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 here...is 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.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


I flashed back as I saw the tall tower as it glowed brightly.  You could not miss it. It was the tallest building in the school. The landmark that gave KFUPM its recognition. Am I really here? I ask myself and then those words come to the surface. Words I had written myself but now it seemed as though someone else did-Words that were inspired by God’s words.
 ‘For those who have learned to love chemistry despite all odds, for it is possible that one dislikes a thing which is good for oneself and that one loves a thing which is bad for one. But Allah knows and we know not’

Those were the words from my post- CROSSING THE BORDER LINE-The Beginning. Words that made me recall my mother’s words a few days before I left-‘Tolu, is this not the Chemistry you did not want to do and now you won a Scholarship with it’, I think she said.  My wife and reminded me of how grateful I should be…after all I never expected to be chosen here… to be in one of the best schools in the region. I did not even meet the requirements. Yes! I did not and I was here, with some of the best brains across Africa and Asia as colleagues. ALHAMDULILLAH RABBIL ALAMIN.
In life there are some actions that serve as the initiation step for a great reaction…Sometimes these initiation step seems insignificant just like how insignificant Umar bn Khattab’s (may God be pleased with him) night walks lead to discovery of  the sincere lady who gave  Umar bn Abdul-Aziz birth. So was how Abass Afolabi Yahaya’s Facebook message to me in February, 2013 seemed.  A message that served as the initiation step which led to many propagation steps for me. A message that facilitated my getting married (the greatest of all the reactions) and that was why when I got married last December, I acknowledged him then, for he was amongst those who encouraged me to do the bravest things have ever done in my life so far.  A message that led me to King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. I will forever be grateful to Allah and then Abass Yahaya. For even till now I wonder why amongst all the people he knew how come he sent me a message to apply to KFUPM. We were not really close in LAUTECH just regular brothers that greeted each other. We did not finish from the same department. It was even later that I knew we lived close to each other in Sagamu. In life we all have people that will serve as a means by which good happens to one and also otherwise. These people one cannot forget them because what they did even though it might seem insignificant even to some of them you, the recipient knows that there seemingly insignificant action was not insignificant. In fact it is the actual opposite. I pray Allah sets right his affairs.
I recalled how hopeless I felt when I saw the CGPA requirement for KFUPM’s application 3.0 on a scale of 4…that was equivalent to 3.75 on a scale of 5. My CGPA, 3.62. I was the guy who crossed the border line in his final year. I did  not even think my CGPA would get me  admitted into the University of Ibadan for a master’s degree let alone WIN A SCHOLARSHIP to study in one of the top schools in Asia. Not even just any course… but CHEMISTRY. I did not need to be told that a course like CHEMISTRY would be very competitive in a school that had the words UNIVERSITY OF PETROLEUM & MINERALS in its name. Worst of all I had not even done TOEFL and GRE. I was tired of everything. I had tried so many things and failed in recent past from essay competitions to scholarship applications like TURKIYE and PTDF and I was going through a lot personally because my Mum was ill then and here I was in Darrul Haqq and was told to apply for a scholarship that logically I should not apply since the odds of me being chosen was almost negligible but Abass’s statement in that message...’IT DOESN’T COST YOU ANYTHING’.  Exactly, it would not cost me anything after all I was no paying any application fee like PTDF so there was nothing to lose. In life when you are on the ground already why fear falling? And that is how I came to apply to KFUPM. Little did I know that the application process was going to be challenging. I never heard of the words Statement of purpose (SOP) till I applied to KFUPM worst of all the only Professor I had amongst my referees did not reply to the recommendation request sent by KFUPM so in the end I had only two referees. My chances of being chosen was already low and now it just got worse. Logically the only person who could increase my chances did not send a recommendation letter.  When I wrote my SOP I had no one to help me read through and it was already close to the deadline. In fact the Dean of Graduate Studies (DGS) had sent me a mail requesting I submit my SOP as it was a mandatory document because the deadline was a few days left. So I submitted my application with practically no hope. I do not even think I prayed that I should be accepted at KFUPM because even though you hear about miracles sometimes you do not think it could happen to you.

