Friday, January 24, 2020


                                          Yousuf Deedat

“He who is killed while defending his property is a shaheed, he who is killed while defending his family is a shaheed, he who is killed while defending his deen is a shaheed, he who is killed while defending  his blood (person) is a shaheed.” (Abu Dawud, an-Nasaa’i and at-Tirmidhi)

To Allah belongs what He took, and to Him belongs what He gave. Everything is (recorded) with Him for an appointed term. We shall be patient and seek Allah’s reward for the affliction of losing Shaheed Yousuf Deedat. 

Why do I use the shaheedi epitaph with respect to Yousuf? Is this not a fallacious assumption? Is a shaheed not confined to one who dies in Jihaad, a martyr? If shuhadaa (plural for shaheed) of this Ummah are only those who are killed in the frontlines then they would be very few. 

In his Ahkaam ul-Janaa’iz (Funeral Rites), Sheikh al-Albaany has dedicated a chapter on good sings of leaving the world in which he mentioned, with verified and authentic Ahaadeeth, 21 sings of a good end, that anyone of which a dying Muslim attains will be considered as a shaheed. Yousuf Deedat has got not only one of the 21 sings but three of those signs of a good end. 

First; it was inconceivable that a Muslim of Yousuf Deedat’s background could not be uttering Laa ilaaha Illallaah from the moment the bullet hit him until he lost consciousness. Every Muslim knows this let alone the son of Sheikh Ahmad Deedat; whenever danger approaches we say Laa ilaaha illallaah because “He whose last words are Laa ilaaha illallaah will enter al-Jannah.” The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam also said, “No soul dies while testifying that there is no (true) god except Allah and that I am Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam), with that issuing from a believing heart, but Allah will forgive it.” 

Jaabir, radiyallaahu anhu, reported that after the passing of Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, ‘Umar, radiyallaahu anhu, observed signs of sadness on Talhah Bin ‘Ubaydillaah. He asked him, “What is wrong with you, O Abu Muhammad? You appear dishevelled and covered with dust since the passing of Allah’ Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam! Is it because of the appointment of your cousin (Abu Bakr, as Khaleefah)?” He replied, “No! May Allah forbid!” And he praised Abu Bakr, radiyallaahu anhu. Then he explained, “It is just that I heard from Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam a hadeeth; and nothing stopped me from asking him about it except hesitation - until he passed away! This is the cause of my sadness. I heard him say:

“Verily, I know a statement that no person says at the time of his death but his complexion shines by it, Allah removes his distress, it provides his soul with security as it departs from his body, and it will be a light in his record on the Day of Resurrection.”

‘Umar, radiyallaahu anhu said, “I know what it is!” Talhah asked, “Praised be Allah! What is it?” He replied, “Do you know a statement greater than that with which he, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, prompted his uncle at his death, Laa ilaaha illallaah?” Talhah said, “You spoke the truth! By Allah, this is it!”

Second; when a minimum of two righteous, knowledgeable, and truthful Muslims praise a dead person with good things, based on their acquaintance with him, this guarantees Jannah for him.  

‘The chairperson of the Imam Hussein mosque in Verulam, Azad Seedat, paid tribute to Deedat, who he’s known for 30 years, describing him as a wonderful person. "He got along with everybody. He visited our mosque and supported us during our time of need. We are shocked at what transpired,” Seedat said.
‘A former neighbour of Deedat’s, Sharmaine Sewshanker, said he was a well-known community activist who was always willing to help. “He never turned anybody away that pitched up at his door for assistance. He always went the extra mile,” she said.’

Anas and Abu Hurayrah, radiyallaahu anhuma reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam passed by a funeral and praised the dead person for good things (that he did). Others followed and praised him saying, “As far as we know, he loved Allah and His Messenger.” Allah’s Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Granted, granted, granted!” (On another occasion,) he, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, passed by a funeral, and someone condemned the dead person for bad things (that he did). Others followed and condemned him saying, “What a bad person he was indeed in adhering to Allah’s deen.” Allah’s Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Granted, granted, granted!” ‘Umar, radiyallaahu anhu said: 
“I would sacrifice my father and mother for you! When we passed by a funeral of a person who was praised for good deeds you said, “Granted, granted, granted;” and when we passed by a funeral of a person who was blamed for bad deeds you said, “Granted, granted, granted!”

Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam replied: 
“(A deceased) whom you praise will be granted Jannah. And he whom you condemn will be granted the Fire. The angels are Allah’s witnesses in the heavens; you (the believers) are Allah’s witnesses on earth; you are Allah’s witnesses on earth; you are Allah’s witnesses on earth! Verily, Allah has angels who speak upon the tongues of the human beings, telling of any good or evil that is in a person.” 

