For their disbelief, the Jew and the pagans of Quraesiy used to gauge and test the authenticity of prophet’s Muhammad’s apostleship with deluge of questions on the past important personages of history and power. Their belief was that if Muhammad ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam) was in actuality a prophet sent by God to them, the one that had sent him would definitely aid him and inform him about the personages they were enquiring from him even if he was not privy to their lives or their stories before now.
And Allah, who is both Omnipotent and omnipresent used to inform the prophet ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam) beforehand , on questions the Jews of Medina city and their Makkan’ s pagans counterparts would pose to him alongside the most updated and relevant of the answers to them.
This was what Allah Had done for the prophet ( Salla-llahu alehi wasalam) when the Jew in the city of Medina had gone to the Quraesiy, the arch-enemies of the prophet ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam) both before the Hijrah of the prophet in Makka and after it, in Medina; to query the prophet on what he knew about the story of Zul-qarnain!
That if Muhammad ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam) was a true apostle from Allah, he must know one or two things from the past personages of history and power even if he was not privy to their stories. Alas! The answers of prophet’s Muhammad as supplied to him by Allah is well discussed as parts of the stories of didacticism and morality in Qu’ran 18 ( suratul- Kahf)
Popular opinion identifies Zul-qarnain with Alexander the Great according to Yusuf Aliy ( 1986). Literally, the name Zul-qarnain connotes : ” the Two- horned one”, the King with the Two Horns, or the Lord of the Two Epochs! He had been given the name because of the gargantuan wealth and power bestowed on him by God Almighty with his suzerainty which covered both the West and East of Earth then. Ibn Husaemin ( 2010).
He had great power and great opportunity. He was the most powerful among kings who reigned in his era. But despite the fact that he was given the authority over a turbulent and unruly people, he had chosen the better course by protecting the weak and the innocent , punished the guilty and the headstrong and always turned to God in praise and in worship!
Zul-qarnain never did like Pharaoh, another past personage of history and power who had utilized the power given to him by God on his subjects cruelly and who at the height of his reign had dubbed himself in the face of his followers as ” your Lord Most High”, referring to himself as the Lord of the heavens and earth, the Most High!
Instead, Zul-qarnain had laid more stress on the good he could do to those who lived normal lives in faith and righteousness. According to Yusuf Ali ( 1986) , “his rule was easy to them; he imposed no heavy tasks because of his power , but gave every opportunity to the rich and the poor for the exercise of virtue and goodness”.
Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero 111, (1947_2023), the just demised Imam of Oyo land and its environs seemed to be a modern model of Zul-qarnain for he had conquered the two epochs of knowledge and wealth of experiences in his days, as his prototype Zul-qarnain had conquered power and wealth in his hey days too!
As pointed out earlier, Zul-qarnain as a most powerful king had been given power and ways and means to realize the great works God had wanted to accomplish through him and he had not misused the opportunity despite the fact that he had been tested with unruly and turbulent people.
Same thing can be said of the life of Imam Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero 111, as he had been bestowed knowledge and influence which he had deployed to solve many a problem and issue which had come his ways as his life lasted , though the people he had been given too could be said to be turbulent, cunning and feisty but not unruly!
As Zul-qarnain had been bequeathed ways and means to all ends, Imam Moshood had also been left with ways and means to all ends he desired in life! He had been given an encyclopedic knowledge of Arabic language and Islamic sciences, started from his formative years while he was receiving his elementary knowledge from the then Mufassir of Oyo land and later from his son who was himself attained the post of the Exegete of Oyo land ,in person of Sheikh Abdulazeez Onikun.
This, he had combined with the western education up to the secondary school at Ibadan before his father preferred the Islamiyya school of the eminent Islamic savant and sage, Sheikh Adam Abdullah Al-Iloriy, to the government college Ibadan, where he had been admitted as a student!
The father, Pa Abdulganeey for his foresight and knowledge of his ancestry had preferred the Islamiyya school of Sheikh Adam Abdullah Al-Iloriy at Agege to the government college Ibadan which was tailored to prepare students for only the worldly knowledge devoid of Allah’s law, jurisprudence and science!
After the young Moshood had completed the Taoj grade classes ( university preparatory classes) of the Agege famous Islamic School in flying colour, he had creditably won a scholarship to attend the oldest and famed University of Cairo, which he had also finished meritoriously as he had done at the Agege School!
While doing these, Imam Moshood had been a born teacher teaching young and old people who were interested in the knowledge of the Book of Allah and that of His prophet ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam), at Agege, Oyo and Iwo during holidays and other times. Not only this, his prowess in writing and oratory were not left out fallowing . He had been given them space in his multiple engagements until he became master at them all!
