No matter how looming the face of a believer is in the shadow of this fleeting existence, there's an assurance of a hidden light awaiting illumination on his life; the worse would be scaling the hurdles to the most-awaited eternal gleams- where there exists no agony. What can be said of a man whose gratifying life costs him his eternal bliss? Or, how bankrupt would a man whose entire existence is on the worship of the wrong deity while he assures himself of eternal salvation be? Adh-Dhikr press undesrstands how important the salvation of every mislim on campus is to the Muslim Students' Society of Nigeria, University of Ibadan branch, hence we deem it fit to schedule an interview with the chairman of the committee that is saddled with this responsibility.
Interview: Rekindling the Hope of Eternal Salvation on Campus
Adh-Dhikr Press: Assalamu 'Alaykum Warahmotulloh Wabarakaatuhu. Can we meet you, Sir?
CRC Chairman: Wa 'alaykum Salam Warahmotulloh Wabarakaatuhu. I am Muhammadu Jaamii Mubarak, the CRC (Convert and Revert Committee) Chairman- a committee under MSSNUI.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Wow! When did you assume the office?
CRC Chairman: Well, If I am exact, I came into the position last year October.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Masha Allah! So, what are the aims and objectives of your Committee?
CRC Chairman: From the name ‘to convert and to revert’, the committee is set up to cater for da'wah purposes. Our major aim is, first, to secure the faiths of Muslims and get them to be steadfast on the path of Islam. There is a concept: "If you are not losing things out there, you are winning". Therefore, if we have people that proclaim to be Muslims by name, by birth and practice, hardly will we lose people to Christianity; then, we can now carry our evangelism out to the public. We have people who don't have a specific faith. They just claim partisanship with any religion, but if we can go out there and tell them about Islam, we would get them into the fold of Islam. Those are our aims and objectives.
Adh-Dhikr Press: So, to make sure the new reverts are in the best environment to practice Islam and for the non-practicing Muslims to be able to practice their religion as and when due, are these the only aims and objective of your committee?
CRC Chairman: Yes, exactly.
Adh-Dhikr Press: What are your achievements since your emergence as the Chairman of CRC?
CRC Chairman: When I got into the office, I saw that CRC needed a lot to take it to where it belongs, so I reached out to former chairmen and even the pioneer chairman, the pioneer chairman mentioned the same thing; notwithstanding, we have recorded some progress. Some of the achievements we have recalled are; As an Imam in Queens Hall, I have an easy access to people planning to go overboard, so I get frequent calls and notifications about anyone who is not doing well in his/her religion. I spoke with some of them, some of them complied and are praying well today while some still remain adamant.
Also, during the last Ramadan, we recorded a Christian converting to Islam, his name is Jamal (formerly Richard). It was during Ramadan when he came to the mosque that he got enticed with Islam. I also spoke with Akin who is on the verge of conversion. I got him during the strike and we scheduled physical meetings.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Good, but this process requires funding. What are the means of financing this committee?
CRC Chairman: To be honest, funding plays a major role in anything one wants to embark on. Money buys you decisions and if you don't have it, you hardly make decisions. The pioneer chairman told me, "You can't effectively propagate a faith if you don't have funding. Ninety percent of people you see out there are proclaiming another faith because of financial and economic challenges. So, if you have the strength, you can use it to achieve whatever you want." So, we don't have standby means of fund generation other than relying on MSSNUI, if we need one or two things. And one other programme boost our financial strenght is Rural Da'wah because people donate for the program. So those are some of the things we leverage on; we don't have any statutory funding mechanism.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Now, who are your working members, and is there any expert in the field of comparative studies assisting you on this project?
CRC Chairman: I am blessed with good people because leaders are mostly delegates and I have people that are capable even though they have been in this field before I came onboard. I was only brought in to lead them and organize the activities. Imam Haneef is very good at Comparative Studies, he does it as his lifestyle. He doesn't need to be in CRC before he executes his talent. So, he is the one building the major foundation of CRC. He has been helping a lot, likewise some other members. We have the former CRC Chairman also who is very good at Comparative Studies and he does his Comparative Studies in Yoruba for easy conveyance of the message. The Former Noibul Ameer also helped a lot, especially for Rural Dawah Planning. There was a time we wanted to meet the former UI Student Union President, Akeju. We learnt that he was a Muslim, so I called Haneef to come together with me so that I could speak with him and do some other things. We talked and have good terms on ground.
Adh-Dhikr Press:: Is there any connection your office has with external comparative lecturers?
CRC Chairman:Yes. We have a very stronghold with the teacher and renowned comparative analyst, Alhaji Dawood Amoo Alaga. We invited him, and he came for our programmes. In the last programme we had, we invited him and he honoured the invitation. We are also planning to invite him for one of our Tuesdays and Thursdays programmes. So, be expecting him.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Are there seminars or plans in training Muslim students who have interest in comparative study?
