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© Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

The death of Alhaji Suleiman Abdullahi, popularly known as "cosia" is a big shock to us. I was supposed to be the one rubbing off tears from people's eyes, but I couldn't hold my tears too. I had to be telling my people to cry if they feel like, but to avoid uttering foul words and not to engage in "an-niyāhah" (wailing). The peak of the moment was when I saw my Dad and Alhaji Yusuf Abdullahi crying together. I couldn't hold it. This is the first time in recent time that a very close member of my family will die. We had lost Alhaja Khadeejah (Mama Kano), Aunty Ramata (Mama Omoda) recently, but there's weren't as tensed as this. Indeed, death of a close one is not easy. May Allāh forgive and have mercy on the dead Muslims.

As Muslims, we are meant to accept the decree of Allāh and be patient in moments, such as this. This incident goes further to show us that death is inevitable for all of us and it can come at anytime. And since we don't know when and how it will be, it is incumbent for us to always prepare for it. The remembrance of death helps us to prepare for the hereafter. The death of people around us wakes us from our slumbers. It helps us to increase in good deeds and refrain from evils as much as possible. Allāh says:

يٰۤاَ يُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوْا اتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ وَلْتَـنْظُرْ نَـفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۚ وَا تَّقُوا اللّٰهَ ۗ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ خَبِيْرٌ بِۢمَا تَعْمَلُوْنَ

O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow - and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do. [Al-Hashr: Verse 18]

This verse shows that our primary assignment on the surface of the earth is to prepare for the hereafter with good deeds that we would meet over there. All other matters are extra-currculla. 

My uncle, Alhaji Suleiman Abdullahi is not really old. In fact, he was the youngest of the siblings of my father. So, we should never think we are too young to die, and we don't have to fall sick before thinking of death. Death takes our lives when the time Allāh has appointed for us is up. There is nothing we can do to increase the time. The time does not decrease or increase. Allāh says:

لِكُلِّ اُمَّةٍ اَجَلٌ ۗ اِذَا جَآءَ اَجَلُهُمْ فَلَا يَسْتَئۡخِرُوْنَ سَا عَةً وَّلَا يَسْتَقْدِمُوْنَ

For every nation is a [specified] term. When their time has come, then they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it]. [Yunus: Verse 49]

In Alhaji Suleiman, I lost a father, a confidant, a supporter and a disciplinarian. He was not rich, but he used to spend the little he has where it mattered most. There are many things I can't forget about him. As a very small boy at the family house, I used to sleep in his own parlour. I had access to all his belongings and he was always ensuring I was comfortable. He used to give me his used clothes and caps to wear. I used to look forward to this from him. I will ask for some of the things he newly bought and he will give them to me. Through him, I got exposed to many Islamic material because he worked as a sale representative of Islamic Education Trust, Ilorin Office for many years before moving to Kwara State Polytechnic where he made remarkable achievements. So, I read my first set of Islamic books on his shelf. 

At Kwara State Polytechnic, he wasn't known for anything except good. He was friendly to staff colleagues and students. He won the hearts of many with his free lifestyle and openness. One man who happens to be a staff of Kwara Polytechnic came this afternoon on a condolence visit. He said his brother, Alhaji Yusuf Abdullahi used to tell him to be taking care of Alhaji Suleiman, but he used to tell him Alhaji Suleiman has always been taking care of himself with his way of life on the Campus. He told us how good he was to every. This is a testimony that he was a good person to many in that institution. 

We will miss Alhaji Suleiman in our family deeply because of the roles he used to play. He was the youngest of the three (3) musketeers in our family. Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi and Alhaji Yusuf Abdullahi are always very busy. They engage in so many activities that sometimes prevent them from attending some functions at the family house. But they had in Alhaji Suleiman, a wonderful ambassador and a worthy representative. Whenever his elder brothers were not around, Alhaji Suleiman used to do everything necessary to make sure their absence was not felt. So, the death of Alhaji Suleiman today, has left a big vacuum in my family. May Allāh comfort us.

Anyone who knows these three (3) brothers would understand how much they love one another. They were such a great model, not only for us their direct children, but other people in our community. Ustadh Mahmoud Adewole, a close friend of our family had said many time that he always envy them. I wasn't able to know they were not all from the same mother on time. The polygyny of their parent was a model for others. For instance, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi was instrumental to the first Hajj of Alhaji Yusuf Abdullahi, and Alhaji Yusuf Abdullahi was responsible for the Hajj of Alhaji Suleiman Abdullahi. Alhaji Suleiman was buried in his well preserved ihram cloth earlier today. May Allāh forgive and have mercy on him.

Alhaji Suleiman was not just a good man who united his family, even those who are not his relatives felt his impact. He was a friend of all. His parlour that I used to sleep then was an assembly hall for all the youths in our area. His friends cut across the nooks and crannies of Ilorin as a community. Alhaji Suleiman used not to fight anyone. He was very free to people. He used not to keep malice with anyone. If anyone offended him, he would say his mind to him or her for the purpose of reconciliation. 

Alhaji Suleiman was a well-wisher to the core. He was very close to us (his nephews and nieces) as if we were his friends or younger brothers and sisters. But the truth was he was our uncle; he witnessed the birth and growth of all of us. He was so humble. He was not a formal person. He was someone we used to walk up to and discuss sensitive matters we weren't free to discuss with Alhaji Ibrahim and Alhaji Yusuf because of their strictness. He was foremost among those who supported me in the family when my lifestyle changed religiously around 2013. It was very tough, but he stood by me, giving series of advice on how to survive the in-house pressure. Alhaji Suleiman used to encourage us to study further. He used urge us to aspire to attain the status they (our parents) were not able to attain. Whenever he noticed that I had recorded a success in anything I do, he would commend and encourage me. He would pray for me from the depth of his heart. He had plain mind. Who is going to stand in his place for us? In Allāh we trust!

Whenever it took so long that he had heard from us, Alhaji Suleiman would call to check on us. Just last week, he called me to know if I was at home in order to pay me a surprise visit, but I wasn't at home. I said he could have checked on my wife and children, he said he wanted me to be there. That was the last time I heard his voice. We were together for hours recently at Popo Igbonna Progressive Union Annual General Meeting on 12th of January, 2023. He was such a committed and dedicated members of the Union.

Despite his friendly nature, Alhaji Suleiman used not to back us on wrongdoings or illegality. He used not to feel shy to tell us the truth. I can't forget his knocks that reset my brain when I was very small. He can play with you, but he used not to take nonsense. He was a disciplinarian to the core. One of the noble things I admire in the three of them (my Dad and his brothers) is their unity on the truth and they had so much respect for one another. Anytime any of us wants to derail from their legacies, they will call a meeting to correct the situation. They were religious about nurturing us on whatever that is ideal. I am always proud to say, I am from a home where we have fathers and elders that cautions us whenever we appear to be going astray. 

Recently, my immediate elder brother and I made a serious mistake on a matter. It was an oversight on our part, but it was a wrong move and we realised it immediately it happened. Alhaji Suleiman in his usual way was the one Allāh used to douse the tension. He took us with his car to meet Alhaji Yusuf and both of them spoke to us harshly. Knowing well that we erred, we apologized, promising them the mistake will not be repeated again in sha Allāh. One statement I will not forget that looked like Alhaji Suleiman was bidding us farewell was "se emo pe eyin naa laa fi eyin le fun?" (you know you are the ones we will leave behind everything for). This incident is not up to month, and he has left us today. He will forever be in our memory. He left behind a wife and very young and promising children. 

May Allāh forgive and have mercy on him.

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