- That Many Muslims Don’t Joke With Their TAFSIR
- This RAMADAN Season
Ask around town which city has produced many popular Sheiks and Quranic Scholars in Nigeria and you will be told it’s Ilorin in Kwara State. The city has produced many Muslim Scholars and Sheiks that made many to tag the state “Ilu Awon Alfa to Jina Sina, to Sunmo Alujanah” (a state that is far from hell, but closer to Al-Jannah). That is Kwara state.
Though, many of the scholars have left their state for Lagos, yet many Nigerians don’t joke with their Tafsir and Sermons, which run for, at least 29 days in Ramadan. Tafsir is used by prominent Sheiks or Alfas to explain or clarify Quaranic scriptures. This explanation which comes in Sermons knows no boundary as some Christians have also, with time, fallen in love with their teaching. As the holy month of Ramadan is on-going, many have been storming their Mosques to benefit from their wealth of knowledge.
Sheik Farouk Onikijipa is one of the popular Muslim scholars or Sheiks fondly called “Allimisikilai”. He runs a popular Morikaz at Isheri, Lagos State and his Tafsir is always aired on Ait. Sulaimon Faruq Onikijipa’s is a great orator, who preaches with humility, facts and intellectual depth. Sheik Sulaimon Onikijipa’s Tafsir starts every first day of Ramadan and ends on the last day of Ramdan. It may also amaze you that Sheik Faruk is from Ilorin.
He was born on 25th February 1962 by Alhaja Aminat Faruq, the daughter of Fadilat Sheik Sa’adullahi (the Imam of ancient Okekere Mosque in Oke-Male, Ilorin) to Sheik Umar Faruq, the son of Sheik Abdullah Onikijipa and Grandson of Sheik Muh’d Qasim Onikijipa a son of Sheik Muh’d Na-Allah of blessed memories). Sheik Muh’d Na-Allah migrated from the Kano and stayed in various places before he finally settled in Ilorin in the early 19th century. Sheik Sulaimon started his search for knowledge under the tutelage of his father. He was taught recitation of the Holy Quran. Soon after he proceeded to another Islamic foundation (informal) to further fortify his basic learning under the supervision of a renowned scholar, Sheik Zakariyah Ataragba, of the famous Agbaji quarters. In 1979, he sought permission and blessings of his teacher and spiritual head to further his Islamic education as he had mastered the basic discipline (tarbiyah) in the Quran. He proceeded to Darul-ulum Arabic and Islamic School, Ilorin, a forefront and formidable Islamic Institution. Between 1979 and 1983, Sheik Farouk took up, among others, Islamic legal studies (fiqh), the Islamic phonology (Surfu & Nahu) and a host of others. Thus in 1983, Sheik had his first certificate in Arabic and Islamic education from Darul-ulum Arabic and Islamic School, Ilorin.
Fadilat Sheik Adam Abdullah Al-ilory (the founder and proprietor of Arabic training Center, Markaz Agege Lagos) is a renowned and respected scholar worldwide.
Another popular Sheik from Ilorin is Al-mukadam Muhammed Robiu Adebayo fondly called “Baba Loworo”. The 81-year-old Sheik Adebayo is the founder of Jam’iyyat Lutfil-Laai International, an Islamic society, that has branches in several countries across the world, including the US and the United Kingdon. Shehu Adebayo came to Lagos as a 10-year-old boy in 1948. The son of an Ilorin, Islamic scholar. Robiu Adebayo was sent to Lagos by his father to study the Quran under the tutelage of an Islamic scholar. He said: Though, my father was a very prominent Islamic scholar in Ilorin, he preferred to send me to a Quranic school in Lagos,” he said with a touch of joy in his eyes.
His father’s decision to send him to Lagos, Sheik said was informed by the belief that it was better for him to go out of his immediate family setting to get a good Islamic education. Growing up, Sheik said he was always desirous of becoming an Islamic cleric. “You know that was the job that our father did. And since they worked for God, they wanted their children to follow in their footsteps, and that was what I did.
“He arrived at the Kosoko area, Lagos Island, where he spent most of his youthful days, and chose to focus his attention on his mission, which was to attend a Quranic school. He also realised that he needed to do something to earn him money. “I joined some other young men to fish. We would go to sea to catch fishes, which we sold to make some money. There is no Island between Lagos and Badagry that we didn’t go during our fishing expeditions.” All the money he made, he said, was spent on his quest for Islamic education and to comply with his father’s advice that he must go to a Quranic School.” All the money that I made was spent on fees at Quranic schools. My father insisted that I must go to a Quranic school and I just had to make sure that I heeded his instruction.”
In 1957, it dawned on him that he needed to get formal education and decided to learn driving. At the completion of his training, he joined the employ of Leventis Motors, where he worked as a store keeper.
His boss’ wife liked him because he was always neat. Some people in the company, however, wanted the boss to sack him because of his lack of education. After sometime, the boss heeded the advice and asked him to resign. “Some people wanted the boss to sack me, but his wife really liked me because I was always neat. They told the boss that because I didn’t go to school, it would be easy for thieves to steal the cars in my care. After sometime, I was asked to resign.”
After losing his job with Leventis, he got another job with the Nigerian Railway, where he worked till he started Islamic missinary job.
After his decision to go into a full time Quranic calling, Adebayo went back to an Islamic School, located in the Ebute Metta area of Lagos.
