Saturday, 27 September 2014

CROSSING THE BORDER LINE-ALLAH'S BLESSING



I flashed back as I saw the tall tower as it glowed brightly.  You could not miss it. It was the tallest building in the school. It was KFUPM's landmark. Am I really here? I ask myself and then those words come to the surface. Words I had written myself but now it seemed as though someone else did-Words that were inspired by God’s words.
 ‘For those who have learned to love chemistry despite all odds, for it is possible that one dislikes a thing which is good for oneself and that one loves a thing which is bad for one. But Allah knows and we know not’
Those were the words from my post- CROSSING THE BORDER LINE-The Beginning. Words that made me recall my mother’s words a few days before I left-‘Tolu, is this not the Chemistry you did not want to do and now you won a Scholarship with it’, I think she said.  My wife and reminded me of how grateful I should be…after all I never expected to be chosen here… to be in one of the best schools in the region. I did not even meet the requirements. Yes! I did not and I was here, with some of the best brains across Africa and the gulf as colleagues. ALHAMDULILLAH ROBBIL ALAMIN(ALL PRAISE TO ALLAH, LORD OF THE WORLDS).
In life there are some actions that serve as the initiation step for a great reaction…Sometimes these initiation step seems insignificant just like how insignificant Umar bn Khattab’s (may God be pleased with him) night walks seemed but it

lead to discovery of  the sincere lady who gave  Umar bn Abdul-Aziz birth. So was how Abass Afolabi Yahaya’s Facebook message to me in February, 2013 seemed.  A message that served as the initiation step which led to many propagation steps for me. A message that facilitated my getting married (the greatest of all the reactions) and that was why when I got married last December, I acknowledged him then, for he was amongst those who encouraged me to do the bravest things have ever done in my life so far.  A message that led me to King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. I will forever be grateful to Allah and then to Abass Yahaya. For even till now I wonder why amongst all the people he knew how come he sent me a message to apply to KFUPM. We were not really close in LAUTECH just regular brothers that greeted each other. We did not finish from the same department. I did not even know we both  lived in Sagamu until a few years before I graduated. In life we all have people that will serve as a means by which good happens to one and also otherwise. These people one cannot forget them because what they did even though it might seem insignificant even to some of them you, the recipient knows that their seemingly insignificant action was not insignificant at all. In fact it is the actual opposite. I pray Allah sets right his affairs and I hope I could replicate the same for others.
I recalled how hopeless I felt when I saw the CGPA requirement for KFUPM’s application 3.0 on a scale of 4…that was equivalent to 3.75 on a scale of 5. My CGPA,  was 3.62. I was the guy who crossed the border line in his final year. I did  not even think my CGPA would get me  admitted into the University of Ibadan for a master’s degree let alone WIN A SCHOLARSHIP to study in one of the top schools in the Gulf and of all courses... CHEMISTRY. I did not need to be told that a course like CHEMISTRY would be very competitive in a school that had the words UNIVERSITY OF PETROLEUM & MINERALS in its name. Worst of all I had not even done TOEFL and GRE test. I was tired of everything. I had tried so many things and failed in recent past from essay competitions to scholarship applications like TURKIYE and PTDF and I was going through a lot personally because my Mum was ill then and here I was in Darrul Haqq reading Abasss Yahaya's message telling me to apply for a scholarship that logically I should not apply for since the odds of me being chosen was very slim but Abass’s statement in that message...’IT DOESN’T COST YOU ANYTHING’.  Exactly, it would not cost me anything after all I was not paying any application fee like PTDF so there was nothing to lose. In life when you are on the ground already you need not fear falling? And that is how I came to apply to KFUPM. Little did I know that the application process was going to be challenging. I never heard of the words Statement of purpose (SOP) till I applied to KFUPM worst of all the only Professor  I had amongst my referees who I thought might possibly increase my chance of being accepted  did not reply to the recommendation request sent by KFUPM so in the end I had only two referees. The other two, Dr. M. Abdul-Hammed and my former boss where I did my IT, Mr.Abiola had replied,(may Allah bless them).  When I wrote my SOP I had no one to help me read through and it was already close to the deadline. In fact the Dean of Graduate Studies (DGS) had sent me a mail requesting that  I submit my SOP as it was a mandatory document because the deadline was a few days left. So I submitted my application with practically no hope. I do not even remember ever praying that I should be accepted at KFUPM because even though you hear about miracles sometimes you do not think it could happen to you.