Like Zul-qarnain, Imam Moshood had used his knowledge to benefit humanity in general when he was imparting others from all walks of life and from all human races when living in his home country , Nigeria here and while at Egypt as a student and a linguist of a note. According to Imam Of Ogbomosho Land who happened to be a student of Imam Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero, he said that there is no land in this earth except that Imam Moshood has one or two students there even as far as China! Talha ( 2023)
Zul-qarnain who traversed the West and East of this Earth, had reached the West of the earth where he had found a people with mixed characters _ some were of negative morality and others were a people which given to righteousness. And when Zul-qarnain was ordered “to either punish them or treat them with kindness ” he had chosen the balanced way , he said :
” Whoever does wrong , him shall we punish ; then shall he be sent back to his Lord; and he will punish him with a punishment unheard-of
” But whoever believes, and works righteousness,_ he shall have a godly reward, and easy will be his task as we order it by our command.” _ Qu’ran 18:87-88
Imam Moshood like Zul-qarnain had lived with righteousness and morality while he was on the land among a people he was not a native! As a student and subsequently as an Arabic language expert in Radio Cairo, despite bestowed with power of ingenuity, leadership and knowledge to lead others, he had done so with justice and balance of ethos. He had given all what they deserved as done by Zul-qarnain to the transgressor and the righteous respectively in the Quranic allusion above!
Now ” Uztaz Moshood” followed another way as Zul-qarnain had followed another way from the West of the earth to its East !. ( Ustaz Moshood was the lovely epithet given to Imam Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero by his students at his new post at Abeokuta Nigeria, varied slightly to what his mentor and teacher, Sheikh Adam Abdullah Al-Iloriy used to fondly called him when he was at Agege which was ” Moshood Oyo!”
Here , Zul-qarnain met the sun rising on a people for whom no covering was provided for against the sun. The people here lived very simple lives. Perhaps the climate was hot , and they required neither roofs over their heads, nor much clothing to protect them from the sun.
To Yusuf Ali ( 1986), they were a primitive people and for this, he did not fuss over their primitiveness , but left them in the enjoyment of peace and tranquility in their own way. In this he was wise, as power is apt to be
intolerant and arrogant, and to interfere in everything that does not accord with its own gratification. Not so Zul-qarnain , he recognized his own limitations in the sight of Allah: man never completely understands his own position , but if he devoutly looks to Allah, he will live and let live”!
Now Imam Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero ‘s sojourn at Abeokuta,to Misbau Lateef, a professor of Law at Hull University and a student of the Imam, had been facilitated by the erstwhile business mogul, philanthropist of no mean repute and the winner of the 1993 presidential election in Nigeria, Chief M.K.O Abiola of blessed memory!
According to Misbau Lateef ( 2023), who described the Imam as a father , a writer, an editor, and a scholar of consequential repute and a literati; M.K.O Abiola of blessed memory met/ saw him ( Imam Moshood) at Radio Cairo (Egypt) and wondered what such a brilliant Nigeria scholar was doing working abroad instead of Nigeria. He hired him and brought him back home to teach at Zulikha Abiola school, Abeokuta!”
It was said that Abiola had discussed his plan to establish an international radio service at Abeokuta later in the year with the Imam before he ventured into the presidential race that later culminated in the termination of his life and that the Imam would later transfer his service from the college to the radio station as the manager but the political fracas created by the military regimes then which later led to the disruption of orders and the death of Abiola did not allow that to materialize!
For all the alluring material things and influence conferred by journalism and those who practiced it, Imam Moshood as a foresighted knowledgeable chap he was, settled down to teach men and women the language of the glorious Qur’an and the Hadith of the prophet without worrying that the primary focus of his redeployment from Cairo to Nigeria had not been materialized as he had wished!
Acting true to type, he embraced teaching the words of God to all and sundry with finesse and agility of somebody who has just found his calling, thereby preparing multitudes who would be giants in various fields of human endeavors tomorrow despite the pittance being paid as teachers’ emoluments and salaries in the country then and now!
Although Abeokuta was and is not a backwater state and her people were not primitive like the people Zul-qarnain had destined to direct in the East of the world when he was reigning, Imam Moshood like his model , Zul-qarnain did not interfere unnecessarily in the lives of his students and co-teachers in the Zulikha Abiola College then. Instead, he was tolerant of others, humane and humble to the high and low in his environment until he earned their respect and the sobriquet ” Ustaz Moshood!”
The good behavior of Ustaz Moshood did not go without the notice of who was who in the great city of Abeokuta then, till they courted his friendship despite the age difference between him and these influentia personalities, the likes of Baba Ola Yusuf, Prince Abdul-Jabbar Bola Ajibola, the founder of the Crescent University, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and many movers and shakers of the country then and now!
Then Imam Moshood began his movement to Oyo again as Zul-qarnain had arrived in a tract between two mountains where he found beneath them , a people who scarcely understood a word! This followed the death of the fiery but compassionate erstwhile Imam of Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria ,Oyo branch and later Imam of Oyo ,in person of Sheikh Isiaq Ogunbado in the early 90s!
Unlike what feelers have been saying that the Town of Aalafin had not had a knowledgeable Imam who were well grounded in Islamic sciences hitherto the coming of Imam Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero 111, the town to say the truth of the matter ,had been blessed with knowledgeable, ascetic and men of Islamic passion before Imam Moshood who had striven in their own ways to raise the bars of Imamship in the town to enviable positions but what the town lacked and which Imam Moshood had come to fill was a cosmopolitan, university graduate and a man of average age like him!
