A TALE OF TWO TEACHERS (A Tribute to Hajia Aisha)

By Abu MazeedatilKhayr Bn Sa’eed

Yes, they were both teachers. They schooled in the tradition of the West. They were both distinguished. They were females. Of course, they were females…Both held the pen. Each was unique. I sat in the class of one as an undergraduate. I read the other’s books as a child.

They had died the same age, the same period…

However, one had lived and died an infidel, leaving behind a legacy of shirk and philosophical nihilism; while the other had lived and died a Muslimah, leaving behind an epistemic legacy of piety, truth and what promises to be an enviable lineage within the tradition of Islam.

I listened to Professor Sophie Oluwole teach witchcraft, reincarnation and transmigration of the soul at the University of Lagos; while Hajia Aisha Lemu had not only benefitted the world with her knowledge of piety, she had also bequeathed to the Ummah her righteous offspring.

Many a laudable project championed by the Islamic Education Trust for the propagation of true knowledge. We would also not forget in a hurry Hajia Lemu’s involvement in the evolution of a virile movement of Muslim women in West Africa.

Sophie had actually exposed me to Ignorance, from which I quickly escaped. Lemu had taught me a lesson in dawah approach. In secondary schools, we read Lemu’s books; but we also read M.O.A Abdul for Islamic studies. Abdul died early. Lemu lived longer.

May Allah be pleased with them both…

On a particular day in the class, I asked Sophie: “Mam, are you a Christian?” She smiled and responded with pride, ” Saheed, I am not sure there’s God; but I attend church services on Sundays so that afterdeath, if I discover there’s God, I won’t be on my own…”

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Look at the thought system of a non-Muslim!

But now, she must have discovered the truth..

Aisha Lemu, on the other hand, had discovered God – the existence of Allah – much earlier in 1961. She was married to a distinguished da’wah personage; and together, they engaged in the dawah of human development, by shaping the Muslim’s mind; his creed, life pattern and dawah approach.

They promoted moderation in religious practice, as against extremism. In the early 90s, the IET revisited Qaradhawiy’s work, ISLAM: BETWEEN LAXITY AND EXTREMISM to water-down the emerging torrents of extremism in the youths.

The Training the Trainers periodical workshop organized and sponsored by the Lemus is indeed a sublime idea which has really helped in giving direction to dawah in Nigeria. Those who are not opportune to attend this training exercise may be lacking in the requisite dawah skill.

Considering Sophie’s intellectual romance with shirk in the guise of academic enterprise and her common saying that “any Yoruba woman at my age who is not a witch must be stupid,” one could appreciate the favour of Allah on Aisha Lemu.

Hajia Lemu was wholeheartedly devoted to educating the Muslim child, so much that she considered the Islamic studies academic syllabus for secondary schools inadequate as a template that can produce the “Islamist-Muslim” in a child – required today for Islamic work.

She therefore introduced a complimentary subject called “Islamic Impression” for the secondary school students of her enviable school, New Horizon. Some inspiring sets of ideological “text” books, written by some notable callers are used to teach the subject, though not examined by WASC.

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But then, it makes an ideological Muslim out of a Muslim child.

I have had the privilege of discussing the positive implications of this idea with her on a few occasions and I understood her mission. “Islam: the Natural Way” is one of the books used for one of the classes. There are others for different classes…

You may however not remain the same after reading them…

Our father in Da’wah, Shaykh Ahmad Lemu and his wife make a good example of how a couple’s devotion to Islamic work can be very productive. They were colleagues in dawah. They married in dawah, lived in dawah and rared their children in dawah.

Listening to Hajia for thirty minutes is like reading Ismail Raji Al-Faruqi, Malik Bn Nabi and Al-Mauduudi combined, for a whole day. She certainly lived a fulfilled life as a wife, mother, teacher and dawah person, leaving behind the usuul Fiqh intellect of Nurudeen and the counselling oratory of Maryam.

She encouraged the younger ones, unlike others. She had long read my books in her active days, prior to her terminal illness, and she called to encourage me – the little boy of her golden days.

We must learn to distinguish between a valuable teacher and a vacant one. We must be carefully selective of a teacher! May Allah be pleased with Hajia Lemu.

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