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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

  I Started Nadwat As A Campus Felloeship 15yrs Ago – Imaam (Dr) Abdur Rahmaan Adeyanju Lawal

Talk about Islamic Clerics that people reckons with in the country today, the leader,founder and Amir of Nadwat, Imaam (Dr) Abdur Rahmaan Adeyanju Lawal is sure one to associate with. He is a cleric that has been displaying God’s gift upon his life and those who know if can attest to the fact that once you come in contact with him, your life will not remain the same. He shared with us in this interview, his journey as an Islamic Cleric and how he started his popular group Nadwat as well as other important things you may like to know about him.
 Can you tell us how you started as an Islamic cleric?

Alhamdulilahi, it not something that I integrated myself into, my parent are clerics. My mum is my first Arabic teacher. It is something that I was born into and grew up to know all my life. My father happen to be a cleric as well, so it has been from cradle up till new.  When exactly did you started off on your own Well, I could say after the death of my dad, my dad died September 18th 1989. Right from when I was in form 4 in 1982 he tried to caution me from going further, he believed that I was not interested in doing his thing with him. The level and the types of knowledge that he was looking for in me was not there, I was sent to Ibadan where I was to combine Islamic with my studies, I was able to sat for my WAEC in 1983 in after which I further my higher school certificate (HSC) and I got a scholarship to Cairo. So when he died in 1989 there was a meeting on how am I going to continue from where he stopped. Initially I was thinking that I was not going to do it. Because I believe I have a lot of potential and ideas, I am endowed. During the meeting with the elders of the family, I was told by the majority of the family that I need to continue from where my dad stops, I didn’t think twice; I just accepted, my mum told me that day was her happiest day because I didn’t disappoint her.  Since 1989, I have been consulting, teaching Arabic in school and then getting involved in Islamic crusade like Ansarudeen, Jejewiyat where I had my primary Arabic class.  You are one of the most prominent Islamic clerics in Lagos and Nigeria and you have a lot of highly placed people and celebrities rushing to you for spiritual assistance and prayer; what do you think is behind this attraction? Alhamdulilahi. Like I told you, my philosophy of life is that if I want to do something I’ll do it, an adage says;  what is worth doing is worth doing well. People come to me for the likeness they have in me and they want to belong to my society. I read Mass Communication and I know the art of communicating with people, and my area of specialization is public relations and advertising and am trying to pursue my PHD in it. Having known how to communicate with people, that makes it possible for me to relate with people.

 Can you tell us about your educational background?

I started from ADRAO and later move on to Ahimadiyah Primary School Elegbata. After that I went to Herbert Macaulay Grammar School Ebute Metta, and later change to Lagos City College. I went to Jejewiyat Arabic School in Apongbon, I finished my Secondary School at Muslim Grammar School in Ibadan and Wesley College for my HSC and I got the scholarship to study Arabic and Islamic Theology at Al-Azhan University Cairo, I went for my diploma, later on I went to University of Lagos to study Mass Communication for my 1st and 2nd degree.  But how do you feel among your colleagues My personality as an amir make people feel that am one of those on the top. And because of the way I relate and communicate with people increase the population of my member. So I feel honoured and thankful to God, because I could say that among my colleagues in Arabic School am one of the prominent ones.

What is your relationship with other Islamic clerics in the country?

Actually we don’t have a solid organizations that cut across on controlling the affairs of clerics. What we have is a league of Imam and Alfas which is to me is a statutory organization that are comprises of zonal imam, chief imam of Lagos and Chief Imam of mainland. We have been working on how it could transcend to all those who chained to be imam and those who work with the missionary. If we can have that, we can easily have a relationship together. Having said that; I have a cordial relationship with everybody and outside Islamic circle, I see myself as a community leader and opinion leaders, so if I should now say I want to align myself with my community leaders alone, my relationship with traditionalist where I come from in Isale eko, I relate with them according to their level.
Do you have some of your mates that you went to Islamic school together who are clerics like you?

Yes, there are people like Hizbullahi of Arisukuna, ikhwan Akeem Lawal Sarafa Ojulani, Dr. Kabiru Panamole Jejewiyat , we went to Cairo together and we share the same ideology.  What was your experience like when you started and at the moment when you now have a big Islamic society and mission Like the adage that says Rome was not built in a day, it was a gradual process and the Nadwat people we all known today started off from University of Lagos as a student fellowship because then attention was called to the fact that some ladies that came in with Scalf and Hijjab don’t use it again as soon as they reach 200 level, some of my colleagues called me that this ladies don’t know their problems but thinks I was in the best position to talk to them and find out why they were not practicing Islam again, and I try to find out what the problem was, so what they told me is that they find it difficult to integrate themselves into MSSN because they use big Hijah, some of them will tie their scalf at the entrance of the mosques so these ladies will try to look at them some of them like outcasts. So they just decided that if they are not welcome; they would rather not practice Islam and rather not go to church, so we started to gather every Friday, that was how Nadwat started, so when it started off, precisely October 22 at Isale Eko, where inaugurate Asalatu, its now 15years.

How old are you, because you look very young?

I am not young though I may look young at heart, the activities of the office is a very tough one by God’s grace. I was born December 13 1965.

How do you rest and unwind because of your schedule. And how do you combine all that with managing your family?

I just said that it is not easy, it’s not an easy task, I just thank God for the good health because when you have your followership you need to meet their demands and that propels you to always meet their yearnings demand. My Friday Khitbah is always different from Sunday lecture at Asalat, whereby we have our Tahajud that may be kind of similarities because the idea is generated from the same source, but it’s an herculean task and the schedule are very tight and so difficult. The last 15 years is been good.   Do you have some of your children whom you are expecting to take over from you in the future?

I can’t answer it, the reason why I can’t answer is that my a cleric is by miracle, because that was the wish of my father, it wasn’t my own wish, even though my father wanted me to step into his shoes, but am not going to force my children but have given them the basic knowledge, I try to tell them one on one this is where I found myself, am not working with my certificate or my degree, I wouldn’t mandate them, what I can only do is to monitor their level of Islamic knowledge, may be in the nearest future if they want to be cleric they can do it. Am not compelling them, I just make sure that they follow their mind and teach them Islamic knowledge and to follow what am doing and appreciates what am doing, so if one of them feels they want to be doing what am doing they are free.

What is your message to your followers?

My message to them is just to be steadfast, and to always adhere to the ways of Allah and his prophets. And not try to toy the principles of Allah, and his prophet, it may not be the way am doing but just have trust in Allah

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