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Friday Sermon: Killing the Goose That Lays the Golden Egg

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By Babatunde Jose

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent” – Abraham Lincoln

In Marxist philosophy, the bourgeoisie is the social class that came to own the means of production during modern industrialization and whose societal concerns are the value of property and the preservation of capital to ensure the perpetuation of their economic supremacy in society. Joseph Schumpeter saw the creation of the bourgeoisie as the driving force behind the capitalist engine, particularly entrepreneurs who took risks to bring innovation to industries and the economy through the process of creative destruction.

Today, in our clime and most African countries that social order is dominated by a new bourgeoisie, made up of political leaders and not captains of industry. They are rent collectors who make huge profits without investments; they have no factories and are neither entrepreneurs nor employers of labor but they own huge amounts of money but they are not investors or creators of wealth; they live a life of opulence like royalty but they are not royalty. Impervious to the suffering and tribulations of the people they are supposed to serve.

Not content with living in the old Government Reservations, our politicopreneurs have opted to build mansions on hilltops, like the ubiquitous Colonial District Officers, far removed from their people. Perhaps like Jomo Kenyatta wrote in Facing Mount Kenya, there they ‘commune’ with the gods. These are our leaders! Much has been written about them.

Vexed by their shenanigans, Obi Ezekwesili (she used to be one of them) said: “Our political leaders have turned democracy into a criminal enterprise breaking all the principles of representative government. Nigeria has become the epicentre of human greed, avarice, official impunity and duplicity.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There is no leader who closes the door to someone in need, in hardship, and in poverty, but that Allah closes the gates of heaven to him when he is in need, in hardship, and in poverty.” ‘Amr ibn Murrah reported:Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1332

Thus, present and past leaders of Nigeria seem to have failed to provide quality leadership capable of addressing numerous challenges confronting the country”. Nigeria and the Challenges of Leadership in the 21st Century: A Critique by CHRIS. IWEJUO NWAGBOSO and OTU DUKEInternational Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 2 No. 13; July 2012.

Nigeria’s military relinquished political power after dominating the country’s post-independence experience and Nigerians hoped for a turn towards democratic governance and better life. But in the years since then, Nigeria’s civilian leaders at all levels have not only proven entirely unaccountable to ordinary Nigerians but have also routinely abused their basic rights.

At the same time, corruption and mismanagement have led to the waste of record-setting oil revenues that could have been expended to tackle poverty and improve access to basic health and education services.

The socioeconomic and political development of any country depends largely on the ability of its leadership to facilitate, entrench, and sustain good governance. Over the years, we have had leaders who, prior to ascending leadership positions, are sold to the masses as beacons of hope amidst the misery viciously staring them in the face.

‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’; we certainly need leaders who can translate visions into reality. A leadership that spent so much money in putting up the iconic Trade-Fair Complex in Lagos only to abandon and turn it into a motor spare-part market, can never be a goal-oriented leadership, nor can we describe a leadership that watched the deterioration of the Lagos/Ibadan, Sagamu/Benin, and other road infrastructure, including the now rested East/West Road, as a serious leadership.

Leaders that abandon and allow Ajaokuta Complex to waste away are not progressive leaders: Built on a 24,000 hectares (59,000 acres) site starting in 1979, it is the largest steel mill in Nigeria. However, the project was mismanaged and remains incomplete 44 years later. Also established along with it were four Steel Rolling Mills at Jos, Plateau State; Oshogbo, Osun State; Katsina, Katsina State and Aladja in Delta State. All have been left to rot.

The iniquities of our leaders are not pleasing to the Almighty. Fortunately, we all know the solutions to these problems. They are structural and characterological.

Nigeria’s underdevelopment is more of poor implementation than lack of development goals and programs. Policy somersault and development projects abandonment are common. The way the country is structured needs to be re-examined: Restructured.

We need to stop and reflect on where we are and how we got to the present pass. Nigeria is not working, and it cannot fulfil its destiny as it is presently constituted. In the last 24 years, we have tried the PDP for 16 years with its attendant catastrophe and in the last 8 years the APC and its journey to hellfire. Nigeria’s elites have never been able to agree on any transformation agenda for implementation.

