During Sallah or Eid al-Adha, there is one festival that…
By Prof. Ishaq Akintola
As my daughter’s walimatu nikah(wedding reception) is just two weeks away, I am constrained to offer some explanations. So many people have confronted me for failing to inform them about my daughter’s walimat an-nikah coming up on Saturday, 11thNovember, 2017. But the challenges reached a climax last night when my great friend, Brother Abdul Rahman Balogun (a.k.a. Black Arab) rang me around 8.30 pm screaming on top of his voice, “Prof, you have oppressed me o. I can’t believe you can do this to me. Me of all people! Your daughter is wedding and you couldn’t inform me?”
He explained that he received the invitation card in Ibadan where he resides.
I jolted him by confessing that I do not even have a copy of the invitation card and I have not set my eyes on any! Then I explained the circumstances. Thereafter, I feel strongly compelled to make my explanation public so that colleagues at work, friends and associates may have a better understanding of my precarious position and they will not feel offended that the invitation did not come from me.
Let me state ab initio and for the avoidance of any doubt that I love my daughter, Dr. Jihad Abioye Akintola (the lucky bride in sha Allah). I always pray for her. She is an obedient girl, highly disciplined. She has never been wayward and I have never had cause to reprimand her in any way. She is the ideal daughter any father will crave. My son-in-law too, Barrister Abdul Ghaniy Anjorin, meets all my dreams of a husband for my daughter.
But having said that, it is time for some hard truths.
I have about three or four reasons for not wanting to attend the walimat an-Nikah on Saturday. First and foremost, I had wedded two daughters of mine in private fashion and this is my own style. The nikah of my first daughter (I call her Senior Baby), Najeebat, was held inside my house on 25th February, 2007 with only twelve (12) people in attendance. Yes, 12 people only. Not 120 and not 1,200! I had told my in-laws that I preferred a quiet ceremony but they eventually agreed with me when they saw that I would not budge. The nikah of my second daughter, Ganiyat, on 25thNovember, 2012, went the same way inside my poor, uncompleted building which remains uncompleted to date because I remain oppressed.
My in-laws insisted on a society wedding which I objected to. How would they feel today if I bend my principle? But most importantly, how would my first two daughters feel? A brief, simple and radical nikah for two daughters and a grandiose and flambouyant one for another? Then will I still deserve to speak out on justice and equity? Will I still qualify to advocate fair play? Charity begins from home. Apart from that, Allah is going to ask me: Akintola, what did you do in the matter of the nikah of your three daughters?
Secondly, I launched a jihad against wasteful spending a long time ago. I also made it a duty to publicly articulate strong objections to profligacy both in public and private spendings. I have called on governments to impose cow tax on anyone who slaughters more than one cow for a ceremony. I have publicly condemned the aso ebi syndrome. Should the same Akintola now don the gab of owambe circle? Will it not amount to hypocrisy?
Almighty Allah says, “Do you command people to do good but you forget yourself even though you are reading the Book (Al-Qur’an)? Can’t you use your brain?” (Qur’an 2:44).
Friends of my son-in-law pleaded with me that I should just honour them with my presence at the wedding even without spending one naira to organize it but that, for me, will not only be self-defeating but also counter-productive and perhaps spiritually suicidal. How many people who see me there will know about my objections? How many people will know that I didn’t contribute one kobo to the expenses?
The guests sitting out there on that day will just wink at themselves and whisper, So far so good about social jihad. Look at the man who says government should introduce cow tax. Wonders will never end o. See the man who told us that he could not bury his father and bury his money. They say one thing but they do another. These Islamic scholars sef…”. I know that I am a poor teacher. But I have seen Muslims display utmost respect and love for my person. I have seen Nigerians manifesting deep reverence for what I stand for. I am a public figure of a kind, an uncommon public figure for that matter and I am not ready to commit social suicide.
Thirdly, I really don’t have that kind of money. I will have to apply for cooperative loan in LASU if I decide to go the way of social wedding for my darling Jihad. This is a daughter whom I love with all my heart. But then I will have to face the consequences of heavy deductions from my poor teacher’s salary. Already, my take home pay cannot take me home. So what will I have left?
I know how to spend any amount on the education of my sons and daughters but I can’t see any reason why I should spend lavishly on their nikah. Despite having four lovely kids, my first daughter, Najeebat, has a masters degree in physics and she is pursuing her Ph D. The second, Ganiyat is also a degree holder. My fourth daughter and princess of the house, Zaynab, has just been admitted in the university to read Islamic Studies. May Almighty Allah let her finish successfully. I look forward and pray for the day when her own marriage will be conducted honourably and happily inside our house.
A lot of people have the wrong impression about my financial standing simply because I am a professor. They even laugh it off when I tell them that I am a poor teacher or when I say I remain oppressed. Exampli gratia, lack of funds forced the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) out of its rented apartment around April this year and for the first time in geography (we’ve been told not to mention history again so that Nigerians will not remember that Islam was in this country for 800 years before Christianity came and that Friday was a work-free day before the colonial master came with his army of occupation) as I was saying before I was most rudely interrupted, members of the executive of MURIC had to cry out to Nigerian Muslims for financial assistance. That was in September, just one month ago. I cannot, in good conscience, be soliciting for financial assistance for my organization and at the same time recklessly lavishing money on a nikah. There is every likelihood that the intention will be misinterpreted. I must therefore discipline myself by staying in character.
For the avoidance of doubt, the walimat an-nikah which will take place on Saturday 11/11/17 at Alausa has my blessing. It is just that I will not be there physically for the reasons given above. But since I will not be there, let me thank those who will attend it in advance. May Allah bring you safely from your homes and return you without any harm. May you all be blessed for attending this walimah as part of the sunnah.
What to do? The nikah proper is going to be held inside my house on Friday 10th November, 2017. Sorry I am not inviting a crowd. It is going to be a simple event with very limited number of guests. My in-laws are coming with no more than six family members. On my own side, there will be no more than six also. No intention to cheat the other side. No competition at all. If I bring six people from my own family, I must also give Jihad’s mother the right to bring five members of her own family with at least, a friend. So she will come with another six. That is justice. I have asked my colleagues in the Department of Religions and Peace Studies, Arabic Unit and LASU Muslim Community to send one representative each. So we will just be twenty one (21), strictly 21, apart from the officiating Imam.
My advice to young Muslim brothers and sisters out there is that they should shun society wedding. Expensive weddings scare young men, keep them single and waste the ladies’ time. Let me make it abundantly clear, however, that society wedding is not haram and it is in order for those who have more than enough money to spend on it. But I frown upon those who go out of their way to pose as if they are comfortable even though they are shuffering and shmiling. Nigerians love to live a false life. The more you look, the less you see. They take loans and continue paying the loans for two or more years after the wedding. This is what I detest. I do not hate rich people. They are a blessing on earth, particularly those among them who know the purpose for which Allah blessed them.
Finally, I hope most fervently that my in-laws and friends will respect my wish. I am on my knees begging them all. It is not pride. It is principle. This is part of what makes me happy and I hope they will respect my wish. I appeal to all and sundry to grant this request of mine. I know a lot of people will like to attend this Friday nikah, out of love for Dr. Jihad, her mother and my humble self, but I urge you to attend in spirit. I know you will understand. Be with us in prayers and wish the couple a happy married life.