DA'WAH ENLIGHTENMENT: OUR HISTORY
"Whatever Allah wills shall come to pass irrespective of the wishes and plots of mischief makers."
-Professor AbdurRahman OLOYEDE, Chief Imām, University of Ibadan.
The weekly held da'wah sessions of the MSSN, University of Ibadan provide a pedestal for weighing and alloting core recognition to matters affecting the Muslim personalities on campus and the general Ummah. Mostly for the physical gathering, they comprise the Da'wah Enlightenment and Spiritual Night- usually segmented for Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively. On Tuesday, 15th November 2022, the students again benefited from essential jurisprudence tagged "Our History" which was dexterously adjudged by the varsity versatile Chief Imām, Professor AbdurRahman OLOYEDE. Our correspondent has got this to report;
Serving as a preamble, the Chief Imām, University of Ibadan who recognised the need enjoined the congregation to say 'AlhamduliLlah' (The praise is Allāh's) three times after he already gave the opening salutations. The Yoruba lineage conveys that the young may possess as many robes as the old, but will never have the same amount of ragged wears. This informed the decision to present a phenomenal personality to ensure Justice in the recount of the strives and thrives of Islam on the university campus. "Allāh's wills shall come to pass irrespective of the wishes of the enemy, " said the Imām.
While on the discourse, Professor Oloyede availed the history of Muslims on campus from the time it was marked and met with the presence of the operatives such as the drivers, cleaners, gardeners, etc to the present age populace. By 1955, as Allāh Almighty would have it, Islam began taking shape in the Premier University, of course not through a scholar or preacher as there was even none to teach or preach.
The Western Region, then comprising largely Yoruba and other tribes, was headed by Chief AWOLOWO. The Yoruba tribe enjoyed massive socialisation with the colonial masters in most of the three regions. The world war was an eye-opening factor in the rise of nationalism and the request for freedom for the African colonies. The realisation that the white tribe was not so superior accelerated the "moves" for handovers.
Faced with the heat to succumb, it was requested by the governing British body that a capable person be turned in to take up the appointment of the Registrar which was until that moment filled by a white. The proposed and approved personality became Dr. Sabur BIOBAKU (as he then was). Shortly after the relocation of the University to her permanent structure site, the management thought they could start introducing studies and thoughts on globally recognised religions. As intriguing as this sounded, the mode of prayer recognised by the then Muslims was such that would see interruption whenever the colonial masters approached. And when they became out, the Muslims returned to complete their Salah.
As the Muslim population grew, because there was neither holiday nor break for the ‘Eid festivals, Biobaku would organise feasts for the students during those times which would be relished by them during variant times, say leisure periods as lectures and other academic activities were still bound to continue. Through this status quo, the Muslims started identifying with one another and the mingling yielded ripple effect results.
The inception of MSSN started at Yaba higher college but the active participants were secondary school students. At the time the University management disbursed funds for the erection of worship centres, the amount allocated to each party varied and the Muslims got the least which was 8 pounds. The Christian counterpart got around 18,000 pounds. The Dome which doubles as the first Masjid ever in the university community became situated a year after the Arabic and Islamic Studies department was founded.
The building famously remarked as the Central Mosque, UI was commissioned in 1983 by General Babangida ably represented. At this juncture, Chief Imām noted the conviction when Allah says Islam will triumph. Every infrastructural development of this grandiose happened between 1963 -2020. It didn't happen by number. The outshining quality of the pioneers at the forefront was their sincerity. MKO Abiola was also instrumental to all these, the Imam recounted. He promised to give the same amount as the Saudi donor and didn't renege on it. The Muslims didn't encounter any challenge until the new building was completed.
The series of trampling over the Muslims' rights and territory featured barricading of paths to deter praying 'Eid on the assigned ground. This incensed fury and almost necessitated pulling off by the oppressed but for the apologies and measures ensured by Professor Abdul who lined members of the Muslim community at the barricaded arena to guard against the ripping off.
There was also The Cross and Crescent crisis which warranted a top-tier staff to mediate between the two religious parties and caused the concrete fence to be situated so Muslims won't turn their faces to the cross at prayer times.
Accordingly, the Imām remarked that the first "sin" committed by the Muslim was the felling of a tree and the Christians were not lenient on their respite at all. The second offense was due to the resort to appeal to the government that Muslims on campus were being oppressed. The heat of the revolution of the Hijab generated crusades such as Africa for Christ organised in Nairobi, Kenya. It was again led locally in Nigeria at places such as Ibadan, and Abeokuta. Lagos State did not feel much of the heat due to the influence of the then Governor, the late Lateef Jakande.
Another tactic of disregard included slating lecture and exam periods upon Jumu'ah time. This moved Professor Hussein of the Science Faculty who was the Chairman of the Muslim Community took steps that gave birth to the 12-3 pm break from all academic activities on Friday This well applied to all except the Chemistry department owing to a large number of students. Nonetheless, the student was granted the regard to fix a convenient time not clashing with Jumu'ah.
Take home as garnered from the phenomenal lecture remains that to wither the storm, what is more, effective is the adoption of a conciliatory method, not a confrontation strategy. Wrapping up, the Chief Imām reeled out the motivating pieces of advice:
The best way to help oneself as a Muslim is to be assiduous and hard-working. Do not be silent when oppressed. Counter preaching with preaching. Write letters when you suspect undermarking of assessments. Academic, Non-Academic, and Students are the fundamental owners of the community. Be law-abiding and humble. Acquire the best grades to return for lecturing and administrative duties and take up the baton ready to be passed when current employees start stepping aside and taking up retirement. Be prayerful as that is what this time calls for.
Owing the transition from Vice Chairman, UI Muslim Community to Deputy Imam, to Chief Imam, Professor AbdurRahman OLOYEDE doubles as the longest-serving executive of the revered community. Responding to questions posed by the audience, Imām observed that he had always been a truth-sayer and never had wished to entertain hypocrisy perpetrated by selfish interest. He also explained that Alhaji Yagboyaju contributed to the development of the foetus of Shari'ah in the constitution.
He recalled the events of the second republic governance and the rally by the Muslim students that was successful as a wake-up call. He was against the anti-Islam movement instituted by UPM to fuel the election of Bola Ige.
He recognised the fount of MSSN as a training and building ground and advised the student against disunity and deterring from sincerity. He advocated ensuring brotherhood with Muslims from other tertiary institutions. He instructed brethren not to write anybody off and not be apologetic for their conspicuous obedience to Allāh's laws. He preached assertion without aggression, sincerity of intentions, and the need for redressing the saddening situations amongst students.
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