A commentator, Mr. Martins said, “Our politicians have become so brazen that they simply ignore the complaints of the citizens!!” But Mr. Akin, another observer opined, “Don’t blame the politicians alone! There are those who eat crumbs and let go of pedigree and integrity.”

Since 1960, Nigeria has reaped an estimated US$600 billion in oil revenue. At the same time, Nigeria has the third highest number of poor people in the world.

It has been argued that we built dams, highways, and invested in infrastructure, but they are nothing to write home about. Most of them either stopped working and left to rot, while others were neglected, and we returned to the state of nature. All our assembly plants were eaten up by termites.

Our people continue to live in darkness. Yet, we have made financial interventions, amounting to over N7 trillion, in the power sector since its privatization. Thanks to a visionless leadership.

We have no functional refineries, yet we have workers in Kaduna, Warri, and PH refineries earning salaries for jobs not done. It is scandalous that billions of dollars are being spent on Turn Around Maintenance on these refineries and we continue to import fuel.

Our leaders, both military and the successor civil rulers have succeeded in destroying the fabric of our economy. The oil and gas that is the bedrock of our economy is being progressively blighted as a result of mismanagement and corruption. They have succeeded in killing the goose that lays our golden egg.

The current probe of the refineries in the senate exemplifies our concern: “Between 2010 to date, Nigeria is estimated to have spent N11.35 trillion (N11,349,583,186,313.40), excluding other cost in other currencies, which include $592,976,050, €4,877,068.47, and £3,455,656.93, on renovation of refineries, yet they are unproductive.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria has spent over N6 trillion between 2010 and 2023, on fuel subsidy due to Nigeria’s low refining capacity and has spent almost twice the amount on rehabilitating (TAM) projects on its refineries.

“Despite the moribund state of the four refineries, the operating costs of the refineries between 2010 and 2020 is estimated at N4.8 trillion. The refineries are estimated to make a cumulative loss of N1.64 trillion within four years.”

Senator Karimi explained: “The Federal Government of Nigeria has carried out rehabilitation projects in Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) over a period of seven years from 2013-2019 at an estimated cost of N12,161,237,811.61.

“In addition, on the 18th of March 2021, a rehabilitation contract was executed between NNPC/PHRC and Tenenimont SPA at a lump sum of $1,397,000,000 only (about N75 billion amidst public criticism.

“The Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed in 28 months after the contract, Phase 2 within 24 months, and Phase 3 within 44 months of execution. Despite this, the Port Harcourt Refinery remains a money pit. Going by projections and representations from NNPCL, the renovation works ought to be completed and operations of the refinery commenced by June 2023.

“In a bid to revitalize the Warri Refinery, the federal government has injected huge public funds into revamping Warri Refinery & Petrochemical Company Limited to the tune of over N28,219,110,067.10 between 2014 and 2019.”

He added: “That particularly, around the 24 June 2022, the Federal Executive Council awarded Maintenance Services for Quick Fix Repairs of Warri Refinery to Daewoo Engineering and Construction Limited at $497, 328, 500, yet at the moment the Warri Refinery is inactive.

“This is different from the 2017 contract award to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited for Tech Plant Survey of the Warri and Kaduna Refineries at 2,025,00.32 Euros.

“The Kaduna Refinery and Petro-Chemical Company (KRPC) has over the past 10 years gulped N2,266,248,434 in the name of rehabilitation, yet the Refinery remains unproductive.

The NNPCL approved a $741 million renovation deal with Daewoo Engineering and Construction Limited to renovate Kaduna Refinery in February 2023 and it is intended to restore the refinery to production of 110,000 barrels of petrol per day (at least 60 per cent capacity) by early 2024.”

These are scandalous revelations and the open sore of a leprous leadership. More to come: Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Ogbonnaya Orji, has said Nigeria lost over N16.25 trillion due to oil theft in the country. And that $74.386 billion has been spent on fuel subsidies by successive administrations since 2011. NEITI also uncovered over $8.3 billion unremitted revenue by some privately owned oil firms and Federal Government-owned Agencies which was not paid into the Federation Account, in deviance to provisions in the extant financial regulations.

