By Harroon Balogun
Truly, there can be no consonance between evil and good. The Shooting Stars represent the good that have to deal with the evil. In many areas where the Quran mentioned the Stars, it is illustrated as a beautiful creature that adds life to the art of life. A Shooting Star of course acts as missiles that drive away evil.
We learned from the Holy Quran that the countless meteorites which originate from the stars and wander in space at tremendous speeds and which also fall to the earth in a continuous shower prevent the Satan of the earth from ascending to the heavens. Even if they try to ascend heavenward these Shooting Stars drive them away. According to Yusuf Ali commentary, it is meant that if by any chance any rebellious force of evil seeks to obtain, by stealth, a sound of that harmony to which all who make themselves constant are freely invited, it is pursued by a Shooting Star.
75 years ago, a group of young Muslims assembled somewhere at Koseh Street, Olowogbowo area of Lagos, to discuss their present and future role within the context of the Islamic community in Lagos. In spite of the unfavourable environment and prevailing conditions in which they lived, they took a firm decision on how to reposition Islam and Muslims in the scheme of things.
Political and social alienation
Their objective was to practice Islam and support each other in being true to the deen and resist any attempts to convert them to Christianity. As at that time, many out of ignorance were blown away by the wind of the so-called gospel. Many suffered deprivations, political and social alienation merely as a result of their faith and socio-economic status. The young Muslims saw the evil that was lurking around the shining light of Islam and Muslims and so decided to nip it in the bud. Most well-to-do Muslim parents did not give priority to the (Western) education of their children.
In 1942, there were only two Muslim lawyers: – Alhaji Chief Imam L.B. Agusto B. L. QC and Jubril Martin B.L; and two Muslim doctors:- Dr. A.H.S. Tinubu and Dr. Ibiyinka Olorun-Nimbe. The Young Muslims decided to form a Muslim youth group called “The Shooting Star”. Some of them said: “Having survived conversion attempts, our long-term goal was to go abroad for further studies. To boost our morale we invited Mr. T.O. Elias (later Chief Justice of the Federation) and other eminent Muslims to serve as our patrons. Mr. Elias was only a second class clerk at the Nigerian Railways at that time, but he had passed his inter B.Sc. in Economics and inter L.L.B. London, Other patrons were Barristers Jubril Martin, L.B. Agusto Dr. A.H .S. Tinubu, Dr. Ibiyinka Olorun-Nimbe, Mr. Tejan Cole, Mr. H. A. Subair (the first African Bank Manager) Mr. B. Gbajabimaila, Mr. M. K. Ekemode, Mr. M.O. Oseni and Mrs. H. M. Ekemode.
“We combined religion with social activities. We sponsored lectures and readings from the Holy Quran, engaged in academic and religious debates with other clubs, Muslims and Christians and held tea parties from time to time.
“We all resolved not to stop at the Senior Cambridge Certificate level but to go on for further studies to show everyone that we Muslims could also be lawyers, doctors, and engineers!
“We were determined to swim the Atlantic Ocean in search of the gold en fleece if our parents or relatives could not sponsor us!
“Quite a number of Muslim youths in those days eager to further their education, took the easy way out by becoming Christians during their school career or sometimes at the request of Christian girl friends and their parents. The first chairman was Tolani Asuni who was later succeeded by Babs Fafunwa when the former left for further studies in the United Kingdom. Other members were Kolade Joseph, RA Balogun, and retired school principal among others.
“We sponsored lectures and readings from the Holy Quran, engaged in academic and religious debates with other clubs, Muslims and Christians and held tea parties from time to time. We all resolved not to stop at the Senior Cambridge Certificate level but to go on for further studies to show everyone that we Muslims could also be lawyers, doctors, and engineers!
Recently, the invigorated group met to rekindle their efforts towards ensuring that their children and other Muslims live enviable life, devoid of corruption, inordinate ambition as well shooting themselves up to the top echelons of power, in private and public service. At the annual lecture held on Sunday April 16, the group further bemoaned the decadence of ethical and moral values that characterised our daily endeavor, and devastate the enviable position of our society.
The guest lecturer at the occasion, and former Senior Special Assistant on Religious Affairs under former Lagos governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Imam Abdul Hakeem Kosoko, brought to the fore the glimpse of the past and wondered what brought us to this sordid state.
According to the imam “when we were at tender age, growing up in Lagos was fantastic. Everyone was his brother’s keeper. I had the experience of being beaten by another parent for what I did wrong as a child. And such was an acceptable norm in our society then. Before you did anything silly, you would think twice. Our parents believed that you might be born by certain parents, it was the duty of your community that you did not become wayward. So, what could bring you to the brink of financial or behavioural corruption had been tamed.”
He lamented the way many parents train their children today, noting that various government agencies and institutions bastardised our ethical values by giving laptop to first class students in the university and a brand new car, a large sum of money and ambassadorial ticket to an individual that was declared a winner in a musical concert or pageant.
Members of Shooting Stars subsequently vowed to change the trend by reiterating their commitment and determination to change the tide through the pursuit of education, both at home and abroad and beam the hope that Muslims can be adequately represented in every sphere of life and are indispensable material for development of our nation. Bravo, Shooting Star of Islam!