CRC Chairman: Yes. It is part of what we should do but this is UI. If you want to start something, ninety percent of the students will tell you that their primary assignment is to study and get good grades. So, the mechanism we endorsed and incorporated was the meeting time on every Sunday. The avenue is meant to groom people willing to participate in our course. The effectiveness of two weeks seminars will be low compare to the weekly interactions we have by inviting people with experience in the field of comparative studies. Hence, we will form a formidable family.
Adh-Dhikr Press: As we all know that life is like two sides of a coin. Certainly, there must be a positive and negative side. You have told us about the pros of your committee. So, what are the challenges you are facing in your committee?
CRC Chairman: We are facing a lot of challenges and that's to tell that whenever you are handling anything you must be ready for the challenge. Talking about financial funding, we have a huge challenge. Getting connected with people about our service; like today about two hours ago, I was speaking with the Ameer he told me that someone in his hall went to church on Sunday and he was a Muslim. So how do we know that someone goes through challenges? We don't have coverage for people that need our services. It is only what you know it's going on that you can attend to. This issue goes on in silence. No one will tell you his faith has been renounced unless his close relatives let you know. So, we need people to know us to the extent that when you see something going over the fence, CRC should be contacted.
These are some of the challenges we are facing. It is not easy; I came in when CRC didn't have a structure. Even till today, we still struggle to have a structure and when you don't have a structure, something will be very hard to build. I talked about being the Imam of the Queens Hall. Female Halls need more attention because of the nature of their gender. And part of this challenges is being a student. I need to be proactive; I am a student of Electrical and Electronics. So, I have to be up and doing to maintain good grades and some other assignments. But despite the chores and the challenges, we are still progressing.
Adh-Dhikr Press: May Allah continue to assist you on the project. Yes, Rural dawah is under your committee as you said. What are the updates on it and is there any positive achievement in Rural Da'wah?
CRC Chairman: Rural Da'wah has been the talk of the town. Rural Dawah does a lot. One of the things brought by Rural Dawah is that it makes you know that life is going on elsewhere. We went to Akufo two years ago for Rural Da'wah, students were amazed to discover that the type of settlement still existed in Ibadan. We always try to improve their lifestyles and they are always ready to accommodate us. The last Rural Da'wah we held at Akufo, they still want us to come back because we impacted them. There is always a theme and a Memory Verse for the Rural Da'wah. I was even the one that anchored that two years ago and people were able to learn verses of the Holy Quran. In this course of enlightenment, people donate a lot in cash and kinds like good clothes, caps, and other essential materials.
In Rural Dawah, there is a provision for Open-Air Dawah. The people would have been informed of our motives before getting there, and there is always a huge response to this. People do receive essential materials that are not affordable by them in this cause. Also, we go along with a team of veterinary doctors to take care of their livestocks.
The last thing we do during Rural Dawah is the amendment of their social amenities. Nice toilet was built for the dwellers of the community last time we went there. In short, our dawah is not done with mouth alone but taken into practice. So, we have recorded successes in Rural Dawah and it should get to your notice that people do convert in most of these outings.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Well-done. To cap it up, what are your plans for the nominal and practicing Muslims who find themselves in this secular environment?
CRC Chairman: I do tell my "babies" as I do call them at Queens Hall that this is life and this is a section of life. This university is an entity of the whole universe, you have a purpose here which is to study and get good grades, but this is a fraction of the universe. You have a purpose in the universe as well which is to worship your sole Creator -Allah, to be dutiful to Him and to be fearful of him. So, you need to know that as your primary purpose in life. As for the nominal Muslims, I told them something last week that, they didnt appreciate how blessed they are because they were born into Islam. I was speaking with someone today who's also still on the verge of becoming a Muslim. And he said, “Leave me. Jesus has died for our sins, so I don't want to stress myself.” After all, Jesus has not died let alone resurrecting and other things. But you have to be accountable for yourself. These nominal Muslims see Islam as a burden. So, there is a cosmetic privilege in other religions, especially Christianity, that is not in Islam because it is governed by rulings. It is paramount for everyone to know this: "Because you started as a Muslim you cannot be boastful of it, you dying on the path of Islam should be your ultimate goal".
Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah also said, "The path of Allah is long and we are threading this path like the tortoise, our aim is not to reach the end of the tunnel but we want to die on the path". So as a nominal Muslim, always evaluate yourself.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Masha Allah. Jazaakumullohu Khayran for your time and gesture. We hope you would grant our request another time we schedule a meeting with you sir.
CRC Chairman: (Smiles) Definitely.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Wow, that is nice. May you be rewarded copiously..... Assalamu Alaykum Warahmotulloh Wabarakaatuhu
CRC Chairman: Wa Alaykum Salaam warahmotullah wabarakatuhu.
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