By Haroon Balogun
•As Lajna Imaillah begins the centenary celebration
The National head of Lajna Imaillah of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Nigeria, Hajia Taofeeqah Aderoju Fagbolade has said since Islam has clearly expressed equality of men and women in spiritual matters and in fundamental rights, women can strive to achieve greater things in Islam.
Hajia Fagbolade added that of all the Islamic sects, Ahmadiyyah is the only sect, that has practically shown the world that Muslim women could be organized to achieve great things. According to her, Muslim women can build mosques, Muslim women can become hafisah (female memorisers of Holy Quran), carry out dawah works, train children in the way of God and build a better society.
She stated this during a press briefing heralding the centenary celebration of Lajna Imaillah held at the Ahmadiyya headquarters, Ojokoro recently.
Fielding question from newsmen, Hajia Fagbolade said the training and education of women who will care for the coming generations are very dear to the organisation. We have trained women in various skills acquisitions as well helping them to build their careers and most importantly, trained them as Hafisah, (Female memorisers of Quran) Hence Ahmadi mothers are determined to train their children according to Islamic values. This makes the future of the Jama’at to be safer and brighter.
“This is in line with the sayings and practice of the Holy Prophet s.a.w who said: “You train a woman, you have trained a nation”! The Holy Prophet is also reported to have said: “The first education of a child starts from the lap of his mother” and that:” Paradise of a child lies beneath the feet of his mother”.
“The first-ever mosque in London called FAZL mosque was built out of the contributions of Ahmadi ladies. Four of such mosques were built solely by donations from Ahmadi women as of 2008. And more have been built after that. One was completed in July 2021 at Ilaro, Ogun State, by the Lajna Imaillah Nigeria while two more are under construction in Lagos State.
“So far, Our organisation established the first memorization school for girls, (Madrasat-Tahfizul Quran Lil Banaat) in 2010 in Ilaro, Ogun State. The school has graduated sixty-five (65) girls who can recite the entire contents of the Holy Qur’an by heart. This will avail our members and children of the opportunity to learn the Qur’an without exposure to the opposite sex.
On the issue of skills acquisition and handcraft, Hajia Fagbolade said with the support of the parent body, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria, the women organisation had trained 34 ladies at the Vocational Training centre established in the year 2018 with skills in fashion design, catering, bag and shoemaking, event decorations, free of charge. On the completion of the training, starter packs were also provided to participants. She added that currently, 34 new students have been given admission for the new session.
She also stated that quite a number of orphans and children from less-privileged homes are on the primary and secondary school scholarship scheme of the Lajna Imaillah.
On health and welfare interventions, she stated that an average of 800 people (members and non-members) have enjoyed free eyeglasses opportunities, thousands have benefitted from medical check-ups and free drugs sponsored by the group. “We also visit hospitals, orphanages and prisons regularly with welfare packages. Also, our female students in higher institutions named Ahmadi Muslim Women Association do embark on food drive every Ramadan therein touching many lives,” she said.
“These show the importance and significance of women in Islam. In the days of Prophet Muhammad (saw), women were a source of inspiration for the men. During the war, they served water, praised their men and, this way, fought side by side with them against the disbelievers. It was this motivation that guided Hazrat Bashir-ud-Deen Ahmad (ra) in establishing and training a set of women that would fulfil their roles in the family and society.
“Today, women are playing the same roles as those ladies in the days of the Holy Prophet of Islam. In the fight for the renaissance of Islam by the Ahmadiyya community, the role of women has been tremendous.
Centenary celebration activities
Hajia Fagbolade highlighted activities already lined up for the centenary celebration of the organisation which include the following: In February, the organisation will carry out Health talks in secondary schools. In March and April, the group will embark on welfare visits to hospitals, prisons, orphanages, welfare activities for widows and less privileged in the jamaat across the country.
In May, there will be food distribution from the food bank as well as tree planting, stating that at least 5 trees per muqam will be planted.
In June there will be medical outreach where members and non-members will be tested for cervical cancer as well as other medical services.
In July, there will be courtesy visits to eminent personalities and August has been fixed for symposium/Ijtema. The celebration will be wrapped up with a detailed documentary presentation of Lajna Imaillah.
About the organisation
Lajna Imaillah, the women’s auxiliary organization of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is for women above the age of 15.
The organisation was established by, the second Caliph of the jamaat, Hazrat Bashir-ud-Deen Ahmad (ra) in 1922 in order to give women a voice in the administrative affairs of the Community and a degree of independence.
The organisation has since grown in leaps and bounds contributing immensely to the development of the Jamaat in different areas and humanity at large.
It was gathered that the Fazl Mosque (London Mosque) was opened on 23 October 1926 in South fields, Wandsworth at a cost of £6,223 financed by donations of Ahmadi Muslim women in Qadian, Punjab, British India.
“Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at was established in Nigeria in 1916 and activities of Lajna Imaillah commenced actively in 1922. Membership of the organization consists of women responsible for finances, education, health and fitness, social service activities, and publication of materials for Islamic propagation.
“The organization is well established in the three geo-political zones in Nigeria. We are divided into eleven regions with twenty-three thousand, eight hundred and thirty-four (23,834) members,” she said.