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Wednesday, April 29, 2015


It was a bright Monday morning that ought to mark the start of a work-laden week (the election week) with the hustle and bustle on campus. But for me, the opposite was the case because I had less class activities for the day. Hence, the need to address social issues revolving around me. At this hour of the year, the topic of discuss on and off the streets was uniform, the general elections. To every participant in the electoral process, time seem to tick slower by the day. Their expectations are way up high and the polity (of course), over heated. All hands are on deck as (most) citizens seem set to exercise their civic responsibilities.
As soon as class ended, everyone got talking about one thing or the other. My friends got chatting about the election process and as soon as I approached them, the question that was put up to me was “how many more weeks will we stay at home for the post election violence?” Surprised at their question, I responded in the negative relaying my optimism towards a violence free elections and post-election atmosphere. They laughed at my optimism telling me that ‘well-known’ politicians were already smuggling arms into to town and with the presidential election in few days time, the stage was set for a ‘clash of the Titans’. Some students were also rumoured to have been offered a certain ‘mouth-watering’ amount to help propagate the violence. So I put it to them, “who amongst you is willing to go to war at any cost?” One of them responding, “Guys don wise up ooh! I still have people who care about my well-being.” I was surprised at his response and felt he just didn’t want to be tagged a bloody tout. But I was wrong, and in fact everyone there present rejected the offer, no matter how irresistible it was. What made me astonished at their response was the fact that these were youths that had no money. They should have fallen cheap prey to the preying claws of their predators. Rather, they stood their ground to protect restore their lost dignity and integrity.

This reminded me pf a scenario that played out in 2011. I almost shared a coke with a politician (like share a coke with Basheer!). After accreditation with voting about to commence, a popular (political) stalwart in my area made it up to me. After exchanging pleasantries, we delved into discussions, analysing the chances of the candidates, who was likely to win and who was there to make up numbers. I never knew it was a decoy! Soon he put up the question of who my candidate was. I declined to divulge his identity telling him I had my candidate at heart. Citing my unwillingness to disclose my candidate, he tabled an offer to persuade me. He told me who his candidate was (unfortunately, it wasn’t mine) and cited reasons why he should be voted for, a major reason being an opportunity to get offers (like the one he tabled) from him (the candidate) if voted in. I smiled, knowing what he was saying was an unedited script of an average politicians’ promise when they seek political office. I was quick to ask what the offer on table was and he said and I quote, in his words “For now, we can just refresh our appetites with a bottle of coke and we will see how things unfold after elections.” I could not believe what my sense of hearing was transmitting to my brain. That a coke that was sold for 50Naira (as at then) was all my vote was worth? I turned down the offer (hoping for a more lucrative one) even though, I was hell thirsty that sunny afternoon. But I had my integrity to protect. A GOOD NAME, is said to be better than GOLD and SILVER.  

Back to 2015.As I parted ways with my friends, I kept wondering what their driving force was. They seem to have undergone some sort of metamorphosis. They seem to have ‘wised-up’ for real. They now value their lives more than the temporal steed-pen they’ve traded their future with in the past. They are now ready, not only to have a say in the electioneering process but to also have a meaningful impact in their society. I feel a sense of responsibility on their part. They don’t just want to make up numbers, they want to stand to be counted. Some have called it a ‘Generational Transformation’, others have tagged it ‘The Needed Change’, either way, it is obvious that youths now have a redefined thinking. A ‘Transformational Change’ in thought. They now see themselves as the Leaders of today, from within and by example. Going by this, I feel they have proven their critics wrong. They now make their own decisions themselves without any form of material influence.
In a wrap, Politicians need not be told that the only way out for them is to convince the electorate on either their achievements or prospects, based on their track records. The days of the ‘money bags’ should, by now be alienated. The electorates, on their part should know that an attempt to accept any gratification for exercising their franchise is indeed, a ‘bad barter’. They should see this period as the only opportunity to correct their predicaments and amend their wrongs. After all, the power to determine their leader(s) lies, exclusively on their thumb prints......Ceteris Paribus!

Voters displaying their PVCs.

