Ta'awunu: The Journey So Far

By Tajudeen Abefe Oladejo
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Looking back at 27 years ago, it was a long journey that many had been buried and forgotten or existing without landmark of credibility. But glory be to Allah (swt) who destined the establishment of Jama'at Ta'awunil Muslimeen Society of Nigeria and still affirms our feet within the fold of Islam despite the whirlwind that ravaged the organisation for more than half a decade now. It is imperative to say that we are looking back to 27 years ago only to set the history straight for those that may not be duly aware. Notably, we are not celebrating Ta'awunu birthday because it is not Islamic but for the accessment of history, to know the journey so far.

Just like a joyous baby born, Ta'awun was established on 28th February, 1994 equivalent to Ramadan 17, 1414 A.H. It was established in connection with historical antecedent of liberating Muslims, challenging some religious fanatics that were disturbing students of Islahudeen Arabic Schools, Oyoode, Iwo, Osun State by nuisance drumming and singing. Some students felt disturbed by the attitude of these religious fanatics, which successfully led to leaving the school environment for another place. This necessitated the formation of Jama'atu Ta'wunil Muslimeen as organisation. The action of checkmating the nuisance by the religious fanatics snowballed into the thought of liberating the Ummah which serves as the banality of Ta'awun till today.

To set the history straight, the formation of the great organisation was credited to the legendary efforts of the heroes of liberation whom could be likened to "The Seven Heroes in the Forest of Thousand Demons" in the language of D.O. Fagunwa. Thus, the idea of transforming the liberating struggle into a full-flegged organisation was conceived by the then eight distinguished students of Islahudeen Arabic and Islamic School, Oyoode, Iwo. We mean the great Arabic School credited its founding and ideology to Shaykh Abdul Baaqi Muhammad ( Rahimahullahu Ta'ala).The eight members of co-founders of Ta'awun are:

1. Ustaz Shafi'i Abdul Azeez Bello (Ph.D)
2. Ustaz Bashir Usamot Olalere
3. Ustaz Ibrahim Hasimiyu
4. Ustaz Yakub Hasimiyu
5. Ustaz Khidr Abdul -Ganiyy Akanni
6. Ustaz Daood Imran Malaasan
7.Ustaz Khidir Abdul-Aleem Hamzat
8. Ustaz Abdul-Hakeem Abdur-Rauf- now dead ( May Allah grant him Jannatu Fridaos).

How the Name Ta'wunu was Formed:
The name "Jama'atu Ta'awunil Muslimeen Society of Nigeria" was unanimously formed by the eight co-founders after serious deliberation and brainstorming. The name was thus excerpted from Qu'ran chapter 5 verse 2 as follows: " Help you one another in virtue and righteousness and piety; but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment." So the meaning of Ta'awun is " cooperation based on virtue and righteousness "

How the First Ameer Emerged:
In line with the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that enjoins appointing a person as leader among a group of Muslims, the eight co-founders of the organisation unanimously appointed Ustaz Daood Imran Molaasan as their leader amidst profound deliberation. Thereafter, they were submissive, tolerant and obedient to his leadership for the sake of Islamic work.

The appointment of Ustaz Daood Imran Malaasan as the leader was unconnected with any factor except that it was a divine making. Despite all of them were classmates at Islahudeen Arabic School at that time, they were very submissive to him. Other heroes were designated to different areas of da'wah activities at initial stage of the establishment.

Aims and Objectives Ta'awun:
1. To promote the interest of Islam in a pristine way.

2. To promote the interest of Islam educationally and in line with modern civilisation .

3. To show Islam to youth on proper way of life as preached by Holy Prophet (SAW).

4. To promote proper understanding of Islam , unity, love, and peace among Muslims and non Muslims in Nigeria.

5. To cooperate with similar bodies around the world with identical objectives with a view to safeguarding, protecting the Islamic heritage of scholarship and humanitarian.

6. To re-present and represent Islam in all fora.
Members of the Board of Trustees
Ta'awun was registered with Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja, Nigeria in 2009. The following names appear on the CAC certificate as follows:

i. Ustaz Yakub Hasimiyu
ii. Ustaz Ibraheem Hasimiyu
iii Ustaz Muhammad Bashir Usamot
v Ustaz Daood Imran Malaasan
vi Ustaz Khidr Abdulaleem Hamzat
vi. Barrister Isola Tawfiq Tewogbade
Activities of Ta'awun:
Ta'awun began its da'awh activities from mosque to mosque proselytisation. It was later developed to village to village , town to town, city to city; from national to international level. This made people of different calibres join the organisation enmass.

