To get a clear idea of the task, let me give the full situation in which I have to carry out the task which most people deemed impossible. I have a beard that is thick and about a fist long. I wear normal trousers (one that does not go below the ankle). I am married with a child (which means that there is much pressure) and my wife is not working. When I also consider the fact that I had just finished my youth service with no years of experience except that of the industrial training and a lecturer job at a polytechnic (which is little known) during my service year, it looks like all odds are against me.
During my days in the University when I started keeping my beard and making my trousers Shariah compliant, most of my friends said that I was headed in the wrong direction and that I will never be able to get a good job. Nobody would want to employ someone that keeps a beard like mine and that I would most likely be mistaken for a terrorist or a fundamentalist; they always stressed. Anyway, at the end of my stay in the University, I was the best graduating student in my department (an engineering course). I missed graduating with a first class degree by a small margin ! Most people believed this was due to the fact that I was a Muslim while others believed that it was my appearance that was responsible.
As for me, I believe that the first class was not meant to be; because as a Muslim, I believe that whatever happens has been decreed by Allaah During my service year, I applied to one of the foremost oil companies in the country. I was called for the first test which I passed and was called for a second test which I did also before the end of the service year. In the lodge where I stayed during my service year, the other corps members always wondered whenever I was going to do those tests and why I was not "corporately dressed". By which they meant that I should be "clean shaven" and doing isbal (trailing my trousers below the ankle).
At the end of my service year, I returned to Lagos with my wife and baby continuing the search for job. People continued to advise me that with my "good grade" but my appearance, I can not find a good job. They advised that I should shave or reduce my beard but I remembered and admonished myself continuously that we have been warned by the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) "that there is no obedience to the creature in disobedience to the Creator".
About three months after the service ended, I still had no job but with my wifes encouragement and those of other well meaning brothers and sisters, I didn't despair of Allaah's mercy. About this time, I saw an advert about some vacant positions in one of the G.S.M companies in the country and I eagerly applied for one of the positions with good hope and continued to pray for the best. A week after the advertisement closed, I was called for an interview which I did and about a month after the interview, I was called to come and collect my appointment letter. At this, I fell down in prostration and wept in expression of my gratitude to Allaah.
Not long after this, I was reading the Quran when I came across this verse "Whatever of mercy (i.e. of good) Allaah may grant to mankind, none can withhold it; and whatever He may withhold, none can grant thereafter. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (Q35:2)" All praise is due to Allaah, who has done this for me without any power - or effort of mine because "there is no power or might except with Allaah".
I can only encourage other brothers and sisters who are practicing the religion to their very best to remain firm with their convictions that the best of this world and the Hereafter is in following Allaah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in totality. May Allaah give us the ability to remain firm on the right path (Aameen)
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited