Abdulrahman Jafar Lawal [1990-2020]: You Never Walk Alone.

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By Mustapha Sheikh Abdullahi

For every swing of the second, it takes simple faith to accept the powers and doings of destiny as the force behind all events. Death comes as a surprise, not because we do not expect it but merely because we often assume we have so much more time.

Tuesday 6th of October 2020 came with a rude shock. The night before, at about 10:32pm, I felt the urge to call my friend Abdulrahman. There was no particular reason why, it was just for our usual banter. His phone was switched off so I let it go, assuming I would call again in the morning.

(I was later told that his battery was actually flat around that hour). I went off to sleep at about 2am with his number as the last dialed number on my call log.

Abdulrahman Jafar Lawal
Late Abdulrahman Jafar Lawal

At exactly 6am of October 6, 2020, I got a call from Ishaq Hamza, a mutual friend of ours and he had a piece of devastating news. “Ka ji Allah yawa Abdulrahman rasuwa kuwa?” He said.

I asked which Abdulrahman and Ishaq’s response left me numb. “Abdulrahman Jafar”. By Allah, I cannot remember how that call ended. I know for sure, however, that I did not utter another word afterward except Innalillahi wa Inna Ilaihir Raji’un on repeat.

I am writing this today, trying to process the gravity of this loss because back in 2008, destiny made me cross paths with Abdulrahman while we were both freshers at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and my definition of friendship would be forever changed as a result.

12 years later, all we have are stories of excellent friendship and brotherhood, reminiscing on all the ways our lives were integrated. Although we pursued different degrees, Abdulrahman and I were hardly ever apart. People jokingly referred to us as twins and we soon adopted that as our reality.

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The only times we were separated were when we had academic engagements but outside that, we could always be found hanging out and getting up to some mischief. We had so much in common and the very few things we didn’t have common grounds on were inconsequential in the grand scheme of our friendship.

At the height of our youthful exuberance, we painted our cars the same colour (white), much to the amusement of our friends.
We had such a lovely circle of friends at the time but after we obtained our degrees and moved on with life, most of us fell out of touch with each other. But not Abdulrahman and myself.

If anything, graduating and having to deal with the many rigors of life made our bond even stronger and we shared top secrets and made plans for the future. Abdulrahman trusted me with his life. He shared with me the true state of his health and while it may come as a shock to many, I knew from a long time ago just how much Abdulrahman struggled with his health.

Because of his cheerful and effervescent personality, you would never have guessed that Abdulrahman battled Diabetes right from birth. Yes, the young, charming, energetic, lively, happy-looking handsome Abdulrahman Jafar had to take insulin shots almost every day to maintain his health.

He mostly administered the injections himself but never sought sympathy from anyone. He fought his battles gallantly and privately and I admire him greatly for that. Abdulrahman never missed an opportunity to be in the midst of people. He never wanted to walk alone. His one-bedroom apartment while in Zaria was always crowded with people.

It didn’t matter what time of day it was, Abdulrahman was either hosting friends or accommodating them for sleepovers. Abdulrahman loved connecting with people and always made room for everyone, no matter how inconvenient it may have been for him.

I’m not sure what hurts more- losing Abdulrahman, one of the greatest friends I ever had, or the excruciating pain of losing him at such a young age. Like the old saying about the proverbial rusty meat, it has filled my mouth with pains and agony and has left me utterly speechless.

Since last Tuesday when I heard the news of his demise, I have barely been able to hold back my tears. It doesn’t matter that I was aware of his brief illness a few weeks ago. I just always trusted him to bounce back. It’s like I said in the beginning, I always assumed we would have more time.

On the 5th of February 2017, I was involved in a car accident that left my car wrecked. Abdulrahman didn’t only share my grief, he handed me his car so I can use temporarily before I get myself sorted.

I remember vividly how I had to wake Abdulrahman up at about 4am one day to come to the rescue of my family and I after spending the night along Abuja-Kaduna road due to the famous roadblock by tanker drivers.

Abdulrahman never gave it a second thought before he snapped out of bed and drove towards that deadly road. That was the nature of our friendship. When one called, the other answered, no questions raised. When Abdulrahman came through, he was a shadow of himself, looking visibly sick.

I shall one day tell my little baby Rahma that it was uncle Abdulrahman who brought water, food, and extra diapers during our escapade. Inshaa Allah she will grow up to pray for you.

I will miss Abdulrahman. Jafar Jafar (Abba), Abdulmumini Bello, and Mahmood Mamman Lagos only Allah SWT can give you the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss of a brother. At trying moments like this, I wish we all can be like Baba Jafaru (Abdulrahman’s Father).

Baba, you are a man of faith, Allah ya qara Imani. After the burial, Abubakar Farouk and myself couldn’t control our tears, at the height of irony, Abdulrahman’s mum was consoling us. Indeed, we all grief differently, but she grieved uniquely.

Abdulrahman, you were a beautiful gift to many of us that were blessed to have interacted with you. I will always remember all the good times. Thank you for coming into my life and for making me believe in real friendship. I will remember you as a warrior who fought to the very last.

I will not forget you and most importantly, I will continuously pray for you till my own very last hour. You never walked alone. You always had me. And even now, I know you do not walk alone. Our prayers and memories together will always remain with you. I love you, Bro, now and forever. Rest on and Inshaa Allah Jannah is yours and ours all.


• Written by MUSTAPHA SHEIKH ABDULLAHI


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