Third; Yousuf Deedat died on Friday, January 17 2020. ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Amr reported that Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said: 

“Any Muslim who dies on the day or night of Jumu’ah (Friday) is protected by Allah from the tribulation of the grave.”

 With Deedat Senior

Meeting Yousuf
I first met Yousuf Deedat in 1988 when I took part in the first and only Intensive Da’wah Training under his late father, Sheikh Ahmad Deedat at the Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI) in Durban, South Africa. There were participants from 20 countries - USA, Palestine, Somalia, UK, Zambia, Philippines, etc. As the only participant from Nigeria and IPCI did well to shield me from the press since Nigeria was spearheading the fight against apartheid then, the presence of a Nigerian in the Racist Enclave could be distressing to the authorities. 

Yousuf was very helpful to us during our stay in Durban. He was everywhere - in the class; in the special presentation sessions by students to his father and President of the IPCI; in the various excursions we undertook around the beautiful outskirts of Durban, and even in our barbecue, soccer and swimming sessions - Yousuf was there, encouraging and supporting us.

This Group Picture was Taken by Yousuf Deedat in His Father's Residence 1988

Yousuf’s Dedication to His Late Father
To Sheikh Ahmad Deedat, Yousuf was a dedicated son, a quasi-body guard, a Special Assistant and a Media Consultant. Hardly would you see Yousuf in any of Sheikh Deedat’s videos but he was there; to every place, to every country Deedat went, Yousuf was with him and at his complete disposal. He was not too proud to serve his father in whatever capacity. He was part of the cameramen covering Deedat’s debates and public lectures. His dutifulness and adoration to his parents continued until the end; he was there as part of the team that nursed his bedridden father for a number of years to the time that he passed away. 

O, Allah! Forgive Yousuf Deedat, elevate his position among the guided ones, and raise good successors for him from among his progeny. Forgive us and him, O Lord of the Peoples! Expand his grave, and illuminate it for him.
O, Allah! Pardon him and have mercy on him, give him well-being and forgive him, honour his arrival, widen his entry, wash him with water and ice and hail, cleanse him from his sins as a white dress would be cleansed from dirt, replace for him a house better than his, a family better than his, and a spouse better than his, admit him into Jannah, and shelter him from the punishment of the grave and the punishment of the Fire.

Thursday, January 2, 2020


Al-Habibiyyah Masjid Under Construction

I wanted to have something that will fit the 17th anniversary of Al-Habibiyyah which starts today Friday, January 3rd 2020, and I chose this piece written a decade earlier, December 2010 when Al-Habibiyyah empowered about 50 people through its Zakah distribution programme. There is no better way to celebrate this anniversary which theme is EMPOWER TO BE EMPOWERED than to remember one of Al-Habibiyyah's numerous interventions in poverty alleviation - the Zakah Disbursement. This empowerment drive is further strengthened by Al-Habibiyyah's partnership with the MacArthur Foundation (in states like Kaduna, Kogi, Kebbi, Lagos, Osun, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory) with the objective of sensitising and training imams, Muslim scholars and proselytisers, women and youths on anti-corruption and economic empowerment. 

Al-Habibiyyah, in all its forms and segments, (Islamic Society, Zakah Foundation, Mosque, Academy, etc) has become a household name, touching the lives of Muslims, and setting agenda for Islamic organisations in Nigeria. You are entitled to your opinion about the people behind Al-Habibiyyah; they are not unmindful of petty tyranny, name-calling and strife from people who failed to do their duty but would not allow others do the right thing. The leadership of Al-Habibiyyah has developed the requisite thick skin that has made it be resolute in continuing the good work without being slowed down by the blame of any blamer.
Recently, I was the Guest Speaker in a function organised by Al-Habibiyyah Zakah Foundation to disburse zakah to more than 30 recipients in a manner unprecedented in the history of giving out zakah in this country. Motorcycles, deep freezers, grinding machines, and cash were disbursed to different recipients who cut across ethnicity and area of residence in Abuja.

Some people criticised the way Al-Habibiyyah conducted the disbursement exercise. They did not understand why recipients should be given motorcycles, deep freezers, etc; or why members of the press were invited to cover ‘an event that is supposed to be between the disburser and his Lord’.