Unfortunately, most of those at the helm of our affairs are defective in the moral department and are yet to demonstrate any significant sign that they are capable of leading us out of our morass nor leading us to the promised land.

Narrated Ma’qil, I heard the Prophet (saws) saying, “Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never feel even the smell of Paradise.”

Can the present administration make a change? Can it bring about the renewed hope it promised the people? Can it lead us on to the road to the promised land, wipe away our tears and fulfil the promise of a ‘life more abundant’?

The Messenger of Allah, (PBOH) said, “Whoever is appointed over the affairs of people in any way and he conceals benefit from them, Allah will conceal benefit from him on the Day of Resurrection.” Source: Musnad Aḥmad 21504

Let me conclude in the words of the ‘Advocate’ Onikepo Braithwaite: If I were President Tinubu, my primary concern would be to render a sterling performance to Nigeria and Nigerians, to ensure that I go down in history as the Leader that turned the fortunes of a more or less broken country around for good.

Ihdina-s-sirata-l-mustaqim. “Guide us to the straight path.”

Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend

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Friday Sermon: Dark Days on the Horizon

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By Babatunde Jose

These are very perilous times indeed. The chickens are coming home to roost. All the shenanigans of the political scoundrels at the helm of our affairs have revealed a hollow sham and the people have come to the realization that they are holding the short end of the stick. Their heads have been shaved in their absence. With no food to eat, starvation looms and a people’s revolt, far worse than the End-Sars is imminent. It is ‘darkness visible.

 ‘It is darkness visible, when the people are uncertain about their future, when their security is threatened, and their daily bread is not guaranteed. It is darkness visible, when our whole political future lies in the hands of kamikaze leaders who have stolen our patrimony. It is darkness visible, when the future of our children and our children’s children is increasingly bleak. It is darkness visible when people are hungry and there is no food to eat.

It is darkness visible when there is food, but the price is beyond the purchasing power of the people. It is darkness visible when the price of a bag of rice is three times the national minimum wage. It is darkness visible when mothers start selling their children to feed other children. It is darkness visible when the leaders have no solutions to the existential problems of the people. It is darkness visible when the social atmosphere is pregnant with the pong of impending revolution.

Today, our nation is on the precipice. There is naked poverty and hunger in the land, children out of school, parents without roofs over their heads and our sick without medical care resorting to quacks and’ Ajase Poki-Poki’.

According to the World Bank, 40.1% of the total population is classified as poor. This means that, on average, 4 out of 10 individuals in Nigeria have real per capita expenditures below 137,430 Naira per year. This translates to over 82.9 million Nigerians who are considered poor by national standards.

The challenges faced by Nigerians include sluggish growth, low human capital, labor market weaknesses, and exposure to shocks. Many Nigerians, especially in the north, also lack education and access to basic infrastructure such as electricity, safe drinking water, and improved sanitation. Despite hard work, most workers are engaged in small-scale household farm and non-farm enterprises, with only 17% of Nigerian workers holding wage jobs that can effectively lift people out of poverty.

Climate and conflict shocks disproportionately affect Nigeria’s poor, and their effects have been compounded by poorly articulated economic policies. Yet, government support for households remains scant. Households have resorted to dangerous coping strategies, including reducing education and scaling back food consumption, which could have negative long-term consequences for their human capital.

These issues affect some parts of Nigeria more than others, and addressing them requires deep, long-term reforms to foster and sustain pro-poor growth. According to Owei Lakemfa, ‘The current economic woes of the country are rooted in the mindless policies of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. The APC’s economic policy is inflation-genocide with the nuclear capability to wipe out the lower classes, and replace them at the bottom of society, with the hitherto middle class.’

Much needs to be done to help lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty, including boosting health and education, bolstering productive jobs, and expanding social protection. Implementing pro-poor initiatives will require unlocking fiscal space and reforming the regimes of subsidies, alongside countervailing measures to protect the poor as reforms are effected.

Worst of all, people are hungry, impoverished and penurious. The current economic situation has exacerbated the condition of the forgotten poor masses. They are the unaccounted for; forsaken by society, hewers of wood and drawers of water; ‘the wretched of the earth’. They seek a living, not from the leftover but from the waste dumps and dustbin of life. They are dirty, unkempt; spiritually and physically naked. They are perpetually sick and diseased. Without means of livelihood and unemployable, sometimes even as common labourers. The dredge of society, who merely exist but are not living, standing on the periphery of death. They live and die in obscurity: Many are not even deserving of decent burial but dumped in unmarked graves or left to decompose in sewers and ‘evil forests’; meat for the clarions and vultures.

