LECTURE BY PROF. R.D. ABUBAKRE AT AHMADU BELLO ZARIA

 THE NATIONAL BOARD FOR ARABIC AND ISLAMIC STUDIES: A LEGACY OF ALHAJI SIR AHMADU BELLO, THE SARDAUNA OF SOKOTO

 

 

 BY

PROF. R.D ABUBAKRE,

FEDERAL COMMISSIONER,

PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION, OSHOGBO, OSUN STATE

 

 

A leader delivered at the Ahmadu Bello University to commemorate 50 years of the establishment of the Institution.

 

November 15, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

The Beginnings

 

The first Negro empire was in Ghanah1. It was founded probably in the fifth and sixth centuries. An opinion held by both as-Sa’di and Gibb that the empire was founded by white people2 has not been proved convincingly, as far as knowledge goes by modern researches3. The Ghanah Empire extended its suzerainty from the Atlantic to the Niger and northwards to Mauritania. It engaged in commercial transactions with North Africa. Its position made it possible to exchange its gold, ivory and slaves with salt, swords, horses, cloth and books by the route via Awdaghast, Tawdenni and Taghaza to Morocco4 and Mediterranean world. The power of Ghanah under the Soninke dynasty of Kumbi was checked by the almoravids5 (al-murabitun) of Morocco in 1076. The empire was reinstated under the political hegemony of the Soninke dynasty of the Kannte in 12036. The destruction of the almoravid power made the Muslim inhabitants of Ghanah, who were displeased by the defeat of Muslim rulers to migrate to a water point named Walata.

 

 

 

Ghanah was captured and destroyed in 1240 by Sundiata, the King of Malinke (1230-55). He was converted to Islam and he established his new capital at Mali. Through his personal qualities, bravery and military prowess, he was able to lay a solid political foundation. It was on this that his much later successors Mansa Kankan Musa and Mansa Sulayman both built their successes. They were the grandchildren of Sundiata’s sister. Mali reached its imperial apogee during their time7. Mali became a flourishing commercial empire as its big towns, such as Niani, Timbuktu, Jenne and Gao (Kaw Kaw) were transformed into prosperous commercial and leading centres visited by a large number of traders and Arabic and Islamic scholars from North Africa. Also, salt mines at Taghaza, the copper mines of Takedda and the gold regions of Wangara8 all put the empire at a remarkable economic advantage, which contributed immensely to its impressive administration and commercial development.

 

 

 

With the death of Mansa Sulayman (1359), retrogression set in. But as the glory of Mali passed away, that of Songhai began at the commercial city of Gao (KawKaw), Sunni Ali (1465-92) organized the expansion of the Songhai Empire at the expense of the declining Mali. His achievements were consolidated by Askia Muhammad the Great (1493-1529), but after his reign there was a sharp decline until the Moroccan invasion of 1591 dealt a final blow to the empire. The Songhai Empire at its zenith extended to Takrur9 in the west, Kano (Nigeria) in the east, Taghaza in the north and of course, the Mossi kingdom in the South.

 

 

 

The last but not the least remarkable empire of this life zone is Kanem-Bornu Empire. It was said to be one of the longest lasting empires in the World. It began in the eighth century and lasted to the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was during this time that its imperial power was challenged by the jihadist activities of 1810. The golden period of this empire was during the reign of Idris Alooma (1572-1603). It was to the credit of Shaikh Muhammad al-Kanemi that the emergence of another dynasty took place which withstood the jihad until about the end of the nineteenth century. The imperial hegemony of this empire extended to Nupe; the Yoruba immediate neighbours to the north10.

 

 

 

The Guinea forest, the second region in our division of West Africa into two life zones, was also with its own types of socio-political and cultural advancement. Notable among the kingdoms were the Oyo kingdom, which has a direct relevance to this study, the Dahomey kingdom with its headquarters in the Abomey plateau, and which has a distinct segment of Yoruba population and was the immediate neighbor of the Oyo kingdom to the west. There was also the Benin Kingdom with a Yoruba ruling dynasty, to the south east of Oyo kingdom. Finally, the Ashante Kingdom to the west of Dahomey.

 

 

 

In view of the fact that these Kingdoms do not all have direct relevance to our study, we shall be content with the mere mention of their names except the Oyo kingdom. The need to show the Savannah zone as the one which contained empires which may be described as transmitters of Islam and Arabic learning  to our area of study, made the above survey necessary. The division into two life zones is not by any means to be viewed as a division into two watertight compartments. Far from this, they cooperated among themselves through trade, commerce and scholarship. They almost all shared the experience of the new religion vastly gaining ground within them.11 Robert Smith seems to be saying something similar to this (although he is somehow negative), when he writes:

 

   Before a single West African son knew a word of English or French, some of his people must have learnt Arabic characters, just as English and French are written in Roman characters17. As a result of the commercial and military contacts with North Africa, there was the introduction of Islam and Arabic learning to West Africa.

 

 

 

Thereafter, commercial cities became centres for Islamic culture and greaBut it is credible that events such as the fall of Ghana (to Al-moravids in 1076), the decline of Mali (in the late fifteenth century), and the fall of Songhai (in 1590) affected societies several hundred miles to the south of their area12.

 

 

 

Oyo kingdom which had emerged as a powerful state in the Guinea forest before the end of the fifteenth century was a Yoruba state13. At the zenith of its power it was said that all the other powerful states of the Guinea forest region enumerated above were brought under its imperial control. Benin was tributary to it. Dahomey has since been paying tribute to Oyo due to its defeat by the Yoruba army in 1698. It was also in the nineteenth century when the Oyo kingdom was involved in the internal crisis during which time the power of the Alaafin (the sovereign) was challenged by other Yoruba petty states of Ketu, Ijebu, Egba as well as the revolt of his Commander-in Chief, Afonja of Ilorin14 that Dahomey seized the advantage of the decline of Oyo and ceased paying tribute. It was also claimed that the Ashanti people paid tribute to Oyo during the reign of the despotic and cruel Bashorun (Prime Minister) Gaa. The Alaafin was said to be Agboluaje15. Some sources also include Oninana (and the name sounds Yoruba) the king of Gan (Ghanah) as one of the sons of Oduduwa, the ancestor of Yoruba16.

