Shiekh Sirajudeen Akanni Folorunsho Asukuna is a name that cuts across. He is well known among Nigerian celebrities and socialites. He is also a well respected Islamic Cleric. He is the National Chief Missioner of Hizbullah International and Amir Zakireen (the leader of the Alasalatu) of the entire Oyo State. He is popular and highly influential at both ends. He is an intimate friend of top Fuji musician, K1 D Ultimate. This is a known fact. They don’t joke with each other. Often times K1 sings to praise Sheikh Asukuna in many of his music.
In an exclusive interview with City People Magazine, Sheikh Asukuna spoke about his growing up days and his long time friendship with K1. Below are the excerpts.
What makes your group to be so unique?
The uniqueness about HIZBULLAH is that we are so liberal in society. We always preach peace and harmony with love. Even with other religious sects. we don’t discriminate or segregate. Fanaticism is not tolerated in our society. Even if we want to argue with people, we do it constructively. With God, we have been like this since the inception of society over 21 to 22 years ago.
Sheikh Asukuna is a well respected Islamic cleric; tell us how you built your profile over the years
Name or no name, everything is in the hands of Almighty Allah. People want to be famous. They now start looking for ways to get that fame; either dubiously or whatever. They don’t mind. The name Asukuna was made by Allah Himself. Being an Alfa doesn’t debar me of my social life. I go to parties and am a friend to K1 D Ultimate as a childhood friend, always singing my praises everywhere. I think that also contributed. This is just to let you know that it’s a blessing from Almighty Allah.
How did you come by the name Asukuna as many people believe it’s a nickname?
My full name is Alhaji Sirajudeen Akanni Folorunsho Asukuna. Asukuna is our compound name in Ibadan. I’m from Ibadan city. There are lots of Islamic scholars in Asukuna’s compound. Our compound is usually called “Ile Alfa”. Our compound is so large that everybody has their own family name. When I finished my primary school education at Ansar-Ud-Deen in Alakoro, Lagos, I went to visit my father in Ibadan after the death of my mother. I told my father to tell me about Asukuna, our compound name, which he did in detail. Then I asked if I wanted to adopt the name and include it in my name. I said I would love to be called Asukuna. My father’s name was Aminullah. My father approved it and blessed the name for me. Since then, I dropped Aminu for Asukuna. Allah has indeed blessed the name for me. Not until then when every member of the family now started using the name. Alhamdulillah, I personally thank God for that.
What is the meaning of Asukuna?
Asukuna is a Yoruba name. I later transformed it to Arzukuna. In the Quran, Arzukuna means “Allah bless us!” It is a prayer.
Tell us a bit about your growing up?
My father was an Islamic Scholar. I am his father’s first child. I didn’t want to be an Alfa while I was growing up. I used to see my father sitting down from morning till evening only because he was an Alfa. He won’t go anywhere. Meanwhile, my father was praying to God that being his first son, I have to inherit his scholarly heritage. After I had completed my Primary school education, my father enrolled me into an Arabic school. I never attended secondary school. But I insisted he sends me to an Arabic school where they also teach English. He then got me admitted into Shamsu Shurud Islamic Institute in Ibadan where I spent 9 years becoming an Alfa. They call it Sanawiyy or Taojiyy just like the Markaz in Agege. After my study at the Arabic school, I furthered my education. I didn’t attend secondary school, so I sat for GCE. I then went for Arabic and Islamic studies courses at the University of Ibadan. Later on, I did a Diploma in Arabic and Islamic studies at The Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. Below I left for Cairo in Egypt. With all these, I never see myself being an Alfa. Something I noticed in me then was that I easily understood whatever we were taught. They sink into my head. Sometimes I didn’t go to class with a notebook but I assimilated whatever we were taught quickly. Then, I have always been enjoying my social life with my childhood friends, the likes of Wasiu Ayinde. We go to parties everywhere but I have never drunk or smoked, even during my youthful days. I enjoy travelling. I travel a lot. We usually travel from Cairo to Singapore to Jakarta in Malaysia. We did lots of these as boys. Then my father still stood firmly in my Alfa. Well, his prayers have been answered as I’m now an Alfa. The call that I should go and start my own Islamic society came in precisely 1998.