What Happened to MSSN
An Historical Overview

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Gracious the Most Merciful

All praise to Allâh, may the best of salutations be upon the best of His Creation.

The Muslim Students’ Society [of Nigeria], MSS[N], was founded in 1954 basically to cater for the religious needs of the young Muslim boys and girls in some Lagos grammar schools and colleges. When it started it was all singing and dancing. The beginning of the group was therefore upon a shoddy foundation, perhaps a foundation informed by the level of the Islamic understanding of the time. Calling people to the Kitaab and Sunnah at the time was no doubt a mirage. The way the fathers were so were the children.

Decades after its formation, and having gone through some phases, MSS[N] became a household name in Nigerian secondary schools and higher institutes of learning, especially in the South-Western Nigeria where it originated.

Thus there came a phase when some breeze of the Sunnah came upon the MSSN, that was in the 90’s. Books such as ‘The Milestones’, ‘Let us Be Muslims,’ ‘Return of the Pharaohs’, ‘What Does My Being A Muslim Mean?,’ etc., were those works that served as the intellectual cum Sunnah foundations of the group. Thus it would not be farfetched what sort of Sunnah was in vogue then. To those who do not know, those books were written by the arrowheads of the Ikhwaanee Thought Founders, Sayyid Qutb, et al. The best caller then was he/she who had mastered best two or some of the books mentioned.

The sub-phase was the era of meagre studying of Arabic works of some scholars. The reading of Fatâwâ Muhimma of Shaykh bn Baaz, Sifaatus-Salaat of Shaykh Al-Albaanee, Minhaaj Muslim of Shaykh Abubakr Jazaairee [now discovered to be very flawed], Buluugul-Maraam of Al-Imam Ibn Hajar, Riyaadus-Saaliheen of Al-Imam An-Nawawi, etc., brought some liberation in some strata [to borrow the cliché] of the group. That was the first litmus for the group as a whole.

The Sunnah evolving from the reading of such works was too much for some, especially the people in Lagos [the laissez-faire state] and Ogun [which always follows Lagos], some of whom later went to found new groups, The Muslim Congress [TMC] and Al-Furqaan [the Da’wah Front] respectively. Ironically, TMC had claimed the MSSN was lazing, for deviating from ‘The Milestones’ and other books. As for Al-Furqaan, Islam needed to be made very simple. There was one of their ideologues who said he had the wherewithal to declare 20 hadith [or more than] of Sahîh Bukhârî weak. Someone who could not [and cannot] properly write his name in Arabic.

The liberation was however sustained, some of the youths carried on the learning. In fact, some [like this humble self who just came back from the North then where he actually picked up the Sunnah, he is talking late 90’s] had to go secretly learning lest you were told you were going above board. Alhamdulillah for the persistence because in no time was the total freedom gained.

By early 2000, the coast was getting clearer. Those for the real Sunnah were getting distinguished from those who felt it had to be some Sunnah some Bid’ah. IVC’s then us to be brainstorming and intellectually inundated. NisfuSaaq, Niqaab and Nikâh, with some studies of ‘Aqeedah, were becoming the norms. The distractions were still there; some from the foot soldiers of TMC, others from those who thought emphasizing the three N’s and the issues of ‘Aqeedah was extremism in the Deen. The latter are mostly found in Ibadan, many of them are still there and are the ones dictating the shots now. The people of Ibadan were those that dragged Ondo-Osun hardliners into a hybrid of Lagos-Ogun lackadaisical attitudes to Islam which are cemented today.

By 2003, Manhaj books [that is, books preaching the correct methodologies of the Salaf] began to spread. Books condemning blind attachment or otherwise to any of the various groups ascribing themselves to Islâm. Being the truth, the idea of no-more-blind-attachment to jamaa’aat began to hurt some. Initially some of the youths who had extensivey learnt these matters thought perhaps they could cause some changes within but alas it later became clear it was a wrong choice because those other people who believed the Jamâ’ât were the bus-stops started to put up resistance.

The culmination was the symposium that was held at the Central Mosque of the University of Ibadan mid 2000. The MSSN was disappointed. The Jamâ’ât were not necessary, many of the notable discussants such as Shaykh Najeem Sulaymân, Dr AbdurRazâq Alaro, Ustaadh Amubieya, etc. told the crowds that came to hear the final say. The MSSN did not later spare some of those discussants, it blacklisted them. It is a fact. They would never invite any of those notable people to their programmes. In fact the list of non-invitables is a very long one. How many times had certain programme of an MSSN branch cancelled and redrawn on the spurious orders of the Ameer of a higher hierarchy just because a certain ‘bad’ figure was invited! How many times had a list of student executives jettisoned just because there were so-and-so people who attend such-and-such madrasah on the list!

