▪︎Says every Da’ee’s goal is to please Allah
‘Asking my children to start social media Da’wah is the right thing to do now’
By Rasheed Abubakar, Fathia Okesola and Sekinah Sulaiman
In recent times, Muslim scholars have extended their Da’wah (Islamic propagation) and activism to social media, educating a large number of netizens, especially the youths who are technologically savvy, about Islam. This trend is gaining momentum globally, and has proved to be efficient and effective in the face of modernity and civilisation.
One of the foremost on the list of Muslim scholars taking advantage of the virtual space for Islamic propagation is a Nigerian-born lawyer-turned-politician, Honourable Dr. AbdulHakeem AbdulLateef, popularly known by many of his admirers as ‘Hon. Iyepe’.
Hon. AbdulLateef has been very active in this voyage since his days as the Commissioner for Home Affairs in Lagos State. After leaving office in 2019, the respected Islamic scholar has dedicated his daily activities to online Da’wah (Islamic propagation), and impacted positively, hundreds of thousands of Muslim faithfuls.
A day will not pass by without this Islamic preacher visiting social media platforms, especially Facebook where he has close to 200,000 followers with a reach of about 2 million other users, to roll out series of educational, informative and soul lifting programmes, such as Adhkaar (supplication), Tafsir (Qur’an exegesis), and many others.
Interestingly, Hon. AbdulLateef adopts a multi-lingual approach, interpreting his works in languages like English, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and pidgin, in an effort to reach a larger audience.
Why Hon. AbdulHakeem Abdul-Lateef deserves to win the Lagos Man of the Year 2018 Award
Also worthy of note is that Dr. AbdulLateef stands out in the league of online Islamic propagators, as he recently introduced three of his children studying in various foreign institutions to join his social media Da’wah cause.
Barrister AbdulLateef is a calm and complete gentleman. This is to the chagrin of his vociferous online critics, who have taken up the job of hurling abusive words at public figures on cyberspace. Emulating Prophet Muhammad, he prays for them and beseeches guidance upon them, without necessarily going into the mud with them.
Interestingly, he is also the co-Imam of Lagos State House of Assembly. Every Friday, he streams his Khutbah (sermon) on his Facebook page which is rendered in English and Yoruba and is being watched by hundreds of thousands of people, with thousands of accompanying shares.
Hon. AbdulHakeem emerges 2018 Lagos Man of the Year Award with landslide victory > Read it HERE
Last Friday, September 18, Muslim News Nigeria Team led by the publisher, Rasheed Abubakar attended a special Jum’ah service at the Assembly Mosque as part of its activities marking the 2nd anniversary of reporting Islam and Muslims.
Hon. AbdulLateef later hosted the team in his office, where he applauded the newspaper’s efforts in promoting Islam and uniting the Muslims using the instrument of the media.
The Prominent Islamic scholar who is at the forefront of promoting social media Da’wah said there are three categories of people in the world — namely; those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder why things happen.
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He likened Muslim News, Nigeria’s most authoritative islamic newspaper to those who make things happen, praying to almighty Allah to bless their efforts with success.
MN: What have your activities been s1ince you left government appointment as a Commissioner for Home Affairs in Lagos over a year ago?
Hon. Iyepe: I have been very busy doing a lot of da’wah. There is something I call FTD, Full Time Da’wah which means, everything I do is about calling people to the path of Allah which is the most important thing anybody can do and I’ve been doing that for over 30 years.
I’m also into businesses. I’m the Proprietor of Al-Farouq Nursery, Primary and Secondary school at Ejigbo, Lagos. The school was established in 1995. So, you can imagine its growth.
I’m also the Proprietor of Markaz Abdullateef Centre for Quranic Memorization. The Centre has produced over 200 hufaadh (memorisers of the Quran) who also speak fluent Arabic. Some of them have graduated from Universities all around the world.
Nigerian Muslim Personalities Awards: How the winners emerged > it HERE
I’m also the CEO of Abdullateef Academy, an online platform to educate people on Islam, Qur’an, and Hadeeth and so on. The academy has about 700 students from 21 countries.
I also established Abdullateef Hajj and Umrah services which was supposed to have kicked off with at least 100 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia if not for COVID-19, which led to the cancellation of International pilgrimage to the Holy land in Makkah.