To all intents and purposes, they do not care if God exists. How can they worship a God who has forsaken them and thrown them to the whims and caprices of their uncaring leaders. The concept of a benevolent God is alien to them. What manner of preaching can you make to people who are perpetually in hunger, want and deprivation? What scripture can fill their empty stomach?

Their lives are not captured by statistical data being peddled by economic agencies. They are not worth the pen and ink we use in chalking up these data on poverty. Of what meaning is the dollar a day to people who cannot comprehend a Naira a day? They are not part of the national economy. They are victims and collateral damage of a corrupt, unkind, and evil society.

Poverty is a ruthless and relentless enemy with an arsenal of weapons: infant mortality, hunger, disease, illiteracy and child labour, among other things. The list of obstacles the poor must overcome seems endless, insurmountable, and insuperable.

But we have reached the end of the road, The hungry poor are teetering on the brink of revolution and have started to protest from Niger to Ogun, Oyo to Borno and all over the country. The rivulets of protests will soon become a roaring river of revolt if care is not taken.

Facts highlight the devastating effect poverty has on its victims, especially the most vulnerable. How does health impact poverty? Does a lack of education cause poverty, or does poverty create a lack of access to education? And can poor health impact education, too? It gets complicated. Cause and effect can be difficult to pin down. All these challenges are intertwined.

Poverty and health are strongly linked. Health problems can plunge people into poverty or keep them from escaping it, and those in poverty are more likely to suffer disease because of lack of treatment.

Everyone knows that education is important, but its role in giving kids a ticket out of poverty is huge! But who gives education to the children of the ‘poor’?

Not enough food. Not enough of the right vitamins and minerals to be healthy. What is the meaning of vitamins to the wretched poor that have nothing to eat and no hope of any food on the table? They do not even have a table to put food on. The how, what, when and where of food disparity is a difficult nut to crack – and even more so when dealing with poverty and want.

In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria ranked 109th out of the 125 countries: With a score of 28.3, Nigeria has a level of hunger that is serious.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa; with more than 206 million people. Hunger is one of the major issues that affect the citizens. 40% (82 million people) of the citizens live below the International Poverty Line, whilst another 25% are vulnerable.

There are millions of people in Nigeria struggling to meet basic needs. The United Nations estimates 25 million people in Nigeria — or about 15% of the total population — are food insecure. Analysts say regional instability, climate change and inflation are the major triggers of food insecurity in Nigeria. Farming in the security challenged areas has become a hazardous and dangerous proposition. Hence, food shortages.

This year, Nigeria is expected to see about 26.5 million people grappling with high levels of food insecurity, as disclosed by the Government and its partners during the unveiling of the October 2023 Cadre Harmonisé analysis on food insecurity.

What is the main cause of food insecurity in Nigeria? Some of the major factors identified to be contributing to food insecurity in Nigeria include poverty, climate change, conflict and insecurity, increasing population, poor policy implementation, inefficient agricultural practices, post-harvest losses and low budgetary allocation to agriculture, among others.

How can we solve hunger in Nigeria? Food prices continue to increase because of inflation and insecurity. With 25 million Nigerians at high risk of hunger, the Nigerian government must encourage private investments in the agricultural sector by providing incentives that apply to both primary and secondary food producers.

Social safety net programs, such as cash transfers and food subsidies, can also help to alleviate poverty and improve food security for vulnerable populations, that is where such cash palliatives are not embezzled, and the current distribution of palliatives are not hoarded by greedy leaders at all levels. Agriculture is the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, and improving agricultural productivity can help to increase food production and reduce food insecurity. But these cannot take care of the immediate climate of hunger. People need food aid now!

Rising food costs push Nigeria’s inflation rate to 28.9% (National Bureau of Statistics). The NBS report also said the food inflation rate in December 2023 was 33.93 percent.

