A lecture delivered by the Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) on 27th January, 1990 at Kongo Campus, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
Brothers and sisters in Islam may Allah’s peace and compassion be upon you all.
This is the topic I am actually called upon to deliver a lecture on. In similar occasion like this one for those students at the Ahmadu Bello University, main campus, Samaru sometimes in the month of Zulhijja 1400, that’s January 1980. Ever since that lectures, I am being invited to deliver lectures on the same topic in different occasions and I did deliver it in a number of places some of which I could recall; including a seminar around 1980s in (the now defunct) BACAS (now Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic,) Bauchi and Kingston Polytechnic, that’s in the UK. The University of Jos, School of Preliminary Studies, Yola, University of Maiduguri, Bayero University, Kaduna Polytechnics and the rest. Moreover, just yesterday’s night, I tried to listen to what I said in those years. I listened to two of the cassettes: that of ABU Zaria and Kingston Polytechnic Surrey, in order to refresh my memory. I tried at one time to reduce the lecture into writing while I was staying in Enugu but it was not published.
The Journey to the World and its Purpose
However, the topic is very clear. The mission, we mean the purpose for which man has come here. By man, we mean humankind as a whole. By the earth, we mean the world in which we are living. What we are saying in short is this; here are we, human beings living on this earth, this planet called earth. All of which we are all aware that our living (existence) is confined to this planet. (The question is) why are we here? Just as students, because this lecture is not for first students, you know you have a purpose for coming to this institution. You have come here to learn. Count the number of the years, at the end of which you will be graduating. You have a purpose for it. You do not just come for the sake of coming. You have a career, which you have taken onto yourself. You are dreaming of becoming someone in the society or you are dreaming of becoming a judge and here in the institution where you study, you’ve come to study law (for example,) your mission here is to study law for the purpose of becoming a judge one day. Now, you may be doing some other activities, some social activities. You may be in someone’s business. However, the main purpose for coming here is to study, isn’t it?
The topic before us is we are going to talk about our mission on the earth. That is you as human beings you came to this earth through birth and one day you are going to leave this world through death. Why are we here? I think the topic is clear. If you are to ask a person who is passing by the street as to where he is from and where he is going to? Perhaps he would tell you he came from his house and he is going to the market. However, should we ask him, “Where were you before you were born and where should you be going after your death? I do not think he will give you an answer because he was not in existence before he was born and after death, he will cease to exist. Therefore, he did not know where he came from and where he should be going.
However, why are we here in between these two options birth and death? Do you think he has an answer? He has not. Perhaps if we would find answer to these extremes, we will help to determine why we are here. If you should know, where you came from and where you are going to, that will help you to understand why you are on the road. If reasons, assume somebody has left somewhere but he has forgotten where he came from and he intends to go somewhere else and he tends to forget where he intends to go. Forgetting where he came from and forgetting where he is heading to. However, if we knew where you came from and where you are heading to, this will help us to answer why we are here. You should consider these silly questions to be fundamental questions facing human life. Where did you come from and where are you heading? Why are we here? In addition, if this is not confinable, the mission of man on the earth, we will try as much as possible to answer why we are here.
However, of course, we must touch a little on where we are heading to and where we do come from.
In some areas, I am actually not a kind of philosopher as to prove that he has actually come somewhere and try to prove that we are heading (to) somewhere. I do not think it is necessary here. We all know, and we thank God that we are all Muslims, we know it is Allah, the Almighty who created us. We also know it is Allah who created this very earth in which we are living.
We know it is actually He who actually brought us here on earth. Now, the question before us is why? Do you want us to prove to you that you were actually created? I do not think you need to. Do you need me to prove to you (that) you actually came from someone and after that; there is another place for you? I do not think.
This is not the topic of the lecture. We might say we all prove that someone has created us. Someone created the earth in which we are living and it is that someone who brought us here; and that someone is Allah, the Almighty. He has a purpose in doing so. Just as we, human beings know we do not do things without purpose. We build a house for the sake of building it. Houses are built for purpose, maybe for drawing or lecturing and so on and so forth. Therefore, we do everything for certain purpose. Therefore, Allah is the one who placed man here on earth. There is no doubt in the existence of Allah and the fact that it is He who created us and brought us here. We will crosscheck in His book to find out why. In the part of the Quran in chapter one, Al-Baqarah, Allah said:
وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ.
“And remember when your lord said to the angels I am about to place on the earth a khalifa (a vicegerent). They said: will you place in someone who will shed blood and create disorder and whilst we are worshipping and glorifying you? He replied; I know what you do not know.” — Qur’an 2:30
If I am to give you one sentence that the purpose of man on the earth is to be a caliph and sit down, I think I have conveyed a message. The rest maybe is the definition of Caliph. What is caliphate and what is the duty of a caliph? All right, what is caliphate? Someone who placed somebody and replaced someone; you know that whenever someone dies, you will find somebody replacing him. You are called his own caliph. This is in one sense. In another thing, it may mean someone who is a vicegerent, an ambassador or a viceroy or it is closer in meaning to the word caliph. Take for instance word ambassador or envoy. They all mean the same thing, caliph.
If a country sent an ambassador to this country, that ambassador represents that country. Let’s say a country A sent an ambassador to country X, then that ambassador will represent a country A inside country X.
Here you are an ambassador of God on the earth. That means you are representing Allah, the Almighty on earth. Wherever the ambassador is, acts on behalf of the government of that country that sent him. He has no authority whatsoever to conduct himself according to his way or wishes. He gets all the authority from home and implements it.
To be continued…