I’m also involved with numerous NGO’s especially for the emancipation of the poor, welfare of the prisoners, championing women and children right.
More than anything, I’ve also been busy as a family man which you know is another standalone project that is more important than any other project. As you know, its not easy to manage the affairs of a home with 4 wives and numerous children living in the same compound. That can be considered a government on its own with various branches.
The training of children and ensuring that you assist them to paddle their canoe to the harbor of progress is more important and tasking than being the Commissioner of Home and Affairs.
I have over 250 staff working for me in all the aforementioned and I’m in charge of controlling and paying their salaries. But as I’ve mentioned earlier, my job is full time da’wah and I enjoy doing it. Alhamdulillah.
MN: What are the things you missed about being in government?
Hon. Iyepe: What I missed about being in government is problems, troubles, challenges. I missed it because Allah says in Qur’an 90 verse 4, ‘We have certainly created man into hardship.’
There is so much trouble governing the people. There is absolutely no joy in it. It’s full of trials and travails. No one wants to know how much your salary is but everyone wants to take from you, without bothering about your source of wealth.
I miss all that trouble and I love what I’m missing. Then, I also love the fact that there are a lot of things Allah won’t ask me about again because when one remembers what Allah will question you about on the day of Judgement you won’t enjoy a day in government.
Governance is full of problems because the primary essence of governance is to cater for the welfare of the people which Allah will question you about. You’ll be questioned about the unemployed, the poor, the needy, the hungry, the orphan and many more. Most people in government handle it with levity, forgetting about the questioning of the Great day.
Muslims can shy away from politics but we should know that when we’re there it’s a whole lot of responsibility that we must fulfill. You can’t be laughing and jesting. You should shed tears remembering the day you would stand in front of your Lord to give account of what you did in office.
I actually enjoy myself a lot now compared to when I was in governance. I still have responsibilities but then Allah has reduced it compared to when I was in government.
MN: How did you conceive the idea of social media Da’wah and do you think it’s more effective than physical da’wah?
Hon. Iyepe: Without doubt, social media da’wah is more effective than physical da’wah. Although, physical da’wah can’t be ruled out because not everyone has access to social media, I still do a lot of physical da’wah because most of our people are not on social media. Most people will even wonder why Muslim News Nigeriastill prints newspaper in this era but they forget that some people won’t have access to your online news platform. So if you want to reach everyone you have to do what is known as eclectic combination in which you select your client and then select the device they use.
Another instance is a video I did on Surat Nasr, Chapter 110 of the Qur’an which over 2 million people have watched online but if it was physical da’wah, is it possible to gather two million people in the same place at once? The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If Allah guides one person through you, its better for you than the world and everything in it”. I prefer social media da’wah because it is what I term da’wah without boundaries, it reaches everywhere and anywhere. I encourage more people to engage in social media da’wah because of the constraint of moving about that is present in physical da’wah.
MN: We are aware you have series of activities you now carry out on social media, kindly tell us what each stands to achieve, emphasis on Adhkar al-Mathuraat that you started a while ago and what you intend to achieve with them?
Hon. Iyepe: Firstly, I try to do practical da’wah. I do a lot of videos on fiqh topics —ablution, ghusl, tayammum and I still have a lot lined up like istikharah and so on. I want to teach people the practical aspect and make them see how it’s done. Also, after subh, we do Qur’anul fajr because Allah said in the Qur’an that the Qur’an read after fajr is always witnessed by the angels. So, it is to encourage people to watch and follow the recitation and it is just 10 minutes. Then, we take the meaning in both English and Yoruba. We also have the same programme in Hausa and Igbo but that is a page on its own. Recently our Igbo brother travelled to Anambra for family related reasons but as soon as he’s around we’ll continue with it. We just started a new program which is; “The Prophet said” where we read and explain one hadith per day. Then the adhkaar is meant to bring people back from the brink of ruins. A lot of people have been misled in their quest of finding ways to be closer to Allah and supplicate to him. Most people have committed shirk, that is, associating partners with Allah and what most people do is to condemn without teaching them the right way to do it. So, the adkaar is to teach them the correct pronunciation and way by which they can supplicate exactly the way the Prophet did.
