Remembering Muddaththir Olaniyi Yusuf (1962-2019)

By Abdur-Razaq Asaju


Brother Abdur-Razaq, where are you?, asked with unusual anxiety and inaudible phone call from Nurudeen Jumah. “I’m in the office, I replied. “NS is gone” he announced. “I can’t hear you”, I said, wondering why this hasty question. He repeated the question, “NS is gone”, NS is gone”. And my voice collapsed. SubhannaLlah, Yeeeeee! Not true! ALlahu Akbar. Oh my God! Inna liLlahi wa inan ilayhi raaji’uun.

I put my head on the table and was crying but soon realized I could embarrass my colleagues, hence I retired to a small meeting room nearby to continue crying and muttering SubhannaLlah. I managed avoiding wailing, knowing the implications. Haa, my brother, Niyi Sanuth is indeed dead!

Allah Knows Best. I have been dumbfounded and confounded since then, and sometimes, I wish the news of his death was not real.

I knew him since our MICA days, and have been friends ever since.

He’s unassuming, sincere, compassionate and straightforward. No-holds-barred, yet diplomatic!

I went to him in Zenith bank around 1997, looking for job. He admonished me against bank jobs and told me he was resigning soon! I couldn’t believe a Rising Star in the Top bank could resign while approaching the zenith of a shining, unblemished career. He urged me to join Deen Communications then, moreso that I read Mass Comm. I offered to be part of the Editorial team, which I did for some time.  And behold, he resigned soon as promised.

And we’ve been in touch, getting closer and closer.

He has been a resource person for H&H Inv. Club, and severally for at Tanzeel Schools. And of recent, we partnered for Commodities business. Wherever he goes, he’s extremely humble but always noticeable and impactful. He’s the proverbial Gold Fish.

The popular Feed a Soul which now feeds thousands of poor Muslims in Ramadan was his brainchild. And I wonder where he derives his energy from! He’s such a Special Breed!

Even until he breathed his last, he was still mustering positive energy!

What of KBC- Knowledge Building Course- which has transformed millions of lives of young Muslims? Many of us benefitted quarterly from the fountain of knowledge of renowned scholars in those session.

He is the publisher od Deen Digest which transformed into an Naseeha, and also Legacy, targeted at the teens but nonetheless very useful for the older ones.

On his sick bed in India, I sent him a couple of messages which I presumed read but he didn’t respond. I was scared, and expressed it in my post of the 30th October. And he responded:

_Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu_

Oju ogun le oo, but aanu Oluwa ati adura yin ngbe wa duro*

Jazakallaahu khayraan

The message sent jitters down my spine. For him to acknowledge tough terrains means it was really tough, to put it mildly. He’s a truly courageous brother.

I expressed joy and sent more messages. He responded on the 31st October. I was further encouraged and sent more. And then, he read but never replied again.

And that’s why I was inconsolable when bro. Nurudeen Jumah broke the tough news. It was an Indian that noticed me in my crying room and was trying to be nice. ‘Should someone drive you home?’, he asked. I controlled my anger and told him that my brother died in his country, India!

When I had issues in a marriage and rumours were flying around, he was the only brother, apart from my Imam, who confronted me, and appreciated the situation. He’s that bold. Yet diplomatic. Most others were just grimacing whenever I passed them!

His death has made it rife for us all to reflect, to reassess ourselves. It was encomiums everywhere for him. If it’s any of us, how will we be reviewed? Can we pick one or two lessons from his death?

Has his death not confirmed the ephemerality and mirage nature of life?

If yes, why are we keeping puerile bickers? Why are we enemies and strange bedfellows because of a passing stranger? The positive comments that followed his death is unprecedented.

I hope his death will make many of us reorganize our perceptions.

Sanuth (as I call him) has touched more lives than any brother that I know. He is ever willing to help, to please and to admonish. Yet he’s gone!

I pray that his legacies will endure. That Allah would raise another bridge builder. That Allah would console and compensate all those he left behind, especially his immediate family, and keep them united, aamin.

And for him, all positive testimonies trailing him are pointers to his abode. May Allah expand his grave, make Barzakh comforting for him, make answers to his questions easy. And on the day of Qiyamah, make him an inmate of al Jannatul Firdaus, aamin.

Allahumma ghafrlahu wa arhamhu, aamin.

Asaju is a proud associate and admirer of Niyi Sanuth

©2018 VivaLasGidi

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