So many hayat of the Quran are devoted to reflecting on nature. If we cannot take care of the gardens of earth, how can we aspire to live in the garden of Jannah?

Look at our state today? We have become so caught up in the consumerism, in gratuitous consumption, that we do forget that we will be held accountable in front of Allah for all our deeds.  We look for convenience over doing what is right.  This has caused disequilibrium in the balance that Allah has created and we see the consequence is the excess in the developed world and the deprivation and hunger in other parts of Allah’s world. Have we forgotten this verse?
‘O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah love not the wasters’ Q 7:31
According to a hadith narrated by Tirmidhi, “The worldly comforts are not for me. I am like a traveler, who takes a rest under a tree in the shade and then goes on his way.” So let us use the symbolic tree for shade, to nourish our self, but let’s also follow the Sunnah and leave the symbolic tree intact so that the next traveler can use it. What are we going o leave for the unborn generations?
When man acts, instead of a trusted custodian and architect of the earth, as its most dangerous destroyer, driven by greed rather than need. Then the result is havoc. We are obliged not to do injustice to the rest of creation.  These will be witnesses for or against us on the Day of Judgment.
Dr. Soumaya Pernilla Ouis, a senior lecturer at Lund University, Sweden, coined the phrase Islamic eco-cosmology.  The idea is that nature in itself is Muslim; that we look around us and recognize every organism as our Muslim fellow being. That really changes the relationship, doesn’t it?  We know that everything from thunder to ants hymn the glory of Allah, all beings therein, declare His glory. Allah says in the Qur’an:
There is not a thing but celebrates his praise: and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory. Q17:44
If we look back at our heritage, the principles of reuse, recycle, clean energy are NOT new – “Muslim potters heated their kilns by burning fruit husks, fruit stones, pine-cones and vegetable waste. Millers ground their corn in mills turned by the wind. Both windmills and animals were used to lift water into irrigation channels.”  The industrial uses of tidemills and watermills in the Islamic world date back to the 7th century.  As Muslims let us not make the same mistakes that some developing countries are making. This is the importing inappropriate technology, setting up industry without studying the environmental ramifications.  We have the opportunity to inculcate Islamic injunctions into eco-consciousness, and to be leaders saving our planet, our home.
The book ‘RECYCLE’ by Soumy Ana is a must read for environmental conscious Muslims. She tells us how to save our home in a story format. In a way we can relate to. The major themes involved in earth’s protection are Conservation and efficiency. Measures in conservation include encouraging electric utilities to use ‘‘co-generation” to allow more of the energy that they produce to be used, and developing more energy-efficient industrial motors and household appliances. Many simpler measures are important too. One is improving appliance circuits so they don’t draw current even after they are turned ‘‘off.” Developing more environmentally compatible energy sources is also critical. In addition, because trees sequester carbon we need to prevent further deforestation and promote the planting of additional forests.
Surely the ingenuity that has produced all this substances that has caused these problems can devise ways of disposing the waste they create: the problem is neither of science nor technology but of sociology and ultimately of Politics. Let us save earth because it is the only home we have.

P.S. This write-up was published in the maiden edition of KNOW! magazine, a publication by Pure and Applied Sciences Muslim Students Association. Other contributors to the write-up include OLAYIWOLA MUSTAPHA , KHALEEL ADEYINKA and MIFTAUDEEN ODELEYE 

