Baba Massa; A lasting example of
I remember being among the crew from knowislam.com.ng who interviewed Baba Massa in 2018. I was thrilled to meet an octogenarian who has lived his life based on the tenant of Islam and was at the forefront of Da’awah for majority of his youthful years.
All the revelations of history which are insightful were worth more than the classes I stabbed to make the journey.
Being an indegene of Saki, Oyo state, He told us a brief story of Islam in Saki, how the first mosque was built and establishment of Arabic schools as the means of education.
Everything seem to run smoothly and Islam was doing well in Saki. The most intriguing part of the story was when the missionaries arrived in Saki with the proposal to introduce Western Education in the community. Baba Massa, being an active member of the community was involved full fledged in seeing to the actualisation of this proposal so much that he volunteered a vast amount of land with which one of the schools were to be established.
When the school was going to commence, Baba Massa was slapped hard in the face by a rude shock after his own children were denied admission into a school that had gulped a significant amount of effort from him. For a benefit of doubt, we could have thought Baba’s children were not genuinely qualified; Maybe their hands wasn’t reach their ears from across their heads or maybe they were actually too dull to be in school. Sadly, that’s absolutely not the problem, Baba’s children were refused admission because they wouldn’t change their religion and their names which are suggestive of Islam.
The sad thing is this manipulative, and unjust use of public properties for actualisation of missionaries goals which completely sideline the Muslims still runs deep within our academic community. Imagine having to pay lawyers just to have your children use hijab which is a fundamental human right in a public own primary or secondary school or what will you say of an higher institution owned by the federal government who forbids her female students from wearing the hijab just because it was never a thing when it was established?
Although, Baba Massa accepted the gruesome injustice as a challenge, Being a vital member of Ansarudeen, He along with other executives and ever supportive members established their own schools which was Muslim friendly and also went further to establish the first Secondary school in the town. Alhamdulillah, Baba’s children were amongst the first set of students to finish from the school.
This is a wake up call for Muslims in this century to pull resources together and establish our own working systems rather than eating ourselves up for being a victim of a community that doesn’t have us in mind. Imagine having a road transport line or airline that allows for Women to sit separately from Men, Chain of restaurants that are absolutely halal, Hospitals that allow for women to be treated by women, men by men in different sections going further into establishing medical schools that train qualified professionals where hijab or beard is not seen as a threat and many more.
May Allah SWT expand Baba’s grave, forgive all of his shortcomings, overlook his mistakes and grant him a high level of Paradise. Aamin.