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On the season of migration and defections – Part II


Chapter in the Quran titled The Cave (Qur’an 18) but it does not celebrate the cavernous as it appertains to the odyssey of the Prophet of Islam and his companion inside the cave.

If you do not help the Prophet, it does not matter: the Almighty did help him when the unbelievers drove him out of his town, the second of the two, while the two were in the cave and (the enemy came to the opening of the cave) he said to his companion (Abu Bakr, later the first of the rightly-guided caliphs), “Do not worry, the Almighty is with us…” (Quran 9: 40)

Brother, I equally remember that there is a chapter in the Quran titled The Cave (Qur’an 18) but it does not celebrate the cavernous as it appertains to the odyssey of the Prophet of Islam and his companion inside the cave that day.

There is another chapter named after the Spider, but alas! not the Spider which hung its web at the entrance of the cave in which the Prophet and Abu Bakr Siddiq hid such that the unbelievers who were hitherto in their pursuit felt discouraged from exploring its hidden “treasures”.


As far as the Qur’an is concerned it is not the events that make up the story of life that matter but what the story implies for humanity.

In the realm of the spiritual, the hijrah was all about duty and sacrifice; in the realm of the material and the human it was an adventure.

The first precedes the second both in importance and sequence. The hijrah was also all about forsaking and repossessing.

This is evidenced in the individual and communal lives of those who left what made them great in Makkah in order for them to become greater humans in Madinah.

It was a template for the emergence of new figures in history through whose actions the world today now counts the existence of over 1.8 billion Muslims.

The hijrah, while referencing motifs of forsaking and repossessing, amplifies the secret codes for the attainment of excellence in life.

It means to be deprived of the world is not the same thing as forsaking the world.

Both occurred with reference to the seventy individuals who made that journey during the first hijrah, the second was relevant to those who willingly left Makkah in order to populate Madinah.

The hijrah as a motif therefore essays the world as operating on a scale: it is either you are deprived of the world or you are made to forsake the world.

In both instances, the world is meant to be forsaken not coveted.

But the irony lies in the fact that those who forsake the world usually have the world come to them pleading that it be possessed; those who covet the world might or might never gain it; those who excessively covet the world are more likely going to lose it and lose their souls.

Ironically, it is exactly in this same season, the season of the spiritual that we are drawn, as if by force, to witness transaction in the chimerical.

It is at that moment we are trying to plumb new meanings in the hijrah that politicians are equally moving from one platform to the other.

Yes. Our politicians are moving, they are ‘migrating’.

They are migrating not like the Prophet and his companions but like seasonal birds or herds in search of new fountains, in search of water.

They are ‘migrating’ in the pursuit of that which they thought would never end, or rather should not end.

Yes. Abuja is ‘sweet’. It is like the honey-comb. It is their paradise.

Nobody wants the hard life- lack of portable water, lack of bread and light, lack of security.

Everybody wants the good life- of mansions like that of the people of ‘Ad and Thamud or Ahl Madyan; of chauffeur-driven cars, of sundry allowances including that of sleeping in the parliament.

Whenever life looks up for man, he desires that the pleasure and comforts continues ad infinitum.

He begins to act God. He forgets his origin. He wants to reach for the sun.

Yes. This is the reason for the defections. The reason why the enemy of yesterday has suddenly become the friend of today.

The reason we are back with Shakespeare- fair is foul, foul is fair.

This is the reason for their defection- flight from fear, from poverty, from the Almighty.

This is the reason for the defections in the season of migration- the necessity to balance the equation, to set the village free of marauders, of the underworld, of coyotes and hyenas wearing caps and babanrigas.

Is Nigeria the reason for the defection?

No. Politics is all about self-interest.

It is all about self-preservation. Democracy is all about life in the jungle- you either eat or you are eaten.

Thus I invite those who congregate with us in the mosques every Friday, those who identify with the Crescent and still remember the direction of the Kaaba, to remember the story of the hijrah; that the migration of the Prophet from Makkah to Madinah did not and could not even have taken place the way it did without the resolution of matters which directly hinged on the personality of the ‘other’ Muhammad.

In other words, two types of Muhammad were known to the Makkans before the hijrah: the Muhammad who claimed to be a Prophet and the Muhammad who was an embodiment of virtue and trustworthiness.

The “first” Muhammad was hated for his declaration that there is no god but Allah; the second was loved for being virtuous, kind and a peace-maker; the first Muhammad was the one the Makkans believed had to be fought; the second was the one in whom the Makkans would entrust their treasures.

But in reality, there could be no separation between Muhammad, the Prophet of the Almighty and the Muhammad who was an epitome of highest moral character.

In other words, contrary to the wish of the Makkans, it was not possible for the Muhammad, son of Abdullah to be a Prophet ab initio if he could not measure up to the minimum standard of probity, honesty, and trustworthiness.

Dear brethren, your material acquisitions and comforts would amount to nothing if these stellar qualities, the qualities the hijrah is here to instil in us, are not found in your account.

It is a dream you had; it is all illusion after illusion.
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