 

 

 

In addition to the political and economic prosperity of the various empires discussed above, there was also a remarkable intellectual advancement. By this intellectual advancement with reference to West Africa in those days, is meant traditional Islamic scholarship. t intellectual life. The intellectual life of Timbuktu was reflected in the Sankore mosque where higher education abounded with various courses in Arabic language and literature, together with Islamic sciences. Jenne was also a great metropolis of Islam, a Negro Islamic centre, which contrasted and compared well with Timbuktu18 which was thickly populated by foreigners.

 

 

 

Arabs were known to have migrated from Damascus during the time of Caliph ‘Umar ibn Abdul’l-Aziz about 100AH to Kanem Borno19. A scholar Muhammad ibn Mani from Fez around 1067CE was known to be teaching Arabic texts to several Borno Muslims and their rulers before the reign of Hummu Jilmi (1085-97CE).20 With the adoption of Islam by the ruler of Kano Yaji dan Islamiya (1349-85CE) scholars became motivated21. Some of such scholars were judges, secretaries and counsellors while all of them were teachers of Arabic texts to their hosts22. Such erudite scholars include ‘Abdulkarimi’ I-Maghili from Tilmisan in modern Algeria, Jalalu’d-Dini ‘s Suyuti who was in correspondence with this area from Egypt and Aidah Ahmad at Tazakti, pupil of al-Maghili. Others were Ahmad ‘Aqit, grandfather of Ahmad Baba of Timbuktu as well as Ahmad Baba himself and Muhammad ibn Masanih of Katsina23. They moved about with their knowledge through Niani, Jenne, Timbuktu, Kawkaw (Gao) to Katsina, Kano, Kanem Borno and Yorubaland especially at its old Capital Oyo Ile, where there were Arabic scholars and a mosque around 957 AH-1550CE.24

 

 

 

Such was how the terrain was with the pendulum of political hegemony swinging and scholarship thriving while total adherence to the Islamic tenets lacking when Shaikh Uthman b.Fudi, his brother Shaikh Abdullah b.Fudi and his son Muhammad Bello were destined to embark on the most successful reforms towards the close of the eighteenth century. The successes of the intellectual and physical strives in the course of Islam transcended nearly all the different life zones highlighted above. When the tranquility was attained and serenity achieved, Shaikh Uthman withdrew from active mundane life and withdrew to the spiritual and intellectual endeavours. The three frontiers of Islamic scholarship and tenacious adherence to the pristine precision of Islam namely Sokoto and the emirates under it led by Shaikh Muhamad Bello, Gwandu with its emirate headed by Shaikh Abdullah b.Fudi as well as the Borno axis were all making headways in their efforts.

 

 

 

Then came the Western colonization born out of the crave for territorial expansion, economic exploitation and the carrying forward the vendetta of the tales of their losses at the crusade encounters with the invincible Salahu’d-Din the Ayubid ruler of Egypt. They pretended not to know the contributions of Muslims to learning which brought out the continental Europe from the regime of darkness to that of efflorescence in learning though the medium of Arabic. They treated shabbily learned Nigerians in Arabic as illiterates and Muslims as objects of conversion25. The strategy adopted in the turning of the tide against Arabic and Islam all over the world has been identified by Prof. Babs Fafunwa as through a combination of three ‘B’s Bible, Business, and Bullet or three ‘C’s Christianity, Commerce and Colonialism26. The fall of Sokoto and the eventual assassination of Sultan Attahiru Ahmadu at Burmi in 1903 opened a new chapter on the fate of Islam and its scholarship in this part of the world. Many other uncompromising emirs such as those of Bida, Zaria, Kano Kontagora, Burmi, Katsina and Yola were dropped and sent on exile between 1903 and 190927. Even long after the establishment of the British rule, Sultan Tambari was forced to resign in 193128.

 

 

 

When the dusts of battle got settled, the colonial rulers came to realize that they have merely succeeded in upsetting a positive system of governance based on the truth, sound reasoning and divine ordinance. Partly because of this seemingly unrepentant sense of injustice and partly because of a cynical ploy to buy over, so to speak the natural rulers the British introduced the concept of indirect rule in the northern protectorates. They have merely usurped the powers of scholars of Islam in the task of moderating and guiding the rulers and the masses. They failed woefully in this task since somebody who lacks something cannot possibly be conceived to be a good donor of it. They merely corrupted the system with their successful sowing of the seed of greed, avarice and materialism in the minds of the natural rulers. The Muslim community was craving for a revivalist of  Islam to be raised by the victorious hand of Allah Who Alone is Almighty, Who Alone is Majestic and Who Alone Knows how He disposes His affairs.

 

 

 

The Coming of a Man with Principles of Work and Worship 

 

Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello was born in 1909 at Rabah29. He was a great-grand child of Usmanu b.Fudi through the latter’s son Muhammad Bello the first Sultan of Sokoto. Studied the Qur’an and rudiments of Islam with the reputable Sokoto tradition of Islamic learning. He studied at the Sokoto Provincial School to acquire western type of education. He later attended the famous Katsina Teacher Training College, Katsina, and became a qualified teacher. He spent the early parts of his life teaching in the Sokoto Middle School. This gave him the opportunity to access and comprehend the problem faced by his people in view of the then clash of oriental and oxidental cultures. His training at the reputable Katsina College with folks such as Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Isa Kaita, and Ahmad Commassie among others had been a solid background for him to prepare him for a new career. The school was later moved to Kaduna where Shehu Aliyu Shagari, Aliyu Dogondaji, among others studied.

 

 

 

He later became District Head of Rabah in 1934. It is instructive to note that Sultan Hassan Dan Muazu had a special liking for him along with Sardauna Siddiq Abubakar both of whom he referred to as his choice  children. The Sultan’s proposal for Ahmadu Bello to join the Native Authority Council as Sarkin Rabah met with an objection from the colonial rulers, partly because they recognized in him sterling qualities for leadership and ostensibly to claim that there was dearth of qualified teachers in schools.  The Sultan insisted saying that he had the right to release his son to the colonial rulers whereas he has not abdicated his right to withdraw him for his own employ.

 

 

 

The death of Sultan Hassan in 1938 threw open the contest for the seat of Sultan. Six princes were nominated from the House of Bello. They were:

 

 1. Sarkin Gabas of Goronyo

 

 2. Sarkin Gobir Isa

 

 3. Sarkin Baura of Danga

 

 4. Sardauna Abubakar

 

 5. Sarkin Rabah Ahmadu Bello

 

 6. Ladan, Village Head of Giyawa30

 

 

 

This list was reduced to two by the selection council and these were Sardauna Abubakar andAhmadu Bello the District Head of Rabah from which the Chief Commissioner approved the appointment of Abubakar with a letter of June 5, 1938. Ahmadu Bello was appointed Sardauna of Sokoto and Wakil Gusau the positions both of which were occupied by Sultan Abubakar before his installation. Thus Ahmadu Bello was seen from 1938 as heir apparent to the Sultanate. High as the position of Wakil is, it was felt that Sardauna should be posted back to Sokoto to coordinate various departments as a new blood with cognate experience in the Sokoto Native Authority Council. By 1948 Junaid succeeded his brother Abbas as Waziri and Adviser to the Sultan on the Council. Waziri Junaid was a man of erudition in Islamic learning. This scholar should be noted for the significant role he was destined to play in the mission of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello.

 

 

 

The same year 1948 when Waziri Abbas died and his brother Junaid succeeded was when Sardauna Ahmadu Bello was selected to replace the late Waziri Abbas as a second member of the House of Assembly in Kaduna from Sokoto. Because Sardauna had some issues to pursue on the Native Authority staff condition he initially declined to accept the nomination which eventually opened the way for him to become Premier of Northern Nigeria. This is doubly significant.  In the first place it revealed his commitment to service just as it manifested his reluctance to grab an advantage for a lift in office.

 

 

 

The Northern Province Law School, Kano, was not open at the formative life of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello, he would have obviously preferred to attend this school which is a distinguished National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies institution. The idea to establish the school was original to Alhaji Muhammad Gidado, the Waziri of Kano.  He was inspired to give the advice to the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Abdullah Bayero due to his experience in the Sudan when he visited this country enroute to Makkah and Madinah for Hajj. He visited the Gordon College which eventually became the University of Khartoum and was pleased with the Islamic Law content of the institution. As principal adviser to the Emir Abdullah Bayero on religious matters, Waziri Gidado suggested the idea and it was accepted. The Emir needed to hold consultations with the Sultan and other Emirs with a view to securing the approval of the colonial authorities. This should not be difficult since it was the same British rulers that established the Gordon College in the Sudan. A committee was raised with the Sultan, the Emirs of Kano and Katsina and the mover of the concept Waziri Gidado.  The school was established in 193431.

 

 

 

The positive impact of this school in broadening the understanding of Sardauna and widening his horizon is significant. He has watched how the colonial rulers corrupt the natural rulers with material baits. He has been disturbed by the distortion of the glorious past of jihad leaders through indoctrination of pupils laden in the books written for them. In his bid not to lose touch with the pristine Islam he kept close to himself whoever was learned in Islamic fundaments. An illustration for this was his contact with young Abubakar Mahmud Gumi as a teacher at the Elementary Training Centre, Maru in the Sokoto emirate. Abubakar preferred to attend The Northern Province Law School, Kano, to the prestigious Kaduna College formerly Katsina College. He was viewed as being stupid to have rejected the Western type of education for the Islamic one. Inspite of the fact that he was eminently qualified for admission. However, Allah knows best how he disposes his affairs.

 

 

 

An incident happened at Maru which brought Abubakar Gumi to the reckoning of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello which lasted to the latter’s death. Abubakar also met Aminu Kano as a senior tutor and second in command to the English man who was the principal.  In view of the fact that every devout Muslim would wish to learn more about his religion, both Gumi and Aminu Kano organized their students to attend the Jumu’ah prayer at the Maru central mosque. Abubakar was surprised to discover that the imam and many other notable followers in the mosque observe their prayers with tayammum sand ablution. Since this for Jumu’ah prayer was contrary to the book of law in Islam, Abubakar wrote to Sultan Abubakar to use his good offices to correct that anomaly.

 

 

 

To show the degree of incongruence of these people with the early occupiers of the office who were erudite scholars of Islam, the Sultan referred Abubakar’s letter to the Native Authority Council. The Council had Ahmadu Bello and Waziri Junaid as members. The truth of the observation in Gumi’s letter was established but out of ego dressing, it was feared that if it was upheld it would open further pandora boxes to expose other shortcomings which would be inimical to the authority of the sultanate. Instead of commending the young Abubakar Gumi for his budding talents, a letter of condemnation was forwarded to the colonial rulers with lies against him to justify his punishment. Waziri Junaid wrote in his handwriting the popular Arabic expression: ‘This is time for being silent and keeping indoor in ones house, for whoever told the truth would die.’ The agony of an innocent young teacher after reading this could be imagined. On the part of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello he visited Abubakar in the school and gave him confidence that what he wrote was the truth. He assured him that nothing evil will touch him inspite of their steps. He gave him clothes, turban and money. That was the beginning of a union never to be broken throughout the life of Sardauana. He discovered in Gumi what he lacked by the circumstance of his time and he utilized this to the full to compliment his towering Islamic stature. It would seem as Ahmadu Bello listened to him even after death because of what happened on the day he was assassinated. It was the wish of Sardauna that he should be buried at Rabah close to Muhammad Bello, his great grandfather. Gumi then gave the fatwa that he should be buried where he was killed as martyr32. The Premier died as a man who died in the cause of Islam like the dead companions of Prophet Muhammed at Uhad.

 

 

 

Ahmadu Bello’s collaboration with Muslim South for the Growth of Arabic and Islamic Studies

 

Shaykh Adam Abdullah al-Ilory, a school first established founder of the famous Markaz Arabic Training Centre, at Abeokuta 1952 and moved to Agege Lagos in 1955, a prolific writer and a committed researcher had toured the Arab world in a bid to gather experiences to establish his school in 1946.33  During those trips he made acquaintances with notable men of letter such as Shaykh Mahmud Abu’l-llyun, a leading scholar of Alexandria, Egypt, Shaykh Shalabiy Yahya, Shaykh Uthman Murayziq, Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut and indeed the leader of the Ikhwan, who then as it is now dominated Egyptian politics, Hasanu’l-Banna’ all of whom were from Egypt34. He achieved this at a time when the colonial rulers were preventing the Muslim north to have anything to do with that country because of the Suez Canal crisis with Britain. He met many others in Sudan who could have been met by scholars from the North who had visited here like Wazir Gidado of Kano. He also met scholars like Shaykh Alawi Maliki and Muhammad al-Amin in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He also produced the first edition of his Islam in Nigeria and the Life of Shaykh Uthman dan Fodiyo in Arabic around 1949.