Thence, the blackmailing, campaign of calumny, more blacklisting, etc, began all over the strata through decisive directives of the MSSN leadership. That was the truning point. Since then the MSSN had become lacklustre, seriously falling from the little grace it had. One would later wonder if it had become a pressure group or political party, or a mixture of both. It is no secret that the MSSN today, as well as its sister Jamâ’ât, has political ambitions in the democratic fray that has become a Fitnah for the Ummah world over. Many of the members of the MSSN have actually contested for one elective post or the other. They now frolic with those on corridor of powers; they blindly campaign and vote for them. Their womenfolk are not left behind. O Allâh, help Your Ummah.

As earlier alluded to, several youths did go in search of the correct knowledge of the Deen. Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia even Egypt [where there are a handful of Salafi scholars] received a throng of the willing students, to learn the ‘Aqeedah, the Manhaj and all what Islâm entailed, free from the shackles of the Jamâ’ât.

On return from their learning sojourn, some of the students began the proper teaching of Islam via the establishment of madaaris, maraakiz and halaqaat ilmiyyah though not after they had thought they could bring some changes to the Jamâ’ât within, among which was the MSSN, and consequently being made to quit when all cautions were thrown into the winds. Allâh’s earth is spacious enough.

The MSSN did not stop at that, it sent an evil tag after them: Laa Jamâ’ah, of course, to paint them black. The MSSN ought to have realised that mistake now but alas ‘they are still in their old doubt going helter-skelter.’ We have pointed out this in some of our published works viz. ‘Message to the Intelligent’ and ‘Demystifying the Laa Jamâ’ah Label.’

Today, the MSSN is totally another thing. The old people of early 90’s [when they were students] and who did not run to TMC and Da’wah Front are the menace now. They are a people not ready to learn and who think Islâm for the youths should be according to their whims. They are the ones, if further care is not taken, that will turn the MSSN into a full blown political party in Nigeria where their ‘hope of the Ummah’ will be realised. There are prominent precursors to this aspiration. May Allâh save the youths from them.

If they had left the entity of the MSSN for the students in the higher institutions who will take care of the secondary school students, it would have been better, that even if all the Hizbee tendencies are shunned by the former. The old ones should allow the students to develop at their own pace [by inviting speakers they feel will impart on them positively] as they were left alone in their own times. But the grandpas and grandmas still in the MSSN have an agenda; they want reap from the political harvest in the country. What an ominous agenda!

One of the pointers to the political agenda of the grandpas in the MSSN is the programme to be organised by the B-Zone this September in Osogbo, Osun State Capital. It is called a symposium themed: ‘Building A New Nigeria, the Task Ahead.’ The discussants will include the immediate past chair of the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC], subuhanaLlaah! No story, this is promoting a secular cause with a religious agenda.

That will not be the first time, and probably, not the last time. This writer could remember a similar one they staged in this same Osogbo in 2011, ‘Responsibilities of Youths in Resolving Leadership Crisis in Nigeria,’ where a sitting Muslim democrat Governor gave the keynote address. In fact, the bulk of the B-Zone programmes are in this direction. It is a political agenda, Ikhwah. May Allâh protect the youths from the harm of these people.

The B-Zone is the thought centre of the whole MSSN, forget the National MSSN in Abuja, it is the B-Zone. Remember, the MSSN was founded in the South West. Besides, the Northerners are conservatives, they are not used to this Usrah-Central-Branch stuff, the MSSN that exists in the North is basically in schools and notably in Higher Institutions, which many of our local scholars have said are not intrinsically bad provided no Hizbiyyah is involved.

Inshâ Allâh we shall find time to respond to the craps spewed by the last National President of the MSSN, Brother Sirajudeen AbdulAzeez Folayemi in his article written in Safar of 1435 entitled, ‘An Advice to MSSN Leadership.’

So what will the grandpas do now? Quit or stay put? They quitting is better for them. They should give the youths the breathing space. They should stop the castigation and blackmailing. This is better for them because if they do not desist, time shall definitely tell [if it has not been telling already]. We advise them to go on the path of learning. Let them stop being champions of ‘Islamic democracy,’ it is arrant nonsense. Let them learn the Sunnah; in fact, they should not feel shy to declare for Salafiyyah in ‘Aqeedah and Manhaj.

Inshâ Allâh, we shall continue to write when necessary. May Allâh make this effort for His Sake Alone. We announce our weakness and incapacitation. None will achieve any good without His Leave. O Allâh, help us and the members of the Ummah of Your Prophet. We beseech You to bless and salute Your slave, Muhammad, his family, Companions and those who follow them in goodness.







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