Friday, April 10, 2015

  WHAT THE CRICKET WORLDCUP CAN TEACH US ABOUT LIFE.inspirationallah'smessengercricketbat

By Raiiq Ridwan

Imam Ibn al-Jawzi mentions that a believer sees the signs of Allah in everything that he witnesses. So, for example, when one sees the break of dawn and sunrise, he or she may think of how at the end of darkness there is always light, and similarly at the end of hardship is ease.Sunset might remind a believer that one day he will pass away as well.
Similarly, world events remind us of Allah and teaches us lessons about life too! Last year, I wrote an article on how the FIFA World Cup taught me about Allah. This year, I would like to reflect on the cricket World Cup, enjoyed very much in the Indian Subcontinent, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, England, South Africa, and the Carribean.


The first lesson that I learned from cricket is that success is based on the team. In our life, we can never be one man shows. Even the Prophets of God, peace be upon them, were entitled with comrades and companions who supported them and helped their cause. Each member of the team has a certain role, and only when they all come together can they be successful.
Divided teams with low morale usually fail, even if the individual quality is quite well. In turbulent times for the Muslims, it is essential for us to take this point. The Muslim Ummah consists of different people of different backgrounds with different skills, and if we could work together, we could do much better for ourselves and the world at large.
Team play also reminds me of strategy and how important it is to have a plan in life. An old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you have planned to fail.” That is true for our spiritual, family and professional lives.
If we have our day planned and know exactly when we are going to pray and where, it is more likely that we will have greater quality in our prayers. If we have a week planned ahead of us, we are more likely to have a fulfilling time, and better leisure time as well!

Never look down on a “weaker” opponent

This World Cup has had multiple upsets. Smaller and supposedly weaker cricketing nations beat the bigger nations. And that has a life lesson to teach us. At times we look down at other people for being supposedly “weaker”, “of lower intelligence”, “having lower faith” etc.
In a hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari, the Prophet peace be upon him said that one having an atom’s weight of arrogance will not enter paradise. He was asked about the meaning of arrogance. He responded, “To reject the truth and looking down upon the people.”
It is among the worst of sins to look down upon someone else because of their status. It is what Shaytan did to the Prophet Adam peace be upon him. He was arrogant, and the ones who are arrogant are usually brought down to earth.

It is about being consistent

Some teams, some players are great in individual matches but over a period of time they cannot keep up their quality. Life is about consistency. The most successful people in any field are those who are consistent with their lives. Small consistent improvement over a long time is better and more long lasting than bursts of greatness from time to time.
The best players in cricket were defined by their consistency in delivering most of the time. Sure, they all had off-days, but in general they were good. Our faith is similar. It is not enough to pray one day, five times a day with lots of extra prayers, lots of Quran etc. Rather, our faith wants us to pray every single day, five times a day, even if it is for a short time.
That consistency is part of our faith. The Prophet peace be upon him said that the most beloved deeds to Allah are those deeds which are done consistently, even if they are small. [Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim]

Take the initiative and be proactive, not reactive

The best captains and teams are those who are proactive in their decision-making, take the initative, and attack the game rather than those who wait for something to happen and reacting to it.
Most Muslims today are very reactive; we only talk about the Prophet when someone insults him. We remind people of Allah only when they insult Him. We only teach people Islam when there is an extremist attack.
If we had taken the initiative and taught people Islam properly then perhaps there would have been less attacks, less extremism, less violence all around. The Prophet peace be upon him was always proactive, and that was a hallmark of all successful Muslim generations.

No matter how bad things have become, there is always hope

So many times in cricketing history, a team which was down and out brought out their best from seemingly nowhere and won the game. And as such, cricket is often called “the game of uncertainty”. Life is a game of uncertainty too! It is never certain where we will be heading in life tomorrow. So, in spite of how bad things may become, remember, success is always possible. Try your hand, give your best shot and put your trust in Allah, and you never know where you end up. And as Muslims, even if we “fail” in our endeavours, our good intentions are recorded by Allah nonetheless, so it’s a complete win-win!
“If you marry a phenomenal work ethic with the talent you are born with, then you can achieve almost anything” – Harsha Bhogle
This was a quote from one of the best ever cricket commentators in the game about one of the greatest cricketers ever- Sachin Tendulkar, and how right it is!
I am a firm believer that to each one of us Allah has given us a unique talent in something. And if we are to work to find out what that talent is, hone our skills about it, and put in a lot of hard work, then we can all achieve great things in life by the permission of Allah!

Source: understandquran.com