Nur Alkali: Three years after, lessons learnt


When Musa and Khidir (AS) visited a non-welcoming community somewhere in the Middle East on a learning tour, the former, because of the attitude exhibited by the host townsmen, challenged the latter for erecting to them a wall that was about to fall. The collapsing building belonged to some orphans whose deceased parents had left for them some wealth.

Prophet Musa (AS) was 'angry' that they were not welcome in the town and so challenged his 'colleague' for his ‘undue’ kindness to an unkind community--resting his case on the concept of reciprocation. But Khidir (AS) explained that: ‘...abu huma saliha’, meaning their parents were an embodiment of piety, kindness and compassion—hence, deserving in totality.

In this world, many rightly believe that gestures are given in anticipation of reciprocation or themselves reciprocations of some previous gestures. For any help rendered, the human mind expects at least a 'thank you' in return. Although this defines most gesture relations, there are few exceptions to it. While others give out on the basis of this unwritten arrangement, some give without a thought about the returns. For this set, because it is difficult to build such mindset, it is God Almighty Who returns their gestures--as He did in the case of the orphans!

This year's tribute to our deceased boss and father, Prof. M. Nur Alkali was opened with the above because of lessons learned. The note to make of these is that the afterlife stories of the communities of pious m, generous and kind people have an ironical undertones, and many find it hard to come to terms with the reality that things are never the same. Common faces instantly evaporate, loyalties disappear and crowds disperse--and many get surprised about it.

In what was an elastic kindness, inexhaustive generosity and willingness to render help at any time, my late boss had reached a point of overstretching himself. There was no one who came for help, or ran into him that didn’t get what he wanted.

He had become a man-on-duty and a divine agency constantly on call to bring out many from the pit, and uplift them to the skies. To the stranger, he was that good Samaritan; to orphans, he 'gave' a father; to the hopeless, he was the star and to the community of family and friends, he it was, who had always been the inspiration, the role model and the 'launchpad', even.

Many have become what they are today because of, what to him, was a pastime—not for 'thank yous', appreciations, or other returns. It was to this end that he lived a life as a teacher, and one that was both in the classroom and outside.

It is the reason also why many parade as paragons of vature and men of some 'high' status in our society today. Only that it comes to some of us as a shocker that, actually in this world, many don’t look back, cannot or both.

For this people, the last three years of his exit has been a proof. There were cases of close allies and loyalists, hardcore and uncompromising at it, who today snub us—including ignoring our calls, messages and raised a barring wall, an impregnable fortress—they cannot be accessed. What the past was has been forgotten, and what should be a harmless continuous relation has worn attachments, extraordinary meanings and finally seen to be only fit for the dust bin.

Nobody is regretting these developments including the dramatic manner they occur--because what is nature, must take its course regardless. For first timers, such as myself, the whole drama, as my latest term to describe how the world works, helps to smoke out illusion from our mental frameworks.

Reality is always strange until it dawns. To many, it takes long, and to others, forever. Reality is not a respecter, especially of time, when it is to dawn--it is brutish and ruthless. The good thing about its dawning is that it leaves one with lifetime lessons that make the better of one.

It has to this end left us with the lesson that we must learn to expect less from the world--it has since run out of men who can return the hand of kindness. The most important thing is to redefine the concept of gesture relations. The watchword is not a watchword: give--it is a watchphrase: give, but for God. Kindness is a contractual investment between one and God. No matter your wealth, you are poor, no matter your strength, you are weak and no matter how long you may live, you are meant to die; only God is rich, Al-Ganiyu, strong, Al-Qawi and endless.

It was the type of contract the parents of the orphans had--God returned it until they were dead. The orphans did not know they needed help themselves, or the wealth to be protected, and the parents were not there to offer it; but God who is All-Knowing and endless, sent prophets to the task. The orphans never knew that they had wealth left to them by their parents in the collapsing building--but the latter had made the right investment with God; at the most appropriate time, He had returned it.

The lesson is that we should invest in people but the intent must not be because of reciprocations. Do not expect, when you do that, that it is those you have invested in that will come to you at your weakest point; perhaps, God Almighty will send the appropriate team to the task.

Dear boss, because of the investments you had with God, He has been returning them in His own infinite ways. May He continue to rest you in peace and ultimately grant you His Rahma on the Day of Judgment. Indeed, our great asset today is that: you were good!