Between 2020 and 2022, on average 21.3 percent of the population in Nigeria experienced hunger. Today the percentage is higher. People in severe hunger would go for entire days without food, due to lack of money or other resources.

Can our leaders provide the answers? No Sir! These are people who cannot make projections into the future. All they think about is the NOW, self-aggrandizement, and feathering their nest. The future is therefore bleak not only for the poor, but also for the not so poor.

Under this uncertain climate, Armageddon beckons and revolts of unpredictable proportions would soon be underway. We do not need a Nostradamus to tell us that we are in deep trouble. Wahala has already started. When the come comes to become, the poor will start eating the rich and not so rich.

But we could still wriggle out of the impending danger if certain measures are taken immediately, writes Owei Lakemfa, (journalist and union leader emeritus): “Drastic downward review of fuel prices which is the main cause of hyperinflation and grinding poverty. A major reason why food inflation is at 33 per cent is because the cost of transporting it is far higher than the cost of production.

“The second immediate step is to rescue the Naira as no import-dependent consumer nation can throw its currency into shark-infested seas without providing it with even a life jacket. The third, is to stop the mindless taxation of the populace, including the endless upward adjustment of the Customs rates for imports which has added to hyperinflation.

“Declare an emergency on insecurity that has forced many farmers off the farms. Fifth, the establishment of State and Community Police should be at the stage of implementation not contemplation.” And I agree with Owei.

But do they have the will and political sagacity to implement these suggestions? Videbimus. We shall see.

Ihdinas Siratal Mustaqim – Guide us on the Straight Path (Quran 1:6)

Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend

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Friday Sermon: The Mysteries of Life: Perfection of God’s Creation

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By Babatunde Jose

“Extol the limitless glory of the name of your Lord, the Most High, who creates and proportions well, who determines and guides, who brings forth the pasturage, then turns it to withered grass.” (SŪRAH Al-A`lā :1-5)

“He (Allah) is the Originator of the heavens and the earth… He created all things and He has knowledge of all things.” (Surat al-An’am: 101)

Everything God has created is well proportioned and perfected. Every creature is assigned its own role and given guidance so that it may know its role and play it. It is told the purpose of its creation, given what it needs for sustenance and guided to it. This is clearly visible in everything around us, large or small, important, or trivial. For everything is well perfected and guided to fulfil the purpose of its creation.

There are many unexplained mysteries of creation exemplified in the behaviours of animals and plants:

· Bird migration is one of nature’s great wonders. The physiology that allows birds to navigate storms and extreme distances to their destinations defies logic. Birds can fly up to 16,000 miles during their migration. Some go at 30 mph to arrive at their destination on time. Birds can travel up to 533 hours at this speed to reach their destination. Some birds would need 66 days to travel 8 hours daily to reach their migration goal.

Migrating birds use celestial cues, (quantum effects) to navigate, much as sailors of old used the sun and stars to guide them. But unlike humans, birds also detect the magnetic field generated by Earth’s molten core and use it to determine their position and direction.

There is the record-breaking feat of the Arctic Tern. By far the longest migration known in the animal kingdom, this medium-sized bird travels 90,000 km (55,923 miles) from pole to pole every year — from Greenland in the North to the Weddell Sea in the South.

Bar-tailed Godwit broke a Guinness World Record, when it flew 8,435 miles non-stop from Alaska to Tasmania, Australia. The 11-day journey without rest or food was tracked by a satellite tag on the migratory bird. Incredible!!!

 · The tiny insects must have microscopic eyes, how perfect we do not know, and the hawks, the eagle and the condor must have telescopic vision. They were created that way, not by evolution.

Other wonders of God’s creation include some of the following:

· People believe that mosquitoes feed on blood. Mosquitoes feed on flower nectar. The female mosquito is the only one that sucks blood, and that is for the sake of the eggs that she carries.

· Dogs have inquiring noses and have a terrific sense of smell which surpasses that of man. Hence, they are useful as sniffers in crime investigations. Who trained the dog to sniff?

 · All animals hear sounds, many of which are outside our range of vibration, with an acuteness that far surpasses our limited sense of hearing.

 · The young salmon spends years at sea, then comes back to its own river, and what is more, it travels up the side of the river into which flows the tributary in which it was born. What brings them back so definitely? If a salmon going up a river is transferred to another tributary, it will at once realize it is not in the right tributary and will fight its way down to the mainstream and then turn up against the current to finish its destiny. Who gave the salmon this sense of direction?

· There is, however, a much more difficult reverse problem to solve in the case of the eel. These amazing creatures migrate at maturity from all the ponds and rivers everywhere, those from Europe across thousands of miles of ocean, all go to the Sargasso Sea, (abysmal deeps south of Bermuda). There they breed and die. The little ones, with no apparent means of knowing anything except that they are in a wilderness of water, start back and find their way to the shore from which their parents came and then to every river, lake, and little pond, so that each body of water is always populated with eels.

The mystery of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) goes back millennia. Naturalists and researchers were stumped by their life cycle and the late development of sex organs.

With its many life stages, its biology is truly vexing. But perhaps the biggest mystery has been tied to just where all eels set out for when they head toward the ocean via coastal streams and rivers at the end of their lives. 

Though scientists had seemingly solved the mystery of the eel and its reproduction by the early 1900s through the discovery of its sex organs, no one knew where they went to procreate. The eels disappeared into the ocean, and aged larval eels appeared near the shores. The question remained, where did they go?

The first inkling that the eels might be traveling to the Sargasso Sea came from the herculean efforts of Danish zoologist Johannes Schmidt. From 1904 to 1921 Schmidt tirelessly trawled the ocean to find the larvae and by extension the birthplace of eels.

The eels did indeed make a 3,000 – 6,200-mile (5,000 – 10,000 km) migration across the Atlantic Ocean, the second longest recorded migration of a bony fish. They have braved the mighty currents, storms, and tides, and have conquered the beating waves on every shore. They can now grow and when they are mature, they will, by some mysterious law, go back through it all to complete the cycle.

Nature has also delayed the maturity of the European eel by a year or more to make up for its much greater journey. Where does the directing impulse originate? Do atoms and molecules when combined in an eel have a sense of direction and willpower to exercise it?

 

· Many animals are like a lobster, which, having lost a claw, will by some restimulation of the cells and the reactivation of the genes discover that a part of the body is missing and restore it.

 

· A fresh-water polyp divided into halves can reform itself out of one of these halves.

 

· The calf of the giraffe immediately it is born, hits the ground running, failing to do this, it becomes suya for the waiting predators. Who thought the calf to walk immediately it is born? It is its creator, God!

In the melee of creation many creatures have come to exhibit a high degree of certain forms of instinct, and intelligence. The wasp catches the grasshopper, digs a hole in the earth, stings the grasshopper in exactly the right place so that it becomes unconscious but lives as a form of preserved meat.

The wasp lays her eggs exactly in the right place, perhaps not knowing that when they hatch, her children can eat the insect  which it had buried for them. The wasp must have done all this right the first and every time, or there would be no wasps of this species.

Science cannot explain this mystery, and yet it cannot be attributed to chance. The wasp covers a hole in the earth, departs cheerfully, and dies. Neither she nor her ancestors have reasoned out the process, nor does she know what happens to her offspring. She doesn’t even know that she has worked and lived her life for the preservation of the race.

How do the inanimate atoms and molecules of matter composing an ant set these complicated processes in motion? There must be Intelligence somewhere. True, there must be a Creator who guides these and other creatures, large and small. There is God!

The examples we have quoted above are but a few of the large number of remarkable aspects science has recorded in the worlds of plants, insects, birds, and animals. But all these aspects reflect only a part of the import of the two verses: “who creates and proportions well, who determines and guides.” (Quran 87:2-3)

Our knowledge covers only a scanty part of what is in the visible universe, beyond which extends a whole world of which we know nothing apart from the few hints God has chosen to drop us, as befits our limited abilities.

Let us consider how Allah created the earth so that living things can survive, how orderly everything in the universe is.

Many events on earth make it possible for us to live. Is it possible that these thousands of events have come together spontaneously and formed such a place as earth? Of course not. Not even one of these events could happen by chance.

Allah has created earth for human beings. And, because of this, earth is the most suitable place for us. The talks of going to colonize and populate another planet are scientific fantasia. That is even if man discovers a planet that can sustain life. God created man for earth and the earth for man.

