Powerful dream helps bring Nigerian man to Islam
Abdul Azeem Mc Calla, born and brought up in the beautiful island of Jamaica, is a Muslim revert whose life took a dramatic turn after experiencing the most frightening dream of his life. Mc Calla is a loving husband, father of two, and an ex-army officer and entrepreneur who presently lives in the northern Nigerian ancient city of Kano, in west Africa.
Taqwa Magazine was given the opportunity to do an interview with Mr Mc Calla in the beautiful scenery of D’afric Place, a branch of Dantata foods, an allied products company where Mc Calla is the general manager. It is an honour.
TM: Your name.
Mr. Mc Calla: AbdulAzeem Mc Calla.
TM: 3 words that best describes you.
Mr. Mc Calla: Simple, uncomplicated, straight forward; say what I mean, mean what I say!
TM: Tell us a little about your career.
Mr. Mc Calla: I grew up in Jamaica, schooled and worked for the civil service. I joined the military and became an officer for 5-6 years, training soldiers. I left Jamaica to the UK.
TM: How did you come to Nigeria?
Mr. Mc Calla: A friend convinced me. If I can recall properly, I’m not the kind to make a vow. If I ever did, then ‘never coming to Nigeria’ was it. When I was living in the UK, I thought Nigeria was a God forsaken place, a vision from hell. Unfortunately, because I never met any good Nigerian there, and never had I met a Northerner. I thought Nigeria wasn’t even dominated by Muslims. In the UK, I met only non Muslim Nigerians. It was when I had converted to Islam, that I met a Nigerian, who was the Amir (leader) of a Muslim society. And I remember being very surprised after finding out that he was a Muslim. “You are a Nigerian, you’re not like Nigerians I’ve met!” That was when this Amir started telling me stories about Nigeria and how Islam became strong in Northern Nigeria, the Jihad of Othman Dan Fodio and the establishment of the Islamic empire. He explained that Nigeria is a huge country with thousands of ethnic groups, hence, a diversity in culture, religion and behaviour. I was convinced to come to Nigeria with him. We landed in Lagos, the then Capital state of Nigeria…a very busy place I must say, we then took a flight to Kaduna. Later on travelling a few kilometers to the ancient city of Zaria where I met my wife. After we left, we came back again with our families. I’ve had good and bad experiences in Nigeria, but I tell you, the bad hasn’t over weighed the good enough to get me running back to the UK.
TM: How did you come to Islam?
Mr. Mc Calla: After I left Jamaica to the UK, I saw the light in my dream, literally! I had a dream which made me to come to Islam, the dream was about Yaumul Qiyamah, and in the dream, I wasn’t in a happy position. It was the only time I was scared. The dream ‘scared’ me to Islam. I had always rejected Christianity even before the dream. I was in a spiritual no-mans land. I had Muslim friends, a best friend who converted earlier than I did. He always encouraged me to Islam. He gave me a copy of the translation of the Qur’an. I never bothered to attempt reading it. It just laid there beside me everyday, though I always knew that that book was one of its kind. But after I had that scary dream, I thought I just had to take a look at the inside of the book. I knew there was truth in Islam. The only thing holding me back was ‘fasting’. Because I can vividly recall it was just a few weeks to Ramadhan. The idea of going without food for hours wasn’t at all appealing. But as I started seeing the beauty of Islam, I thought to myself to give fasting a try. I did it! My friends started telling me to just ‘do it’ (convert) because they knew I was sure of it, and my fear was whether I would be able to fast or not, but I had over come it. So why wait? It was on the day of Eid, after they had invited me for Sallah festivities, that I took the Shahada and became a Muslim.”
TM: What do you think of ‘reverting’, how does it happen?
Mr. Mc Calla: You cannot just tell someone to convert to Islam. This is a communication with the intellect. The intellect has to be convinced first. To me, the idea of 1 is 3, and 3 is 1, is an offense to my intellect, I mean, I’ve gone through nursery and pre-nursery, I have basic math. I just can’t be convinced 3 is 1!
TM: How did Islam change you?
Mr. Mc Calla: Islam has had a great impact in my life. It has changed my lifestyle almost completely. I had habits that were only acceptable in a life outside the borders of Islam, and I stopped them after reverting to Islam. So I must say, it has changed me morally and spiritually.
TM: What motivates you?
Mr. Mc Calla: Achievement. Being able to say I’m involved in achieving something worth while is what gives me the zeal to carry on. Money is good. But I’m more interested in what I have put out. And again, my family. My family is in fact, my greatest motivation. If not because of them, I could live anywhere, living less comfortably without caring at all. I told you earlier I’m a simple person. With them, I feel more willing and motivated to do more, to cater for them more everyday.
TM: Who is your role model?
Mr. Mc Calla: I just like being myself. I hardly try to be another person. I just like to be successful, live a good life, looking up to my family.
TM: What is next for you?
Mr. Mc Calla: Whatever Allah brings. When I came to Nigeria, I learned trust in Allah. When accidents happen in the UK, or fire, for instance, or you get hit by a car, you call 911. But in Nigeria, you just have to pray to God, well that’s the best help you can get. And that’s literally best! You will feel this impact if you lived in the UK where there’s adequate services and support that is readily available in the West. Perhaps that’s why a lot of people there don’t believe in God, maybe because they are so dependent on help from fellow human beings, that they forget that there is a supreme being. I just want to be successful, take care of my family, increase in Iman and Ihsan.
TM: Would you go back to the UK?
Mr. Mc Calla: I never really left the UK. Part of my family is there. But I’m a citizen of the world! I’m everywhere, I know I’m originally from West Africa, I choose Nigeria to be my Nation, so I’m a Nigerian too. But Jamaica is and will always be home.
TM: What is your advice to the Muslim youth?
Mr. Mc Calla: Who am I to give advice? But if they are listening while I’m talking, I would say “be sincere, your actions should be your biggest form of da’awah to the non Muslims and obey Allah and his messenger in everything. Do your salah, and pay Zakat, as I have noticed, Zakah is the most ignored pillar of Islam. Have trust in Allah.”
Posted on September 13, 2014, in ARTICLES and tagged Africa, ancient, article, beautiful, bring, d'afric place, dramatic, dream, Education, experience, experiencing, helps, interview, islam, islam nigeria, island, jamaica, kano, learn, life, lives, man, mr mc calla, muslim revert, nigeria, nigerian, opportunity, powerful, powerful dream, to, west africa. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.