“No Gree for Anybody” Mantra: A Two-edged Motivational Sword

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By: Ismail Rotimi Lawal

By the end of 2023, a mantra became very popular on social media, especially on X App (Twitter), and was largely adopted by Nigerian youth across the media spaces. It reverberated well beyond the media and became a tagline of sorts for a lot of youth in the country.

The slogan, which has become increasingly popular, originated from a WhatsApp status by DJ Mims on December 1, 2023. It gained further prominence after Nigerian rapper Zlatan Ibile pinned a comment about it on X (Twitter).

A saying that was developed as a reminder or a motivation for people to strive for better in the year 2024 has taken diverse dimensions and present different interpretations and mean different things to many people.

This X-ray article explores the positive and negative sides of this mantra. It dissects its benefits for prosperity in the new year, and its adverse effects on the stability and security of people in the society

While people must have a goal or dream to achieve better every day of their lives, this aspiration has always been renewed by millions of people across the world by the end of every year. This mantra was widely accepted by people as a kind of habit they need to accept and imbibe in themselves to be able to achieve better in the present year.

However, in light of the wildfire effect of this mantra in its adoption, the application thereof calls for analysis and guidance.

Positive sides of “No gree for anybody”

1) Emphasis on self-reliance and hard work.

Islam particularly encourages Muslims to strive and work harder in every adventure of their lives. It encourages Muslims to put the best of themselves in achieving their goals, dreams, and victory. So, the mantra of “No gree for anybody” can be seen as a motivation for people to strive harder and be focused to ensure that they get what they aspire for.

Hard work truly pays. People should try to ensure that they put more effort and resources into learning a skill, and go the extra mile to achieve their aims. Individuals should “not gree” to be lazy, idle, or unmotivated to go after their goal and work harder and smarter in realizing their aims. A man shall earn how much he has invested in his aspirations and goals.

This is well supported by a verse in the Holy Quran chapter 53:40,

“And that man will have nothing but what he strives for;”

In the Holy Qur’an with English Translation and Commentary, vol 5, p; 3027. Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) spoke on the said verse;

“It is after unremitting, incessant, and persistent striving, accompanied by noble ideals and sublime principles, that one can achieve the object of one’s quest. The verse also signifies that one should earn one’s livelihood by the sweat of one’s brow.”

This slogan can be applied to one’s everyday goal so strive harder and persistently to achieve one’s dreams.

2) Resilience and determination

These are very needed in the everyday life of a man who has a dream to achieve. Life itself is full of ups and downs and only those who are resilient and have the determination to put whatever they have in their capacity against any obstacle that they may encounter or face during their journey for greatness will be able to celebrate at the end of the day. This slogan to refuse to give up in the face of adversity can be applied in this regard. The year 2024 of course will also come with his challenges, hence the youths and every other person can apply this slogan in their everyday lives to accept that they are going to face challenges in the year and they are not going to give up on their dreams.

The holy Quran mentions resilience and exposes that men will face a lot of trials in life.

“And We will try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives, and fruits; but give glad tidings to the patient,” Quran 2:156.

These are the challenges humans face in life and if one has the philosophy of “No gree for anybody”, it can strengthen ambitions and make one so focused that regardless of the challenges they are going to face in life they are not going to give up.

Allah has mentioned in the Holy Quran of glad tidings for the patient people. These are the people who are determined and resilient to ensure that they focus on their goals and make them realities.

3) Justice, truth and equity

The philosophy of “No gree for anybody” can be applied in this regard. Islam is a religion of peace, justice, and equity and has always encouraged followers to be upright and advocate for justice and truth. You can imbibe this mantra as part of your daily inspiration to ensure that you always stand up for justice and confront injustice. It can motivate you not to compromise regardless of the pressure that you face. “No gree for anybody” can be a sign that you are not going to drop your values, morality, and conduct in times of trials. The “No gree for anybody” mantra can ride the country out of corruption which is affecting the development of the people. You also help in building a society where the rights of everyone will be respected and valued if this mantra is applied in this regard.

“O ye who believe! be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or parents and kindred. Whether he be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both than you are. Therefore follow not low desires so that you may be able to act equitably. And if you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that Allah is well aware of what you do.” Holy Quran 4:136

How beautiful would it be if the teachings in this verse could be applied? God commands that one should be strict in observing justice even if is against oneself that is one family, close relatives, or parents. The mantra can be applied here that you’ll be so truthful and upright in upholding justice throughout the year 2024.

Negative sides of “No gree for anybody”

  1. Instigation of arrogance and self-righteousness

The mantra “No gree for anybody” has the tendency to cause uproar and chaos if not well understood and guided by kindness and humility.

It can lead to selfishness and disregard for the rights of other people, and make one an oppressor which will lead to instability of any environment. The mantra must be guided by the heart and reasoning.

