The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria popularly referred to as MSSN was established on April 18, 1954, and was officially launched at the Ansaruddeen Alakoro Mosque School Hall, Lagos on 30 May 1954 amidst prayer, joy, and exhortation. The antecedents of this noble struggle could be traced to the effort of the triumvirate of Tajudeen Adisa Aromoshodu, Sumola Akin Luguda, and Abdurrahman Alade Sahid of the then Methodist Boys High School, Lagos.
The idea of setting up an organization for Muslim students was born out of Muslims’ desires to safeguard their religious fundamentals, culture, and identity from the twin effects of forceful evangelization and alluring Christian activities.
The history of colonial education in Nigeria had a remarkably coincidental relationship with Christian evangelism. As such, Muslim students at the initial stage had to study under the tutelage of Christian missionary society schools. The prevalent situation at that time necessitated Muslims to study in a very hostile environment where some of those students were reported to have changed their religion. Others who were steadfast and were willing to pursue their academic activities were forced to change their names. It was this type of forceful evangelization coupled with alluring activities that made the aforementioned trio come together and call for the establishment of an organization whose principal aim was to serve as a rallying point and a platform for organized and concerted Da’awa activities in our educational institutions and a source for religious fulfillment for Muslim students.
Within a year of the Society’s formation, its branches spread to cover more schools in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Ilesha, IjebuOde, and Ikorodu. Two years later, the Society’s presence covered virtually all government schools in the North.
At the first conference of the society held in 1955, which was declared open by Oba Adeniji Adele II of Lagos, Brother Abdullateef Adegbite and Brother A.R.A Sahid were elected as st the 1 National President and Secretary-General respectively. Also at the conference, the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello; Alhaji A.R.A. Smith of Ilesha; Dr. S.O. Biobaku; Alhaji Inuwa Wada, then Minister of Works; Mrs. H.M. Shodeinde, M.B.E. and Alhaji Hummu Alaga of Ibadan were appointed patrons and patronesses of the society.
The contributions of the MSSN to national development are enormous and these include, among other things, serving as a potent tool for national unity and cohesion. Apart from its membership that cuts across all the geographical and ethnic barriers, the MSSN promotes national integration and building bridges through its programs and activities that emphasize the brotherhood of Islam, in particular, and mankind in general. Furthermore, society has continued to produce generations of outstanding leaders in all spheres of national life, whilst defining and encouraging adherence to certain minimum standards of national ethos. Society remains a pressure group working for the advancement of the interests of Muslims and Islam. Indeed, past members of the MSSN occupy the leadership of virtually all leading Islamic organizations in Nigeria today.
Another notable achievement of the Society is the creation of confidence in the vast majority of Muslim students who openly and proudly proclaim their identities as Muslims. It was also the first Muslim organization in the country to spearhead the use of the Hijab by educated female Muslims.
Society has been able to consistently produce Muslim students who are a synthesis of scholarship and morality. In virtually all spheres of life in the country, the Society has contributed valuable, reliable, and progressive personalities, be it in governance, the education sector, and other fields of endeavor. Society has largely been responsible for setting the agenda of both the campuses and the larger environment. In a country rented by divisive ethnic sentiments, the Society has built a robust brotherhood that has remained unprofaned and unassailable by the virus of ethnic bigotry. The friendship generated by the Society is real and deep. Society has groomed a crop of leadership that is not just Spartan but renders altruistic and selfless service. Society has always made valuable contributions in the areas of good governance, and justice, and in fighting corruption, oppression, and immorality. It has also responded to issues of national and international interest. Society either nurtured or provided manpower for virtually all the Muslim organizations that exist in the country today.
Moreover, MSSN was instrumental to the formation of many international organizations such as the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations (IIFSO) in Jeddah, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) in the USA, The Muslim Students’ Association of Canada and America as well as the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) is registered with the Cooperate affairs commission of the Federal Government of Nigeria.