 

 

 

The Premier of Northern Nigeria recognized the talents of this Yoruba scholar and cultivated friendship with him. The fruit of the relationship was the utilization of the contacts of al-Ilory in the Arab World to form a world body of Muslims, Muslim World League.35  Premier Ahmadu Bello also visited many Muslim leaders in Africa and beyond. The two of them were founding members while Sir Ahmadu Bello was vice-President of the League until his death.

 

 

 

Both of them along with Shaykh Mahmud Gumi floated the idea until it came to fruition in 1962. This same year Markaz turned a decade after inception and in the spirit of solidarity Mallam Maitama Sule, the then Federal Minister of Mines and Power graced the occasion obviously to play the role of Sardauna. The death of Sardauna brought untold hardship to Shaykh al-Ilory. First he lost a co-worker for Islam, a lover of Arabic and Islamic Studies and a great grandson of Shaykh Muhammad Bello, son of Shaykh Uthman b. Fudi. It was as a result of the hostilities which trailed his assassination that urged al-Ilory to migrate his residence built by himself at Agege to buy a house at Surulere that same year. His death and the sense of anguish manifest in al-Ilory left a deep scar in our minds as students then in his Markaz. It showed that Shaykh al-Ilory lost a brother, a running mate in the relay for the development of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Nigeria. It was guessed that he obtained a relief when he produced a fresh and enlarged edition of his book al-Islam which now carried the name and the picture of Sardauna of Sokoto, the great grandchild of Shaykh Uthman b. Fudi and to whom the work was dedicated after the civil war. Both of them attracted funds from the Muslim world for the growth of Arabic in Nigeria.

 

 

 

How Sardauna Utilized His Political Powers for the Growth of Arabic and Islamic Studies

 

His political activities began with his active role in the formation of the Youth Social Circle in Sokoto in 1945, which later attracted membership from products of Katsina College. This body served as the nucleus in the formation of the Northern Peoples’ Congress in 1948 with Sardauna as founding President. He was elected from the Sokoto Province the same year to replace the late Waziri Abbas. He was an active participant in the Constitutional debates of 1948-1950 as the most respected voice from the North with the Federal Government. During the 1952 general elections held in Nigeria he was elected to the Northern House of Assembly with NPC having an overwhelming majority. He became Premier of Northern Nigeria in 1954 and remained so until he was assassinated on January 15, 1966. His party won the Nigerian general election in 1959 but he opted to remain the Premier of Northern Nigeria to enable him face squarely the task of development of the region and restoring the past glory of Islamic culture for which his forebears were celebrated. Rather he asked Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to assume leadership of Nigeria at the Federal level.

 

 

 

On 2nd June 195236,the Council of Ministers in Northern Nigeria presided over by Sir Ahmadu Bello set up a powerful committee to deliberate on how Higher Muslim Education  can be supported to satisfy the growing public opinion in the North. Membership of the committee included Emirs of Zaria and Misau, Ministers of Social Services, that of Community Development, that of Works, and Minister of Natural Resources. Others were Sardauna’s friend Wazir Junaid of Sokoto and Ciroman Kano among others. This Committee recommended in its report published in 1953 by the Government Printer, Kaduna, the need for the mainstreaming of the Arabic schools, provision of facilities for teaching students with little or no western education, expansion of the curricula of the Arabic teacher training schools, to provide manpower for the schools and breaking the schools into two streams. One stream concentrated on training teachers while the other stream focused on training of law students.37 Among the products of such schools were the rulers and administrators, the bureaucrats and judges of the Sharia courts nationwide while many of them went to the UK and the Sudan to further their education and they came back to Nigeria as doctors, University teachers, administrators, technocrats and judges of the civil courts and shariah Courts.

 

 

 

The law of Northern Nigeria on education established the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS) housed in the Ministry of Education Kaduna. The same government established the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria two years later. With the creation of states, there ceased to be a central government for the North. Thus, it was difficult to find a central place to accommodate the Board. As such, the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS) was and still is hosted by the Institute of Education, ABU, Zaria, till its recognition by the Federal Government in February 2011.

 

Sarduana’s Comments on Ministerial Special Committee Report on Arabic and Islamic Education

 

 

 

There was also set up in 1960 a Ministerial Special Committee headed by Alhaji Isa Kaita, Minister of Education, Ibrahim Musa Gashash, Minister of Land and Survey, member, Alhaji Ahman Pategi, Minister of Health, member, Alhaji Ibrahim Biu, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Works, member with Mallam Haliru Binji, the colleague of Mahmud Gumi at different levels who was a co-opted member and who also served as secretary. The comment of the Premier in a memo to the Minister reveals the mind of the Sardauna on NBAIS for the most of his life in power, part of which is quoted here:

 

 

 

Minister38:

 

‘I have gone through pp.11-13 but I regret I have seen nothing that attracts my mind to show that any immediate help is forthcoming to our Koranic Schools. I know your Ministry is full of British officials who are only out to help the Missionaries to firmly establish their own faith in this country and for that reason the large amounts of money you give to Voluntary Agencies are nothing compared to what I am asking for our people who are in majority.

 

2. Turning to P.12 in the minutes of your meeting on which I would like to make the following observations-

 

a) Your paragraph 2: how should Mallams be encouraged to improve their accommodations if they themselves have not got the means of doing so?

 

b) Paragraph 3: how many of these schools are there and where are they sited?

 

c) It is this teaching to the untrained Koranic Mallams which we have been asking your Ministry to give for the last five years but unfortunately every year the money earmarked you shifted it to Mission schools. How would you organize something that is not properly set up? And reading this paragraph in conjunction with paragraph 6-if I may ask-how many Grade II Teacher Training Centres and Grade III Teacher Training Centres have you got in the Region? For you to say that study classes have been opened in Kano is ridiculous compared with the Teacher Training Centres you do open annually. I myself (being the great grandson of Shehu Usman Dan Fodio) will strongly say that your Ministry is only paying attention to Western Education in place of our own Eastern Education which we inherited from our ancestors. Western Education is merely concerned with mundane affairs that would never save you in the next world.

