Few Nigerian Muslim homes are without Hajiya Aisha Lemu’s books today. This is because she had written many Islamic textbooks that are indispensable parts of our children’s school curriculum. But in certain homes, she didn’t just teach the children through her books, she also taught their parents. My home is one of them. As a student I had read Hajiya Aisha’s books, beginning with ‘Woman in Islam’ and on to a few others. I felt great when my children began to come home with text books on Islam written by her. As we mourn her great loss, I thought of writing a befitting tribute our mother, teacher and intellectual collosus, but I came across one written by my indefatigable younger brother, Abdullahi Abubakar Lamido; former MSS National Amir now lecturer at the Bayero University Kano. I felt I couldn’t add anything more to what he had to say. Please read on:
Hajiya Aisha Lemu: Indeed a life well spent
By Abdullahi Abubakar Lamido
Allahu Akbar! So Hajiya you are gone? May Almighty Allah forgive your shortcomings, accept all your good deeds and admit you into Aljanna Firdaus. We are in pains over your departure, but whenever we remember your huge investments, your perpetual sources of reward, we feel happy that in sha Allah you have reserved what will earn you Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and everlasting rewards. You are in sha Allah a good candidate for Jannah.
Hajiya, you have invested in the three sources of never-ceasing rewards mentioned by our noble Prophet (s.a.w); perpetual charities (sadaqaat jaariyah), beneficial knowledge (‘ilm yuntafa’ bih) and righteous children (walad salih yad’u lah). May Allah accept these investments.
I personally learned a lot from your works as well as your direct lessons and counsel. You were humble and exemplary.
Hajiya Aisha’s life is full of lessons. The story of her journey to, and journey within Islam, is loaded with so many inspiring lessons. Those who want to live a life of vision, achievement and contribution, have in the late humble scholar a role model per excellence.
She came, she saw, she conquered. She learned, taught, wrote, practiced, inspired and impacted. She did da’wah with her wealth and self, in cash, in kind and with kindness. She was visionary in life. She was multidisciplinary in knowledge, prolific in writing, fluent in speech, active in da’wah and consistent in bringing meaningful reform to the society. She built, nurtured and effectively managed Islamic institutions. She believed the major problem of the ummah was ignorance and the major solution is education; she hated ignorance and loved knowledge.
In the area of reforming the family her contributions are unique.
Hajiya was instrumental to the formation of the Federation of Muslim Women Organizations (FOMWAN) which she led. She helped many Islamic organizations in redefining their priorities, redirecting their activities and building their capacities.
She was co-founder of one of the most organized, most successful, most impactful Islamic institutions in the world; the Islamic Education Trust (IET). Together with her husband, Sheik (Dr) Sheikh Ahmad Lemu (who is now over 90 years old) they were able to take the IET to a level attained by only a few Islamic organizations in the world. The IET family is now a “conglomerate” of so many institutions; Da’wah Institute of Nigeria (DIN), New Horizons College (Minna), Sunrise Academy (Abuja), Development Initiative of West African (DIWA), et al.
The DIN, through its Train-the-Trainer (TTC) courses has trained thousands of youth and scholars in Nigeria, Australia, Sudan, Turkey, Malaysia, Tanzania, UK, UAE, South Africa, and tens of other countries. The rich modules of the TTC touch on very important themes that clarify the misconceptions about Islam in a manner that tries to strike a balance between laxity and extremism. The TTC package comprises of over 20 themes, including Da’wah Resource Management (which introduces scholars, youth and Islamic workers to topics such as public speaking, proposal and report writing, personal development and leadership, how to organize and manage meetings – through the “6 Thinking Hats”- etc) among other equally rich and interesting contents.
The Institute’s package on “Preventing Violent Extremism Through Altenative Narratives” (PVE-TAN) which has been presented at many leading global conferences on Preventing Violent Extremism has been rated by many as the most effective approach to PVE in the world.
Through its tens of volunteer trainers, the Institute conducts trainings for University Professors, Imams, Da’wah Workers, Students, Policy Makers and so on. Alhamdulillah, as a volunteer trainer for about 15 years now, I will ever be grateful to the DIN and IET, and to the Shaykh and late Hajiya Aisha as well as their son to Ustaz Nuru Lemu for the very, very rare opportunity they have given me. They call us volunteer trainers. But we are actually privileged trainees.
Hajiya, you would always be remembered for your indelible impact on all Muslim students in Nigeria through your Islamic Studies series that are used as perhaps so far the only comprehensive texts in all our secondary schools.
And if the only contribution of Hajiya was to raise for the Ummah her two children, Nuru and Maryam Lemu, that is enough a unique contribution to the Muslim world. “The joy of a dying father is the presence of a worthy successor”, Dan Masanin Kano would always say. This sums up my comment on the quality of the successors deliberately and carefully produced by the duo of Hajiya and Sheikh.
The 5th of January 2019 will be remembered as a day the world has lost a scholar whose works are used, thoughts studied and impact felt all over the world.
We will certainly miss you Hajiya. But we are optimistic that in sha Allah you have already started benefiting from Allah’s rahmah from the point of your departure; “…you have no fear, neither shall you grieve”.
I pray that the next venue of our meeting would be in Jannatul Firdaus, in sha Allah.