The latest Hijab controversy in secondary schools in Kwara state has once again shown the Muslims in Nigeria that despite over half a century of education under independence, the Muslims are still not free to practice their religion. It does not matter whether the constitution empowers them or not. Growing up in a region in Nigeria where Muslims are perhaps the majority but disadvantaged due to strategic plan by the colonial masters to ensure direct weakening of the Muslims, I can understand these last desperate efforts from the fanatical Christians.
I am a product of an Anglican Secondary School and from a mixed family. My Dad is from a Muslim home while my Mom is from a Christian family, and in fact, I was closer to my Mom’s Christian siblings even more than my paternal Muslim family. I was even influenced to the point of joining fellowships, leading assembly in morning devoting as well as coming on top of my class in Bible Knowledge. I grew up with Bible stories, which made it interesting for me to do well in the class. In any case, we do not have Muslim teachers in our school, in fact, at a point a single Muslim teacher who was posted to our school towards the end of my secondary school, did not associate with Islam or has any interest to teach Islamic Knowledge.
Hence, in my final years, I emerged a regular among the prefects that often conduct morning devotion on the assembly ground. My school, even though we were told that government had taken over the school, continued their Christian traditions without regards for our belief or situation. For instance, every student must procure SOP – Song of Praise booklet, from your hard-earned money, you would be beaten mercilessly if you forgot it at home, talk less of not buying it. These were the hymns we used to sing on the assembly ground.
Likewise, annually we had to attend thanksgiving at the affiliated Anglican Church. The event is usually on Sunday and if you missed it, they would beat the hell out of you the following Monday. I, for sure, would normally miss it. Not intentional, I had to help my parents in their farms to survive the following week. So, every announcement of thanksgiving is often received with sadness and resignation, so I would be ready to receive my beating on the next Monday. Is this situation not enough excuse to exclude me from punishment? They never accepted!
This was my life before meeting some beloved MSSN brothers, who started mentoring us. So, on a Friday morning, I felt that if prayers is led in Christians’ way on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then they should not see any big deal if the Muslims wished to pray in their way on Friday, I then summoned courage and started morning devotion, and after praying normally, I started reciting Fatihah in English to conclude the prayer. First, they noticed I had not included Jesus’s name as I used to do before and was wondering what was going on. Do not forget that they had closed their eyes. So, when I started reading Fatihah in English, they opened their eyes and started shouting hysterically “that boy should stop, you have to stop “, advancing towards me. Then I stopped. Since that day I was not allowed to conduct the assembly any longer.
They deployed several strategies – from abundance of pamphlets and free Bibles, to after school fellowships, to trailing us to our homes for visitations, to laying ambush in wait for any family challenges so that they may appear as saviours, to overbearing in buses, to hijacking lecture theatres before the arrival of lecturers, to intruding into your hostels, to making unsolicited noise in front of your halls, by fire by force, irrespective of whether you just returned from lectures or exam and you needed some peace to sleep, to forced oaths at daring time, to deliberate poison to administer antidotes when you have given them what they want – your life and freedom etc.
With these efforts, they had planned and projected what would have happened to the Muslims in the year 2000, yet this is year 2021, instead of achieving 50% of what they had projected, they have continued to suffer losses. This is why you have continued to see them bandied around “they want to Islamize” at every irritable excuse. So, Nigerian Muslims, what do you expect from Christian fanatics other than oppression, other than denying obvious fundamental rights, which stand in saner climates whether the schools have been taken over by the government or not. Have they ever been fair whenever they have upper hand? Even those whom we voted fear them. A particular governor cautioned the Muslims in the past, asking them to keep quiet and endure an obvious injustice, he said “you cannot make noise like them”, wahala people!
However, there are some within the Christendom who are peace loving, law abiding and quite understanding and welcoming but the above is my experience growing up. Allah (swt) referenced them in the Quran, thus:
You will certainly find that the closest of them in friendship with the believers are those who say, “We are Christians. ”That is because among them there are priests and monks, and because they are not arrogant.
The problem is that the number of fanatics completely outnumber the simple, peaceful ones. Knowledgeable ones who know that Virgin Mary (Maryam) is always in headcover (Hijab), but the fanatical ones will disregard this as mere culture. It is easy for them to copy Micheal Jackson, Bob Marley, Nicki Minaj etc but unfortunately difficult to copy Jesus Christ or blessed Mary (may God be pleased with both of them). I asked a group of Christians one day during discussion of Hijab that “suppose Jesus Christ returned right now, will you be proud enough to meet him with what you are wearing right now?”. They were dumbfounded, truth is bitter!
Why did I write this short story? I wrote it as a reaction to an Islamic teacher who having listened to Muslims complained about non-Muslims oppression and subjugation, remarked “will you blame Shaiton on the day you stand before you Lord if He (swt) asks why you didn’t do your duties? So do not you expect acceptance or help from non-Muslims, do you expect that they will treat you well, how does that benefit them? You better come together to plan and improve Islam and Muslims in your place, focus on yourselves, and stop worrying about them and stop complaining. This is their role, this is their duty”. They have seen that you have been emboldened and progressing, they wont stop!
So, beloved Muslim brothers and sisters, we appreciate the Ansar-U-Deen (AUD) that ensured that every community in our cities had primary and secondary schools. I do not know how they were able to achieve this feat. But may Allah (swt) bless them, those who have returned to their Lord, we pray that He (swt) place them in Jannatul-Firdaus. We that went to their schools appreciate better. All those who have contributed to the progress of Islam especially in the South West such as Islamic Publication House, Alhaj Yekini Adeojo publications, MSSN, and the later Muslim organisations who have helped to give courage to Muslim children, such as the comparative lecturers from Alhaj Alaga, Ustadh Adebowale, to Acadip, our beloved brother Adepoju, Sheikh Ahmed Deedat, to NASFAT, Qareeb, FOMWAN, ANWARUL, including those I may not have mentioned, Allah (swt) knows all of you and see your efforts. May Allah (swt) bless all of you for your sacrifice and reward you with jannah. Aamin.
To the youths, it is time to put aside our differences and work together to support ourselves for the progress of Muslims in Nigeria. We should not respond with violence, that is NOT the way of our beloved Prophet(saw), who endured persecution to the limits not humanly possible for anyone apart from him (saw). It is obvious that Allah (swt) is the one protecting His true religion, without Him, they would have finished the Muslims with all their plans, but God has continued to disappoint them. I particularly applaud the well-educated, articulate brothers and sisters who have responded to the issue, on different media, recorded videos, radio and TV programmes; it is clear truth has come, the Muslims have arrived. Alhamdulillah!
With the wealthy, powerful men of God in Nigeria who are becoming richer among poverty-stricken masses, if they are truly working for God Almighty and God is accepting their prayers, do you think Nigeria problems will continue to escalate, especially among their own followers. So, pls let’s come together, do away with whatever is holding us back and know that there is a huge task yet ahead and if we do not pull together our resources, we would continue to face these types of humiliation from them. May Allah (swt) strengthen us. Aamin.
The disbelievers support one another. If you do not do the same, there will be persecution in the land and great corruption. Q 8:73
Abu Hajar ibn Sanusi, wrote from Osun state.
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