By Muhammad Malumfashi
On Wednesday, 3rd February, 2021, Kano State Government through the Commissioner of information announced the banning of Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara from preaching and closing of his mosque, school and all centers.
The controversial preacher has been on headlines recently, not for the best of reasons to many Muslim faithful. The renowned Qadriyyah-Sufi Sheikh who is in an open relationship with Shi’a has been a victim of multiple criticisms from Izala, Salafi, Sufi; Tijjani, and even his own Qadriyya house. To his followers, Kabara is an erudite, dogged, and out-of-the world Scholar. His detractors see him as a notorious half-baked and double-faced teacher parading himself as a Sheikh.
Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara’s offence in their eyes is insulting the Holy Prophet, his companions and family members. Sheikh Abduljabbar Kabara having denied these allegations, argues he is up to a contrary task; defending the last Prophet of Islam, by throwing away hadiths which for over 1000 years are largely believed to be authentic, which he says portrayed Muhammad [PBUH] in a bad light, something enemies of Islam are taking huge advantage of especially in Arab Countries. This Sheikh’s best way of defending the Prophet is to discard these traditions, a lazy way critiquing hadiths, some scholars may say. That he could not fault the chain of these narrations which are found in the two greatest books of traditional Islam; Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, he chose to classify them as weak fabrications, not only that, adding his own touch and style that is often characterized by exaggerated commentary and adulterated meaning translation that are even more injurious than what the so-called enemies of Islam are doing.
To be fair some of these hadiths are being misused against Muhammad [PBUH] and Islam. Sheikh Abduljabbar saw an opportunity to defend the Prophet in a unique fashion that likewise rebuke the reporters of these hadith, attacking the Nobel companions of Muhammad. This coming from the man whose romance with Shias is an open-secret is not much surprising.
At the end of the day, Khadimul Islam, succumbed to the calls of Kano scholars who in this circumstance manage to keep all their differences aside and unite in their campaign against Abduljabbar, and he was banned from preaching and teaching, not known for how long. The danger of this is that the preacher would cry foul (he already has), as he has not been given a fair hearing with both parties having demanded for a Muqabala – a debate. I don’t know about Governor’s power to ban a Cleric from preaching in his state the name of avoiding breach of safety, and I have not read about it anywhere, but it seems obvious that Sheikh Kabara is not challenging the action of Kano State executive council in a court, he instead chose to fire back by writing, which may cause further trouble. That the once ‘brave; Sheikh surrendered without fighting back in any form is pretty unusual.
It is a fact that Abduljabbar Kabara supported Governor Ganduje’s opponent in 2019, with some of his (Sheikh Kabara)’ arch enemies campaigning for the APC, but his embroilment has almost nothing to do with the last Kano gubernatorial controversial election. Izala or ‘Ahlul-Sunnah’ scholars may have also lobbied through some powerful network o friends in Government to put stop to Kabara’s further preaching, but it is unfair to blame the Governor for taking this decision, simply because of political differences. Poor Kabara would forever accuse these clerics and the authorities of unjustly ganging up against him using mighty forces. And the Sheikhs’ order to his followers to get ready for the next elections will make no difference as Governor Abdullahi Ganduje is in his last term in office. No Governor in his right sense would tolerate Abduljabbar’s-style teaching in a City like volatile Kano. Free speech is never absolutely free.
As it is now, Sheikh Abduljabbar Kabara should in his new found-love, writing, make further clarifications to explain to the world where he truly belongs; amongst those who rain insults and curses on Sahabas like Anas bn Malik and Mughirah bn Shu’ubah or a real committed defender of Islam, that is if he is not barred from writing (too). That he is threatening to write with more zeal is still troubling, as so Sunni scholars should embark on an anti-propaganda to counter what they believed to be against the teaching of Islam. Authorities including Kano Emir should emulate his late father (Sarki Ado Bayero) who would organize a debate in the palace and allow room for scholarly fire exchange between warring groups, so that people like me would know the side of the truth. We should not shy away from this, it is long overdue.
Allah ya sa mu dace! Ameen.
Muhammad Malumfashi can be reached on Twitter @m_malumfashi.