I received the news of his final return to Allah yesterday, Wednesday 3rd June, 2020 with a heavy heart. I could not control my emotions when his photograph was sent to my whatsapp wall. I was perturbed with feelings of emptiness and stunned to speechlessness as I gazed through his image on the flyer on my cellphone. I asked myself, what again? I mean, another close friend and co-worker has just passed away to the world beyond exactly ten days ago when Waheed Bakare departed this world.
Ustadh Abdul-Jaleel Haroon popularly called Abu Aminah was one of my able and intelligent Zakah workers when I held sway as the pioneer Executive Director of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation in Lagos State. With the breaking news of his death, I asked myself, ‘Are you writing another tribute?’ It took me twenty four hours to come to terms with myself that Abu Aminah deserves my tribute notwithstanding the frequency of death. That Abu Aminah has joined the league of “…Those Foremost (in Faith)…” Qur’an 56 verse 10, is a strong message to me and all people of good conscience to prepare for the ultimate. The time is drawing near; the clock is ticking; hours, minutes and seconds are counting. Death is always locking around. It is no respecter of gender, social status or social stratification, religion, ethnicity or race. The Almighty Creator says: “To every People is a term appointed: when their term is reached, not an hour can they cause delay…” Qur’an 7 verse 34. There is no better time for the soul of Abu Aminah to return to its creator than its appointed time. He was fortunate to witness and participate in the just concluded fasting in Ramadan, a holy month of forgiveness, mercy and blessings from Allah. May Allah bestow His grace, mercy and forgiveness on the soul of Abu Aminah and make his final resting place Jannatul Firdaws.
Ustadh Abdul-Jaleel Haroon was an amiable and cool-headed person. He was ever ready to serve. And indeed, he rendered pro bono services to Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation as its Ikeja Zonal Coordinator in Lagos State. His actions matched the words of Imam Hassan al-Bana when he said: “Be like trees; people throw stones at them and they throw the best fruit back at them.” In all my interactions with him, especially at programmes or events organised by Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, he was extraordinarily good amongst his colleagues. Abu Aminah always belittled himself before people as captured vividly by Ralph Waldo Emerson that “A great man is always willing to be little.” Aside the fact that Ustadh Abdul-Jaleel Haroon was outwardly handsome in character and physique, he was equally endowed with melodious voice when reciting the Qur’an. He was always the choice of the Foundation in the recitation of Qur’an to signify the commencement of its events or programmes. His eloquence and proficiency of recitation always made God-fearing hearts to tremble.
Abu Aminah also stands out amongst his equals as Zakat and Sadaqat Coordinator. He was very resourceful as a goal achiever. He had unblemished records as Zakat collector and no complaints were ever lodged against him for any act of malfeasance by either Zakat payers or beneficiaries throughout my reign till his demise. This exceptional track records of his remind me of the words of the gracious Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him: “Guarantee for me six things in yourselves and I can guarantee Paradise for you: speak the truth, keep your promises, protect what’s entrusted to you, protect your chastity, lower your gaze (from opposite sex), and keep your hands away (from other people’s rights and property).” Without any fear of contradiction, Ustadh Abdul-Jaleel Haroon is qualified to be counted among few contemporary youth that fit the above six narratives. He was a good team player amongst his colleagues and an excellent team leader in his zone. In the words of William Shakespeare “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them,” Abu Aminah was a dependable and trustworthy person who achieved greatness within the space of time we had together. His exit is indeed a great lost not only to his family but also the entire family of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation across the country.
Permit me to borrow the words of William Shakespeare again that “Some are born great” or better still, use the words of Mario Puzo in The Godfather “Great men are not born great, they grow great” to describe Abdul-Jaleel Haroon. My description of him as such is informed by many of his virtues and achievements. Some of which include but not limited to his been among those foremost in faith, very intelligent, resourceful, goal-achiever, a good team player, an excellent team leader, proficient reciter of the Qur’an with good science of recitation, young Islamic scholar, excellent human relations, dutiful to his mother, responsible father to his five children, caring and loving husband to his wife. Yes, he was a loving and caring husband to his wife. Little wonder, Dorothy Sayers said “Whereever you find a great man, you will find a great mother or a great wife standing behind him…” Ustadh Abdul-Jaleel Haroon has paid his dues. My little time I spent with him has left an indelible imprint on my mind and all his colleagues at Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation. The greatest service to him is for us to sustain those principles and virtues associated with him. May Allah’s mercy and forgiveness be on his soul.
Dr Abdullahi Shuaib
Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation