It was supposed to be their usual monthly Adhkar gathering, but the society dedicated the day to celebrate the man whom their leader described as “one of the vanguards of Islam for demonstrating that behaviour.” His name is Imam Issa Akanni Olagunju…
Sunday, August 7, was another edition of the monthly Adhkar of the The Muslim Congress, TMC, in Lagos. As early as 10am, members of the society, including all the local government executives of the society had started gathering in their numbers at the usual venue, the popular TMC Da’wah Centre situated at Oshodi-Apapa expressway, Ijesha, to supplicate to Allah and appreciate His countless blessings and mercies on them.
“There is something unique about this edition,” Waali, the Coordinator in Lagos State, Mal. Tajudeen Olusesi told Muslim News, adding that, “We are going to honour one of our fathers in Islam, Alhaji Issa Olagunju who has showcased the quality and beauty of Islam.”
According to Mal. Olusesi, “We found out that the exemplary quality displayed by Alhaji Olagunju is in line with the teachings of Islam and mission and vision of The Muslim Congress (TMC), which is to be the foremost organisation guiding, influencing and setting agenda for societal reformation inline with Quran and Sunnah.
“Hence, we deemed it fit to honour and showcase him to the entire members of the Congress to demonstrate that despite the decadence in society, we still have people who live by the standards of the practice of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Today, we are going to honour him at our adhkar as one of the vanguards of Islam for demonstrating that behaviour,” he noted.
Waali also hinted that the Adhkar was special because of the presence in the congregation of all executives in Lagos State.
“All local government executives are coming together with the state executives to discuss how to proffer solutions to the teeming challenges facing Muslims across respective locations,” he noted.
Who is Imam Issa Olagunju?
Many readers of this story might be anxious to know who Imam Issa Olagunju is and what he did to deserve so much honour from The Muslim Congress in Lagos?
A certain man known as Jude Idada had on July 28 narrated on social media how Imam Olagunju selflessly helped him without minding his appearance, which had become a subject of discuss and ridicule in the bus he boarded from Obalande to Yaba.
“Because of my dreadlocks, the conductor called me a mad man in his mother tongue when I asked for direction to Mainland Local government. Instead, he gave me a long and difficult-to-understand direction, only meant for a mad man.
“The driver and some persons in the bus turned into laughter, making jest of me in their mother tongue (believing that I don’t understand Yoruba). Everyone ignored me thinking truly that I am a mad man except for Imam Olagunju, who decided to help by alighting with me and led me to my destination,” the man narrated his kind gesture in a Facebook Post. Read full story HERE.
Let’s be kind to others, Imam Olagunju
Imam Olagunju, a deputy Imam, Wasimi Central Mosque, Ebute Meta, Lagos State, thanked The Muslim Congress for the honour, advising Muslims to be kind to others, irrespective of their religion and colour.
He said, “AlhamduliLlah! I feel happy for the honor bestowed on me by my brothers in The Muslim Congress (TMC). May Allah reward them abundantly for this honour, which I didn’t see coming. It shows that whatever one is doing will be rewarded sooner or later.
“I’ve just been doing my own, but Allah has made it open to the world. If it were a bad behaviour too, that’s how it would have been revealed. As Allah said, Whoever does an atom of righteous deeds would be rewarded, and whoever does an atom of bad deeds too would be rewarded.
Recounting the incident, he said, “So, I left home with my son, Nurudeen on that very day to attend the prayer session. After rounding off, we boarded a bus popularly known as danfo at Obalende. The man in the middle of the story was already in the bus. He sat at the front. I joined him in the front seat. He however quickly explained to me that he would be alighting soon and pleaded that he sits next to the door to avoid inconvenience.
“He had had conversations with the driver and conductor. So, at a point, he asked if the driver was still aware of his destination. So, the conductor told him he would alight at Sabo. The driver then queried the conductor that how would somebody going to Mainland Local Government alight at Sabo. Then, they started making jest of him because of his appearance.
“So, I expressed my willingness to help him to his destination. Then, we both alighted at Adekunle. I had wanted to take him through a shortcut in Post Office, but the gate we have to pass was shut. So, we had to go through the bridge. When we got there, I showed him Mainland Local Government.