 

3. I am sorry to be so critical but I feel if anything at all is to be done for our common people which they can see in the near future it has to be done without delay. I have done my work as a leader but I leave the judgment to God. I am sending copies of this minute to M. Ibrahim Musa Gashash, Alhaji Ahman Pategi and Alhaji Ibrahim Biu.

 

 Signed

 

Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello

 

Premier Northern Region

 

9/3/1960

 

 

 

A citation of part of this comments by the present writer received a wild cacophony from the over two thousand delegates comprising of permanent secretaries and directors of education nationwide during the Joint Consultative Committee on Education meeting at its plenary session in Jos 2010. The genuine mission of Sardauna could not possibly be faulted. NBAIS memorandum  faced the dangers of being stepped ground. We stood our ground and we made a careful explanation of the history, the roles, the intent and purpose of NBAIS as an examining body. The memorandum was passed unanimously the following day without any objection. The Honourable Minister of Education Professor Ruqayyat Ahmed Rufai who presided over the National Council on Education was fully in the mood to give NBAIS a fair hearing at its 57th meeting at Sokoto between 21st – 25th  February 2011. The reverse is unthinkable since as former Commissioner for Education in Jigawa State, her state was next only to Kano in the list of new NBAIS government schools established in the recent time. Thus it was a grand divine design that the mission initiated by the Sardauna of Sokoto in the middle of the 20th century was accomplished in his hometown.

 

 

 

If the Premier of Northern Nigeria was this bitter about the corruption in the diversion of government money for schools to the Christian missionary schools under a Muslim minister in the North with the protection of the colonial rulers, the level of similar exploitations for the same purpose in the Southwestern Nigeria can merely be imagined. This was neither with a traditional fiat nor a political power to checkmate them as obtainable in the North. Such economic exploitation deserves redress. Such redress can be nothing short of reparation from whatever is the heir of such administration. It means that contemporary and subsequent governments especially in the Southwest should embark on massive grant aiding of NBAIS schools in their states to compensate for the injustice of the colonial regime in the past. There should be no further playing a devil’s advocate that public funds cannot be expended on religious bodies the membership of which constitute majority of the masses and the electorates.

 

 

 

Carrying Along the NBAIS Spirit in the Establishment of Ahmadu Bello University

 

The British considered the possibility of the Kano School for Arabic to be affiliated to the University College, Ibadan when it was founded in 1948. This met with objections from those who knew that the North should be allowed to develop at its own pace. But Sir Ahmadu Bello established the Ahmadu Bello College, Kano which was located at the Kano School for Arabic Studies and under the charge of its principal the forerunner of academic study of Arabic in Nigeria, late Dr Aliyu Abubakar. In May 1959, the Sir Eric Ashby Commission on Higher Education in Post-Colonial Nigeria was inaugurated. The outcome of the efforts was the establishment of University of Nigeria Nsukka in1960, funded by the Eastern Region, the University of Ife, Ile-Ife  (now Obafemi Awolowo University). whose proprietor was Western Region and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, owned by the Northern Region. The Federal Government maintained the ownership of the University College Ibadan established as a College of the University of London and got full autonomy as University of Ibadan in 1962. The Federal Government added the University of Lagos also in 1962.

 

 

 

Now that ABU Zaria has become a reality the Ahmadu Bello College changed name to Abdullah Bayero College of ABU. The existing campus was maintained. The name was in recognition of the noble role played by the late Emir of Kano 1927-1953, who established the Kano Law School in 1934. S.A.S. Galadanchi , later professor of Arabic and Vice-Chancellor of Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto headed both the School for Arabic Studies and the new ABC, ABU.39 Sardauna always maintained a delicate balance between work and worship.

 

 

 

Thus it pleased Allah that Abdullah Bayero College should become a University now named Bayero University Kano, along with Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri University of Ilorin, Ilorin and University of Jos, Jos all located in the North of Sardauna’s dream. It is instructive to note that all these Universities located in the north are in the forefront in the growth and development of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Nigeria.

 

National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies

 

as a Nation Builders

 

NBAIS has contributed its quota to the modern Nigeria for the past six decades judging from the quantity, quality and diversity of the roles of its products in all walks of life. They are the forerunners in the integration of the almajiri system of education. NBAIS system of education as a nation builder is in the forefront of the educational and moral advancement of the country. As though a pyramidal structure, the largest numbers of its products are teaching in the Primary schools, Secondary Schools, Colleges of Education, while some of them teach in the Polytechnics and the Universities.

 

 

 

Many of the products of NBAIS are past and serving professors, past and serving Vice-chancellors. Professors S.A.S. Galadanchi, Abubakar Gwandu, M. Sani Zahradeen, Razaq Abubakre, Munzali Jibril, Mustapha Abubakar and Ishaq Oloyede are few examples of products of NBAIS who were former Vice-Chancellors or an Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission. Many of them were past and serving judges of the High Courts, Appeal Court and Supreme Court. All the past and present Khadis and Grand Khadis nationwide are products of the NBAIS system of education. Many products were posted to Nigerian Missions abroad not necessarily in the Middle East where their cognate knowledge is centrally relevant but also in the rest of the world. Indeed Sardauna Ahmadu Bello mooted the idea of sending Shaykh Abubakar Gumi one of the early products of NBAIS to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1960 as first ambassador of this country in Riyadh, but for the latter’s passion for judiciary. He and his friend Haliru Binji became Grand Khadis of Northern Nigeria and North Western State respectively. The latter was the first Coordinator of NBAIS in 1959.

 

 

 

The examining bodies and agencies for quality assurance employ products of NBAIS system of education. Such bodies include the West African Examination Council, National Examinations Council, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council and National Universities Commission where they hold key positions. The Nigerian Army employs them in their education corps, the imamate section and the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. The Nigeria Police Force also enrol them for their spiritual, moral and intellectual qualities.

 

 

 

Many products went into business utilizing the training of hard work, perseverance, discipline, honesty and fear of Allah in their transactions. Many of them have made headway with this and are now paying back their alma mater through establishment of NBAIS recognized schools nationwide. Many of the products are imams in mosques across the country while many of them are social workers inviting people to what is right and discouraging people from doing what is wrong.

 

 

 

Products of NBAIS are technocrats in the various Federal and State government ministries serving in different capacities. Those who have flair for politics have risen through the ladder to occupy almost all available positions in the Nigerian polity. It is no surprise that the first civilian President of Nigeria Alhaji Shehu Shagari has established an NBAIS recognized school at his homestead. This attempt should be understood as acknowledgement of the system that produced him. The Senator representing the district of the present writer in the current National Assembly attended Markaz, Agege the pivot of NBAIS in the Southwest.