Do not listen to those who say you can’t do adhkaar in multitude as some people have nothing to add to Islam yet they want to mislead others. I was talking to someone who holds that view, that, has he looked at it from the angle to educating thousands of people at once? I also gave him the instance of hajj where everyone in the world is saying at once “labaik Allahumma labaik” or when everyone is doing the eid takbeer. Most of them don’t understand the concept of adhkaar that’s why they are against it. I want to encourage people to go live on social media once its time to do adhkaar because in life we learn, unlearn and relearn so that the people can unlearn the wrong form of supplications and learn the correct ones.
Asides that, I also do live question and answer session. I also do ‘Test Your Knowledge’. In this segment, I send a question out and people send in their answers and then I send the correct answer afterwards. I also make sure every physical lecture I hold is live on social media so that people can easily follow. This is so that people can learn the culture of Islam and the way things are easy in Islam.
We are also trying to break grounds on Twitter and Instagram. I need people to put what I do on all social media platforms so millions of people can see it but we have a lot of lazy people these days who when given simple assignments, they can’t deliver. I’m also challenging the youths who know how to write, to transcribe my videos and make it into book form that can be published, bring it to me, I’ll correct it and I’ll be paying you for it, this is another source of income. Also, burning my videos into CD’s and selling them. There are lots of opportunities but people are not taking advantage of them.
Hon. Iyepe: AlhamduliLlah It is the job of parents to awaken the spirit of their children and guide them. All of them that you’re seeing here and there on social media are not even in Nigeria. They are in their various campuses in the United Kingdom. I know that Allah has blessed them with knowledge and I as the parent need to guide them on what to do with the knowledge given to them by Allah. So, asking them to start da’wah is the best thing for them, just like what Ibrahim and Yaqub who were Prophets of Allah did with their children. If Allah has bestowed knowledge upon them and they don’t use it, it becomes useless. Another reason is that, it will help and motivate young ones like them all around the world. The beauty of admonition is that it’s not until someone accepts it before you are rewarded.
MN: Many of your learned contemporaries in Islamic activities are missing out on social media da’wah due to criticisms of brethren from the extreme side. What is your take on the criticisms you have faced so far in your social media da’wah journey?
Honorable Iyepe: I think we should just encourage everyone to have good intentions because once your intention is good, everything becomes easy. Large followership is not easy to gain on social media when you’re propagating Islam. If it were to be the opposite you’ll see people following in multitude. The goal of a caller to the path of Allah must not be popularity and you shouldn’t shy away from criticism because it is right to be condemned. Allah says in Qur’an 25 verse 63: “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them (harshly), they say (words of) peace”. Also Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “When someone insults you, the angels reply on your behalf”. The last one which is the greatest disaster for the one that insults me is that I pray to Allah to help them observe their prayers, fast, give zakat, give alms and so on so that I can be rewarded with it as compensation by Allah on the day of judgment.
So, when someone insults me, I just see it as investment for me especially if its on social media because the more people that view it the more my compensation will be on the Day of Judgment. The main reason I’m always quiet about criticism is that it doesn’t add up, it neither removes nor reduces anything from me. Insults cannot take away my doctorate degree neither can it remove my cap. So, there’s no need to be worried about it. Once your intention is good, face Allah and he will be sufficient for you. Our role should be secret reconciliation between two people who are fighting and we should not help shaitan against them.
MN: Since your work is now full time da’wah, would it be okay to assume that you’ve chosen this because you have achieved most of the things you want in life especially career wise, unlike youths that are still trying to find their paths?
Hon. Iyepe: This is a very good question. I’m into full time da’wah not because I have a job or because I’ve achieved a lot. It’s because this is
the assignment given by Allah. So, it should be done alongside whatever job you have. I recommend that anyone that wants to do da’wah should have a job or a business because to do da’wah, one must be busy. The kind of job you do doesn’t matter even if you’re a bus conductor, you can still do da’wah to the people in your bus. You don’t have to put aside your job to do da’wah. You have to do it along with it. Even if you’re still a student, you can combine it with your studies. I started da’wah in secondary school with little things. In fact, as a caller to the path of Allah, if you don’t have a job you’ll most likely have problem because you start turning da’wah into business and you begin to collect money when you deliver lectures and Allah asks the Prophet in the Holy Qur’an chapter 52 verse 40 “Or do you (O Muhammad) ask of them a payment so they are by debt burdened down”. This is the reason why all my lectures are free. It doesn’t matter what kind of job as long as it is halal. Money is the least tool needed to do da’wah. Anything that gives you problem is not part of Islam. The one who does not have money to buy data will not be asked about social media da’wah. If you don’t have access to data, then stick to physical da’wah. One must not be satisfied with the level of da’wah he/she has done. You must strive to always do more. The day you say I have done enough is the day you become best buddies with shaitan. You should always look at people that have done more than you have.