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I recalled that day in June. It was a few days to my NYSC passing out parade. My fellow corps members and I were relaxing on the field after hours of practice. We stood there discussing about the future. The future that we did not worry about and in a few days, the reality that we feared would hit us. We would not be corps members anymore. The question of WHAT NEXT? imaginary hung on our heads like a heavy load waiting to be dropped. We were all afraid because we knew most of us did not  have the answer to that question. There would be no more alerts (I never even received an alert on my phone during my service year as the bank NYSC gave me was a ‘bank from the 70s’). Some of us talked about joining the military but we knew like most things in Nigeria you had to KNOW SOMEONE, some of us talked about furthering but the issue of finance came up. We also talked about the girls. We knew the same question that bugged us bugged them too. We knew most of them would be thinking of marriage. For most of us marriage was out of it for now. Who would want to marry someone who was not 'MADE' yet The reality of NIGERIA hit us. All those unemployment problems we had read about, now we were about to experience it. We worried about what would happen, when family members and friends start asking the dreaded question- ‘So what are you doing now?’. Personally I think that question is rude except if you have something to offer one. The only person that asked me that question and I was okay with it was Afeez Tijani. He gave me assisted me in applying for a KPMG job test. Though I did not get the job later but I really appreciate the fact that he asked me the dreaded question and gave me an opportunity. Why ask a question that would make one feel worse. I did not talk much during most of the discuss  in the stadium as we sat down trying to relax in Lokoja's sun. I was in my own world thinking of that mail that I received a few days ago that left me still stupefied. A mail that saved me from the REALITY, a mail that helped me answer the question WHAT NEXT?
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May 25,2013,. My mum had just called me to encourage me that things would be better and prayed for me… she knew I was devastated. I had tried so many things and failed. Just a few weeks ago I was about to be retained at my Place of Primary Assignment, Kogi State Polytechnic until the school was shut down due to the killing of a lecturer by some students. Everything seemed to be topsy-turvy. Not long after we spoke my tablet gave a mail notification and then the miracle happened…



Was this for real? Maybe the DGS made a mistake? What does provisionally approved mean?...I cannot explain how I felt that night. When I called my mum I am sure she must have felt that that was her fastest prayer answered. Some moments ago we were in tears and now I had called that I was given an offer in KFUPM. There’s something special about a Parent’s love, a Parent’s prayer or rather should I say a Mother’s love and prayer because when I told my Dad I think the first thing he asked was ”How much did it cost?’ ‘How much?’, I thought disappointingly…It was the monetary aspect he could think of . I would not allow this man to kill my joy, i thought. I replied…’It is a scholarship’. I think I could sense a sigh of relief from him. You can’t just compare Fathers and Mothers. However now that I am married I guess I can’t blame my Dad for asking me “How much’. It’s not easy to be a MAN, seriously speaking.
For the next few days I checked the dictionary a couple of  times for the meaning of the words PROVISIONAL and APPROVED  like I did not know them before. I feared that the DGS would send me a mail saying that they made a mistake but All praise belongs to Allah they never did. My wife(though we were not married then) was elated more than I was…it was probably the best news we had both had in months. She was going through a lot too.  When I called Abass I did not tell him on the phone the good news…I wanted him to see it himself. I just told him that I could now wait to see him when I get back to Sagamu. In his usual jovial self …he replied, ‘I am not your Hajia now’. I just smiled. It was not until mid-June before I saw the man who Allah used as the initiator in this positive free- radical reaction (I hope).

