‘Your son has left Nigeria to join ISIS in Syria’
BRETHREN, he is of sound parental background. The young boy who recently joined the ISIS would not and could not have wanted a better parent. His father is one of us- a professional and man of impeccable moral chemistry.
In Muslim circles, our brother has paid and is still paying his dues. Whenever you meet him, his conduct and carriage reminds you not of this world but the hereafter.
His speech and utterances remind you of those the Almighty has described as ‘Ibaad al-Rahman’ (Quran 25: -human subjects who would harvest the honey without breaking the hive.
What about his mother? She is of the best stock of the feminine gender. In other words, she is one of ‘us’- sisters who have undergone those life-long training that the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) used to teach to its membership.
She is the ‘Khadijah’ of this age- she is always there to lend a helping hand to her husband in the onerous task of giving the best education and guidance to the ‘fruits’ of her womb.
When you meet with her, she calls attention, in line with the Quranic standard, not to herself but to what she is capable of offering to the world. She has always striven to the best mother for her children.
Brethren, these two individuals were blessed with a young boy who was showered with love and care. He was shown the path of righteousness; he was told to love the truth, be an exemplar among his peers and strive to make the best out of life opportunities.
His parents knew very early in life that life cannot be lived in half; to be successful you have to evolve a balance between the spiritual and the physical, between the sacred and the profane.
Up till about a month ago, our brother and his wife thought the young boy had perfectly imbibed these lessons. Little did they know that their boy had been radicalized; little did they know that he would soon embark on a journey to another world from which he may never return.
Brethren, a couple of weeks ago the unthinkable happened. The young boy left the comfort of his parent’s home. He told his father he was going for ‘Itikaaf.
He told his mother he wanted to join his fellow brethren in faith for spiritual revivication which the last ten days of Ramadan usually afford the Muslim worshipper.
It was not the first time he would go out all alone. The young boy had demonstrated an uncanny competence and flair for integrity. His words was his watch.
Thus there was no way his parents would know they would not be seeing him soon, and probably never again. Days after the last Ramadan, days which had become elongated for his parents because of the feelings of grief and agony on the disappearance of the beloved child, his father received a call that his son had gone to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
Brethren, we were all devastated when this news reached us. It was like a bombshell. We were at a meeting discussing the challenges confronting this nation, this Ummah.
We were discussing how to continue to be Muslims in a season of unbelief. I consequently dropped my head in grief. Everybody in the meeting, all of whom have been privileged to be parents, experienced an emotional let-down.
Brother, it takes a parent to feel the pain of the loss of a child; her agony would be more, she whose womb has brought forth a soul.
The questions then became urgent and pertinent – ‘at what point did our brother and his wife get it wrong with reference to this boy?
Who are those who misled this boy and succeeded in convincing him to abandon the dream for which his parents had toiled for years? Is there something that could be done to rescue this boy now?
What are the implications of this incident for the Ummah, for Nigeria, for our youth majority of whom are highly impressionistic, most of whom are now hooked on to the internet on daily basis?
Brethren, it was consensual at the end of the day that given the information at our disposal it would be very difficult to blame the parents of this boy for the wrong step he has taken.
His father could not have sanctioned an extreme thought or action the like of which is emblematic of the conduct of the Boko Haram and the ISIS today.
The reason this boy left the peaceful abode of his father’s home in order to camp with elements who have chosen to practice a brand of Islam which is unknown even to Prophet Muhammad would most likely lie outside the remit of the home front.
In other words, my sister, to be a parent at this time and clime is to bring children whose horizon would be bigger than yours and mine to the world. To be a parent today is to be prepared to live beyond your age.
This is an age in which in your child could be physically under your roof but might actually be in close contact with strangers thousands of miles away from your home. To worsen the case, some among us have the wrong notions of good parenting.
Some believe that one way to show and shower their children with love is to be indulgent and permissive of their desires. “Daddy I need IPAD 20” so says the girl and the next moment her father proceeds to the shopping mall to procure the item for the girl.
When you give a hand-phone to a girl of less than 15 years, you are throwing her into the world. She would begin by looking for friends to communicate with.
He would go further to request for money to buy data bundles on to the phone. Once, she is on the Internet, your daughter is in the world. She would learn about and see images some of which you would never have imagined throughout your life.
Brethren, nowadays our children attend schools our parents never thought of taking us to. We register them in these schools simply because we want them to be the best.
But we often forget that every choice we make in this life has a price tag. Soon, your children would begin to tell you they do not want to ride in your ‘old car’ to the school anymore. Soon, what you value and consider noble would become archaic and unfashionable in their estimation.
Brother, we must pause at every turn and bent in our lives to ask ourselves this critical question- ‘is this decision the best I can take in this circumstance?’.
Brother, when the market woman who watches over her wares suffers loss and deprivation imagine what would happen to the other seller who delegates her’s to someone else. I close by seeking divine succour for my brother and sister; I conclude by asking you this question- “Where is your boy and girl at this moment?” (08122465111 for texts only)