The town being a relic of the old Oyo Empire with all the accompanied economic , political and socio-religious lures and repulsion had been in tenterhooks to have her own taste of a first class graduate of a world class university as her Imam who would strengthen some crookedness in the manner of worships, unity of the Muslims and the appreciation of higher Islamic education and erudition! This had prompted many people of good will to back his candidature as Imam when he had shown interest!
In the beginning, his ambition did not gel out until his second attempt after the death of another Imam from the Akeugberu’s line until the year 2004 when the Lord of the mercy and blessing deemed him fit to assume the enviable position of his forbears and Imamate of Oyo township and his environ!
Zul-qarnain has arrived now among a people who were skilled in the working of metals , and could furnish blocks or bricks of iron, melt metals with bellows or blow-pipes , and prepare a molten lead. Apparently they were a peaceable and industrious race, much subject to incursions from wild tribes who were called Gog and Magog. Against these tribes they were willing to purchase immunity by paying the Conqueror ( Zul-qarnain) tribute in return for protection. The permanent protection they wanted was the closing of a mountain gap through which the incursions were made!
Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero was now in Oyo among a people who were at home with the language of the Yoruba and the understanding of the wise but who lacked unity among themselves and who needed a leader who would gear them towards proper understanding of Islam and the love of Islamic scholarship!
Men of good will in the town of Oyo then strove hard to make sure that Imam Moshood became the Imam of Oyo land and its environs so that he would lead the town to greater heights like the people of the tract between the two mountains had done to Zul-qarnain offering him all forms of aids and helps so that he would help them construct an iron-wall as a protection against the people of Gog and Magog!
As Zul-qarnain was not greedy and did not want to impose a tribute on them before he rendered help to these people, Imam Moshood after his assumption of office understood the grace of Allah on him, to involve duties and responsibilities on his part _ the duty of protecting his subjects without imposing heavy tribute or tax on them. He then commenced the efforts to unify his people and their understanding of Islamic manners by rallying them towards the brotherhood of Islam.
This he achieved by gathering Muslims of every niche which made up the town together, appointing among them men of knowledge and erudition to various Islamic offices in the town and finally cementing this up with cooperation with the league of Imams and Alfas of Yorubaland in the south west Nigeria!
And the aftermath of him as a religious leader of the town is that the town has witnessed a rise in both Islamic learning, culture and scholarship. This can be seen in his efforts to liberalize Jumma’t Mosques by going out of the culture he met on ground which did not allow much mosques to function as Friday congregational mosques. At this ends, he turbaned many an Imam and settled matters between communities and houses in the town so that Islam would permeate the nook and cranny of it!
His supports to the graduates of Islamic universities from the Arab worlds and those who had studied anything Islam here in the country was also topnotch! Many industrious and people of influence were also given Islamic titles with a view to using their influence and wealth for the elevation of Islam and Muslims.
At this juncture, the efforts of Imam Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero 111 should be commended here for he had made sure that any thing accrued from these efforts were geared towards the reconstruction and refurbishment of the Oyo Township Central Mosque! Prior to his time, any efforts or resources gathered to give the mosque a facelift had always gone south while the town accountant could not probed or sanction, for he was a similitude of one’s junior wife who was more powerful than one’s mother despite one’s mother superiority over her in matrimonial renderings!
To his credit, two new gigantic buildings were constructed at the flanks of the Mosque while the entire leaked roof of the Mosque that had witnessed many a season
had been removed with a customized solid new ones! This is also being accompanied with a full refurbishing of the entire mosque and the construction of a multi-million naira state-of-the-art minaret!
As a literati of a note, Kamiludeen Qasim in his Sasiyyat of Oyo ‘Ulamah ( 2021) had identified more
than sixteen books ; both published and those in manuscript forms, to the credit of Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero 111! The contents of these books range from Arabic grammar, Arabic literature, Modern manual of teaching the glorious Qur’an, poetry styles, poems on religion and life in general and lots of other focuses!
His magna opus among these books have been the duo of the books entitled :” Ustaz Ragmun-Anfi and Maqqaamatul- Oyowiy”! The first one, ” Ustaz Ragmun-Anfi ” has been used as a recommended JAMB and WAEC Arabic literature text while “Maqqaamatul-Oyowiy ” is the author’s attempt at aping the two popular and ancient Maqqaamatu; Maqqaamatul- Amozaniy and Maqqaamatul- Haririy, using the local personages and their experiences in constructing the themes in the Book.
It is not possible to write the achievements of the revered Imam Moshood Abdulganeey Ajokidero 111 at once! It is the belief of the essayist that as the life keeps unfolding, many other ones will be unveil by other people who are still privy to the Imam’s life and researchers that will still examine these achievements will still beam their search on them.
Our prayer is that the Almighty Allah will ease the affairs of the Imam in his sepulchre with mercy and blessing while He will continue to guide and bless the families, friends and Oyo people he left behind,Amin!
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