I recalled that day in June. It was a few days to my NYSC passing out parade. My fellow corps members and I were relaxing on the field after hours of practicing. We stood there discussing about the future. The future that we did not worry about and in a few days, the reality that we feared would hit us. We would not be corps members anymore. The question of WHAT NEXT? Imaginary hung on our heads like a heavy load waiting to be dropped. We were all afraid because we knew in reality most of us could not answer that question. There would be no more alerts (I never even received an alert on my phone during my service year as the bank NYSC gave me was a ‘bank from the 70s’). Some of us talked about joining the military but we knew like most things in Nigeria you had to KNOW SOMEONE, some of us talked about furthering but the issue of finance came up. We also talked about the girls. We knew the same question that bugged us bugged them too. We knew most of them would be thinking of marriage. For most of us marriage was out of it for now. The reality of NIGERIA hit us. We worried about what would happen, when family members and friends starts asking the dreaded question- ‘So what are you doing now?’. Personally I think that question is rude except if you had an opportunity to offer someone. Why ask a question that would make one feel worse. I did not talk much during most of the discuss as I was still in stupefied by a mail I had received a few days ago. A mail that saved me from the REALITY, a mail that helped me answer the question WHAT NEXT?
May 25,2013,. My mum had just called me to encourage me that things would be better and prayed for me… she knew I was devastated. I had tried so many things and failed. Just a few weeks ago I was about to be retained at my Place of Primary Assignment, Kogi State Polytechnic until the school was shut down due to the killing of a lecturer by some students. Everything seemed to be topsy-turvy. Not long after we spoke my tablet gave a mail notification and then the miracle happened…
Dear Applicant,
Congratulations, your application for graduate studies at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
(KFUPM) has been provisionally approved with the following details:

Was this for real? Maybe the DGS made a mistake? What those provisionally approved mean?...I cannot explain how I felt that night. When I called my mum I am sure she must have felt that that was her fastest prayer answered. Some moments ago we were in tears and now I had called that I was given an offer in KFUPM. There’s something special about a Parent’s love, a Parent’s prayer or rather should I say a Mother’s love and prayer because when I told my Dad I think the first thing he asked was ”How much?’ ‘How much?’, I thought disappointedly…It was the monetary aspect he could think . I would not allow this man to kill my joy. I replied…’It is a scholarship’. I think I could sense a sigh of relief from him. You can’t just compare Fathers and Mothers I thought. However now that I am married I guess I can’t blame my Dad for asking me “How much’. It’s not easy to be a MAN, seriously speaking.
For the next few days I checked the dictionary a few times for the meaning of the words PROVISIONAL and APPROVED and I feared that the DGS would send me a mail saying that they made a mistake but All praise belongs to Allah they never did. My wife(though we were not married then) was elated more than I was…it was probably the best news we had both had in months. She was going through a lot too.  When I called Abass I did not tell him on the phone the good news…I wanted him to see it. I just told him that I could now wait to see him when I get back to Sagamu. In his usual jovial self …he replied, ‘I am not your Hajia now’. I just smiled. It was not until mid-June before I saw the man who Allah used as the initiator in this positive free- radical reaction (I hope).

My mind drifted back to reality as I passed by the powerful beams of light at the bottom of the tower which gave the tower its light I looked at the Arabian dark blue Arabian sky. I was truly here in FLESH and BLOOD. I was here despite my background a border line CGPA. When I wrote two years ago in my post -CROSSING THE BORDER LINE-The Beginning-‘The most important thing is Allah’s blessings even I did not think of it like this. Upon arriving here I learnt of people with very good grades even some first class students who were not accepted. I knew how lucky I was. I know I am lucky but I am glad I was prepared when the opportunity came. I often think of it that if I did not apply to Univeristi Sains Malaysisa, I might not have had my transcript which I used for KFUPM’s application. I know getting here was a challenge but remaining here
Is a greater task. I know I have to do my best. Not just for me, but for people like me, people who believe Suli breaks statement- I WILL NOT LET AN EXAM RESULT DECIDE MY FATE. For them I must do my best and succeed here. May God help me.