Asalam Alaykum Waramatullahi Wabarakatuhu.
I start in the name of Allah, Lord of Majesty, He is Al Awwal/The First without a Beginning, Al Akhir/The Last that is endless, Al- Fattah/The Opener, As Sabur/The Timeless, Al Nur/The Light, As Samad/The Self Sufficient, Al Qawiyy/The Strong, Al Qudus/The Holy & Perfect, Al Kabir/The Great! Alhamdulilahi Rabil Alamin. We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no authority, no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no Imam, no missioner, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, we bear witness that Muhammad (saw) is His servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah is Al Hadi/The Guide, The Way and Ar Rasheed/Who Guides to right path; Ihdina sirata al mustaqeema. We thank Allah for guiding us aright.We pray He keeps our feet steadfast in His way.
Today is a remarkable day and on behalf of my friends and colleagues in the NEC, we are grateful for the honour, privilege and opportunity to serve in the NEC of our great society for 2019 – 2021. Allah is Al Muizz/Giver of Honour and He is also Al-Mudhill/Giver of Dishonour, We pray we remain deserving of His Honour, and not of His wrath or Dishonour, in this world and in the hereafter. Amen
Leadership is a trust. We are conscious we may not be the best of members of NASFAT, but we are just the few who stepped out to serve, and are willing to be entrusted with the mantle of leadership. Allah owns the throne, has chosen us as His servants to direct the affairs of the followers of the beloved Rasul (Muhammad SAW) who are members of NASFAT. We know Allah will make us to account for the way we lead and shepherd others. We do not have all the answers. So, we count on your support and put our trust and hope in Allah’s Guidance. We pray for His eeman, Hikmah wa hidayah to move the ummah to another level based on the foundation that has been laid by others before us. We beseech Allah to let our entry be by the Gate of Truth and Honour, and likewise our exit be by the Gate of Truth and Honour; and we ask him to grant from His presence an authority to aid us (Amen)
Q17:80 – وقُل َّر ِب أ ْد ِخ ْلنِي ُم ْدخلِ ِص ْدقِ وأ ْخ ِر ْج ِني ُم ْخرجِ ِص ْدقِ وا ْجعل ِلي ِمن لَّ ُدنكِ ُس ْلطانا نَّ ِصيرا
My warmest and heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to our 6 prior leader/Ameer and NEC members of Wale Olasupo, Banji Sarumah, Abdulrahman Abdulwahab, Abu Salami, Sheriff Yussuf, and Yomi Bolarinwa in 25 years of NASFAT. They started without knowing the likely outcome, but they put their trust in Allah and Allah has used them to impact millions of people. Jazakallahu Khayran.
And to our women leaders/Ameerah – Alhaja Bashar, Rasheedat Babalola, Fauziah Oladoja, Nafisat Arogundade, Simiat Mumuni, and our mothers Simiat Agbalajobi and Alhaja Dada (sources of inspiration to me). You have been worthy role models, mothers, wives, Aunties, Sisters, Siblings and confidant to many of us, and co-driver of the leadership of our Society. Jazakallahu Khayran.
I salute the efforts of our Chief Missioners, from Alhaji Taiye (may Allah grant him Aljannah Fridaus), Alhaji Akinbode and to Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Morufu Onike, who have helped to improve our knowledge of the deen, our worship of Allah and our relationship with our creator.
My journey to NASFAT began in 1998 based on a casual invitation by my friends, Alhaji & Alhaja Kunle Arasi, who persisted over several weeks and months before I curiously decided to attend this “new and interesting asalatu group” and culminating in my participation in the first strategic retreat of the Society during Easter 2000 in Akodo where we crafted the mission, vision, values and initial strategy for the society. Since then, its been an interesting journey and I am grateful for opportunities afforded me to serve the society in different roles – NEC, Membership Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Asalatu Book Review Committee, Empowerment Committee, 21st Anniversary Committee, Zakat Committee, Fountain University and my favorite, NAZAS – the NASFAT Agency for Zakat And Sadaqat.
Why have I been attending NASFAT programmes and associating myself with NASFAT for over 20 years?
Allah says “And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve Me.” Q51:56
First, it is about the MISSION – to develop an enlightened Muslim Society nurtured by a true understanding of Islam for spiritual development and welfare of mankind.
Allah also says in one Hadith Al-qudsiy “Know Me before you worship Me, if you do not know Me, how would you worship Me?”.
Furthermore, Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet (saw) said:
Allah SWT said: O son of Adam, busy yourself with my worship and I will fill your heart with riches and alleviate your poverty. If you do not do so, I will fill your hands with problems and never alleviate your poverty. Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2466
So NASFAT has provided and continues to provide a platform for people to know Allah and to worship Him. May Allah accept our worship. Amen
Secondly, it is about IMPACT. I have seen the impact of NASFAT in my lives and in the lives of many others. From spiritual awakening, knowing how to pray, Adhkar, Quranic & Arabic classes, youth/women engagement, health, education, scholarship, employability & job search, training, empowerment, livelihood, and trade support, Hajj & Umrah services, charity, networking and promotion of Islamic brotherhood, good neighborliness, and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is bad.