My mind drifted back to reality as I passed by the powerful beams of light at the bottom of the tower which gave the tower its light I looked at the  dark blue Arabian sky. I was truly here in FLESH and BLOOD. I was here despite my background of having border line CGPA. When I wrote two years ago in my post -CROSSING THE BORDER LINE-The Beginning- that ‘The most important thing is Allah’s blessings even I did not think of it like this. Upon arriving here I learnt of people with very good grades even some first class students who were not accepted. I knew how lucky I was. I know I am lucky but I am glad I was prepared when the opportunity came. I often think of it that if I did not apply to Univeristi Sains Malaysia, I might not have had my transcript which I used for KFUPM’s application. I know getting here was a challenge but remaining here is a greater task. I know I have to do my best. Not just for me, but for people like me, people who believe Suli breaks statement- I WILL NOT LET AN EXAM RESULT DECIDE MY FATE. For them I must do my best and succeed here. May God help me.  




P.S. I  really did not want to write this piece now..I was waiting for a PERFECT TIME. Then I realized if I waited I would never write this cause really there is NO PERFECT TIME...things can't be 'PERFECTLY PERFECT' in our lives but then we would be grateful for the miracles in our lives. I hope someone gets inspired by reading this. I intend to follow this up with a piece dedicated to those others who served as a 'catalyst' in this 'positive' free-radical reaction.  





Monday, 5 May 2014

BRING IT ON..an unfinsihed story

It's been a few years since I actually wrote a STORY...My wife is a little disappointed. I know she ponders ...What happened to her gifted hands lover. I thought by now I would have gotten back on track but then I know that the guy with the gifted hands is still there somehwere...I just have to try to find him.  Nevertheless,  my wife made me promise to share the story below...a story I found in my archives. I know since it is unfinished, posting it would remind me that I owe her a STORY..I hope I get back on track soon enough and FINISH THE STORY... So here it is...



A dark night it was, no stars no moon in the sky, everywhere was pitch black except for the murky light that emanated from the solar rechargeable lamp that was placed on the floor. There had been no power supply power supply in Adenike area for the past one year. Adenike area was a student residential area. It was home to many students of LAUTECH. LAUTECH was a non-residential University. Adenike area was very close to the University, a walking distance so it was fathomable that it was a place where students resided. Well one did not need to ask that the area was named after  Adenike hostel, whether ADENIKE hostel was the first hostel in that area or not nobody cared and nobody seemed to bother but no doubt it was among the foremost hostel in the area.
                Hamza turned to face the congregation behind him. ‘Check if there’s anyone outside’ he said. Someone at the rear stood up and checked the surroundings of Darul-Haqq hostel stealthily. Some moments later he came back and whispered into Hamza’s ear ‘No one’. Darul Haqq was the first and Muslim hostel in Adenike area. It was only befitting that it should be named after Darul-Haqq the very early Muslims met in Makkah when Islam was practiced in secrecy. It had produced two leaders of the Muslim Students’ society in the past and Hamza was the third Ameer but Hamza was different he was the first Ameer that was not in his final year. He was in his penultimate year. He was reluctant to accept the position and he could not deny that him not being in his final year was among the reasons but a member of the Shura committee  who was also a lecturer in the school had emboldened him that  the ‘final year factor’ should not make him decline the position.  He had barely resumed office and his regime was facing challenges he had not imagined in his worst nightmares. It was common knowledge that many Muslims where turning apostate to Christianity. He was frustrated at the fact that people were trading Gold for balderdash. His regime had tried to mobilize students to attend more Islamic gatherings were they could learn more about their deen, gatherings where they could learnt to be Muslims by choice and not because they were born into Muslim households but the turnout was always low. The stereotype effect had taken over the Muslims themselves. The idea that whoever became a practicing Muslim was a potential terrorist or better still a Boko haram member in the making. Publicity and mobilization was of little effect so it was decided that a series of comparative lectures be held. The comparative lecture series was a great success, a lot of people who had turned apostate returned to Islam and also there were some new reverts and not to forget it created a lot of  doubts  in the minds if the non- Muslims about  their religion. Ever since the comparative series lecture events Hamza had received lots of threat, sometimes he thought he had not signed up for this when he decided to become Ameer but being threatened by the enemies of Islam was not a new thing to those who tread the path of a Da’ee. He had decided to brace himself for the challenges. He was still thinking of all those trouble when he had got a call earlier in the day

Friday, 5 July 2013

RECITE!