Ta'awun is calling people to the way of Allah especially the youth. Its way of propagating Islam through soul purified sermons and motivation for Arabic and Western education makes some people embrace the organisation and it becomes the youth dream in the society. In year 2000, Ta'awun established nursery and primary school and in 2002, it established a secondary school which has developed into 30 in various branches . In 2005, the organisation established cyber cafe which was the first of its kind in Iwo community, given access to people for browsing, and computer training is being offered there till date. 3 hospitals were established for health services of people without discrimination. Ta'awunu launched and established Al-Ummah College of Education in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Departments in Ta'awun:
To make the organisation's activities effective various departments were formed as follows:

1.Da'awah Department
2. Education Department
3. Social and Charity Department
4. Health Department
5. Women Affairs Department
6. Public Relation Department
7. Information Department
8. Security Department
9. Finance Department
10. Agricultural Department
Branches of the Organisation:
Presently, Ta'awun has about 35 branches across Nigeria and abroad. The branches were established through members who travelled to different places for education . Some of the branches are headed by the members that facilitated their establishment and they became the coordinators of those branches. The coordinators report periodically to the headquarters in Iwo, Osun State for progress reports, accessments and ratifications. The branches also acquire properties through membership contributions and donations from well-wishers. The branches do contribute immensely for the development of headquarters in Iwo as Markaz or central orbit of the organisation.

Challenges in Ta'awun:
Ta'awun as an organisation has gained ground across Nigeria because of strong commitment of the members and focus on reformation. But leadership challenges that set in has rocked and shaken the organisation for almost a decade. Thus, the challenges led to the split of Ta'awun into two in 2015 when the various reconciliations and arbitrations proved abortive. The two groups of the same name are operating in the society till date.

Philosophy behind Ta'awun Development:
1. Developing organisation before individual: Ta'awun believes that when organisation is well built, it can cater for individual members if objectivity does not become wanting. This spirit expedites Ta'awunu development.

2. Ta'awun does not joke with knowledge and modernisation: the organisation established schools and the stakeholders focus much on knowledge seeking to pass correct ideology across and compete with global update and development.

3. Spirit of "yes,we can": whatever Ta'awun wants to do, with Allah's support, it is believed is always possible.

4. Struggle for all without discrimination: Anybody that needs assistance of Ta'awun regardless of membership inclination, Ta'awun is always ready to assist. It believes that when people are comfortable, it is then the da'wah activities can be stabilized productively.

5. It is youth focused: Since it is a youth organisation, Ta'awun focuses much on youth than ageing people. This makes them to be active and having sufficient work force in the organisation. This eventually adds values to the organisation's development.

TA'AWUN MESSAGE ON COVID-19:
Coronavirus has become the current Shatan that separates the loved ones from each other. It has shaken the entire world proved that none has power except Allah. No world power except Allah. None can cure except Allah. Therefore, the antedote to coronavirus is to back to Allah and run away from equalising ourselves to the mightiness of our Creator. We must run away from sins and seek forgiveness on our shortcomings. That is spiritual antedote which is very pertinent.

The world should be objective in seeking medical solution to coronavirus. Allah can use anybody to solve this problem. Therefore, World Health Organisation should not believe that Africans cannot get remedy to this obstacle. Madagascar as an African country, has about 200 index cases of coronavirus and it has cured about 100 coronavirus patients with local herbs, without recording any death case. This is sufficient to accept such herbs and recommend it for the world if at all it does not need any modification. When discrimination is eschewed, corona corruption is buried and corona ignorance is deleted in the mentality of many people, yes, coronavirus will be totally conquered. It should be believed it is real, and it requires strict obedience of government directives for better global survival.

However, Ta'awun saddles the experts of Sunnatic Medicine to come out with vaccine and medicine of Prophetic recommendations to tackle this plague. We mean the one to be manufactured in a corporate way, presentable to all corners of the world. We believe, the solution to this pandemic is in Islam likewise it can come from other orthodox medical sources for our rescue.

The concept of sadaqah becomes mandatory for those who have wealth. It is rewardable to give people food for survival in this critical time of lockdown likewise in this Ramadan. COVID-19 has made many people to be wretched, let us assist them according to our capacity.

In conclusion, we should use this blessed month of Ramadan to pray to Allah to strengthen Jama'atu Ta'awunil Muslimeen and the Muslim Ummah, multiply our prosperity and protect us against deadly diseases. May Allah help us to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 globally in the shortest time.

Dr. Tajudeen Abefe Oladejo, General secretary, Jama'atu Ta'awunil Muslimeen writes from Iwo, Osun State on behalf of the National President, Dr. Shafi'i Abdul Azeez Bello.