The Olabisi Onabanjo University Muslim Community on Monday, 3rd June, 2019 (Ramadan 29, 1440 A. H.) held its 1st Annual Ramadan Lecture at the University Central Mosque located along Road One, on the University Main Campus, Ago-Iwoye. This maiden Ramadan Lecture Series was climaxed with Iftar – the daily breaking of fast among Muslim faithfuls at sunset organised under the auspices of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, after a well-packaged lecture was delivered by the distinguished scholar, the Chief Imam of Gbaguraland, the Mufti of Egbaland, and the Chief Imam of the OOU Muslim Community, Prof. Kamaldeen Balogun to the admiration of all in-attendance.
Giving his welcome address, the Chairman, Muslim Community, Professor Mikail Lasun Gbadamosi thanked Allah for the large turn-out despite the short notice. He noted that the coming into fruition of the 1st Ramadan Lecture Series did not only signify the genuine love existing among the Muslim Ummah in the University but also establish the enviable commitment of the Ummah to the cause of Almighty Allah. While appreciating the presence of all the Special Guests including the Royal Fathers at the occasion, Prof. Gbadamosi also congratulated the Chairman of the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde for distinguishing himself among his predecessors, especially, those of the Islamic faith by sponsoring the 1st Ramadan Lecture ever organised by the Muslim Community since the establishment of the University in 1982, and the subsequent inauguration of Muslim Ummah in 1983. An elated Muslim Community Chairman was equally full of appreciation to the Guest Lecturer, Prof. Kamaldeen Balogun for not only accepting, but availing himself to provide the spiritual diet at the 1st Ramadan Lecture inspite of his busy schedule.
In his Speech as the Chairman of the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde who was full of gratitude to all in-attendance, especially, the Royal Fathers and other invited guests, praised Allah for being part of good history in the community, noting that as provided in the Holy Qur’an Chapter 18:23-24, it required the permission of Allah for any individual to plan ahead and successfully witness the implementation of such activity or event in life, except it is decreed by Him alone. He, thereafter, congratulated the Muslim Community for not only organising the 1st Ramadan Lecture on the Campus, but having the privilege of witnessing the lecture delivered by the Chief Imam, Prof. Balogun, whom he described as an Islamic Scholar with very busy schedules, especially, during this holy Month of Ramadan, by virtue of his status as Chief Imam of Gbaguraland, Abeokuta, and the Mufti of Egbaland.
Delivering his lecture entitled “The Blessing of Ramadan” Prof. Kamaldeen Balogun who emphasised the need for an individual to be inquisitive about the historical status of one’s abode, gave an insight into the birth, location and evolution of the then Ogun State University as a whole, and the Muslim Community in part. According to him, the Muslim Community of Ago-Iwoye under the leadership of the Late Sheik Aroworamimo in 1982, graciously surrendered the Muslim High School Complex to house the newly conceived and proposed State University for Ogun State, under the administration of Chief Olabisi Onabanjo. Prof. Balogun noted that this singular action termed ‘rescue mission’of the Muslim Community was not only unique but significant in the life and time of the University since previous attempts by the then Government for other locations in Ago-Iwoye were rebuffed by the properties owners including other religious groups or bodies in the ancient town. Consequently, the Muslim Community of today, began as a Community comprised of himself – Alhaji Kamaldeen Balogun (being the only Muslim University pioneer staff) and some few Muslim students in February 23, 1983, at the Mini Campus of the University, he added. He, thereafter, expressed his profound gratitude to all, who had contributed in one way or the other towards the attainment of the present enviable stage of the Community’s existence.
Speaking on the significance of the Sacred Month of 29 or 30 days of fasting, Prof. Balogun described Ramadan as the revolution of mankind without bloodshed in an attempt to transform the society into one with low crime rate, decency, absence of violence, etc., with the overall aim of becoming conscious and righteous. According to him, the provision of the popular verse of the Holy Qur’an, Chapter 2, Verse 183, where Allah decreed “O you who believe, Observing Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become the pious” became imperative.
He emphasised the essence of the twin concepts of Consciousness and Righteousness of Mankind to Almighty Allah as the ingredients of the piety emphasised in the above verse. He noted that every believer irrespective of status should as a matter of compulsion from Allah be guided by his/her conscience by continuing to jettison every forbidden act during the Ramadan period so as to be conscious of the omnipresence attribute of Allah, who created mankind to be pious with attendant benefits here on earth and in the hereafter. Describing Ramadan as a curriculum, the Guest Lecturer justified the appropriateness of the concept based on the fact that at the end of the fasting exercise, one became glued to one’s conscience against becoming less-dignified person.
On the concept of righteousness in the path of Allah, Prof. Balogun pointed out that attaining this level of piety goes beyond Ramadan fasting, but accepting Allah as one’s Lord, standing straight and firm through organs of one’s body like eyes, tongue, ears, skin, hands, legs, private parts (reproductive organs) etc, crowned with repentance so as to get in touch with Allah in the end. He submitted with the provision of the verse of the Holy Qur’an 41:30 that says “ Verily those who say Our Lord is Allah, and they stood straight, On them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) saying, ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised’”.
In his goodwill message, the Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye, Oba Abdul Rasaq Adenugba, who prayed for the exercise to be a continuous one, eulogised the Muslim Community of the University for towing the path of the Muslim Community of Ago-Iwoye Township, especially in identifying with the establishment, progress and development of Olabisi Onabanjo University. He recalled how in July 1982, the Muslim Community in Ago-Iwoye donated the then newly constructed Muslim High School Complex for the take-off of the then Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye, now serving as the Mini Campus. He further enjoined every Muslim to continue to sustain the good virtues attained during Ramadan period, noting that as faithful Muslims, we must not go back to our vomit. He, therefore, reiterated the commitment of the leadership and the people of Ago-Iwoye towards sustaining the existing symbiotic relationship between the University and the town.
Worthy of note was that the Ramadan Lecture, just like the Tilawah (Quranic recitation), Seeking for forgiveness from Allah (Istigfar), among other rewarding deeds, was a significant rite observed during Ramadan period to serve as a source of reminder of the essence of creation of every fasting (or not) Muslim through spiritual and physical fundamentals expected of them during and after the sacred month. More importantly, the Holy Quran i.e. the Book of Life – was sent to mankind through several revelations to the Holy Prophet Mohammed (SAW) in this same sacred month “….as guidance to mankind, clear proofs for guidance and the Criterion (between right and wrong)….” (Qur’an 2:185). Hence the Ramadan Lecture tends to renew and bring to the fore of mankind the momentous revelation of the injunctions of Allah to the Jins and Mankind.
Other dignitaries at the event included the wife of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Mrs. Ganiyat Olayinka Olatunde, the Bursar, Mr. Semiu Makinde, the Acting Director, Audit, Mrs. Sakirat Ogunmefun, the Saderenren of Isonyin-Ijebu, His Royal Highness, Oba Abdul Rasheed Omotayo Cossy Salami, the Moyegeso of Itele, His Royal Highness, Oba Kasali represented by his amiable wife, Olori Kasali, and the representatives of the Ijebu-Ode Branch of Ansar-Ud- Deen Society of Nigeria.