THE BUTTERFLY HAS LOST ITS WINGS
THE BEE HAS LOST ITS STING….
This is the first time in a long time that I am writing for real not because I have got a deadline to meet or an application or any other reason that may seem official.  Well so Ramadan is here again. Well sometimes in the past I wrote an article about reading the Qur’an in the month of Ramadan.  Therein I did a kind of review of the MOSHAF application. Well NOW I’M BACK and this time it is not the MOSHAF application that I want to review but the… iQuran and trust me you don’t have to have an iPAD or iPHONE any other gadget that starts with the letter ‘i’ to run this great app.  For those of us who really want to enjoy reading the Qur’an this Ramadan I think having the iQuran is a MUST HAVE for this Ramadan.
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Who Developed The iQuran?
The iQuran was designed by GUIDEDWAYS. I believe some of us are familiar with them.  They were the ones who developed the QURAN PRO java application if you want to compare the QURAN pro to the iQuran well there’s just one phrase that comes to my mind…. IMPROVEMENT.
Is the font of the iQuran clear to read?
The iQuran shows the Qur’an in clear Uthmanic font for one to read. One can even zoom if it is not legible enough so you don’t have to strain your eyes.

Are there any Reciters that come along with the iQuran?
The iQuran comes along with 8 reciters that you can choose from including Al-Ghamidi, Husary, Al-Afasy, Sudais & Shuraim, Abdul- Basit, Abu Bakr Ash-Shatree (my favourite), Minshawy and Malik Al-Muauyqali. You get to feel the joy of reading alongside your favourite reciters and even cry along with them. The only obstacle here is one has to download the audio of these reciters before one can actually hear them recite and this requires a VERY GOOD INTERNET CONNECTION.


Does the iQuran help me recite the Qur’an with Tajweed?
YES of course! The Arabic font in the iQuran is color coded i.e. the rules of Tajweed (Idhgam, Ikfa'a, Iqlab etc.)  are colour coded so you can know when to apply each rule. Also at the bottom of the screen is the name of each Tajweed rule in its corresponding colour. Pressing the rule brings out a menu which briefly explains the rule and even with an audio sample from a verse in the Quran on how it is applied. How splendid.  Moreover you also have the various signs explained so one can know when to pause slightly or when to continue as one recites the Quran.
 
Does The iQuran Have English Translations?
The iQuran doesn’t have only one English translation but many translations of the Qur’an in the English language including Yusuf Ali, Pickthal and Asad. The iQuran doesn’t just stop there it has translations in many languages including French, German, Malay, Urdu, Japanese and a whole lot of others.
 

DOES THE iQuran have transliteration?
Yes the iQuran has transliteration for those of us just learning to read the Quran.
Can I share verses of the Quran on social media using the iQuran?
 YES YOU CAN! The iQuran allows one to share verses on social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. so now you can share verses on your wall such that all your friends can benefit. You never know who might benefit when you share even potential Muslims too. Just click on the share button whenever you highlight any verse.
Can I Bookmark On The iQuran?
You have practically unlimited bookmarks on the iQuran so you can save as many verses as you want. You can also tag some verses if you want to.
Can I search for words in the Quran using the iQuran?
 The iQuran has a search button that allows you to  find words in the whole of the Quran in a jiffy. Just type the word and press search. Instantly you get your results. This can really prove useful when preparing for a lecture or looking for evidence from the Quran.


Are there any other special features in the iQuran?
 Of course there are. The iQuran allows you to set reminder to read Suratul Kahf on Fridays. Also you could choose the number of times you want to hear a verse or even choose the range of verse numbers you want to hear repeatedly when memorizing. There also exists special duas from the Quran which can be recited.  Ramadan is a month of making lots of dua and it's best to make dua from the Qur'an directly.



Must I get an iPhone or iPAD to use the iQuran?
One doesn’t need to have any device that begins with the letter i, whether it is the iPAD or iPHONE. The iQuran is an android application and it is available on Google play store or can be downloaded on the internet as an .APK file and then installed on your device.

Well so that’s my review. I guess you now understand why I said the iQuran is a must have app for this Ramadan. Wishing you a wonderful month of Ramadan filled with acceptable good deeds. Don’t forget to RECITE.
…HOPEFULLY SOON THE BUTTERFLY WOULD GROW NEW WINGS
AND THE BEE WOULD HAVE A NEW STING