IVC: A worthy convention

IVC: A worthy convention

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IVC: A worthy convention 

By Muhammad Ahmad

 

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creations. May His peace and  blessings be upon the noble  Prophet  and Messenger Muhammad bin  Abdullah, his  family, his companions and  those that  followed their path  with sincerity up to the day of judgment.

To go straight to the topic, this piece intends to focus on the hosting of an Islamic Vacation Course (IVC) in the month of December every year and my memories on it. It is observed yearly to educate and encourage particularly the Muslim youths to strictly adhere to their faith.

Thanks to the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), for organizing and maintaining this great and important gathering through the years.

IVC: A worthy convention

Many participants have attended last year’s course, under the Zone A of the society, which was held in December, 2019 at the Convocation Arena of Bayero University, Kano.

Meanwhile, below is one of my memorable participations that I want to share with fellow Muslims, especially the youths.

Sharing my experience in this piece is to precisely talk on a journey we undertook barely 17 years ago, as it occurred on Monday, December 22, 2003, in a private Toyota 4WD car. Malam Bashir (then a teacher at the School of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Hadejia), was the owner and the driver of the car. I was with him at the front seat of the car.

The back seats were occupied by Abdulwahid (Malam Bashir’s son) and a young man I couldn’t name. He left us in Gusau for Sokoto and it was then I realized that Malam only gave him (the young man) a lift.

We left Kano around 12:30pm heading to Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State passing through major towns like Rimin Gado, Gwarzo (where I once  lived in 1990 as a fresh civil servant), Dayi – the  junction to Katsina and Funtua towns and then to Malumfashi.

We stopped there for our prayers combining both Zuhr and Asr (qasr), after which we re-fueled our tank. We proceeded and on reaching Funtua, we decided to have our lunch.

The journey was hectic, because the road network then between Dayi and Funtua was too bad. I had seen about four different accidents along the way, one involving a petrol tanker that collided and caught fire near a village. Allah (SWT) saved that village.

We reached Gusau at about 6:00pm; it was a big and busy town, a state capital indeed. Since we didn’t know the venue of our convention, we had to ask and this took us about an hour to locate it.

IVC: A worthy convention

It was no other place than the Zamfara College of Arts and Science (ZACAS), for short. This venue was for the A Zone. Going by history, it was the 61st convention since the founding of MSS in April, 1954.

As a matter of fact, I could not exactly express my happiness and gratitude to Almighty Allah for granting me the opportunity to be part of that grand occasion, which I have been longing for years. Although, being an active member (so to say) of the MSS in both my secondary and tertiary institutions, I had not for one time attended the IVC.

In late 1990s, during my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), I was first nominated to represent the Muslim Coppers Association of Nigeria (MCAN) Benue State Chapter in the IVC held at Oturkpo. But as fate would have it, I was later substituted with a certain Brother Shittu.

Therefore, seeing me in Gusau for a six-day religious function was really overwhelming, as I was not able to attend the launching of the revival of Shari’ah in the year 2000 the state.

From the entrance of t

IVC: A worthy convention

he venue, you can see banners welcoming you to the programme. Already, the place was filled with participants from different locations within the North.

I learnt that a similar event was going on in the South (B Zone), to cater for those from the Southern part of the country. This is to ease the hardship of the humble participants. The venue ZACAS, I later learnt was only for males. The females had their own somewhere. What a tidy and moral arrangement!

Malam led us to the administration office of the program where we were welcomed warmly, as he had been an instructor in some past programs. Later, we were led to our accommodation allocated to each area unit with three sheets of poly mats.

To my surprise, everywhere was congested. It was then I realized my mistake of not carrying from home a bed sheet or a blanket.

I began to think, with this kind of weather (harmattan), how would I cope up for six days on just a mat?

Well, I was here for Islam, I reasoned. Some could go for more days for worldly benefits and sleep on bench.

The following morning, we moved to the centre of the program and tried to register. But it was not easy as many students of secondary and tertiary institutions, young men (both civil servants and businessmen), and even the old were busy registering.

There I blamed myself for not attending the IVC since.

We had to leave our registration to enable us attend the opening ceremony of the event at Ali Akilu Square where the then governor of the state, Alhaji Ahmed Sani Yariman Bakura was to declare it open. It was the same place Sharia was launched in the state about four years ago then.

After the opening ceremony, we went back to the venue for the formalities.

One of the interesting things I noticed was the arrangement of the hostels and the classrooms.

Each was given a name of the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, for easy identification and to remember and copy their good deeds, I believe.

The Mosque was a temporary site made of polythene bags and plywood and spread with fine sand. It served as a prayer ground and a lecture hall.