I have witnessed members supported for education from primary/secondary school to University, from BSc to Phd level, and also non-members, such as the Iyawo Alfa in Ijokodo Ibadan who had multiple births and NAZAS helped to rent and stock shop to sell provisions plus deep freezer. In 5 years, NAZAS mobilized over N230m to support 850 beneficiaries in areas of health care, education, rent, debts, trade support and empowerment. Is there any reward for good other than good. May Allah reward all the workers, leaders and contributors to what NASFAT has achieved. Amen
Yet, we live in a world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity (VUCA) and what led to success yesterday will no longer suffice today. So, we need to adopt new strategies, do more using new tools and innovative ideas. Humanity and Nigeria Muslims in particular are facing new challenges: limited access to quality healthcare, education with low relevance to industry needs, youths with unemployable skills & low work readiness, high unemployment & underemployment, low literacy levels, limited access to capital especially non-usury based capital, high and growing population, growing poverty and inequalities, early girl marriage, high number of out-of-school children, the almajiri phenomenon, insecurity, intolerable level of corruption and poor governance, inadequate physical and social infrastructure, rising inflation & high cost of living, increasing internal and external migration, rising nationalism and protectionism, trade conflicts, terrorism, cyberthreats, poor knowledge of the deen and misunderstanding of Islam.
The world, led by the United Nations is rising up to these challenges and have defined the 17 SDGs as a way to marshal resources and attention to addressing these issues. Our Society, NASFAT, will be an active player in the movement to actualise the global goals for sustainable development, especially goals like No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health & Well Being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water & Sanitation, Affordable & Clean Energy, Decent Work & Economic Growth, Industry Innovation & Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Climate Action, Peace & Justice Strong Institutions, and Partnerships for the Goals.
Allah is Al Wahid/The One and Al Ahad/The Unity, The Indivisible. Our main role as Leaders of NASFAT is to promote Islamic brotherhood and the unity of the Ummah.
So we know we must do more to make NASFAT attractive to more Muslims and non-Muslims, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, social status or tribe, whether you live in Ikoyi in Lagos or in Osun States, from Cape Town to Cairo and Dakar to Djibouti in Africa, and from Alaska to Australia. NASFAT must have programs to leverage our inherent diversities to attract the old and the young, male and female, the digital natives and the digital immigrants, those in urban and rural communities, literates and semi-literates, the rich and the not-so-rich, those deep in faith and Taqwa, and those seeking the truth and looking for guidance. NASFAT must provide a cover for all, as we are all one humanity.
Hence, in the coming days, I will be working with our leadership, colleagues and friends to focus our attention, programs and interventions in 4 areas of immediate focus – Health, Education, Livelihood and Da’wah (with the acronym HELD). HELD encompasses the prior activities of the Society delivered through our Medical committees who provide free basic Health care to members; our education committees and Educational institutions including HAVEK Leadership Academy and Fountain University Osogbo who promotes learning and scholarship; our Empowerment Committees, Legal Committees, NASFAT Relief Initiative (NRI) and NAZAS who enhances Livelihood by providing training, skills acquisition, job opportunities, educational grants, legal aid services to prisoners, machineries, equipment, economic relief and trade support; and our Mission Board and Mosque Building Committees who promotes Da’wah through their various Qur’anic and Arabic lessons, teachings, exhortations, messages, sermons, counselling and the construction of masajids/mosques for worship and learning, including our national mosque here at Aseese. With our focus on HELD, we will create a coalition of internal and external forces so we can focus and combine resources to boldly address the issues of poverty, hunger, decent work, quality education, good health, innovation and reducing inequalities while promoting righteousness, piety, kindness, safe places of worship, religious tolerance, peaceful co-existence and godliness whilst discouraging inappropriate behavior, corrupt practices, unethical conducts, wickedness, impiety and immorality without being political, and in compliance with the injunction of Allah in Q3:104 – “And let there arise from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right/Maruf and forbidding what is wrong/Munkar, and those will be the successful ones/Muflihun”.
Our solemn promise as NEC: we care, we will work hard, very hard and put in our very best 24×7. We will listen to all, accept feedback, promote inclusion and embrace our diversity. We will have the courage to try new ideas, take bold initiatives, and creatively do more with less. We will act with integrity, purpose and honour, we will be transparent and accountable to earn your trust and support. We are aware of the huge expectations and in turn, we solicit your involvement, support, criticism, feedback and prayers. May God help us. Amen.
I would like to thank all who have put themselves forward to serve in various capacities in the past and till now in different organs of the society and at different levels – BOT, NEC, COE, Mission Board, Women, Youth, volunteers and our friends, associates and stakeholders who are not yet members of NASFAT.
I thank our members, leaders and representatives from our zones, branches and groups inside the country and those offshore, especially those who have travelled far and wide to join us today at this epoch-making occasion. I appreciate all the calls, prayers, pledge of support and words of advice. We look forward to a symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship with our branches and groups, and our frontline leaders who are the closest to our members in our over 350 branches. Much has been achieved, yet much more remains to be done.
I would also like to thank my Mum – Alhaja Afusat Yusuf, my family members, friends and siblings, some of whom are here today to felicitate with me. Most of all, I would like to thank Muinat Idowu Yusuf, my adoring wife, for her belief, trust, tolerance, understanding and sacrifice over the years. She has been a friend, confidant, sister, helper, mentor, cheer leader and an indefatigable pillar of support for me and the kids. Pls note that she remains Mrs Yusuf and not First Lady, a title that does not exist in NASFAT, at best, we have Women Leader.
I thank you all for honoring us with your presence, despite the challenges associated with transportation in Nigeria and specifically the repairs of the Lagos Ibadan express way. I am humbled.
In closing, I thank Allah, SWT, the most Compassionate/Ar Rahman, The most Merciful/Ar Rahim, Al Malik/The King, Al Mutakabbir/The Majestic, The Supreme, Malik ul Mulik/The Owner of Sovereignty — for His Blessings.
I wish all journey mercies back to your various destinations. And as we depart, let us be hopeful of a better future for ourselves, NASFAT, Nigeria and the World at large, and of course, let us work together to make it happen. Starting Now! Ise ya o!