Islamic Fiction Contest Winner - 2010
IWA Member Category
There is A God
By: Lasisi Yusuf Olalekan (Yousuph Ola ‘Azeez)
Faces of the people of Feyikogbon beamed with irrepressible joy as their king celebrated his coronation. The palace was filled to capacity. There were enough food and drinks for the people of Feyikogbon. It was indeed a joyous day for Olohunwa the new king. He wore hand-woven fabrics called Aso oke. Traditional beads of different sizes adorned his neck and wrists. He waved his horsetail to express appreciation to all. He was happy that the crown fitted his head. He smiled intermittently exposing his gapped teeth to the admiration of his people. People called him Olohunwa meaning, “There is God”.
An elderly chieftain of the town with the title Baala of Feyikogbon stood to address his people.
The gathering became quiet. He adjusted his old Agbada and supported himself with a walking stick. He sauntered forward so that his voice could be fairly audible.
“Your highness. Greetings to my people,” the old man stuttered as he began. “I hope you still recognize me?” He asked the king.
“Yes Baba, I do. I might be young when you were with my father, but the memory is still fresh. You are so much respected. As the Baala of Feyikogbon, you are the only one that can question the decision of the king. What you say in Feyikogbon is final but you seldom comment.”
The old man nodded in affirmation. “You are right. Now, listen to me. You are no more a farmer but a king. You have power over all of us but you have to be cautious. You don’t wield your powers. You should not be a tyrant. You have to respect us. Then, your reign shall be successful.”
“Thank you for your advice. I am very happy today. A poor subsistence farmer like me, now the king of Feyikogbon. I was nobody few days ago, now I am somebody. La ilaha illa llahu There is none, but Allah. He brought me this honor. A new era has come. We are together in the process of building this town. Everybody is free to air his or her views. You can ask me any question and I will answer you,” the king promised.
“Then, I have a question!” a man shouted amidst the crowd.
“You may come forward,” the king asked.
The man was short. He dressed differently. He wore a faded light-blue shirt over oversized Khaki knickerbockers. He fastened the shirt firmly to his belly with an old leather belt. His spectacles looked like that of an old elite Indian. He covered his baldhead with a panama. His thin legs wore a finished pair of shoes and his woolen socks were dirty with dust. He was proud to be the only one that dressed like the colonial masters.
He greeted the king in style. “My name is Professor Adedara Smith. I am the one and only Professor in this town. I don’t have any doubt about your kingship, but your name gives me headache. If I say there is money, I’ll show you some from my wallet. If I say there is food, I have tubers of yam in my barn. If I say there is God, what will I show you? Is there God? We are very poor. We have no food, we have no shelter. There is drought in the land. Our kids are jobless. We cannot sleep with our eyes closed for the fear of burglars. Many are sick and have no one to cater for them. The ones that are cared for are not well. Yet, you say there is God. Show us and prove to us that there is God.”
The king could not believe what was happening. He was yet to decide on what to say when a woman burst into a loud cry. “The Professor is right. I am a widower with two kids. One of my kids fell sick and died. The only one I have is also on sick bed dying. If truly there is God you will have to prove it.” The woman said and took side with the professor.”
An elderly man who lost all he worked for in his life lamented. The unemployed youths in the town also supported the professor. The poor and the needy wanted the king to show them the God.
“Books’ Brain is different from wisdom. And wisdom knows not neither the old nor the well read. I don’t expect the only wicked Professor in our town to plot the ruin of our king’s celebration. If he truly has questions, he should have postponed it till another time. I suggest we ignore the foolish question he is asking and continue our merriment,” Khalid said.
“We need not shun the one that refuses to acknowledge the existence of Allah, the one that brings Day and Night.” Abdullahi said.
“Did you say He brings day and night?” The professor asked.
“Yes according to the Qur’an.”
“If you are confused over issues, you should ask. I will explain how we come about day and night. The earth is spherical and it revolves around its axis. The heat and light of the sun is intense and it is stationary. When the earth rotates, the parts that face the sun witness day while those that back it will be in total darkness,” Professor Adedara explained.
“Professor, it’s like you are now wiser than your creator. You are a witness to Allah’s existence. He created you from sperm. The wonder in your creation is enough to convince you,” Qomorud-deen said.
“What wonder? Have you ever heard of IVF?”
“What’s the meaning of that?”
“Invitro Fertilization. Sperms from man are combined with eggs of woman in a dish in the laboratory. Haven’t you seen the test tube babies? I shall one day tell you the story of Louis Brown, the first test tube baby born in 1981.”
