In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hajia Bridget Aisha Lemu: MPAC Mourns the Death of a National Icon
Sunday 6, January 2019
As the British born pioneer of the Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria, FOMWAN, Hajia Bridget Aisha Lemu breathed her last yesterday, the Nigerian Muslim Ummah has indeed lost a phenomenal caller to Islam who devoted her entire being to the service of Allah in the country and beyond.
Following the announcement of her death by her son, Ustaz Nurudeen Lemu, on behalf of the Lemu family, the entire nation was thrown into mourning.
The Executive Chairman of the Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC Nigeria, Kamor Disu in a reflective tone acknowledged the vital transformational role late Aisha Lemu played in the life of the modern Muslim: “More than any Muslim woman leader in contemporary Nigeria, she brought tremendous impact on Muslim women education and mentored thousands of Muslim girls to achieve eminence in career, yet remaining steadfast Muslim. Without doubt, her death is a monumental loss to the Ummah”
Condolence messages continue to pour for the Lemu family since hajia Aisha Lemu died as more Islamic faith-based organizations and Muslim Nigerians pray for the repose of the of hajia Lemu for her pioneering role in Muslim missionary activities in the country.
Late hajia Aisha Lemu authored many important books and was a pre-eminent religious educator whose literary works continue to add value to the lives of millions of Muslims globally. Born Bridget Honey in Poole, Dorset, the United Kingdom in 1940, she converted to Islam in 1961.
She converted to Islam during her student years at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), while pursuing her interest in Chinese history, language and culture. While there, she met Muslims who gave her Islamic literature to read which led to her interest to further study Islam. Her interaction with the Muslims on campus and personal research into Islam eventually led her to Islam during her first year of study.
She subsequently helped to found the Islamic Society at SOAS, becoming its first secretary, and also assisted in the formation of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies.
After graduating from SOAS, late hajia Lemu studied for a postgraduate qualification to teach English as a foreign language and while doing so, she met her future husband, Dr Shaykh Ahmed Lemu, who had been studying at another college of the University of London and was involved in the Islamic activities around the institution. Dr Shaykh Lemu served in the field of education for more than half a century, during which he undertook various teaching and educational responsibilities. He was the grand Qadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of Niger State when it was founded in 1976, and the founder, together with hajia Aisha Lemu, of Dawah Institute of Nigeria, DIN.
In 1985, hajia Aisha Lemu founded the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) with other Muslim women and was elected as its first national Amirah for four years. The death of this great woman and its devastating impact on the Ummah will be hard to deal with but together we take solace and lessons in the following wise words of Allah (SWT):
- “To Allah (Almighty God) we belong, and to Him is our return.” (Qur’an 2:156)
- “What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But best is the home in the hereafter, for those who are righteous. Will ye not then understand?” (Qur’an 6:32)
- “Who created death and life that He may try you – which of you is best in deeds; and He is Mighty and Forgiving. (Qur’an 67:2)
- “Let every person consider what they have sent ahead for tomorrow.” Qur’an 59:18
- “Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high!” Qur’an 4:78
- “Every soul shall taste death.” Qur’an 29:57
We commiserate with the entire Lemu family and the nation on the loss of the iconic Muslim leader and especially pray for our father, Dr Shaykh Ahmed Lemu, her children brother Nurudeen Lemu and sister Maryam Lemu for Allah to grant them patience and rewards of patience to deal adequately with the loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with the entire staff and members of Dawah Institute of Nigeria, affiliate organisations, the entire members of FOMWAN and the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria and abroad. We pray that Allah (SWT) will grant forgiveness to late hajia Aisha Lemu and all Muslims that preceded her in faith, grant her the highest level of Paradise, and bless our Ummah with other great Muslimahs that will impact our community and the nation in more profound ways.
We thank Allah (SWT) that the life and times of hajia Aisha Lemu will continue to inspire generations of Muslims.
Director, Media & Strategic Communications,
Muslim Public Affairs Center, Nigeria