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Readers’ reactions to Friday sermon


prayerMankind was one single nation and the Almighty sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed…(Quran2:213)

Brethren, every Friday, I usually receive different types of comments from readers. Some of the commentaries and rejoinders, as you would expect, are picaresque of the cultural, religious and political circumstances each of our readers have found themselves. Sometimes, the rejoinders are salutary and approbatory; at other times, they are scurrilous, pejorative and excoriating. The rejoinders always remind me of a fact- that life derives its strength not only from the presence of the beautiful but also from an uncanny union of the beautiful and the ugly.

A couple of weeks ago, an old acquaintance and sister in faith who is based in North America wrote in response to the essay titled “What do women want?”. It was a pretty long response which sought to present a woman’s perspective to a global issue. I wrote her back with the promise that I would feature her rejoinder together with others in no distant future. Today I am happy to fulfill that promise. Below, dear brethren, is her piece and that of a select few from amongst many other text messages that I have received during the past couple of months and weeks. Thanks for the time, your text messages and the time you have always invested reading Friday Sermon in the Guardian.

0803074327-I’m a regular reader of your column which I consider very enlightening. However your opening assertion in the article of December 18, 2015 is debatable. There have been many “sacred houses built by humans for the worship of the Almighty” prior to the Ka’aba, the most famous probably being Solomon’s temple, except you are asserting that prior to the Prophet the Almighty was unknown. However, my appreciation of your promotion of knowledge and tolerance.

07038357753-Re:What is your ‘bank balance’ today?. I just finished reading it, May Allah continue to bless you. I have a suggestion Sir, we lack this kind of thought provoking write-ups on Facebook. If you can endeavour to open one: If there is one I will like to know. Once again thank you Sir.

08036775801-Thank you for the sermon. Does the Qur’an really say that Maryam became pregnant with Isa after receiving the Word from the Almighty? If so, it simply confirms John 1:1. Any reference from the Qur’an?

08182176461-My Dear Afis, I read your inspired write-ups in the Guardian of Friday-Dec.25th,2015. I think if people like you can be coming out to educate the masses irrespective of their religion’s leanings, I think Nigeria will be a better place to live on earth. Please keep it up. May Allah continue to give you more knowledge. Your write-ups must not only be published in Guardian Newspaper alone but in all other notable ones. More grease to your elbows.

08023917155-I relished your piece on the state of the nation in the Guardian. Thank you for the positive view. It could only have come from an illuminated mind. Akan. Lagos

+2348036307059- I love your message in the Guardian of 25th March, 2016 about “the Qur’an on Maryam, Jesus Christ and Easter Celebrations”. But I missed the continuation. Please I shall be grateful to have the full text delivered to my e-mail… John Henry from Abuja

07036475114- Beautiful piece from you in The Guardian of 1.4.2016. I am a Christian but I concur with you that materialism has broken the credibility of many nowadays pastors and churches. May God Save Us. How can the people who contributed the bulk of Mission Universities not be able to send their children to such universities because such universities are too expensive for them?

And from our Sister in Canada came the intervention below on the Sermon titled “What Do Women Want”?: As-salaam alaykum. Compliments of the season to you and family. May Allah continue to shower his mercy on us all. I read your weekly article on the guardian website. May Allah reward you and family for the effort.

I would like to suggest ideas for part two of ‘what does a woman want’. This is a question to be directed to women. I have interactions with women from different parts of the world. Women from varied socio-cultural backgrounds, level of education and creed. What most women want is big ‘R’ – Respect / Regard. The issue lies in the means society provides for women through which to get the respect they want.

In Islam women are told to be modest in dressing and appearance; to cover their awrah (nudity) such that respect will be naturally achieved. It is equally true that when a woman is well-educated she commands respect; she is treated with dignity. This should be emphasized.

Recently, more regard is placed on working outside the home front. Thus there have been instances when some women have forsaken the home-front in search of the dignity in white collar jobs. There they are offered what can be termed ‘flip up regard’ option; they are presented with false impression of regard, when in actual fact all grains of regard endowed them with them by the Creator are constantly stripped off them! However, deep down in these women’s hearts, all they want is regard or self-dignity…

A woman who was in the process of completing her Masters Program, with a husband and two little kids to take care of, once engaged me in a discussion about women’s affairs generally and ‘women in Islam in particular. I asked her: ‘what do you want most’?. “Respect”, she replied. “Not money, that’s why ‘am doing this program”, she added.

Overall, men should give respect to their women. This becomes doubly important for Muslims particularly men in line with the Prophet’s (SAW) injunctions. Regardless of her level of education, whether she works outside the home or not, a woman should be treated with dignity. Of utmost importance is her Iman, her lineage and conduct and these should be continuously safe-guarded. These are my thoughts. Please refine further to make next Sermon. Regards.
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