Saturday, 11 August 2012


 So here is the sequel to CRYING IN THE RAIN


                I do not like it when I have to fight a battle with an old enemy especially when that battle fought in the past was really tough.  That enemy for me is MUSIC. You would inevitably listen to the Most Useless Subject in Class (MUSIC) and no doubt you would be affected. The OBS (ORIENTATION BROADCAST SERVICE) is the source of most of the music you’ll get to listen to in camp. A lot of us refuse to join the OBS crew because of the fitnah of music (remaining in the comfort zone) without realizing we only make things worse. May Allah bless Abdul-Hafeez Oyeniran (SCHOLAR) wherever he is. He was the only Muslim in OBS in our camp in Asaya, Kogi state. Though I tried to join but the guy in charge of recruiting was a non-Muslim and I knew he realized the effect of having me and scholar on board so he just kept telling me to come back. I didn’t need anyone to tell me that I wasn’t going to be a member of OBS crew though ‘Scholar’ needed me badly and he wasn’t shy to admit it. When in a ‘sticky ‘but necessary job for Muslims like being in the OBS it is important that at least you are two. So you can strengthen each other. I remember the first Friday in camp when I met the guy in charge of OBS and sent him some Nasheed from my phone. The guy said this will be the first an Islamic song was played in Asaya camp, can you IMAGINE! Whereas you would constantly hear their songs being played on air every day of the week even during solah. There was one Friday that the whole camp hardly knew that that day was a Friday (Everyday looks practically the same since it is the same routine except Sundays). I myself was almost late for Jumah. I was in PET (Peer Educators Training) class and our facilitator had not rounded up the class. There was practically nothing on air played by the OBS to signify that it was a Friday, whether a Nasheed or even an announcement that Jumuah starts by 1.30pm. I was wondering what ‘Scholar’ was doing I knew things were not that easy for him at the OBS being the only Muslim but then I realized the PRO hindered him.  He was playing a Nasheed and suddenly the guy in charge of recruiting OBS crew members came in to the studio in a rush and suddenly stopped what was playing. He said the PRO was close to the studio and she had often called him to stop playing Muslim songs in the past. That guy was practically scared of her. I know there were a lot of things scholar did for us, the sacrifice he made for us. He was among the few brave ones to leave the comfort zone even when he knew the risk involved and it was no surprise when many Muslim officials in camp wanted to meet the only Muslim in OBS crew. The events made me recall ATA (Alli Taofeek Adewale) and MAKO (Abdul-Malik Olanrewaju Mudathir). Those of us who are avid attendees at Wednesday, Al-Ushra program know these guys are regular newscasters. I wondered if they had any idea how important and useful was their duty to the deen.
                The population of Muslims in my camp was not up to 200 out of a total of over 2000 corps members deployed to Asaya camp. Do you know what that means?  That means from all the higher institutions in Nigeria; LAUTECH, ABU, MAPOLY, KADPOLY, UI, OAU, UNAD, UNAB, FUTY, UNIBEN, FUTM, ETC.  LESS THAN 10% ARE MUSLIMS!  in Asaya. I cannot find a word to qualify how sad this fact is and how VERY IMPORTANT every Muslim who is in a higher institution, no matter how upright in the deen the individual is, that person is VERY IMPORTANT TO ISLAM’S DEVELOPMENT.
                From the second week in camp, you’ll be having social nights every night, Miss hot legs, Mr. Macho, Miss NYSC and the popular CAMP FIRE NIGHT. Well may Allah bless the individual who thought of the name PARADISE NIGHT; there could not have been a better name.  Well it is best to avoid all the social nights particularly the fire night. Not to worry MCAN would organize a better substitute, with Qur’an / Quiz competition. Games anything Halaal and fun and about item 7, don’t bother yourself with what they would serve in camp fire night. Any Muslimah is a better cook than a non- Muslimah (Ask anyone who had is orientation in Asaya, Kogi state).It is important that you avoid watching live porn on your way to your hostel after the fire night and you will be fortunate if you have a camp commandant that has sense and wouldn’t allow evil reign like my camp commandant, Capt. Tumaka, who said to potential porn stars, ‘SEPARATE YOURSELVES’, yet they were reluctant to obey the command.

                Even though, I am grateful that I am a graduate, after all many of my colleagues are still in school doing extra. I do not think I have once thought of it has a great feat. (It is not like I’m a Hafiz or a Muhadith) It is ridiculous how arrogant some of us can be, we are pompous to the soldiers, to our fellow corps members (I attended a University, you attended a Polytechnic, Do you know how many years I spent in Med. School?), to NYSC officials. I don’t know why all of a sudden we just grow wings. Sometimes we can be proud in a good way or say we’re graduates jokingly but it is so annoying when we are serious about it. It is bad to look down on others.
Narrated AbuHurayrah: ‘The Prophet said… No, pride is disdaining what is true and despising people. (Sunan Abu Dawood);