IVC: A worthy convention

My registration was through on Wednesday with a little amount of N300, being a public worker, while the students paid only N150. The amount I paid allowed me to receive a folder, a sheet of paper containing the program guide and a meal ticket.

The program was designed in two sessions, morning and afternoon. Every morning after breakfast at about 9:30am, participants moved to class rooms, a stone throw from the hostels for lectures in Islamic Studies and the challenges against the Muslim world. What a pleasant lesson!

Every class one would see was full. Some even were sitting on the floor, some standing and some peeping through the windows. Lectures would continue up till about quarter to 1:00pm when we would close for prayer and lunch.

I appreciated our able instructors for their contributions. May Allah reward them abundantly. Then came the siesta and by 3:30pm, we would woke up for the afternoon prayer.

The evening session would continue after prayer up to about 6:00pm, then we would go to the Mosque for the Magrib (sunset) prayer. Immediately after prayer, we would remain seated for the lectures.

This time it would be different scholars not those at the class room. I remembered day one was Dr. Idris Bugaje (then Rector Federal Polytechnic Nassarawa), whose lecture was entitled: ‘Muslims at Cross Road.’

Day two was Malam Salihu S. Abubakar (then Director NAERLS, Zaria) who talked on: ‘Unity of the Muslim Ummah.’ Day three was Malam Sa’id (a graduate of Islamic University of Al-Madinah), who talked on marriage.

The fourth day was, then Malam Salisu Shehu (from B.U.K., now a Professor), who talked on ‘Globalization and the Muslim World.’

Actually, I missed the third lecture in my effort to check a friend in town, whom I had lost contact since our school days in Jos some years back. Thanks to Allah, I bought an audio tape of it.

It was great listening to these learned men, especially the first two and the last who were all academicians in Western Education. I was highly impressed by their performances.

I saw it as a challenge to me to concentrate on the studies of Islam. And there was this distinguished person by name Tukur Ahmed Kaura. His lecture held in the morning of the second day on: ‘The events of Yaumil Qiyamah’ (day of resurrection).

Whoever listened to that lecture would surely conclude that it would not be easy, as such we should prepare for it by tightening our belts in our religious obligations.

Such was the life at the IVC. If we were not in the class, we would be in the Mosque, in the hostel or in the kitchen for our meal.

You meet a lot of people from different places during these activities. Sometimes, you hear complaints especially in the kitchen like “the cooks are not fast, the stewards are not performing and so on.”

I remember somebody saying: “the food is not tasty.” I had to persuade him that he was not there for food but for seeking Allah’s pleasure.

As a first timer, I had saluted the efforts of Yarimah (the governor) and the MSSN Zamfara Area Unit for handling that program. I learnt they were given the host ship at a very short notice. However, many had admitted that nowhere was food so available and delicious in IVC than in Zamfara as of then.

Moreover, in a gathering like that, one is expected to see and learn a lot. As such, it would help a person to achieve two things at a time, thus learning how to hold and uplift one’s being a Muslim and how to tolerate and accommodate people.

I remember a discussion I had with one man who sold fruits at the IVC venue. It was in the mid-evening I bought orange from him and seeing the man so accommodating, I decided to ask him some few questions.

I started what would he say of the Zamfara before the Shari’a and of now. He was quick to reply that a lot has been achieved, for if it were before the Shari’ah just behind the IVC venue, it would be women and men mingling with smokes, drinks and gambling.

“Now you can’t see that openly. This really is an achievement (may Allah bless Yerima),” said he.

IVC: A worthy convention

Book vendors and food sellers among others were all around selling their goods. IVC also allows to making friendship among participants who came from different parts of the country.

Imagine a gathering of over 7,000 people. And you know what? The sisters even outnumbered the male participants. The statistics showed that of the figure above, over 4000 were females. What courage!

I mean when sisters respond firmly to their faith (as they are mothers), you ought to have a brighter future of the young ones.

My six-day stay in Gusau would continue to be a memorable event in my life and also a starter for IVCs Insha Allah.

The program was rounded up on Saturday and we left Gusau on Sunday December 28 of that year for Kano passing by the popular Kwatarkwashi rock. A place I had been hearing of. Allah is great.

Lastly, I pray that Allah Ta’ala in His infinite mercy will continue to make it easy for the conveners and the participants to have hitch-free and rewardable functions. May He accept our good deeds and pardon our errors, guide our leaders and bless our country. Ameen.

Ahmad is Principal Technologist who conducts students’ practical/research activities at the Department of Soil Science, Bayero University, Kano. He can be reached via his e-mail:muhammadahmad4536@yahoo.com.

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