Home news Behold! The Legendary Muslim Scholar Who Trekked from Lagos to Mecca

Behold! The Legendary Muslim Scholar Who Trekked from Lagos to Mecca

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A close shot of Mecca. (Photo credit: Pinterest)
In late 1920s, Late Alhaji Fasasi Adams, a young Islamic scholar
embarked on a trip to Mecca via road in what many earlier thought was an
impossible feat.
In those days, there was no major means of transport. The
only popular means of transport in and out of Lagos Island was by camels and
horses.
However Fasasi, whose father and mother were indigene of Ado
settlement
in Lagos, managed to find his way around and moved to Egypt. He was a
young adventurous man in his late 20s. It was from Egypt that he crossed over to Mecca where he spent six and a half years before heading back
home.
In fact, people thought he was dead. If you fully understand
how people reasoned back in those days when there was no means of
communication
, you will get my point. There was no means to write home because
things like postal office or post masters were not yet in existence.
So how did young Fasasi fare in his controversial journey?
City Pulse Nigeria paid a visit to his hometown (Ado) in a quest to find out two things –
authenticity of the story and what his people thought about him.
Fare enough, there were a handful of people who confirmed it
was true. Some gave us an incomplete version of how this Holy Sojourn impacted
on the town. Not until we bumped into two detailed versions from his nephew, Alhaji Mohammed Adams, a former assistant director with Lagos State Internal Revenue Service and the other source, a revered community leader and former Lagos State House of Assembly member, Hon. Yahya Adeniyi Dosunmu

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Adams explained that, in truth, the swash-buckling Fasasi was the first Alhaji in the entire Eti Osa. 

“Alhaji Fasasi Adams who happened to be my uncle was equally from this town. My parents used to tell me about how he brought fame to this family when he trekked to Hajj from
Lagos with a group of people in 1920s,” he enthused.

Hon. Dosunmu continued the story from where the latter left off.

“I may not be sure about the exact year, but I think he
returned from his Mecca trip around 1935 or 1936. It was about that period
people like us were about to be born (laughs). I was born in 1939 precisely.
Ironically, I learnt that it was this same Alhaji Fasasi who officiated at my
naming ceremony.
It is also imperative to note that he was one of the first
few privileged educated folks who had access to Arabic education. It was Arabic that brought the first glimpse of civilisation into our society. Then it was a sight
to behold seeing somebody who had sojourned for seven years, coming back and
speaking Arabic fluently as well as reading the Holy Quran and interpreting it.
I recalled that some Alfas
would cross over to Lagos to visit him. He had then established an Arabic
school before the establishment of any primary school in Ado. He even went as
far as bring in so many people from far and near in Eti Osa to come and learn
Arabic. That was why we had people like Adewale, the former missioner, who
died in Jammat Islammiyah; Muri Olufunmi, who also became a great teacher and
Alhaji Imam Alimi. These people were his products who later became teachers
too. These people went to school at adult age and became useful especially when
the colonial masters came, taught and converted them to teachers in their classrooms.
He went back to Mecca in early 1980s where he later died.
Prior to that time, he had always dreamt of dying at the Holy Land in the far
Middle East. That has always been his wish ever since I knew him. Luckily for a
man with such desire, he travelled to Mecca that same year. However he has a phobia that the people around him were not holy enough to carry his body. He
had this obsession that many of them were sinners and not worthy enough to
carry his body. 
Fasasi’s character was not that weird before, not until he learnt
about the death of the only man he ever trusted and whom he thought would eventually
bury him when he die.  He became a
different person and started dreaming of dying in Mecca one day. There was a time I tried dissuading him from repeating such mantra, he remained adamant.
He died at the age of 80 a fulfilled Muslim.
Many scholars and historians had made painstaking efforts to
get, at least one of, his photographs to no avail. Fasasi was someone who never
took delight in taking pictures. He was such a conservative Muslim cleric who
believed that since nobody has seen the image of Prophet Mohammed, it would be
an anathema to dare to snap one.
Another reason was possibly because he knew humans, once
given such privilege, may resort to start idolising such photographs. You
recall that Osama Bin Laden was
drown by the United States Marine in the deepest part of the blue sea. They
knew if the body was allowed to be buried, his followers may gather round his
graveyard and turn it to a worship centre.

On why Fasasi was not
immortalised…
“The society we are, particularly Eti Osa, was hardly given
such recognition. We can only say that we are somewhat lucky now that we are
getting closes to the government.
Until now, Ado and all the villages in Eti Osa were mere
settlement. People went about their farming, fishing and petty trading
businesses
. You tend to hear the cries of pap and akara sellers in the wee
hours of each morning. Some usually returned late in the evening fagged out.
The only thought on their mind as at that time was just to get something to eat
and sleep. 
Tell me, who out of this lot did you actually think had the time to
talk about immortalising supposed heroes?”
What a legend! Interesting, isn’t it?

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Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis is a communicator, Journalist, blogger, business coach and, of course, a prolific writer. He has Dip (Journalism) and B.A. (History & International Relations) from the Lagos State University (LASU). The self-effacing young man has worked for national, regional and local newspapers. He had worked with THISDAY covered community news for ISLAND NEWS and corresponded with P.M. NEWS (evening tabloid). Presently, he is the editor of CITYPULSE MEDIA and senior correspondent of PHARMANEWS, West Africa foremost health and pharmaceutical journal.

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