Subhana Rabbika Rabbil ‘izzati ‘amma yasifun, Wa salamun ‘alal-Mursalin, Wal hamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘alamin. Thy Lord is Holy and clear of all that is alleged against Him (by the non-believers); and He is Exalted.

Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend.

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Friday Sermon: The Mysteries of Life: Miracles in Our Bodies

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By Babatunde Jose

O man! what has deluded you in respect of your Noble Lord?

He Who created you and formed you and proportioned you and assembled you in whatever way He willed. (Surat al-Infitar: 6-8)

Every point of our body consists of cells. Cells provide structure and function for all living things, from microorganisms to humans. Scientists consider them the smallest form of life. Cells house the biological machinery that makes the proteins, chemicals, and signals responsible for everything that happens inside our bodies. Despite its smallness, however, a cell’s structure has not yet been fully understood. Scientists are still carrying out their research on the systems that a cell has.

The average adult male has around 36 trillion cells in their body, while average adult females have 28 trillion, researchers have found.

How is it that trillions of cells come together, know what to do and co-operate to function? Moreover, no trouble arises during these processes. No cell attempts to do another’s task or refuses to perform its own task. Besides, all these processes take place at an extraordinary speed.

Our cells sometimes act like a chemist to produce chemical substances, sometimes act like an engineer to make calculations, and sometimes work to meet the needs of some other cells.

Some of the most vital functions performed by a cell are Structure and Support; Growth, in complex organisms such as humans, the tissues grow by simple multiplication of cells; Transport …; Energy Production; Metabolism; and Reproduction. They could not have possibly learnt how to carry out these tasks in time by chance. Still, we owe our life to the conscious acts of these tiny cells, which we cannot even see with the naked eye. Surely in them there is a very important fact for us to understand. There is a possessor of superior wisdom who makes our cells perform all these tasks and teaches them what to do.

Each one of the trillions of cells in our body fulfills its tasks perfectly as a result of the Creator’s perfect plan. Waking up every morning, smelling the coffee, breathing without any difficulty, and lots of other things we do are thanks to Allah’s compassion and mercy:

In the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and day, and the ships which sail the seas to people’s benefit, and the water which Allah sends down from the sky—by which He brings the earth to life when it was dead and scatters about in it creatures of every kind—and the varying direction of the winds, and the clouds subservient between heaven and earth, there are Signs for people who use their intellect. (Surat al-Baqara:164)

The first cell that formed man originated in the womb by the union of two cells, one released by our mother and the other by our father. This cell kept dividing and later became a piece of flesh. Then, as the cells that formed this flesh continued to divide to form new cells, our body was shaped bit by bit. Each new cell acquired a different shape. Whereas some became blood cells, some became bone cells and yet others became nerve cells. There are 200 types of different cells in our bodies. In fact, all of these cells are composed of identical components, yet each performs different tasks.  All in the womb.

In shape, our blood cells are globular, their task being to transport oxygen, which is required by our body, by means of blood vessels. Thanks to their shape, they can easily flow through the blood vessels together with the oxygen they carry. Skin cells, on the other hand, are clamped together and closely arranged in a line. So, our skin is impervious to microbes and water.

Scientists have conducted many studies in order to produce a fluid similar to blood. However, having failed to do so, they gave up trying to imitate blood and focused on research in other fields.

The importance of our blood vessels cannot be overemphasized. They are about 120,000 kilometers in length capable of being wrapped round the earth 2.5 times – the length of the equator is 40,000 kilometers. What do you think of that? Blood vessels are not just tubes through which blood flows. They are a unique and complex organ, and any damage to them causes a disease.

Clogged blood vessels in legs – varicose veins, swelling, a feeling of heavy, cold or, on the contrary, a strong burning feeling in feet. Dry and cracked skin on heels. Blood circulation disorders – protection from bacteria disappears, and mycosis appears. Nails get broken. Clogging of the blood vessels that supply liver – steatosis of liver. When you eat fatty food, you get a bitter taste in your mouth.

