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UNN’s mosque project uncompleted 55yrs after

Establishment of regular five daily prayers is one of the cardinal pillars of Islam. Prayer comes next after confessing the internal conviction of the belief…

Establishment of regular five daily prayers is one of the cardinal pillars of Islam. Prayer comes next after confessing the internal conviction of the belief that there is only one Almighty God as the Sovereign Object of worship and attesting that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the last of the messengers sent by Allah for the guidance of humanity (the Shahada).
One of the first things Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did when he emigrated into Madina was the establishment of a mosque.
The Glorious Qur’an showers accolades on “those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong” (Qur’an 22:41)”.
It is thus not surprising to see Muslims struggling assiduously; committing energy, resources and time, to establish mosques with the sole objective of comfortably offering regular prayers, and preaching good deeds to prevent vices.
The Qur’an has declared that “the mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, and fear none (at all) except Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance” (Qur’an 9:18).
Therefore, the Muslim community of Nsukka, in Enugu State, are not an exception. The chief Imam of the University of Nigeria Nsukka Central Mosque, Sheikh Adam Abdullahi Akachukwu Idoko, stated that they have been struggling for decades to realise the dream of the founding fathers of the Muslim community of the University Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) of having a befitting mosque for the ever-increasing Muslim population.
University of Nigeria Nsukka is the first indigenously established Nigerian university. It was established in 1960 when Nigeria got her independence. According to Sheikh Idoko, “the founding father of the university, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, was a man who believed in dialogue; who believed in peaceful co-existence among diverse people;  one who wanted that everybody should be represented to give the university a national and international status.
“So, a portion of land was allocated to the Muslim community, since the inception of the university in 1960. And two portions of land were equally giving to the Christian community,” Sheikh Idoko said.
Since that time, the Muslim community were part of the university. Prominent among them were the first Dean, Faculty of Education and Institute of Education of the university, late Professor Babatunde Aliyu Fafunwa, who rose to become a minister of Education, and Professor AbdurRahman Doi.
According to the chief imam, they all wanted a befitting mosque for the Muslim community in the area.
One spectacular thing about the “long-awaited mosque” was that several foundations were laid for it, at least three different times – in 1966, 1982 and 1986. In 1966,   Sheikh Idoko said, the first chancellor of the university, the Late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Dr. Ado Bayero, laid the foundation stone of the mosque at the first portion of land that was initially given to the Muslims along the major gate of the university.
Due to the civil war in the 1966s many Muslims who were mainly from the North and other parts of the country, and some from Egypt, Pakistan and India, had to leave Nsukka.
Their departure created an obstacle to the project as the initially allocated land was taken for another project. Another strategic place close to the university’s second gate known as Ogbukpa Street, close Zik flats area was allocated to the Muslims.
Similarly, in 1982 President Shehu Shagari was at the university and another foundation stone was laid for the mosque. Professor Mumini Haqq also laid the foundation stone  of the present temporary mosque in 1986.
It is evident that the temporary mosque doesn’t have enough facilities and could not accommodate the people who come for prayers. During the rainy season, as the area is a heavy rainfall zone, many will not be able to pray at the mosque. The mosque is uncomfortable during the hot season, too.
However, when Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, then governor of   Kano State, came to the University of Nigeria Nsukka to receive an honorary doctorate degree, it brought some relief for the Nsukka Muslim community as he offered a donation for the mosque project. The donation was used for laying the foundation, continuation of building and fencing the premises of the mosque.
Several attempts were made through the university chancellors and some notable Muslims who came for the award of honorary degrees conferred on them by the university to ensure completion of the mosque project.
One of the challenges encountered by the Muslims who went to the university for the award, in the words of the chief imam was that “we tried to get them to visit the mosque, but they won’t be able to because honorary degrees are usually conferred on Saturdays, and many of them would rush to their lodges in Enugu or take their flights back to their different destinations,”. The Chief Imam lamented that the mosque has remain uncompleted for years.
As the 55-year-old dream remains that of a cherished project, Sheikh Idoko is optimistic that one day the mosque would be completed as they have been utilizing the resources they could generate to keep pursing the dream.
It is against this backdrop that he put forward an appeal saying that “Muslims in the area are trying their best, but they are not yet strong to carry out such project. So I am calling on Muslim brothers and sisters all over to come and help us realize this dream”.
It is high time the Muslim philanthropists cherished the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) narrated by Umar bin Al-Khattab that “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: ‘Whoever builds a masjid (mosque) in which the Name of Allah is mentioned, Allah will build a house for him in Paradise.’” (Sahih, Ibn Majah Hadith no: 735).
Another version of the Hadith on the authority of Uthman ibn Affan said the Messenger of Allah said “Whoever builds a masjid (mosque) for the sake of Allah, Allah will build something similar for him in Paradise.’”(Sahih Ibn Hadith no: 736).
Gwandu: [email protected]

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