Abduljabbar Kabara: Finally I have got point to talk


By Abdussamad Ahmad Yusuf

Shaykh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara — amīr al- wa’izīyn as he is likened to, and fondly called by his allies and disciples — is all his life a rebel in his intellectual pursuit, a dissent if you like. Sufism, his aclaimed sect, is popularly identified with ascetism and non-vocalism. But Abduljabbar is all an opposite of these. While Shaykh AbdulQadir Jilāni was reported to have had over a thousand set of clothes maybe an excuse to Abduljabbar’s affluence in dressing, Jilāni was a man of few words though prolific. And Abduljabbar is vocal and prolific at least in oration and gift of pen. His father, Shaykh Nasiru Kabara (Mallam Nasiru) was during his days a scholar of not only repute and has produced the best amongst the best of students turned scholars. His two but opposites: Shaykh Yusuf Makwarari and Shaykh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi would be worth mention.

Phenomena: environmental, circumstantial and contextual shape greatly, the making of individuals, even favoured by selection from the randomness of life. In the Dār al-Qadiriyya (Gidan Kabara) — Abduljabbar’s home — Mallam Nasiru was the principal cleric/scholar and the only; then the leading Qadiriyya revivalist. Students of learning come from across states and outside to seek knowledge. At 19, Mallam Abduljabbar became the first to conduct informal and traditional transmission of knowledge in ‘Zaure’ independant of his father’s, Mallam Nasiru.

Abduljabbar later was sent to an Iraq’s University of Baghdād during which his thought and worldview were remolded by the scholars of hadith and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) he met such as in the mosque of Shaykh Jilāni: Shaykh Abdulkarim Biyala, a mufti, Shaykh Abduljabbar al-Rawi, and a host of scholars and masters in Sufism–Islamic mysticsim. Shehu, A. H. said about Abduljabbar’s Baghdād schilarship :

“there in Baghdād, Abduljabbar was exposed to the conventional system of university education that involves scholarly brainstorming through avenues of conferences, seminar presentations, intellectual debates, lectures, etc.”

To Abduljabbar as he is popular with, the call to “true” orthodoxy by repealing Islam off the “innovations” and “fabrications” of the Umayyads is not new to him. It is part and percel of his social making in scholarship from the experiences he gannered. At a point his Ashāb al-kahf war raqīym was named Madrasat Imām Muhaddithee Bilād Iqlīym amazayan (that is named after Shaykh Abdullahi Siqah) to reflect a journey back to genuine and orthodox teaching of Islam away from the shackle of recklessness. Abdullahi Siqah is famous in the 19th century Hausaland. A fulani scholar who was an immigrant. Against this background, it made Mallam Nasiru to have in 1994 delegated Abduljabbar to Soviet Rupublic of Azerbaijan to represent him at an Islamic conference.

Fast forward to link-up the point. I listened to an Hour-fourteen minutes audio recording of a “special sitting” of Dr. Sani Umar R/Lemo. It was a special sitting to iron out what transpired in the state over the squable, between the Kano state government axed Abduljabbar and the underlying intellectual battle therein. Shaykh Rijiyar Lemo, has further confirm the inquisitiveness of Abduljabbar referencing as many as books critiqueing ahādith, which he alleged Abduljabbar copy his “controversies” from — branding him as a mere compiler. I said, with deep sigh, Trimingham has charged the triumverate of Sokoto Caliphate: Shaykh Uthmān bn Fodi, Shaykh Abdullahi bn Fodi and Shaykh Muhammad Bello bn Usman Fodio of the same, calling them “copious compilers”. This, however, can be said to holds no water.

I was awe and ecstatic that Rijiyar Lemo called for debate to scrap what Abduljabbar has built in the mind of the Muslim youth, which is the best way to go. Abduljabbar’s intellect, oratory and the “market language” he uses has make youth to grow a like to him and this dynamic has set for him an unprecendented fellowership any contemporary Sufi scholar has gathered. He has abolished the “mūridship”– “servitude-discipleship” accused Sufi Shuyūk with, which is a great turning point in Sufism in Northern Nigeria.

Kano government ban on Abduljabbar’s proselytism and closing of seminaries across the state, is, basically, the most uncalculated policy deployed to stop the birth of the “dissent ideology”. Lets’ cite an example here. After the arrest of Shaykh Ibrahim Yakub el-Zakzaky and killing of many of his disciples –which in no way has to do with stopping his Shi’ite movement from the FG’s motive — but to many Salafi brother was a cheering point that an end to Shi’ism looms. Has Shi’ism ended? No!

A visit to history:

Mallam Muhammadu Marwa alias Maitatsine, and comrades Mallams Lawan Abubakar Ƙalarawi, Yahaya Mai Dal, Umaru Muhammadu Mai Zabura, Mai Ɗanƙoƙo, Ɗan Ƙadabere, Uba Yakasai, Usman Wa qad Ja’al Haq, Usman Gano, ɗan Zakara and Umaru Mai Kaulasan made the list of the known 1962-1975 Gardawa (Qur’āniyyu) and by 1962, a crisis erupted between this class and the Qadiriyya and Tijjaniyya clerics that hyped pressure on banning the Maitatsine and other Gardawa from preeching. Maitasine and comrades already initiated their movement and set the ball rolling. The former was deported on the order of the then emir — Muhammadu Sanusi (later Khalifa Sanusi). The same Maitatsine and his brouhaha led to the [in]famours Kano Maitasine crisis of 1980.

The remnant of Maitatsine after been handled by force instead of tacitly employing discussion and intellectual engagement later birthed Bulum-kuttu crisis in Maiduguri in the year 1984. The two incidences were documented with reports by commissions of enquiry for reference.

Any lesson?

My reader may likely ask ‘how did Maitasine came back to Kano?’

A mixture of politics of the nation and of the religion as well, I may say make it possible for him to come back. After the 1963 deposition of emir Sanusi, Marwa Maitastsine found his way back to Kano and connected to his former allies since the ideology is still circulating accross communities in Kano. Another turning point, is the misunderstanding constituting Shaykh Abubakar Gumi and Kano Ulema of the major Sufi orders. Gumi who’d later used his influence in the JNI — Jamā’at Nasr al-Islam and issued to the Gardawa preaching licence against the emir Ado Bayero-Governor Audu Baƙo-approved preachers screening committee.

Now that governor Ganduje Okays debate:

People may be skeptical of the judgment, looking how emotion and sentiment have taken lead. However, the political factor too, can’t be unstated in influencing the judgement especially as relate to Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara. And I have two observation to wrap up

1. The story of Maitatsine gives a hint. Abduljabbar may be sturbbon not to accept his mistakes ( if any) or the interlocutor Ulemas if he emerged the winner in the debate and government would certainly act in their favour.

2. Abduljabbar’s JNI would be: the new media, the protractive nature of political (constitutional) leadership — Dr Abdullahi Ganduje has two years to evacuate as executive governor if the state; and or even Abduljabbar seek court (constitution) intervention to secure his rights to organization, to free speech, etc., intact which all the Ulema that rallied against him have no power to control as a tier of government — the judiciary and the emerging human rights activities all over world.

Mr. Abdussamad, writes from Kano and can be reached via Abdussamadahmad69@gmail.com

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