By Rasheed Abubakar and Abdullahi Abdulganiy
The Lighthouse Mosque, Lekki, Lagos State, on Saturday organised a special prayer for the new Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba (Dr.) Saka Adelola Matemilola, Otileta VII.
Dr. Matemilola, a devout Muslim and member of the Lighthouse Muslim Community, emerged as the 14th Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Abeokuta, Ogun State, following a long and thorough screening process by the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-led kingmakers.
The special prayer session was led by the Chief Imam, Falomo Police Central Mosque, Victoria Island, Lagos, Dr. Tajudeen Adebayo.
The Imam, who recited some Quranic verses, offered prayers for the protection of eeman (faith), life and guidance for the new Oba and urged the congregation to also remember the new Olowu in their prayers.
The Olowu, represented by the Amose (messenger) due to his ongoing three months of seclusion in Ipebi as demanded by tradition, however sent his staff of office as a mark of respect, endorsement and physical presence at the event.
Also present were his amiable two oloris (queens); Aminah and Khadijah Matemilola at the special prayer physically and virtually respectively.
Explaining the need for the special prayer, the Imam of Lighthouse, Imam Nojeem Jimoh, said that the prayer session was part of the support of the Muslim community for the new monarch.
He noted that many Muslim brothers were at a loss on how to react to Dr. Matemilola becoming an Oba in Yorubaland, which is erroneously believed to be full of fetish activities.
“You will agree with me, it is a potentially controversial position to occupy. And some of us (Muslims) were at a loss as to how to react to his becoming Kabiyesi. What did we do? We spoke to the teachers and the scholars amongst us. All of them gave advice, and none of them said not to take up the position. Indeed, all of them said, ‘Take the position’. Upon that, we took the position. So, today, we are here to support him with du’a (prayers). We have been supporting him ever since. In shaa Allah, we shall keep supporting him. May we be there for him for a very long time,” he prayed.
Muslim News learned that the traditional stool will not affect the Islamic belief of Dr. Matemilola who has always been a committed Muslim.
A chieftaincy bill stopping the imposition of rituals during the installation and burial of an Oba in Ogun State was signed into law by Governor Dapo Abiodun in January 2022.
With the new law which was initiated in June 2020 by the Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikirulahi Adetona, the new Olowu and other traditional rulers in Ogun State can now be installed without the usual rites and rituals considered antithetical to other religious beliefs, Islam in particular.
Imam Jimoh revealed that the new Olowu is already showing that his Islam won’t be compromised within his short stay on the stool.
“During one of our visits to Kabiyesi, an aide informed us that from the day he (Kabiyesi) moved in, he commenced the five daily salawat and juma’h within the compound.
He added that from the day Kabiyesi moved in, he started the Sunday Asalatu within the compound, saying such had never happened before; meaning that our brother is already making positive impacts using the position,” he said.
Findings by Muslim News show that the last time a Muslim occupied the Olowu throne was in 1972, about 50 years ago.
“That was the late father of Chief Bola Ajibola. He was the last Muslim Olowu. Alhamdulilah, we have a new Muslim king. So, we are here to support him with prayers for Allah to guide his steps,” Imam Jimoh corroborated the findings.
Muslims should be encouraged to take exalted thrones — Lekki Chief Imam
The Chief Imam of Lekki Central Mosque, Sheikh Ridwan Jamiu, on his part, said committed Muslims should be encouraged to take exalted traditional thrones.
Sheikh Jamiu, who delivered a lecture on ‘Being an Oba and a Committed Muslim: The Challenges’, added that Muslims should rally round their brothers to take up leadership positions to make positive impacts and change the narratives.
“I think Muslims should be encouraged to take up exalted thrones, especially those who are learned and committed. Once we have seen that they are committed, even if they are not so committed. We should rally round them and support them to make impact. The same thing applies to the political space in Nigeria. If we discourage Muslims from going into politics, we are going to be punishing the Ummah seriously.
“The Prophet used to say anyone who sees wrong should correct it. He then mentioned ways of correcting same. He said with the hands; and if you can’t use that, then with the tongue, and then with your heart, which is the lowest point of faith. You can hardly make any impact by correcting wrong with your mind. But if your mind hates something, you will probably change it if you have the opportunity to use your hands.
“On the hadith, the use of hands has been interpreted in two ways: the figurative hands and the literary hands. Scholars have said the correction with hands mostly applies to leaders and rulers who influence people.
“Use your power to correct things. Using the tongue to correct things applies to scholars. Using the mind is for the generality of Muslims. In Nigeria, we know there are many wrongs. We have always complained about it. If we have people who are competent to make impact and change things, why shouldn’t we encourage them? It may be in the political space or through traditional chieftaincy,” he noted.
The Imam cited the case of one of his friends who is now a monarch in Osun, noting he’s also a scholar with whom he went to Madrasah. He said Muslims are understandably always afraid to take up the traditional stool.
“As we have Emirs in the North, we have Obas in the South, Southwest especially. Just yesterday, somebody came to me after the juma’ah prayer. He was being considered for installation as a first-class Oba in one of the Yoruba cities. He asked if he should take the position because he thought it is not something good for him as a committed Muslim. I encouraged him and guided him.
“I told him that to even recognise that they do some rituals that are not Islamic is a sign that one is learned to an extent about Islam and it’s a sign that you care about your hereafter. That’s enough qualification for you to accept this. You are so committed and so careful to ask if you should take what ordinarily people fight for and use their connection and wealth to get. I told him to take it. All he needs to do is to understand certain things which I will mention.
“One of my friends whom we attended madrasah together and both finished thaanawiyyah is now an Oba. That’s Owu Ile. The Oba is my friend. We used to compete together when we were in madrasah then on who takes the first position. But finally, I emerged as the first in the class. He’s now an Oba, and has been doing well.”
Meanwhile, the scholar explained that any Muslim taking up the traditional stool must be conscious of Allah and remember the day he would account for his actions.
“The person taking up the throne should remember this. A day is coming when he’s going to stand before Allah for accountability. Everybody wants salvation for themselves in the hereafter. Nobody wants to suffer in the hereafter. Therefore, fear Allah, Your Royal Majesty. Our first admonition to you is to fear Allah in whatever you do and remember the day you are going to stand before him for accountability.
“Secondly, when you become a king, you are a king to everyone even though you are a Muslim. Allah says in the Qur’an that He has not forbidden us to be kind and just to those who do not fight us on account of our religion and do not drive us out of our homes. Verily, Allah loves those who are just in everything they do. Being a Muslim Oba does not mean you’ll not pay attention to the needs and aspirations of non-Muslims.
“We are going to be kind to everyone. For non-Muslims, Allah has given us two principles. The first one is kindness, the second is fairness. You must be kind and fair to everyone, whether they are Muslims or not. If Allah is saying all these in the case of non-Muslims, it applies more in the case of our brothers, the Muslims. As Muslims, we have to directly undermine anything that will promote anything unIslamic. A Muslim must use his power and influence to promote Islam.
“I want to admonish the Oba. Allah is the possessor of all powers and kingdoms. We should use our power to make impact. We want you to make a difference. Let the non-Muslims have it in their history that the best Oba that has ever risen to the throne is a Muslim Oba. That will be good. We should always try to leave a legacy for posterity.”
In attendance at the prayer session was Deputy President 1, MUSWEN, Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti, who advised the princes and other family members of the new Olowu to be very conscious of their Islam.
According to him, “It is not about the Oba anymore, it is about you. You have a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders. Please, I beg of you, stay as Muslims. The challenges would come. You have seen the light. You have seen the standard. In whatever he does, you are the mirror. You represent him. May Allah make it easy for you. You can see what Baba Bola Ajibola has done. It is about progeny. When his father was there, he stood firm. His father has passed on, he remains firm. So, it’s the same thing. You the prince and your siblings are his mirrors. Don’t give him any cause for anxiety over you.”
“Our brother is there now. He needs our prayers. He needs our goodwill. He needs that our hearts should be with him,” Alhaji Ebiti told the Muslim congregation.
Organisers of the special prayer also disclosed that the coronation of Dr. Matemilola as the 14th Olowu, a first-class royal stool, will commence on Sunday, October 23, 2022.
Dr. Matemilola, a Petroleum Engineer, was Executive Director, Ankor Pointe Integrated. He bagged his Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics from the prestigious University of Cambridge, UK. He is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He will be succeeding the late Olowu, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu, who returned to his Creator in December 2021.
Prince AbdulKareem Matemilola who graced the event gave the vote of thanks and appreciated the Lighthouse Muslim Community for their support and demonstration of love.
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