“Enough of the argument,”Baala interrupted, “especially this day when we are rejoicing with our noble king. Khalid was right. And Professor on the other way round has the right to ask question. By the power conferred on me, I order that this argument be suspended for now and our celebration continues, but in five days’ time, we shall all gather here in the palace as our king defends his name. If you can’t, you will be dethroned and we shall have another king the following day."
“Our king must be wise, brave and fearless. He should be simply indomitable.”
Professor Adedara was very happy. Immediately after the pronouncement, his people began to sing his praises. They danced round the town. The drummers in the palace left Olohunwa and followed the multitude. Professor Dara’s house was quickly decorated. His only son now answered Prince Damola or simply Your Highness. Almost everybody in the town went to pay homage to the Professor except the few Muslims in the town.
Before the fifth day, King Olohunwa had grown lean. He never had any solution. He was perplexed when he sighted the Professor on a white horse coming to the palace with his entourage.
The old man was in the palace, but the king did not see him. He was consumed in the thought of losing to the Professor. “I am sure there is God. I will surmount this problem Insha Allah.”
“Our King. It is time to defend your name. You may begin,” the old man announced.
“People of Feyikogbon, I saw something while I was coming to the palace today. It might interest you and solve the puzzle at hand. I saw a car without a driver coming my way. It stopped for me and I entered. It found its way to the palace here and dropped me off and went its way,” Sheikh Alim, said.
“Did you say no driver drove the car?” The Professor asked.
“And no one held a remote control somewhere to direct it?”
“That is absolutely impossible. It is a blatant lie.”
“May Allah forgive me. If it is not possible for a small car to control itself, is it possible for the whole earth to be without a controller?”
The professor nearly broke down. He summoned up courage and spoke, “Surely, there should be a controller, but can you prove to me that it is God? People’s problems vary. Why is God not solving them?”
Sheikh Alim called out five people with bushy hair.
“There are no barbers in this town,” Sheikh Alim said.
All the barbers in the town came out. They were thirteen in number.
“I can’t believe this. If there are barbers, why are these people not having their haircut and thus look unkempt?”
“They did not come to us. If they do, we’ll help them,” the leader said.
“God exists, but many with illnesses and other problems refuse to seek help from him. They do not go to him.”
“Sheikh, I am not here to argue with you. Let your outgoing king speak for himself.”
“Yes!” Everybody chorused.
The king spoke after a prolonged silence. “What would I say to convince you? Only Allah can prove himself beyond explanation and doubts. I am sorry,” he said as he dabbed the tears that flooded his eyes with a piece of cloth.
“Dispossess him. He has failed to convince us. He is no more our king. That is the law,” Baala said.
Otun, one of the elders that crowned Olohunwa stepped forward and collected the horsetail. He removed the beads from his wrists and neck.
Olohunwa wept bitterly as the crown was lifted off his head. He faced the heaven and cried out loud to his Lord, “La illaha illa llahu, Muhammadur-Rosuulu llah Salallahu alaehi wasalam. Oh Allah, I know you exist. Please prove your existence to my people!”
Then, a streak of lightening preceded a powerful rumble of thunder. Three people fell behind Professor Adedara. Among them was his only son, Damola. He controlled the fire that burnt him and spoke with confidence. “There is no problem. Do not run. Kally, try your best.”
Kally, the magician tried to revive the victims, but he could not.
“If your God killed my only son, then he is a wicked god,” Professor Adedara said.
“No, my God is Merciful and all-forgiving. He could wake them up if only you could admit that there is God. If only you could profess La illaha illa llah.” Olohunwa said confidently.
“I won’t say it,” Adedara said.
“You will say it!” Damola’s mother confronted him. “You can not deceive and mislead our people anymore. I cannot lose my only son because of your selfish desire for the throne that is not yours. You worship Allah in secret and deny Him in the open. You will profess it publicly today. My son cannot die of a sin he did not commit."
The Professor could not deny this fact. He broke down in tears and knelt down in submission.
“I have sinned against thee Allah. And I have misled people. Forgive us all because You truly exist.”
Olohunwa, the king, also knelt down, and the people of Feyikogbon did the same thing. The king shouted “La illaha ilaa llaha.”
The people repeated after him and there came a soothing rain. The three men that fell rose and everybody screamed, “Allahu Akbar!”
Damola’s mother hugged her son.
The old man spoke again, “Professor, you know the consequence of what you did?"
“I know and I’m ready to carry the burden."
“You and your family will be banished from Feyikogbon by the approval of our king."
“I do not approve of it. Professor Adedara committed no sin. If not for him, how would I tell the people of Feyikogbon about Islam when their gods are so dear to them? Alhamidulillahi that Allah did not disgrace and disappoint me.The Professor is a free man. I shall soon give him a chieftaincy title in Feyikogbon."