                The fact that there are few Muslim corps members is enough worry. It is suicidal when a lot of us decide to stay in the comfort zone.  We are afraid to step into the rain not knowing we are just paving the way for a storm, a storm that even the shelter can NOT protect you from.  By the second week in camp there would be many activities to be involved in. Don’t be passive, from the skill acquisition to other groups like the MDGs, PET, ICPC, CBN, etc. It is paramount we join one of these groups and use it to contribute our quota. I would particularly want to emphasize on the PET and MDGs program. That is where I think Muslims are most needed, at least for now. The MDG helped Abdulatif Olaide Osinubi become one of the best corps members in Oyo state during the just concluded P.O.P.
PET (Peer Educator Trainers)
                The PET program is the National RH & HIV/AIDS Prevention & Care Project through the NYSC. A lot of corps members are always happy when PET facilitators come. The mentality that they’ve come to share condoms is there and somehow you cannot blame people for thinking like that. That’s mostly what HIV/AIDS program teach. The concept of being chaste for Allah’s sake is lost and it is the fear of STIs that people are worried about.  I was reluctant to join the PET program. I didn’t want to leave the comfort zone but then I thought of the Idea of Islamizing the knowledge I would gain there.  I thought of Dr. Muhammad Al-Rafi, his book ENJOY YOUR LIFE was a practical example of Islamizing mundane knowledge. He Islamized the book HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE by Dale Carnegie. The PET program is a five day intensive training program and I mean INTENSIVE. You will need to sacrifice and be patient. You will learn some things as opposed to the principles of Islam. You will have to deal with issues like female circumcision as opposed to FGM, Teenage pregnancy, but also you would learn Life skills like negotiation skills, Decision-making skills, and Goal-setting skills. Etc. Do not let the rumor that those who join PETS are sent to the village scare you.

The Millennium Development Goals has two components. The FACOR and the MAC components. I would advise you join the FACOR component because that is where one deals with family matters and that is where we really needed Muslims.

  It is no news that Muslims are the endangered species and as a Nigerian Muslims with the advent of BH. It would be very unwise not to practically no anything about your deen and also update yourself with current events. In Asaya a lot of things happened that made me realize the journey ahead is long. Engr. Abass Alade was right. You see the Nassara in terms of planning they are light years ahead of us. From the parade ground to the trainings they are the dominant factor and you feel like you were in primary school again where you were forced to recite and memorize those hymns instead of the Qur’an or Ahadith. The soldiers might come and disturb you about you shaving your beard, or mock you seriously, whatever you do DON’T LOSE UR COOL and do NOT compromise provided you are not disrespectful NO ONE CAN DO YOU NOTHING. Your platoon members come and ask you that is true it is in your Qur’an that if you kill a non-Muslim you would be given seven virgins Here your brain needs to be working right. Remember don’t lose your cool, no matter what. It would be a great help if you have a good phone with applications like the Qur’an pro. The verse ‘There is no compulsion IN RELIGION…’ Q2:256 is a verse you should never forget and do not start finding faults in Christianity (it doesn’t really get you anywhere). Tell them about the Islam the media never told them. Tell them about Islam based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah and with the understanding of the righteous predecessors and you never can tell someone might accept Islam through you.
                The issues of pictures is another challenge you would face and sometimes you would be seen as an extremist (even among Muslims) if you do not take pictures.  Funny enough all photographers were banned from all camps in the second week. One thing one has to remember is that Allah is AL-HAKIM, so it is wrong to apply your logic here on the benefits of Photography though sometimes you might find yourself in very sticky situations just do the best you can. But then, there’s a Halaal substitute, MAKE A VIDEO (except you are Abu Naasir) instead if you are really concerned about keeping those memories.
                 It is important one understands this verse:
‘O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).’ Q49:13
No doubt we are from different backgrounds and even sometimes making a decision would prove more difficult than usual but then avoid the concept of Yoruba Muslims, Hausa Muslims, reverts, and all that crap. We’ve already got more problems that we can handle don’t create more problems.