“In 1968, I decided to go to a Lebanese school at Ebute Metta. It was a full time Islamic School built by the Lebanese government. It was also tuition-free. I spent three years at the school.”
Sheik said he studied under the tutelage of about 10 Islamic scholars during his quest for knowledge. It was there that he acquired different types of knowledge from different persons.
“In our time, we needed to ensure that we understand Islam. For me, I attended about 10 Quranic schools and each of them made on impact on me in different ways.”
“My best food is pounded yam. And I eat it daily, irrespective of where I am. Whether in Nigeria, UK, US or anywhere, my day is not complete without a meal of pounded yam.”
Despite that he did not have any form of formal education, he spokes good English. Asked how he was able to speak English, he laughed before saying: “I’ve lived in Lagos for more than 70 years. Who would live in Lagos for that number of years without being able to speak English? Besides that, I have visited several foreign countries where I have my members. So, it should not be surprising that I speak English. He, is, however, not resting on his oars in his quest for better education for the people. Aside from his Quranic school, his organisation has founded a nursery and primary school.
Sheik Mojeed Eleha, the founder of Darul-Islam is also one of the popular Muslim Sheiks from Ilorin, whose Tafsir is thronged by people in Lagos. His Mosque at Isheri, Igando area is always filled to the brim with many Muslims. Though, he is tagged “Ali-Sunah” (Those who follow strictly comply with Prophet Muhammed’s doctrine) who are perceived to be strict, but there is no gain saying that he speaks the truth from his heart. Sheik Mojeed Eleha runs Darul-Islam Scools and foundation in Isheri Olowora, Lagos. He founded Daaru Nalm College, which was founded on 25th of Septemeber, 2011, and his Tafsir is always aired on TVC everyday during Ramadan.
Sheik Adams Al-Ilory may be dead, but he is not forgotten. This is because his son, Sheik Abeeb Al-ilory, the Mudiru-l- Markaz Arabic Institute, Agege, Lagos is one of the Ilorin popular Sheiks.
He is also the current the reactor of school. Born to the family of Sheikh Adam Abdullah El ilory and Alhaja Simbiat Abdullah El-Ilory at Agege in the late 50’s, he is the first child of his mom, but fourth of the 23 blessed children of the late Islamic scholar. Sheikh started learning how to read and write at a very early age, owing to his brightness and intelligence, which prompted his enrolment at St Peters Nursery and Primary School, Agege in the early 60’s. But in the year 1966; political crisis erupted at Agege and threatened Sheik’s education. His father relocated to Surulere where the Sheik enrolled at Jehovah Geeray Primary School; Moshalashi to continue his education. In the year 1970; the family moved back to Agege after the political unrest and enrolled at Ahmad Memorial School where he completed his primary education in 1971. In 1972, he was admitted at Ahmadiyyah Model College now known as Anwarul Islam Model College for his secondary education. He passed out in 1975.
After he passing out of secondary school in 1975; he enrolled at Markaz Agege (Institute for Arabic and Islamic Training) under the tutelage of his dad; Sheikh Adam Abdullah El ilory. He passed out as one of the most outstanding students in the year 1981.
After leaving Markaz Agege in the year 1981; he moved to Kano where he working. During that time, he used to visit the late Sheikh Dr Al naasir Al Kabariy in Kano. Alkabariy was well known for his sound intellect and as a leader of all the Tariiqatul Gaadiriyyah in Africa. Owing to Sheik’s love for knowledge, he often sat among other students to learn from the Islamic Scholar during his visits. Sheik learnt more about the basics of Sufism and he was granted a title of Muqaddam by his mentor before his demise. He returned to Lagos and continued as a teacher in Markaz and at 1986; he went for an Imamship course in Azhar University; Cairo in Egypt. He came back to the school, teaching some of the most important subjects owing to his love for knowledge and teaching. His Tafsir which always takes place at the Mosque at Imam Ojoku always has over 1,000 Muslim faithful in attendance on daily basis as his programme is aired on MITV.
Though, Sheik Abdul Wahab Zubair Gamouwi is the founder of SOFWAT at Ajegunle Bus Stop, along Agege Motor road, he acquired his Islamic knowledge under the tutelage of the late Adam Al-Ilory and was running the Morkaz with him for many years. He runs one of the biggest Modrazat in his Locality and he holds his tafsir everyday of the Ramdan at Sofwat. He hails from Gamo, a town very close to Ilorin in Kwara State.
We haven’t told you about Buari Ibn Musa fondly called Sheik Muri Baba Baringa and Sheik Suleiman Hussein. They are top Muslim scholars and Sheiks from Ilorin. You can’t help, but like them when you hear their sermons. Many have also been storming their residence since Ramadan kicked off a few days ago. Though, Buhari Omo Musa has a comic way of getting his message across, but you will keep coming back after your first attendance his tafsir. Buari Ajikobi hails from Ilorin and that is where he has his Tafsir on daily basis. So, also is a popular
Sheik, Chief Imam of Offaland, Sheik Muyideen Hussein. He is one of the scholars Nigeria’s rich usually call on to join their kids in marriage. He is based in Offa, Kwara State.
Sheik Muri Baba N Bariga may be young, but he is one of the Ilorin popular Sheiks, who know their onions. His teachings are in-depth and his mosque at “Bariga: always plays host to Muslims in Ramadan. Though, he is from Ilorin, however, he resides in Lagos and many patronise with him in this holy month of Ramadan.
– ABIOLA ORISILE (08052160270)