By Uwa Suleiman.
I have always understood the words, “with total submission to the will of God” literally. That natural, conscious awareness of the sovereignty of God’s will. But on Tuesday, 24th November 2020. The words became frightenly clear to me. They took on a whole new meaning, a deeper, spiritual meaning and an even more scary realization of what TOTAL submission to God’s will can mean.
I have been numb since the news first hit me, just a minute after my beloved boss and mentor, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, posted about the sudden demise of his adorable daughter Aisha (Amal) on Monday, 23rd November 2020. I was hit with a barrage of conflicting emotions all at once and all very distasteful. When my phone rang a fourth time within a minute, cruel reality exploded in my face .
I am not going to write about grief and sorrow and sadness. I refuse to celebrate death. Anyone with a shred of humanity left in them, particularly parents, can relate to the trauma of losing a child. No parent should bury their child. But we must submit TOTALLY to God’s will.
I have never witnessed a more solemn, heart breaking ceremony like the funeral prayers offered for Amal, nor have I ever seen faith and total submission so complete as demonstrated by her father. Today, I write to celebrate the uncommon courage and faith of a father. As I watched my boss, resplendent in white, lead the funeral prayers, I confirmed in that moment what I have always known: This is a man after God’s heart. Irrespective of the pain and finality of the harsh reality that stared him in the face, Pantami stood there in total submission to God , accepting, unquestioning the fate that had befallen him. It reminded me of the Biblical Abraham in that moment when in total submission, he was willing to carry out God’s will to make the ultimate sacrifice. I dare say, I saw faith and submission like never before, demonstrated by a mortal. My heart broke, I was shaken to my core but most importantly, I learnt a valuable lesson.
My dear boss, mentor, leader and father, I have no words to console you but I can say this for a fact; YOU ARE A GREAT MAN. The trials of those destined for uncommon greatness by God are such that cannot be comprehended by the simple mind. To bury one’s child is to be tested and purified by fire and to be strong enough to accept it with stoic resilience is Grace only God can grant. I have personally made it my life’s mission to learn from this man, the secret to conquer all of life’s challenges without grudges or bitterness. So help me God.
To my Boss and his family, I offer my deepest and sincerest condolences. Be consoled in your unwavering faith that God has given you a little Angel in Heaven.