Wa-Shukurah: The Women of Ansar
At the beginning of the formation of the Ummah shortly after the arrival of the Prophet in Medinah, two principal groups of Muslims played dominant roles in the establishment of the first Ummah in the history of Islam. History records these groups as the Muhajireen and the Ansar. The Muhajireen are those that migrated with the prophet away from Makkah to Madinah , while the Ansars are those Muslims of Madinah that received, accommodated and made live comfortable for the immigrants. The Ansar tried to outdo each other in making the Muhajireen comfortable in Madinah and put themselves and their possessions at the service of the newcomers. Their generosity is mentioned in the following Verse of the Qur’an: “The Ansar love the Muhajireen who sought refuge with them, and there is no jealousy in their hearts for what the Muhajireen have been given. The Ansar give the Muhajireen preference over themelves, although they were in need of what the Muhajireen received.” (59: 9).
Their roles were so tremendous importance that many Muslims then and now preferred to emulate the Ansar in order to get rewards from Allah. Wa-Shukurah, a women Islamic group, under the big tree of Ansar ud-deen Islamic Society of Nigeria, FESTAC Branch Lagos Nigeria, is a replica of micro grouping of the Ansar. The group was established 30 years ago, essentially to support the vision and missions of the founding fathers of the parent body of Ansar Ud-Deen Islamic Society and in particular to ensure the branch in FESTAC flourished in a predominately Christian environment like FESTAC.
Alhaja Hanatu Mubarak, citizen of Lagos state and the daughter of the first Baba Adinni of Lagos state, Justice T. Elias is the Chairperson of the group. She explains the objectives of the group thus: “Thirty years ago, eight young female members of ADS gathered in my house to brainstorm on how to entrench and support the growth of Ansar Ud-Deen Islamic Society mosque in FESTAC. A member suggested our name and we all endorsed it. Wa-Shukurah since them has been very active in the mosque activities, propagate Islam in our little ways, educate and enlighten our women, counsel female members of the mosque when necessary, ensure members of the group have happy marriages, make Christian converts comfortable to practice Islam, undertake periodic visitations to motherless babies homes and hospitals to impact on the inmates well-being, empower women of the society, convert some Christians both male and females to Islam. Wa-Shukurah, FESTAC branch of the Society is a pride of the parent body”.
It has not been only success at Wa-Shukurah, there have been challenges. And this has to be because in an all female organizations there are bound to be bickering and misunderstanding, but often they are resolved amicably. In addition, marital responsibilities of members slowed down their involvements and financial contributions. the president has this to say on the challenges of the group: “There are a lot of challenges, particularly on how to keep the group intact and how to balance marital responsibilities of members and their attachment to the group and if not for the understanding of my husband the group would have scattered especially at the early stage of group development|”.
The pedigree of members can best be understood by the status of the chairperson whose administrative acumen helps the growth of the group. An alumnus of American University, Cairo, Egypt, studied business studies and has various work experience both in Nigeria and overseas. She hails from an Islamic conscious background and attended Ansar ud-deen schools for her early educational years. Membership is suave and represents all human endeavours and in activities Wa-Shukurah is a pride to the Society of Islam in Lagos state.