May Allah bless Muhammad Bashir a corps member from an earlier batch. He has that effect of talking to you and you feeling touched. A lot of us who are posted to villages where there is no electric power, no network, no basic amenities. We all activate Ghost kopa mode. WE RUNAWAY! Muhammad Bashir made me really wish to be posted to a village because I envied him so much. I thought of the rewards he was gaining. The Jihad one could do during eleven months could surpass all the struggles you ever did while in school. I imagine it has been your peak period like a graph if your scales of good deeds where plotted.  A sister in Kogi state single-handedly built a masjid, can you imagine the reward she would be earning. The village Muhammad Bashir is having his PPA is a place where the inhabitants are fetish but Alhamdulillah, Allah is changing that place through him. The mosque they had was a place for cattle to go and defecate since no one prayed but now people observe their solah and whenever he is not around the resident of the village cannot wait for him to return. Some of his students have become Muslims through him. He even saved a woman from losing her marriage when she refused to heed to her Husband’s call because she was not in the mood even though she admitted loving her husband. He followed her home and explained to her husband.  Some moments later the couple came to his house to show their appreciation and I tried to imagine the smile when the husband said, ‘Now I know my wife loves me. ’. When you are posted to the village you are practically treated like a god. No doubt there are challenges like my friend Muhammad Bashir was brandished with a sword by a man who said Muhammad must marry his daughter since she had decided to become a Muslim. My friend is not interested in marrying the man’s daughter but in her becoming a Muslimah.  I beef those who are posted to the villages because they have great dawah opportunities. A whole community could practice the religion just because of you. Imagine the REWARD! But then, there is usually the problem of continuity, many a time someone like Muhammad Bashir comes to make that change but then after their service year, that is the end no one to continue the good job and before you know it the people are back to their old evil ways and that is one major problem the MCAN is facing. We have three batches in a year. If we sit down to plan well we can proffer a solution to this problem. No doubt it is a great challenge to serve where there is no power, no network, no standard bathrooms but that is the sacrifice we have to make and if one is posted to that place and you are alone, one’s mind begins to think of crazy things and it would not be a surprise if you hear that someone who you had seen as a pious brother impregnated a girl in the village, or a sister got pregnant. I would be very real here No doubt the MCAN has the power to influence PPA, what we ought to do is pair brothers who are compatible it’s better if they are from the same institution and send them to the same place. That way they can both make the necessary positive change and also be a watchdog for each other’s Imaan most times if you send someone to a single place. You are putting his faith in jeopardy and you are most likely going to make things worse than they appear. How will it sound if the community start saying, ‘don’t mind those Muslim brothers all they know is how to impregnate our girls’. The same can be applied for sisters. 
                It was after Fajr Solah and also the last day of camp. Most of us where in our khaki already. Some of us where worried about where we would be posted to after all today was another ‘day of judgment’. Amir Jamal stood in front of us and told us that there was a revert amongst us and he was going to take the shaadah. My eyes lit up, I was excited so I was going to witness someone take the shaadah, first hand, right here in my presence. ‘KINGSLEY OTAMINI’, that is a name I do not want to ever forget. I heard him repeat after the amen the beautiful words ‘Ashhadu an la ilah illallahu wa ash-shadu anna Muhammadan rasululllah’. Kingsley Otamini is from Rivers state and he read Estate Management from Rivers State University of Technology, (RSUST). I felt elated when that I taught him to say walaykum salaam, I wish he was posted to Ladoja  but his PPA  is in Kabba. I know he would meet wonderful Muslims there to teach him the deen. Amidst all the joy felt at witnessing someone taking a shaadah. I knew a lot us do not know how to deal with reverts. When Kingsley said his name, immediately a lot of people where asking for his Muslim name. ‘Gosh! The guy just became a Muslim, give him some space’ and I don’t know where we got the impression that everybody must choose a new name, did Umar bn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) pick a new name when he became a Muslim?   I flashed back to when I was in the shelter, I cannot  recall an  Al-Ushra program where the topic was on how to deal with the reverts. A lot of us that morning were eager to collect Kinglsey’s number I wondered how many of us would truly follow up that call. How many of us would truly be there for him when he would need us the most. 
                I pray Allah forgives me and makes this write-up useful and help us to serve Him by serving the nation.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


                I can recall looking at the clouds thinking they were solid ice floating in the sky. I thought the Sun would melt the clouds which in turn lead to rainfall. That was me, some few decades ago.  That was me before learning the water cycle in school.  Me, when I was carefree.  Me, when the challenges I had did not last more than a few days. Me, when I was innocent. I now understand why Peter Pan never wanted to grow up. The hardest thing I have ever done (and I am still doing) is growing up.  I had an idea of what happened to people when they left the shelter and I nursed the fear of what might happen to me when I leave.
                The first time I left the shelter was during my IT; one good thing about IT is that you get to return to the shelter. There were three people that were my great companions during my IT; they helped me survive via their lectures within that brief period in the rain, that brief period outside the shelter. They were Sheik. Bilal Philips (How to be a better Muslim), Sheik. Jamal Zarabozo (Means of sticking to the right path) and finally Sheik Yasir Qadhi, whom I borrowed the concept of calling the school the shelter. (The piece of the puzzle). But now, I have left the shelter and this time around unlike the first time it’s most likely I don’t return (at least not as an undergraduate). My companions during my IT, served as my raincoat but now I need something better than a raincoat, something that would last much longer. I do not want to cry in the rain cause apart from getting wet, nobody knows you are crying if you are in the rain. Nobody knows the difference between your tears and the rain drops. Why didn’t the shelter prepare me well and then I realized why some of us never try to step up while in school. They must have asked themselves the rhetorical question, ‘What is the point of becoming a better Muslim in school and losing it all after leaving?’ 
                So we have left the shelter, most of us left much unprepared. Truly a lot of us  don’t want to leave the comfort zone. You know when it is raining and you do not have something to protect  you from the rain like an umbrella, or a raincoat and yet you must leave the shelter, you must go out in the rain. A lot of us decide to stay by the side of the shelter thinking the roof of the shelter would protect us. We want to stay in the comfort zone not knowing that that would not stop the rain from beating us. Most of the time we only make things worse by remaining there.
                ‘Why didn’t they tell us?  Why weren’t we told much about MCAN, We came here (NYSC camp) UNPREPARED! ’, I thought. I felt hurt that my predecessors  did not orientate me well even though I had asked a few of them for naseehah.  Most of them had given a one-sided advice and to survive in the rain, to avoid crying in the rain one needs a BALANCED ADVICE. That is what I intend to do with this piece (and I hope I achieve that).  I have decided to tell this in a ‘storo-article’ form and so we begin….
                One of the greatest lessons I have learnt from the NYSC so far is that it contains some events that reminds you of the Day of Judgment and just like Waliyullah Abdusalam said, receiving your call-up letter reminds you of yaomul-qiyamah. No doubt that day would be a VERY HARD DAY because if collecting just a small piece of paper which is not really a letter can make people cry (I mean CRYING, WITH SERIOUS TEARS), can make people run helter-skelter, can make some people smile or laugh. can make a sister say she wish she was married( I heard a sister say this on convocation ground that Friday, even though then I did not really understand why), you did not even remember to ask where some of your friends were deployed to. You are so concerned about yourself, there is no doubt that THE DAY OF JUDGMENT WOULD BE A VERY HARD DAY (May Allah make it easy for us) and let those who think everything ends in the world REFLECT. Imagine what would happen when we collect our records on THAT DAY, a record that did NOT LEAVE ANYTHING of what we have did here in this dunya.  TRULY THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT WOULD BE A DIFFICULT DAY cause true is the words of Allah.
‘And what will explain to thee what the Day of Judgment is? Again what will explain to thee what the Day of Judgment is’ Q 82: 17-18.
For Allah, to repeat it twice then it is a serious matter.  But then, if you know someone  who can assist you and you have good reasons  for hat as regards your state of deployment then do it but remember that  Allah’s will would take place in the end what you’re doing is just striving. It is paramount to know that someone who would truly assist you would not ask you to go and bring any fee but then if things go as planned it is good to always show appreciation. You would come to find out that many people who tried to process theirs did not get what they desired.  When you get your call-up letter and it is not what you had hope for please BE PATIENT and say Alhamdulillahi ala kulli haal (Praise is to Allah in all circumstances).  Try to find out someone you know that is also posted to the same states as you that makes you feel better especially if you’re close to that person. It gives you great relief and you can say, ‘I’m not alone’.  Posting your state of deployment on groups you have joined (like MGS class or Chemistry class...) will greatly help in locating people you know who have been deployed to the same location as you. But before collecting your call-up letter, it is wise to have prepared for camp as regards material things you would need. I personally recommend the list below.

Below  is a list of items that are relevant to your stay at the orientation camp in two categories. Items in Category A must be taken along from home. YOU MUST NOT FORGET THEM. Items in Category B necessities – they make your life more comfortable in the camp. It is advisable that you take these items also along from home else you may have to pay exorbitant prices to buy them at the ‘Mami Markets’ in camp.
Category A
S/N Item
... 1 Original notification of result (or To Whom It May Concern Letter) from your school
2 NYSC Call Up letter
3 At least 8 copies each of 1 & 2 above.
4 At least 12 passport photographs
5 School ID card
6 Medical certificate or marriage certificate and evidence of change of name. (If you want to apply for redeployment)
Category B
S/N Item
1 2 white shorts(make sure it covers your knees very well for the brothers) & 2 white T-shirts
2 Waist pouch/bag (To hold your valuables e.g. phones, wristwatches, etc. during parades)
3 Cup, food flask & Cutleries
4 Mosquito net (very important)
5 Torch and batteries
6 Pen and writing materials
7 Stapler and pins
8 White tennis shoes (preferably a water proof one)
Please note that you do not need to take along more than 2 muftis as you will be required to wear your shorts and T-shits most of the time. Don’t take along expensive personal effects like laptops for security reasons – it may be stolen. Try to ensure everything you have packed can fit into one bag. You can pack all you want when you are going to your place of primary assignment. Above all, hold cash that can last you at least two weeks – you won’t be paid your ‘allowee’ immediately you arrive.

 If you get to be posted to another geo-political zone, then you would have no doubt that NIGERIA, no be small country and realize it is a miracle that we’re one nation because we’re very DIVERSE. You would be on the road for hours unending and if you used to fall sick while travelling by road, I would advise you try to board a plane if you can afford it but travelling by road helps you know places though the situation of our roads might be very discouraging but then it is all part of the experience. It is advisable to travel along with someone you know, that should have been gotten from info through Facebook or any other means of communication. That way you do not get bored or scared during the journey. It is advisable to be in your state of deployment a day before camp resumes. As to where to spend the night, you could go to your camp location, they would welcome you and if not try to locate the MCAN lodge in that state. (This is one good reason why the MCAN and the MSSN need to collaborate especially with the graduating students of a school, a list indicating addresses of MCAN lodge and phone numbers of some MCAN officials should have been known to prospective corps members before they are deployed, this is very important because one could lose one’s deen just because of accommodation for one night. The MGS executives should work with the MCAN officials in their state and organize a proper ORIENTATION or include it as a special topic during any of the MGS program, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT).

  In school we often complain of lack of manpower, we whine about our 10 people are assigned to a committee and only two people show up. Well school is much better, at MCAN level things are… From the camp gate you already see the non-Muslims helping you with filling your forms, stapling them, the way they act as if they had memorized Dale Carnegie’s HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS & INFLUENCE PEOPLE. Before you know it they invite you and a lot of people are thrilled by their hospitality and then you ask ‘where are the Muslims?’ Well, I know where the Muslims are, they are on their beds still sleeping and I pray they wake up soon before things get out of hand( I think things are out of hand already). It is not as if MCAN is not there but the man (& WOMAN) power is SO LOW that such little things which would have great effect is lost.  I think it is important that I state here lest I forget that if you’ve gotten an admission for a post graduate program somewhere and you do not intend to go for it. DO NOT RESUME CAMP, DO NOT EVEN COLLECT YOUR CALL-UP LETTER, and do not worry when you return you would come and serve Nigeria. If you try to ‘sort things out ’,  by running your service year concurrently with the program well ,let me put it this way don’t let the sacrifice of a year make you have a long time regret.