 

 

 

The quest for national recognition for NBAIS coincided with the steps recently taken by the Federal Government to streamline various activities of the almajiri schools for survival. Before the present Ag. Registrar of NBAIS, Professor Shafi aAbdullahi40 took over, there were just few schools established by different State governments such as Kano, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kwara, Borno, Adamawa among other states in the north. The accreditation of private similar schools by the Institute of Education ABU Zaria received a boost when this coordinator came on board. Indeed, these state governments increased the number of schools they inherited from their predecessors. Before this regime, accreditation by the Institute of Education was limited to the north. But now this was extended to cover the south where schools pass the accreditation exercise of the Institute of Education ABU Zaria. The national recognition for the NBAIS activities was achieved in February, 2011 at the 57th National Council on Education meeting in Sokoto on which the Honorable Minister of Education Professor Ruqayyat Ahmed Rufai MON has the following to say:

 

   The activities of the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS) were accorded national recognition by the 57th Meeting of the National Council on Education (NCE) in February, 2011 at its meeting in Sokoto. This recognition was long overdue considering the board’s long record of coordinating the academic activities as well as certification of products of Arabic and Islamic Secondary Schools spread across the country.41

 

 

 

Significance of Cooperation between Markaz Agege with its Allies in South Western Nigeria and National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies

 

It is instructive to note that the process of achieving this recognition was through the efforts aformidable team of scholars largely from Ahmadu Bello and was headed by one of the products of Markaz, the present writer. This recognition should not be cast to the stone, because there is a strong convergence between the two approaches of Markaz started by Mawlana Adam ‘Abdullah al-Ilory and NBAIS introduced by Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, both of whom devoted their lives to working towards the same goal, both of whom were intimate due to commonality of interest.

 

 

 

The NBAIS curriculum covers/ junior secondary level and senior secondary level. The present level of tahdiri at Markaz will not be covered by NBAIS. This should be devoted to intensive training in Arabic and Islamic Studies without any intrusion of English. This is attainable because many of us who carry aloft the banner of Markaz such as Shaykhs Raji Sulayman, ‘Abdul-Ghaniyy Salahu ‘d-Din, Mustafa Zaghlul ‘s-Sunusi, Abdur-Razzaq ‘Abdur-Rahman, Kamil Husain Raji, Murtada A-Bidmasi, Ishaq O. Oloyede, Senator Husain and the present writer spent only four years as students at Markaz.

 

 

 

The ‘idadi and tawjihi levels should adopt the NBAIS curricular. The result will be far reaching in opening new vistas of opportunities for the products to aspire to be whatever they choose as their careers. It should be noted that many products of Markaz branched out to study other courses at degree level in the Arab world. Many of such followed the example of the number one product of Markaz Shaykh Raji Sulayman who graduated with bachelor’s degree in English from al-Azhar and the indefatigable Secretary General of Niqabatu ‘l Markaziyyin,late Dr Hamid Ibrahim Olagunju who studied Translation also at al-Azhar University in Cairo. We should now see future products of Markaz with NBAIS certification specializing in medicine, engineering, pharmacy and common law when this collaboration being proposed comes to fruition. It will not reduce an inch from the solid background they have attained in Arabic and Islamic Studies. As a step in this direction the numbers of NBAIS zones which were hitherto restricted to Kaduna, Bauchi, Kwara and Kano to cover the whole of the North have been increased to six zones. Zone 5 covers the South Western Nigeria with its headquarters in Ibadan and Zone 6 covers the South Eastern Nigeria with its seat at Nsukka, Enugu State.

 

 

 

NBAIS has now joined the league of recognized examination bodies such as WAEC, NECO and NABTEB. Just as the last one mentioned here was established especially for business and technical education, NBAIS was created especially for the madaris in Nigeria to enable the products catch up with the trends of education in modern Nigeria. The struggle for recognition was tough as stones, scorpions and snakes were met on the way. But Allah granted us success from the Joint Consultative Committee, Reference meeting at Uyo in April, 2010. The Joint Consultative Committee, Plenary meeting at Jos in July 2010 and finally the National Council on Education meeting chaired by the Honorable Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayat Ahmed Rufai and attended by all State Commissioners of Education in Nigeria held in Sokoto in February 2011. It was here that the recognition was accorded and NBAIS is reckoned with in all subsequent activities of the Federal Ministry of Education. The Honourable Minister of Education and the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha as well as the Director of the Institute of Education, Professors M. S. Aliu and Y. K. Kajuru are acknowledged for their unalloyed support towards the autonomy of NBAIS. The current Vice- Chancellor of ABU Zaria succinctly put the history, definition and function of NBAIS when he says:

 

   In 1960, the Board, which was established as a unit, was responsible for inspection, supervision and examination control of the then established Arabic institutions under the defunct Ministry of Education of Northern Nigeria with Headquarters in Kaduna. The Board is one of the important legacies of the late premier of Northern Nigeria, Sardauna of Sokoto. Under the effective supervision and coordination of the Institute of Education, Ahmadu Bello University, as a result of the transfer in 1967 to the Institute of Education, NBAIS became stronger and covered the whole of Northern Nigeria and some parts of South Western States. Presently, the Board has a total of 298 schools and colleges both at Junior and Senior School levels.42

 

 

 

The Ministry of Education is assisting NBAIS in many ways even after the National recognition. Fund indeed is an area of challenge which all the stakeholders should face up to. One significant remark is that successive governments in the North whether military or civilian followed the footstep of Sir Ahmadu Bello even after the breaking of the region to nineteen states. Each state government is a proprietor of  over eighty percent of such schools. This was a reality that could not be compromised as pay back on the struggle of Usman b. Fudi and his followers up till the time of his great grandson Sir Ahmadu Bello. Conversely, the proselytization of Islam and the growth of Arabic learning and Islamic Studies in the Southwest rested on individual activities and reformists, the head of which indubitably was Shaykh Adam Abdullah al-Ilory the most prolific author of Arabic books in the 20th Century West Africa. The time is now to give effect to their common purpose of Muslim Unity. It was for the same purpose Sardauna established Jama’at Nasril Islam and and al-Ilory founded the League of Imams and Alfas in Western Nigeria which coincided with the 10th Anniversary of Markaz in 1962. The two of them worked together to see the formation of the Muslim World League realisable.