MN: As a family man, what advice do you have for Muslim parents that can help in raising responsible children because a lot of Muslim home lack good parenting and this can be seen in the society today as most of the names associated to crimes or immorality are always Muslim names?
Hon. Iyepe: The reason most names attached to crimes are Muslim names is because there are many Muslims in the world. I told you I have four wives so you can imagine the number of votes that will come out from my house during elections. Also, it is not Muslims who commit crimes. Criminals will always be criminals, be it Muslims, Christians or idol worshipers. Islam is the medication to all the crimes that are rampant in the society but it is sad to see a lot of people who claim they are Muslims but know nothing about Islam and its doctrine.
Parents need to know that parenting is a whole profession. Once you have a child, you have a job and may Allah bless all our parents. I did not just become all this without any input from my parents. They did a lot for me. I really love this question and I want everyone listening to me to create time for their children because Allah will reward you. Train your child today and they will in turn save lots of people. My son gave a lecture yesterday (Thursday) and 8,000 people already watched it. It will be difficult for you to find a mosque that will contain 8,000 people at once which means the boy is impacting on people and they are learning as a result of that.
The reasons we have criminals everywhere is that some children are victims of broken homes, that’s why we always beg parents to stay together. Some children lack parental care and attention. Most parents think its to make money, take their children to eateries and all but that is not training. Training is to balance between prosperity and adversity. Teach them to be compassionate, teach them to be respectful, help them understand that some people do not have and they should be thankful for what they have.
Let them know that everything in their life is about Allah. It’s true that the crime rate is increasing which means we all need to come back to Allah, retrace our steps, make time for our children and may Allah reward us.
MN: Lastly, we would like you to share your stress management techniques with us as we all know that you are very busy.
Honorable Iyepe: At times, I’ll say a program is coming on social media and it won’t come up again due to my health factor. that’s why I rest a lot. We’re resuming at the Quranic Centre very soon so because of that I’ve not been able to go online for the adhkaar in the morning and evening. I’ve also not been able to do a lot of things because I always arrange things according to their priority. It is very important for people to know how to rest. The reason is that resting is an act of worship. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Your body has a right over you” and Islam is a religion of ease and it urges us to take things easy. So I take a lot of time to rest because if anything happens to me there will be other people to do it. I also engage in physical exercise.
Every day I take 10,000 steps because when you’re physically fit you’ll be able to do a lot of things. You also want to fast, observe tahajjud and all. Then make sure your tahajjud is not too lengthy because you have to sleep a number of hours and if you miss any tahajjud you can repay it in the morning at the time of duha. Islam is very easy and when things are overwhelming, I just shut down and sleep no matter what is at stake. The reason is that if you push yourself beyond your limits you won’t be able to do anything at all. Be honest with yourself and don’t strive to impress anyone.
MN: We want you to lead us in prayers for Nigeria our dear country and Lagos state which is accommodating most of us.
Hon. Iyepe: Allah has accepted the prayer of Nigeria, its Nigerians that are problematic. Nigeria has no problem. It won’t give account on the Day of Judgment. It’s the citizens that will be questioned. So I pray Allah guides and directs Nigerians and May Allah guide and direct all our listeners at home. May Allah bless us and put His barakah in everything we lay our hands on and those of us involved in da’wah. May Allah not put pride in us. May He take away arrogance from our lives and give our listeners the ability to listen and follow the right things.
Lastly, I will recommend Muslim News Nigeria newspaper to everyone reading this. Download the application, follow them on their social media handles at Muslim News Nigeria on Facebook and @Muslimnews_NG. Log on to their website www.muslimnews.com.ng and get the latest news. I’m very proud of Muslim News Nigeria and their crew. May Allah grant us Jannah. Asalam Alaykum warahmatulah wabarakatuh.
MN: Wa alaykum salam warahmatullah wabarakatuh
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