                He turned away; he did not want to see her like that. He did not want to remember her like that. He wanted to remember her the way he had known her in school, the way he had seen her while they were in the shelter. He wanted to remember her in her Jilbaab and not her wearing trousers. “So this is the fitnah of the NYSC”, He thought.  That was what happened to my friend. I don’t know the sister in question but then I understood what my friend felt and then I thought of my sisters back in the shelter and then I could not just imagine them going through this.  There must be another way. I recalled Abu Nassir’s answer to a question regarding the NYSC. He had advised that it  is better one  evaded the NYSC but one has to have it in mind that you would not work in any government parastatal or even further your education here in Nigeria but it would be a grave mistake if all the Muslims evade the NYSC.  We will be indirectly killing ourselves but there’s another way (at least for the sisters ) is to have a Marriage certificate(and we both know this certificate is the only certificate in the world that you are given before you attend the institution as opposed to the normal certificates we have).  So how does marriage save the sisters, well this is the plan. Immediately after your opening ceremony in the camp this takes place one day after camp closes, The PRO would announce that all married women should GO HOME! How cool is that but it is not compulsory because you would still see some married Women who don’t want to miss out from the ‘fun’ things in camp. I recall my bunkmate (a graduate of No Venna University) telling me about a lady in our platoon he intended to go and woo only to find out that she was MARRIED! The guy was disappointed but at least I was glad he had the sense to let her be, but you know some other guys would not do so as the Yorubas will say. Nkan to fe je ni ko je ko gbon (what he wants to eat did not make him smart).  So if you are married it is advisable to try and process your posting to the state you reside in, resume late to camp so preferably on the last day so at least you would not spend more than 48 hours in that camp. To my sisters you would really wish you were married before going to camp especially if you value your deen, ask Ruqoyyah Abdusalaam to confirm my statement.

                 I recall visiting the blind center alongside some members of MSSN LAUTECH’S Welfare committee, I think then Abu Abdullah was the welfare officer. (Even though a lot of us know him as Abu A’ishah but Abdullah is the confirmed one) in Ogbomoso. I envied the Muslims amongst them. It was such a wonderful sight to see them learning how to read the Qur’an using the Braille system but then I envied them. I envied the fact that they would not account for what they have seen, their eyes would not testify against them. ‘How fortunate they are’, I thought. In camp you would see evil, it is practically inevitable and I don’t mean dressing in terms of tight fitted clothing (that one is constant K on parade ground). I can’t count how many times it was announced over the public address system that the ladies should not take their bath outside (in most camps toilet and bathroom facilities are not available. I know someone who tried not to answer the call of nature throughout his stay but on the eight day in camp he had to give in).  Even in the clear day light some people would take their baths outside totally nude. Is it compulsory you take your bath?  Where is the modesty, the shyness? Or did going to school make us MAD?  I don’t know how true it is but I learnt a lady asked a male passing by while she was taking her bath to help her pass the soap, I know it sounds bizarre but after what I have seen in camp I do not doubt it’s possibility. Where did we put this hadith, Narrated by AbuHurayrah:

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Modesty is part of faith and faith is in Paradise, but obscenity is a part of hardness of heart and hardness of heart is in Hell." (Ahmad & Tirmidhi).

 Well if you were a day student  in your secondary school and also attended a non-residential University like LAUTECH, then you might be at a disadvantage in adapting to the hostel life but nevertheless you will survive insha Allah. You room might be overcrowded and then your bunk mate and your bunk neighbors are people you practically do not know, They could be cultist, doing drugs, ‘breweries’, smokers of ‘igbo’ , they could be doing anything just brace yourself and try to be smart. Be up very early like around 3a.m. to take your bath in the very limited number of bathrooms. If your camp has a Mosque (I didn’t want to imagine what KSK was going through in Benue), then know you are blessed. The only thing you should do in the hostel is to sleep most especially if you’ve got crazy roommates and no doubt you will have them. I recall my Bunkie saying ‘Mujeeb we no dey see U, where U always dey  go sef?’. I replied I was in the mosque. After all Allah says:
‘And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening seeking his Face; and let not thione eyes pass beyond them seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us one who follows his own desires whose case has gone beyond all bounds’ Q 18:28.
Endeavor to keep your belongings safe, if it is possible to move the very important ones to the mosque do that.

After having said mostly the challenges in camp in this piece. Inshaa Allah the part two of CRYING IN THE RAIN would concentrate on the benefits that the NYSC has to offer to us has Muslims, which sadly many of us were not told or are too afraid to leave the comfort zone to try. Till then inshaA Allah.