 

 

 

Markaz  at sixty should therefore cooperate with NBAIS at sixty while the latter should also encourage Markaz. Markaz had its first offshoot in 1957 when Arabic Institute was established by Shaykh Murtada Abdus Salam in Elekuro Ibadan and relied on Markaz for curriculum, staffing, textbooks and school management. Many more have followed suit across the West Africa. This cooperation of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello and Adam Abdullah al-Ilory at the global level which led to the establishment of the Islamic University in Madinah reveals further the strength in solidarity. It is this University that has admitted a large number of products of NBAIS for training in character and in learning. The returnees are busy contributing their quota to nation building. The labour of our past heroes has not, by the grace of Allah, been a nullity.

 

 

 

The membership of the Muslim World League joined the Muslims of Nigeria in mourning the assassination of Sardauna. But as if he knew that his time on earth was short he strengthened his relationship with Shaykh Adam Abdullah al-Ilory 1917-1992 and Shaykh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi 1924-1992. The former was in constant contact with the scholars in the Muslim World like Shaykh Abdu ‘l-Aziz b. Baz who became Secretary General of the Muslim World League and foundation Vice- Chancellor of the Islamic University, Madinah. Shaykh Gumi who has proved his stuff and make as a scholar, a puritan Muslim and the most intimate jurist with Sardauna carried forward the intellectual jihad of the family of Shaykh Uthman b. Fudi.

 

 

 

King Faisal of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia employed the expertise of the duo to have meanings of the Glorious Qur’an translated to Hausa and Yoruba and had them published by the Muslim World League in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One of them rejected Sufism while the other called for moderation since the reform in Saudi Arabia which came on the heals of Shaykh Muhammad b. Abdul Wahhab’s Jihad was in a different setting while that of Shaykh Uthman b. Fudi of Nigeria with its uproaring success did not reject Sufism. Shaykh Adam ‘Abdullah chose Shaykh Abdullah Fudi the emir of Gwandu as his role model and pursued this as a prolific author to be matched throughout his life. Gumi was doyen of Shari’ah in Nigeria. In view of the achievements of these two great scholars companions of Ahmadu Bello can anyone doubt the towering legacy of Sardauna?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

 

 

The story of the Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies can correctly be told by Allah, the Author of the Universe and the all seeing narrator of all events and the determiner of same. That is why we have attempted to follow Him as the events unfolded. Would Ahmadu Bello have served Islam better if he had become Sultan of Sokoto in 1948? Nay Allah had bigger assignments for him. Would it have been better for him to study the fundaments of Islam in depth like Waziru Junaid, Adam Abdullah al-Ilory, Nasiru Kabara, Mahmud Gumi and Haliru Binji? No Allah knows that he needed a reasonable exposure in the Western type of education to enable him put his talent to work. Would it have been better for him to become Prime Minister of Nigeria when his party won the general election of 1959? Far from this, Allah wanted him to write his qualities of humility, total commitment to work and worship in letters of gold for posterity to judge. He saw himself as noble offspring of his great forebear. That was why he worked with all for the development of all and cooperated with all to ensure worship in Islam was not corrupted. He established ABU so that North will not lag behind in the independent Nigeria. He established Abdullah Bayero College Kano as campus of ABU so that the duty of scholarship in Islam was not compromised.

 

 

 

His gruesome murder opened the door for a culmination of events among which is breaking of the Northern States. But he had acted well before this by making the Institute of Education have a strong tie with Northern Region Government which was unique. It was a precursor for the transfer of NBAIS to this place after the break up of Northern Nigeria into states in 1967. His love for what NBAIS stood for made the crest of the University to carry its name in Arabic just like that of the University of Ibadan crest which carried a Latin aphorism. Let NBAIS carry on the work of Sardauna by encouraging the teeming schools of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the South Western Nigeria and the East to get accredited and certificated.

 

 

 

It was perhaps due to Sardauna’s total commitment to right guidance, solidarity of mankind and straight behavior that his enemies were displeased with him. We have from the archives that he was more disposed to work with Awolowo than with Azikiwe. That was why his younger brothers in Islam Mallam Aminu Kano and Saad Zungeru who were Zikists were not close to him even though both of them have a convergence of interest in their acumen to learn the prestine Islam and abide by it. On the other hand, himself and Alhaji Gbadamosi Adegoke Adelabu had soft spots for each other. So, when Ladoke Akintola gave him the opportunity to work with the Yoruba, where his Muslim brothers and many contributors and products of the NBAIS abound in majority he seized the advantage. Then there was a coup masterminded by a section of this country the agents of Zionism resulted in the killings of the Muslims and their allies. If it was not decreed that he would not live longer than his great grandfather Muhammad Bello, Allah, the Lord of the universe would have guided him to stay behind as guest of King Faisal b. Abdul-Aziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after performing the Umurah in January 1966. We praise Him for His superior  wisdom because Sardauna’s legacies live on.

 

Recommendations

 

 

 

1.            The Federal Government should support NBAIS by establishing a minimum of one Federal Government College that will run the curriculum of the NBAIS in all relevant states of the Federation

 

2.            The State Governments that have established NBAIS type of schools should increase them now that the syllabus has been mainstreamed without losing its identity.

 

3.            State Governments that should have established NBAIS schools such as Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti and Edo States should follow the example of their counterparts that have done so.

 

4.            Efforts should be geared towards upgrading the Shari’ah Schools in Kano, Sokoto, Maiduguri and Ilorin to Universities by relevant Governments.

 

5.            Lagos State Government should build another campus for Markaz and turn the Agege Campus to a University.

 

6.            Osun State Government should support the efforts of the sponsors of the proposed Inayatullah University at Iwo and the proposed Hijrah University at Ede to ensure the early take off of the two Institutions.

 

7.            Oyo State Government should support the Arabic Institute of Nigeria, Elekuro, Ibadan to become a University.

 

8.            Ogun State Government should support Moshood Abiola College of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Abeokuta to become a University.

 

9.            Ondo State Government should support the Arabic Institute in Owo to become a University

 

10.          Kwara State Government should grant aid the Al-Azhar Institute of Shaykh Kamalu ‘d-Din and Daru ‘l-ulum of Shaykh al-Ilory as well as Muhyideen College, Ilorin to become Universities.