Muslims in this country are used to witnessing a long queue of destitute recipients, under the sun’s full heat, controlled by mounted troops of policemen in front of the houses of the wealthy waiting for between N5, 000 to N10, 000 per person as disbursement of zakah. Yes, whoever is used to this debasing and humiliating sight will find Al-Habibiyyah’s ‘benevolent innovation’ of disbursing zakah to recipients in an atmosphere devoid of chaos as something new, or even wrong. Yes, it is indeed strange to find both the giver and the receiver of zakah seated under the same canopy listening to a sermon on the third pillar of Islaam, and how it can be a potent poverty eradication tool in our society. Yes, it is rare, in the history of zakah disbursement in Nigeria, to find an indigent person receiving zakah without losing face or human dignity.

What is Islaam-in-Nigeria zakah disbursement norm is for recipients to know their insignificant place when receiving zakah; to be given what will keep them in destitution forever, never to be able to use their initiative in any commercial venture; they should live and die as annual recipients of zakah!

The intent of The Law Giver in the institution of zakah is to make a rich man out of an impoverished person; change a recipient to a giver of zakah, such that once anybody receives today, they cease to be recipients from that moment in time, and start thinking about how to give out zakah to others next year. Of course, you cannot do that with N5, 000, N10, 000 or even N20, 000. The barakah in zakah is not measured by how many people receive it, but on the basis of the number of lives Allah improves through the disburser. In other words, it is not the more recipients the better the reward; no, but rather, the fewer the better, because each one of them will have something substantial to either enhance their commercial activities, or assist them to start somewhere toward a more fulfilling, complete, and dignified existence. In addition, the number of future givers of zakah will surely swell.

On the issue of inviting the press to the occasion of the disbursement of zakah by Al-Habibiyyah, I do not see anything un-Islamic in that. Those who saw nothing good in what Al-Habibiyyah did thought the presence of press to be for show-off which renders righteous works fruitless. They are entitled to their understanding. What they do not know is that Al-Habibiyyah, through its Zakah Foundation, encouraged wealthy individuals and corporate organisations to bring what they remove out of their zakatable properties for disbursement to eligible recipients. Al-Habibiyyah is only a channel through which the zakah passes to the poor. The money was not sourced from any investment of Al-Habibiyyah. No, the foundation is disbursing it on behalf of others.
Let us assume for argument’s sake that Al-Habibiyyah is giving out zakah from its own property and calling the press to let the world know about it, in a time that the Muslim community has neglected this pillar of Islam, or misrepresented its essence. Al-Habibiyyah, in this, will be amply rewarded by Allah for awakening the Muslim Ummah to the proper way of giving out zakah to the poor. You only need to remember the humble, yet open donations of Abubakr and others (R.A) to the state of Islam to appreciate what I am saying here.

Moreover, the scholars say that there are instances where ‘the objectionable’ is actually ‘recommendable’. Self-praise is abhorred but in war times, one is permitted to praise themselves, and even be proud of their lineage. During the Battle of Hunain, the Prophet, Sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, said: ‘Doubtless, I am the Prophet of Allah, and I am the son of Abdulmuttalib!’(Sahih al-Bukhari, English Translation, vol 4, Book 52, Fighting for the Cause of Allah, Hadith 181)

By the way, a lot of people seem to confuse zakah and sadaqah; the one is compulsory and the other voluntary. With sadaqah, you get more reward for hiding the charity but in the case of zakah, you must pay up and be seen to have paid. It is a compulsory tax on your excess wealth with a fixed percentage of 2.5%.
Fundraising activities to support Islaamic causes around the world are broadcast live (at least before America’s sanctions against Muslims helping Islaam in any way after 9/11 attacks), where Muslims vie with one another in ‘lending to Allah a goodly loan’; if one Muslim gives a certain amount of money, his brother would try to outdo him, just like Abubakr and Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, did during the lifetime of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam. 

Zakah foundations in Nigeria should take a leaf from what Al-Habibiyyah has done. Let there be transparency in the process of selection and disbursement to recipients; let there be noise in the press about it in order to sensitize the Muslims and remind the neglectful on the third pillar of their religion. If 2.5% of the wealth in Muslims’ possession was to be disbursed the Al-Habibiyyah way, our streets would not have been littered with beggars; poverty would have been eradicated as we saw during the reign of Umar Ibn Abdulazeez when not a single eligible recipient was found because everybody was sated.

Well done is better than well said. It is time Muslim organisations started copying Al-Habibiyyah in zakah disbursement. People want to see commitment and sincerity in what you do as an organisation; they want to make sure you are not another thief who will collect their zakah and eat it alone without giving it out to anybody.  
Al-Habibiyyah also has room for improvement. I suggest they make the names of zakah payers and how much each person paid public information and they should have a percentage for themselves - Allah has made this halaal for whoever undertakes to distribute the tax among its lawful recipients. This not only prevents suspicion and rancour, but it also prevents greed and temptations. Well done, Al-Habibiyyah!