Broken and clogged blood vessels that supply power to joints – cartilage damage. Joint pain, osteochondrosis and hernia appear. Intestinal vessels lose their elasticity – hemorrhoids appear. Vessels of the eyes – eyesight is failing. A cataract is developing. The red eyes, for which we blame tiredness, are actually micro-hemorrhages, cracks of the small capillaries in the eyes. Circulatory disorders in the brain – vertigo, tinnitus, and memory loss. Have you ever had the experience of going to the room and forgetting what you needed there? Or being unable to memorize a word. These are the signs of cerebrovascular diseases.

Likewise, all other cells too have exactly ideal shapes that are suited to their tasks. However, it is surely not by chance that these cells acquired the shapes they possess. Each has been planned in detail and nothing has come into existence by coincidence. In order for a design and a product to come into being, there needs to be a source of intelligence. That is the essence of this Sermon. Who made these possible? Our Lord created every single part of our bodies perfectly:

He is Allah – the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surat al-Hashr: 24)

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?  Should I breathe now? Is the amount of blood that my heart pumps sufficient?  Which of my cells and organs require how much energy? When should my stomach start digesting the food I’ve eaten?  Is the intensity of the light entering my eye in due proportion? Which muscles should I contract in order to move my arm?

These questions sound odd because they are never asked. Our bodies perform all these processes automatically. And it uses the network of nerves to do this. This network is formed by the union of trillions of nerve cells. Thanks to this network, the cells in our brain are linked to the muscle cells in our feet, and all body cells communicate with each other.

Similarly, stimuli are sent from the entire body to the brain via the nerves. From every single part of our body messages are sent to our brain continuously and at an amazing speed. So, we can talk, laugh, run, taste the flavor of food, all these processes occur without interruption. All these are thanks to the perfect harmony between our brain and nervous system. Yet, we are sold the idea that all these processes are coincidental and due to chance.

Thanks to the splendid creation of Allah, our brain can carry out all these processes at the same time. Despite years of scientific research, the mechanism of these cells has not been fully discovered. But remember that these cells, whose system has not been found out by human beings yet, have been working perfectly like all other components of the body since the first man was created on the face of the earth. Therein lies a conundrum for evolutionists.

There are 206 bones in our body out of which 27 are interconnected in our hand. And because bones cannot be bent there are joints at the connection points of our bones. Thanks to these joints, we can easily bend our arm, raise our leg, and use our fingers. Who made this possible? What bones are made of has interested scientists a lot and they have tried to imitate bone tissue for years. However, nobody has been able to develop a substance with such advanced characteristics as bone has. Interesting to know that Bone ossification, or osteogenesis, is the process of bone formation. This process begins between the sixth and seventh weeks of embryonic development and continues until about age twenty-five, although this varies slightly based on the individual.

All these facts reveal to us that the human body is the result of an excellent design and superior creation. … Look at the bones—how We raise them up and clothe them in flesh… (Surat al-Baqara: 259)

Every organ and every cell of our bodies runs with an incredible speed and function perfectly at the same time. All perform the tasks that they are appointed to in harmony. Blood keeps conveying to cells the nourishment that they need to live. The stomach and intestines break down this nourishment and make it suitable for use by cells. Nerve cells keep sending stimuli to all parts of the body; the brain evaluates these stimuli, as a result of which we see, hear, taste, and perceive all other senses.

When one of these tasks is delayed or not performed, the regular order of the bodily functions deteriorates. If nerve cells become impaired, our limbs will not work; if stomach cells become diminished, we cannot digest the food we eat; if the cells in the tongue become reduced, we cannot taste what we eat. However, except in the case of certain diseases, none of the above happens. Every component of our body keeps performing its regular functions non-stop while we are living our everyday life. The perfection that you are blessed with at every instant of our life surely has a cause.

Nothing can originate on its own to have such a complete and faultless mechanism. There is God ooo!

Everyone in the heavens and earth belongs to Him. All are submissive to Him. It is He Who originated creation and then regenerates it. That is very easy for Him. His is the most exalted designation in the heavens and the earth. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surat ar-Rum: 26-27)

That is Allah, your Lord. There is no god but Him, the Creator of everything. So, worship Him. He is responsible for everything. (Surat al-An‘am: 102)

Barka Juma’at and happy weekend

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