THE PATH TO YATHRIB (Episode Five) -

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People living in freedom won’t appreciate the blessing of being free until they see men like them who are confined in prison and a true Muslim will prefer a prison where he is free to practise his religion to a house where he couldn’t do as he wishes.

My first night in the lockup was a terrible one as I was a subject to a severe torture from a well-built rogue called ‘Oga scorpion’ who claimed to be the leader of the inmates. It has been the culture of the scoundrels to torture any gentle-looking man that was newly admitted to their midst, they believed it is a stain on their image to have ‘lower men’ in their company, they ask such person for money when they knew he won’t have any, because his possessions would have been seized by the police officers before locking him up, and the police can only do a little to reduce this undeserved punishment. This is the state of many inmates today!

The fire of terror in the cell was soon extinguished as sad news reached Oga scorpion from home, I don’t know the exact thing that happened to him; I only discovered he was sad as soon he was returned to the cell after he had met with a visitor. His companions moved closer to him to hear what the news was; then he disclosed to them that his mother was sick and the doctors asked for the sum of eighty thousand naira but the family was only able to raise thirteen thousand naira which was not even enough as a deposit for the doctors to commence the treatment. Oga scorpion  and his cohorts all felt deep sense of sorrow as they all sat gently and motionlessly; I was happy at first that I and other gentlemen would be free from their unwanted conducts but I later pitied their poor condition and I thought of helping Oga scorpion out; I remembered that Abu Muwaahid informed me that he does come to Lagos to work for a Zakaah and Sadaqah foundation whenever the school is on break; the agency collects Zakah and Sadaqah from people to help the needy, I think they should be able to help Oga scorpion’s situation.

Islam preaches kindness to all and one the most effective method the prophet used in spreading the message is kindness to people; I went to Oga scorpion and professed to him that I could help his situation; I told him about the agency and assured him that I have someone whom I could refer him to and the person will surely help the situation. He declared his surprise by my action regardless of the wickedness he had showed me; he expressed his gratitude and also commanded his boys to thank me.

Mum, sister Zaynab and brother Yahya visited me the next day; they came to check on my wellness and also brought me food. Mum saw my state and broke to tears; I tried to assure them that nothing bad had been happening to me but mum couldn’t help herself but to weep. I asked sister Zaynab about the whereabouts of Nailah and I was informed me that Nailah is hiding with one of our uncles.

Brother Yahya looked at me in the eyes and said “But Naseem, what’s all these rubbish you’re insinuating, why will you tell dad that going to adhkaar is Bidiah, isn’t the prophet that commanded us to do adhkaar?”

“I didn’t say adhkaar is wrong, what I’m saying is that we shouldn’t fix a particular time for it or make it in congregation – that’s Bid’ah”

“See this boy, where did you learnt all these rubbish, how will congregational worship become Bid’ah when the prophet said ‘Ajam’tu rrahmah.”

“The prophet and his companions knew this religion more than we do, they fear Allah more than we do and there’s no record that they practised this; it is incumbent for Muslims to shun any religious act that doesn’t have basis from the Qur’an and Sunnah”

“I don’t think you know what you’re saying, this is how Nailah was also telling me that kneeling and prostration is forbidden; you guys are following Arabs who also have their own ways of greeting their elders, when you kneel; you intends to greet the person and not to worship and actions will be judged by intentions.”

“Brother Yahya, don’t mix it up; prostration with the intention of worship is Shirk but prostration with the intention of greeting is prohibited; Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) 
forbade Mu‘aadh ibn Jabal to prostrate to him when he came from Syria, and this prostration of Mu’aadh is a prostration of greeting”

“You said prostration for greeting is haram, what will you say to that of the angels to Prophet Aadam and that of Prophet yusuf’s brother to yusuf? And before you say it has no basis, remember it is written in the Qur’an, because I don’t know how much knowledge you and those people teaching you has”

“Na’m brother, we have no knowledge except what Allah bestowed upon us; but from the little we have, we understand that prostration as greeting is not forbidden for the Ummah before Muhammad, Allah allowed it for them and forbade it for us just like he allows some actions for us in which they are forbidden for them…”

“Will you just shut up” mum interrupted “so, this is what you’ll say before your dad; we’ve gathered people to beg your dad and he’s coming for your release later in the evening, you better delete all these rubbish you are spewing because we don’t know what his conclusion would be” mum said and broke to tears again “Naseem, ejire oko, have mercy on me”

Brother Yahya moved closer to her and console her, he then faced me and said “Dad has make his conclusion known to Alhaji Onikunkewu; he had agreed to come for your release but after the release, you and Nailah will either choose your new found way or him, if you refuse to drop all these rubbish you are doing, he would have nothing to do with you or your education again, it’s better you begin to think what your decision will be”

How will I cope if my father should disown me, how will I continue my education; but I can’t drop the way of the Prophet for all these, the prophet is in yathrib but the path to yathrib is rough; I will rather drop everything in Makkah and began a journey on the path to yathrib.

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