“Afterwards, he called me to say he wanted to see me. I was afraid, thinking he might have been robbed. When I got there, he requested to take pictures with me. I granted it. He took the picture. I didn’t even know he would post it on social media. I just did my own part. And I didn’t ask of his religious affiliation before assisting him to locate his destination. He asked if I needed anything, but I told him not to worry.
“My advice for the Muslim Ummah is that when the Prophet (SAW) was about to die, he gathered his companions and told them he would be leaving behind two things which if they adhere to them would guide them from the wrong path. They are the Qur’an and Sunnah.
“Part of the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) is that he said we should love for others what we love for ourselves. Let’s be kind to one another, whether known to us or not. Let’s be kind for the sake of Allah. We don’t know where we would be reaping the reward from. For example, this honour is a surprise for me. May Allah continue to guide us,” he noted.
Hijrah 1444AH calls for self-evaluation
The Adhkar, which started with eulogising Almighty Allah and recitation of some selected portions of the Qur’an, also featured lectures, addressing both spiritual and topical issues.
Speaking on self-evaluation, Ustadh Ridwanullah AbdulKareem, Cultural Officer, TMC, Lagos State, congratulated the Ummah for witnessing another Hijrah year (1444), thereby calling for self-evaluation
He quoted Suratul Ashir where Allah (SWT) enjoined the believers to fear Him and be prepared ahead for the future, adding that, “It’s not the earthly future, but that of hereafter. What are our preparations toward this future? If death were to come today, what are those things we could bank on? We should not be in slumber.”
Ustadh AbdulKareem described this life as a journey, saying mankind are travellers, who must be prepared at all time.
“At every point in the journey, we must also evaluate ourselves i.e the targets we have set for ourselves. Individuals should evaluate their actions. If they have been consistent with the dictates of Allah, they should be thankful, and if not, they need thorough reflection and repentance.
“Everybody who seeks success must assess himself at a given period. Even the businessmen assess themselves, to see if they had profited or lost at specific periods. For our hereafter too, we must be conscious to evaluate ourselves so that we can reap bountifully. May Allah continue to guide our affairs,” he added.
Change begins from me: a practical approach
The Muslim Congress also had a lecture on practical approach to the change mantra, which is the central message of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Leading the session was Barrister Abdulganiy Bamidele Munirudeen, Legal Adviser, TMC, Lagos State.
He said, if we cast our minds back to times past, we know what our values were. I could recollect that our elders back then would even inform us that if you wanted to buy anything, all the sellers needed to do then was just to place their wares on the road, indicate the price of each item. But today, that’s not the case.
“Today, you can hardly travel from Southwest to the North. We all know what is operational now: banditry, kidnapping, which has led to loss of lives and property. There’s insecurity everywhere.
“Come to think about our economy too, that has gone from bad to worse. A past leader of the country once said our problem in Nigeria is not money but how to spend it. We can see now that poverty is ravaging the entire country.
“What we are trying to say is that, going through these situations, people are yearning for change. The change mantra ushered in the present administration. Have we got the change? No!
He therefore called on the Nigerian electorates to use their votes to elect credible leaders in the 2023 general elections.
According to him, “The practical approach to change is in the saying of the Prophet (SAW) that, whoever amongst you sees a wrong should change it with his hand, and if he cannot, he should do with his mouth, and if he cannot, with his heart.
“The occasion of changing it with our hand is what we are about to go through in 2023. So, we need to bring onboard genuine leaders who are ready to change the situation we find ourselves in the country. In doing that, we too must change what is within us. Allah also said that He would not change the situation of a people until they change what is within themselves in terms of their faith.
“Come2023, we must do away with vote-buying. We should also avoid vote apathy. If you don’t contribute your quota, you will not have the moral right to criticise whoever is there. We should avoid vote apathy and vote credible leaders into offices. If we do that, what lecture and media sensitisation are not able to achieve, you find out that in no time, those leaders of credible characters will be able to achieve them within a short time.
“If we had credible leaders, it is to choose the best among them. But in a situation like this no, where we don’t have leaders of credible characters, we should look out for the lesser evil to elect. Vote apathy is not the solution,” he added.
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