A man came to the bus stop to take a BRT to his destination. He had found many people occupied the seats that were provided. He had a long day at work and was infuriated when he couldn’t get a seat. He joined many other people who had stood around also waiting for the bus to arrive. As he sighted the bus from afar, he ran to the front to lead the queue. Every other person he had met sitting flared up told him he met them at the bus top and could not enter the bus before them. He raised his voice and said “No gree for anybody” and argued that he didn’t meet anyone in the queue.

The application of the mantra here can be counterproductive. He is supposed to enter the bus according as he arrives, but he becomes arrogant in his defense. This habit is against the message of Islam and shouldn’t be practiced in any serene society.

Arrogance causes one to be hard-heartened and unreasonable. It pollutes the mind and elevates the ego to the point that one sees himself as being above another person.

God frowns at arrogant people, as we read in the Holy Quran

“It will be said, ‘Enter ye the gates of Hell, abiding therein. And evil is the abode of the arrogant.” Holy Quran 39:73

Arrogance is evil, and everyone should strive daily to save themselves from it. The ending place of the arrogant is hell, so while acting upon “No gree for anybody”, it must be supported with humility.

“He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.” Hadith 

Allah is against pride and arrogance and encourages Muslims to save themselves from these evils.

2. Breeding unhealthy competition

While “No gree for anybody” can motivate people to strive the for best, it can lead to unhealthy competition in every area of life which can disrupt social cohesion. It can influence a weak mind to see others around as rivals rather than colleagues, or fellow sportsmen. It can cause one to develop evil thoughts to bring the other down and breed hatred for others even when they are doing better than them.

This mantra might cause someone to start comparing his life with others, making him think less of himself, which can lead to depression and self-harm.

There are a lot of competitions already in the world and people are striving to outdo one another in materialism, popularity, fame, and wealth. They often become so unkind toward one another in this pursuit and forget that life is temporal and nothing of this competition matters before God.

Hence while you believe that “No gree for everybody” can have an impact on the way you live your life in 2024. You shouldn’t take this mantra literally that you will not give anyone a chance and you shouldn’t take it as a motivation to compete with anyone. if you want to compete against anyone it should be against yourself, you can compete to fight your weaknesses, strive to beat your flaws, and address your mistakes which will propel you to prosperity.

3) Ignition of disobedience to authority

This mantra has the tendency to incite one to disobedience to the rule of law if taken to the extreme. This is what is common on social media. If this mantra is taken literally, a lot of people will be disobedient to those in authority which will inflate the polity and lead to uproar in the society.

There was a trending video of Danfo attempting to escape arrest from the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA). He violently drove recklessly to escape his arrest by LASTMA. The comments on the video on social media were filled with people sending “No gree for anybody” suggesting a rebellion against authority. The driver’s display was capable of leading to accidents and loss of lives in the process.

ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, during a press briefing where 67 suspects were paraded, stated that the slogan could incite problems nationwide. He highlighted that although it appears to be a normal phrase, it is considered dangerous in security circles.

The police are already giving out warning to the people not to apply this slogan against authorities as it can incite problems.

“O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you.” 4:60

The Holy Quran emphasises obeying those in authority among us. Hence, people must remain loyal to the constitution and obey the authorities to avoid disorder in the land.

4) Causes division and crisis

This mantra can disrupt the unity of any group or nation and lead to avoidable crises. If it’s taken by its meaning, and everyone refuses to listen to others, then it can further heat the polity and disrupt unity. Nigeria is yet to recover from the division and the disunity that spread out during the last general election.

Many ethnic groups believe they are being marginalized and the call for division is at an all-time high. This slogan should not be applied in all situations where peace, stability, rule of law, and justice are concerned. 

Conclusion

The Mantra “No gree for anybody” is a powerful and transformational slogan. It’s a double-edged sword that has the ability to motivate people to be extraordinary in the year 2024. It can encourage hard work, resilience, justice, and truth; however, it can potentially result in arrogance, unhealthy competition, and disobedience to the rule of law. Above all, its applications depend on individual understanding and interests.

The Mantra shall benefit individuals who approach it with wisdom and understanding. Competition must be healthy, ambitions should be followed by humility, and respect for the rule of law shall be upheld at all times. It’s with this that we can reap the benefit of “No gree for anybody” by upholding the teachings of God without usurping the rights of others.

The success of anyone shouldn’t come with the downfall of another being. We all can strive for better and achieve our aims while maintaining our humility, and humanity. If we all focus on adopting the positive sides of this slogan while rejecting its negative effects, we can all reach our potential in 2024 and beyond. 

References:

Quran 2:156

Quran 4:135

Quran 39:73

Quran 53:40

Hadith by Sahih Muslim 2704

“No ‘gree for anybody’: Police warn against dangerous slogan” – The Nation Nigeria, January 12, 2024

Twitter thread on #NoGreeForAnybody by @NaijaObserver