National Missioner and the Chief Imam, Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh AbdurRahman Ahmad has praised the early Yoruba Muslims for their contributions to the spread of the deen (Islam) in the Southwest region of Nigeria.
Sheikh Ahmad made the disclosure while speaking on the topic, ‘Contributions of pioneer Yoruba Muslims to Yoruba land’ at the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN) book Launch held on Wednesday, in Lagos.
The book Launch, titled: ‘Islam in Yorubaland: History, Education & Culture’, had in attendance, prominent Muslim Scholars in the Southwest, captains of industries, traditional rulers, politicos including State Governors, and importantly, Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, among other dignitaries.
Ahmad, one of the respected Islamic Scholars in Nigeria described the contributions of the early Yoruba Muslims as ‘enormous, noting that, “They were strong, knowledgeable and highly spiritual. They had faith in Allah and were sure of themselves. They had a lot of influence on commerce and economic activities in several Yoruba lands like Iwo, Ikirun, Ede, Oyo Ile, Iseyin, and others, you will find the footprint of the earlier Muslims.”
According to him, “In Ikirun for instance, the reigning King was without a child and everything had been done to no avail until a Muslim Scholar came and prayed for him on the condition that the child would be allowed to become a Muslim. This was accepted. The child was born, became a Muslim and that was how Islam entered the royal courtyard.
“Same in Ede and Oyo and till today, no Yoruba Muslim family without a connection with the spiritual prowess of our history.
“Commerce and education boomed. In fact, the history of the Yorubas owe it to the Muslim Scholars because they were in the forefront in the documentation of the history of the Yorubas”, he added.
Sheikh Ahmad called on Muslims in Yorubaland to pay attention to the economic wellbeing and revival of their members in the region, noting that the entry point of Islam into Yorubaland was through commerce, economic wellbeing, literacy, and robust social interaction.
In the lecture streamed live by Muslim News, the Chief Missioner and Imam of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria said that the Muslims in the region need not antagonise themselves and others but reorganise for efficiency, growth, and attainment of al-Jannah (paradise).
Speaking further, Sheikh Ahmad highlighted some areas which the Muslims in Yorubaland must rise towards, noting that the annals of history have been rewritten in ways not befitting the Muslims.
“Today, we have a lot of challenges. We have a glorious past but today, we are agonised. Others have rewritten our history in a way not befitting. Enough of the antagonism and time for the Yoruba Muslims to be organised.
“We are guilty of lack of purpose, and there is also the need for unity between the traditional Ulamah and contemporary Scholars who are much exposed. The division is unnecessary. Also, reviewing the existing structure and organisation of our Masaajid.
“Intellectual challenges as in cases of the Hijab. We have refused to ‘intellectualise’ it. It is a worldwide phenomenon. It is not just about campaigns, it is human rights. When people choose to marry animals (Beastiality), go naked (nudity), a man marrying man, women marrying women, (homosexuality or gay marriages) why should the simple choice in the use of headscarves become an issue?
“The Yoruba Muslims must become political(ly conscious) but not partisan. We will gain nothing from being apolitical. I am not suggesting we should be partisan but we pick interest in who governs us and how”, he emphasised.
Furthermore, he called for strong mediation and reconciliation processes, engagement with the community, having a stable relationship with it, carefully looking at Islamic social institutions, development of awareness of Muslim identity, and calling leaders’ attention, amongst others.
By: Abdul Waheed Shotonwa
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