The demise of the Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheikh Garuba Akinola Ibrahim, the ninth Chief Imam of Lagos State has continued to attract comments from family members and prominent Muslims accross the state. The widow of the late cleric, Alhaja Islamiyah Akinola Ibrahim stated that her late husband was too kind to a fault, adding that he would deny himself some pleasure to make others smile.
Sheikh Ibrahim died last Sunday at the age of 79. He was survived by one wife and nine children.
Large crowd of Muslims thronged his residence as well as the Central Mosque where he was buried as well as the special Fidau prayers held last Wednessday.
Dignitaries and prominent Islamic scholars and members of the Lagos Muslim Community thronged the central mosque in large number for the fidau prayers.
Among those dignitaries and eminent Muslims that were present at the fidau included, prominent Industrialist, Chief Razak Okoya, retired Justice Ishola Olorunnimbe, Oba Riliwan Akiolu of Lagos was represented by White Cap Chiefs, Baba Adinni of Lagos, Sheikh Abdulhafeez Abou, Sheikh Muhammad Jamiu Trimidhi, among others.
Late Akinola, a renowned Islamic scholar became the Chief Imam of Lagos at the age of 63. He attended the famour Morcas Arabic School from 1959 to 1961 and distinguished himself as a front line Islamic scholar and preacher.
He was also a civil servant serving in various capacities especially the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) where he retired after 32 years of meritorious service.
Family members, other speak about him
The widow of the Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheikh Garuba Akinola Ibrahim, Alhaja Islamiyah, has described her late husband as kind, lovely and caring husband.
“I have been married to him for about 17 years. Baba was a kind man; lovely and caring. He was kind to all his children. Baba loved rice, especially fried rice. He was humane even to people he didn’t know. When those who do not know him wanted to see him, he would ask us to let them in, saying ‘Don’t stop them from seeing me.’ Baba would listen to them. Not only that, he would do exactly what that person came for, and if he couldnt, he would direct the Central Mosque to do. Nobody came to him crying without leaving smiling.”
The deceased’s son, Luqman Ibrahim, said Sheikh Ibrahim was the best father in the world.
“He was the best of all fathers I could think of. My father was an epitome of love and humility. The love he had for the state and the nation can never be quantified. It was far beyond the love he had for himself, let alone his children. So, in fact we lost a rare gem. I will forever miss him. I am short of words. I don’t want to cry,” he said.
Former Lagos state deputy governor Alhaja Lateefah Okunnu, described him a gentle, God-fearing, and amiable father.
Alhaja Okunnu said: “He was father to all; both men and women. We really enjoyed his company and his guidance throughout his lifetime. We will miss his fatherly advice.”
MUSWEN, NASFAT, Anwar-ul-Islam pay tributes
The President, Muslim Ummah of South West, Nigeria, MUSWEN, Alhaji (Dr.) Sakariyau O. Babalola and the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Prince ‘Abdul Jabbaar Bola Ajibola, SAN also in a release sent to Vanguard said the late scholar was a pillar of strength for the Ummah in Lagos State, the South West region and Nigeria. The statement which was signed by its Executive Secretary, Professor Dawud Noibi said: “He was a bridge builder who stood for unity among Muslims and a champion of peaceful coexistence among the diverse people of Nigeria both within and outside Lagos State. It is our prayer that Allah overlooks his errors and grants him blissful Barzakh and entry to al-Jannah al-Firdaus,” praying Allah to grant his family, the Muslim Community in Lagos State and the rest of the Ummah the fortitude to bear the loss.
National President of Anwar-Ul-Islam movement in Nigeria Alhaji Mudashiru Adekunle Ojelade, said the late Chief Imam was very knowledgeable, exceedingly humble and a strong leader for the Lagos Muslim community. “We will miss Baba’s sense of purpose. The lesson to learn from him is humility, intervening at crucial moments to make peace when crisis is looming. He was a good example in how to make peace with fellow human beings. He was a bridge builder and a unifying factor.”
Nasrul-Lahi-Fatih Society (NASFAT) President Alhaji Kameel Yomi Bolarinwa, described the late Sheikh Ibrahim as a quintessential cleric whose life was exemplary The late Chief Imam, Bolarinwa said, was a sincere and truthful man of God who lived all his life upholding the truth as well as striving for love and peaceful existence among various people irrespective of their ethnic and religious backgrounds
“Sheikh Ibrahim will be missed especially by the Ummah for his forthrightness and his efforts in peaceful coexistence as well as his contributions to national development “However we are consoled by his great ethical and religious legacies which will continue to benefit the mankind.
“We pray Almighty Allah to forgive his shortcomings and grant him Al-Jannah Firdaus (paradise).”