Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha As I Know Him – Part 1:
Say, “O God, Owner of dominion. You give dominion to whomever You wish, and you take away dominion from whomever You wish, and you exalt whomever You wish, and you humiliate whomever You wish. In your hand is good. Indeed, you are upon He is Able to do all things [Aal Imran:26].
In light of the recent International Conference organized by Daaru’ Naim Central Mosque. Daaru Na’im Academy For Shariah Sciences of Nigeria, I feel obliged to write something about the Director and Founder, Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha, my teacher and benefactor.
I am writing as someone who has benefitted immensely from Shaykh’s tutelage. I spent one (quality) year with him (2006 – 2007), and I can say that those were some of the best moments of my life.
Apart from learning directly from Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha, I had the privilege of following him to his external lectures. I also met prominent Shaykhs such as Professor AbdGani Akorede of Al-Hikmah University, Hon. Justice Ahmad Sayi, Shaykh Munirudeen Ar-Riyadhy, Shaykh Thaoban Adam Al-Ilory. I was also selected as one of the Daaru Na’im students to attend a seminar organized by WAMY (World Assembly of Muslim Youth for training the Du’at. That was where I first met Professor Otuyo of Al-Hikmah University. This exposure really opened my eyes and gave me the determination to pursue the path of intellectualism.
Therefore, I am not just writing this as a student who studied directly under him. I am also writing as someone who worked for him, traveled with him, and ate with him. These are enough to show I know him.
How I Met Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha
I had just completed my National Diploma in 2006 and decided to move to my brother’s place in Lagos. The plan was to use the one-year gap for my Industrial Attachment and also enroll in a Madrasah.
There was a makeshift prayer room in our compound, and since all the tenants in that building were Muslims, we always prayed in Jama’ah. However, I always heard the sound of Adhan and pre-fajr talk from a nearby mosque. One day, I decided to trace the sound; I kept walking in the direction of the Adhan until I arrived at a very big mosque three streets away. The mosque who fed us with beautiful sermons every morning before the fajr prayer was Daaru Naim.
Having discovered a proper mosque 7 minutes away, I stopped praying at home. The following day, I enquired about the Madrasah, and the brother I met (Alfa Abdrazaq) told me about an ongoing class. We were still talking when Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha arrived. The brother introduced me to Shaykh and told him what had brought me.
Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha greeted me and gave me a warm handshake. He assured me that the Madrasah would be beneficial for me, given my zeal for knowledge. He then encouraged me to always come around whenever I was free.
One of the things I love about Shaykh is his welcoming nature and likable personality. Shaykh makes you feel important when you interact with him. He keeps good relationships with the young and old, and he is well-respected in the community.
Daaru Na’im was a rallying point for all kinds of people. People came from near and far to attend programs. The mosque had regular programs for a wide range of audience Pre-fajr talk, Post-fajr Halqah, Friday Khutbah, Ramadan Tafseer, Sister’s Programme, weekend Halqah, and annual seminar. I was there when Daaru Na’im organized its first-ever seminar. It was a beautiful experience, listening to scholars whose name I had only heard before then.
The Friday Khutbah was always very powerful. Shaykh would render the Khutbah in Arabic while someone (usually Baba Sofiyu) translated it into Yoruba. The Khutbah was my first experience of Shaykh Imran’s eloquence and vastness. The second part of the khutbah was usually reserved for contemporary issues around the world. I never wanted to miss the khutbah and I recorded a lot of it on cassette.
The pre-fajr talk was anchored by Imam AbdulWaahid AbdulMajeed Eleha, Shaykh’s junior brother (or cousin). After the Fajr Adhan, Imam AbdulWaahid would give soul-lifting lectures for about 10 minutes and then proceed to lead the prayer. Imam AbdulWaahid was also the resident Imam who led all the daily prayers (except Jum’ah) including the Taraweeh prayers for the whole month of Ramadan.
One amazing thing about Ustaz AbdulWaahid is that he has a visual impairment. But despite this visual challenge, Imam AbdulWaahid had committed the entire Quran to heart. Allahu Akbar! Allah so blessed my beloved Imam AbdulWaahid that even though he can’t see things physically, he has strong non-visual abilities and cognitive functions. Imam AbdulWaahid was the sound system engineer. He was in charge of setting up the audio equalizer and microphone. I wonder how he does it. Imam AbdulWaahid used to also operate his phone by himself. He had a special code for displaying people’s numbers and dialing them automatically. May Allah bless him and his family.
Another prominent program at Daaru Naim was the post-fajr halqah. Personally, I gained a lot from this program. Shaykh used to teach us Kitaabu Tawheed by Shaykh Salih bn Abdul Azeez Ahlu Sheikh. I personally benefitted from this Halqah in two ways:
1. It further strengthened my understanding of Tawheedullahi Azza Wajall.
2. It improved my Arabic knowledge and enabled me to read Arabic texts without vowels (harakaat).
Shaykh would push me forward to read for him in the absence of Alfa AbdRazaq and, later, Ustaz Qasim, despite my weak understanding of Nahw and Sarf. I made lots of mistakes (Mo kan jegi sere n temi ni), but Shaykh was always there to correct me. If you know Shaykh very well, you’ll know that you can’t read rubbish from him and go scott-free. He will keep correcting you until you get the right pronunciation. This helped me a great deal.
Later on, Shaykh hired Ustaz Qasim, a fresh graduate of Mahdul Araby, who really brought me up to speed with Arabiyyah. This was partly because Shaykh got all too busy with Dawah that he couldn’t do full time teaching at that time.
These programs and many more attracted people to Daaru Naim. Among the congregation were those who came in search of knowledge, those who genuinely loved Shaykh because of his sincerity of purpose, and those who came to size him up. For example, Baba Fowowe once said that he became an adherent of Shaykh Imran out of his love for Shaykh Adam. After Shaykh Adam died, Baba promised himself to always revere any student of Shaykh Adam who follow his footpath. There were other people who transferred their love for Baba Eleha (Shaykh Imran’s father) to Shaykh Imran; people like Baba Opeloyeru and Shaykh Is’haq. There were also old friends who have always stood by him and supported his mission, like Shaykh Sulaiman.
In variance to these people were those who came to Daaru Na’im with ulterior motives. They wanted to break the Jama’ah through their sinister plans. I witnessed for myself undiluted Nifaaq and a first-grade Hasad. In one of the videos that came out last year, Shaykh was saying that “o tipe ti won ti n ni ilara simi.” Wallahil Azeem, I saw that with my two eyes at Daaru Na’im. So, at times, when people do certain things that reek of Hasad (envy) towards Shaykh, I just laugh. Shaykh Imran has probably gone through worse, and Allah has always vindicated him. I’ll give you an example.
There was an Ahlu Sunnah brother who used to pray at Daaru Na’im and attend the Halqah. Apart from Shaykh, he was the only one with the Kitaabu Tawheed text that we read every morning. He would ask questions after every session and had the privilege of making contributions. Even though he wasn’t that sound, Shaykh still gave him the chance to contribute.
Slowly, I noticed his withdrawal from the masjid; he didn’t come as regularly as before, and when he came, he brought up one issue or the other. I also noticed a change in disposition towards Shaykh. This was when he started the evil mission in the masjid. He went around painting a bad picture of Shaykh behind him, poisoning people’s minds, and telling unverifiable lies against him. I got to know this because he tried to talk me out of following Shaykh Imran as well.
One day, he called me and started telling me heinous lies about Shaykh. He brought allegations upon allegations. He then warned me not to tell Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha or else he would deal with me. So I played along. He kept telling me things until I couldn’t take it anymore. So I summoned the courage and told Shaykh every single thing he had told me about him.
Shaykh was so surprised; I could see the shock in his countenance. It was on that note that Shaykh told me some things about the brother. He told me how he once paid the brother’s house rent and how he would give him money when he was in need. Shaykh couldn’t understand how his beneficiary could backstab in this manner.
Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha then asked me if I could repeat everything the brother told me if he summoned both of us. “Of course”, I answered. So he summoned the brother. When he arrived, Shaykh confronted him fiercely and warned him to stop the campaign of calumny. I had never seen Shaykh in an angry mood before. I really felt his pain. Then I repeated everything the brother told me in their presence. He couldn’t deny any of what I said because Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha told him someone else had brought his report initially but he overlooked it. Then he started begging for mercy.
To my surprise, Shaykh Imran AbdulMajeed Eleha didn’t send the brother away or disgrace him publicly. Rather, he dealt with him the way Prophet Muhammad dealt with the Munaafiqun of his time. He gave the brother an opportunity to retrace his steps. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop his malicious attempt to destroy things until Allah disgraced him and his fellow hypocrites. They were eventually expunged from Daaru Naim when their cups got full.
If people could be this callous at a time when Shaykh Imran was driving a rickety car (the red Benz 190E) and living on the first floor of the masjid with his family, imagine what they would be capable of now that Allah has expanded his means.
But despite their evil plot and machinations, Allah debased them and kept uplifting Shaykh Imran. He wasn’t so wealthy at that time, but Allah blessed him with people. Not just ordinary people but those with substance. Whenever Shaykh wanted to execute a project or organize any event, Allah always raised helpers who would stand by him.
Hafiz Akinde writes from United kingdom (UK).