 

11.          The Federal Ministry of Education should consider NBAIS for some form of take off grant to make its autonomy less tight financially.

12. The established linkage achieved by Sardauna with the State of Kuwait which gave rise to the establishment of the Shaykh Sabah College Kaduna should be resussitated.

 

13. Other linkages in the Muslim world especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf should be brought alive again.   

 

 

Notes and References

 

 

 

1.            The Name Ghana was used by the Arab geographers to designate the Soninke Kingdom which probably corresponded to the South-east of Mauritania and the West of Mali. For the naming of the Kingdom as Ghanah, see Nehemia Levtzion, Ancient Ghanah and Mali (London, 1973), p.3. He attributes the naming to an Arab geographer, al-Fazari.

 

2.            A.R. as Sa- ‘di, ta rikhu ‘s-Sudan, 1665 p.9, quoted by J.S. Trimingham, A History of Islam in West Africa (London, 1963), p.48. See also Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354, edited and translated by H.A.R. Gibb (London, 1929), p.380.fn 21.

 

3.            Trimingham, 1963, A History of Islam, p.48.

 

4.            Federal Republic of Nigeria, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Lectures for the Orientation, anonymous (np Lagos?) July 1973, p.27

 

5.            N. Levtzion,  ‘Patterns of Islamization in West Africa’, in N. Levtzion  (ed.), Conversion to Islam  (New York and London 1979), p. 209

 

6.            Levtzion, however is not specific on the dating. He puts the time when Ghanah regained her independence from the almoravids at the beginning of the twelfth century. Levtzion, 1973, Ancient Ghanah and Mali. p. 46

 

7.            Levtzion, ibid., p.63, sees the Mali Empire as something that can be telescoped into four generations of greatness and decline from its beginning in the first half of the thirteenth century, to the reign of Niani Mansa Mamudu (‘circa.1600)

 

8.            Federal Republic of Nigeria (NYSC) Lectures (1973), p.28

 

9.            This was said to be the first Negro Muslim State and it explains why almost every Negro land was regarded as Takrur by Arabic writers. In reality, the name may apply only to Tokolor i.e. Senegalese Futa alone. An example of this is Muhammad Bello’s naming of his account on the jihad as ‘infaqu ‘l-maysur fi tarikhi biladi ‘t-takrur, See also N. Levitzion (ed.), Conversion to Islam (New York and London, 1979), p.208 See also J.S. Trimingham, 1963, pp.41-2

 

10.          H. Barth, Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa, 1857-1859 (London, 1965), II,pp.583-4)

 

11.          R.D. Abubakre, The Interplay of Arabic and Yoruba Cultures in South-Western Nigeria, Daru’l-Ilm, Iwo, 2004, pp5-6

 

12.          R. Smith, Kingdoms of the Yoruba (London, 1969), p.7

 

13.          R. Law, The Oyo Empire (1600-1836),  a West African Imperialism in the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade (Oxford, 1977), p.7, disagrees with the classification of the old Oyo site into the Guinea forest zone.

 

14.          R. Smith, ‘Ijaiye: the Western Palatine of the Yoruba’, in  JHSN, vol.II, no.3 (December, 1962), p. 331.

 

15.          S. Johnson, The History of the Yoruba (London, 1921), p. 179.

 

16.          W. Bascon, The Yoruba of South Western Nigeria (New York 1969), p.4.

 

17.          W. Reade, The Wanderings of Mine in Senegambia (London, 1873), I, p.311; see also Professor M.S. Elgarh’s foreword to A. Ajetunmobi, A School Certificate Arabic (Ibadan, 1973).

 

18.          As- Sa’di, Tarikh., quoted by Trimingham, A History of Islam, p.93.

 

19.          I. Salih Tarikh ‘I-Islam wahayatu ‘l-’Arab fi ambraturiyyati Kanim Burnu- (Mustafa ‘l-Babi ‘I-Halabi, Cairo, 1976) pp 62-6

 

20.          M. Hiskett, The Development of Islam in West Africa (London and Newyork, 1984), p.61.

 

21.          Ibid-p.46.

 

22.          N. Levtzion, ”Abd-Allah b. Yasin and the Almoravids,” in J.R. Willis, (ed.) Studies in West African Islamic History. Vol.1. The Cultivators of Islam, (Frank Cass, London, 1979), pp78-80

 

23.          ‘Abd ‘r- Rahman as-Sa’di Tarikh ‘s-Sudan, (edited by O. Hondas), (Paris, 1900), p.37; Ahmad Baba at-Timbukti Naylu’ l-Ibtihaj bitatrizid-Dabaj on the margin of Ibrahim b. Farhun, ad-Dibaju-’l-Mudhahhb, (Cairo, 1932-33) p343; ADH Bivar and M. Hiskett, ‘The Arabic Literature of Nigeria to 1804. A Provisional Account’ in BSOAS, Vol.25:1, (1962) pp 104-48

 

24.          R.C.C. Law, The Oyo Empire-c 1836, a West African Imperialism in the Era of Atlantic Slave Trade, (OUP, London, 1977, pp 75-76).

 

25.          S. Agourides, “Greek Byzantine Bias about Islam: The influence of National Social and Cultural Factors” unpublished conference paper presented at the Dialogue for Muslim-Christian Fellowship and Understanding by Council for the World Religions held at Istanbul Turkey 1991.

 

26.          A.B. Fafunwa, History of Education in Nigeria (George Allen and Uwin Ltd, London, 1974), p.74.

 

27.          A. Mustapha, “Sabotage in Patronage: Islamic Education Under Colonial Rule in Nigeria“, in NATAIS, 6:1, (2001), p.1

 

28.          Jean Boyd with H.M. Maishanu, Sultan Siddiq Abubakar 111, Sarkin Musulumi, (Spectrum Books Ltd Ibadan, 1991), p.4

 

29.          “Sir Ahmadu Bello“, Gale Encyclopaedia of Biography (1909-1966).

 

30.          Jean Boyd with H.M. Maishanu, Sultan Siddiq Abubakar 111, Sarkin Musulumi, (Spectrum Books Ltd Ibadan, 1991), p.9.

 

31.          Sheikh Abubakar Gumi with Ismaila .A. Tsiga, Where I Stand (Spectrum Books Ltd, Ibadan, 1992), pp.30-32.

 

32.          Sheikh Abubakar Gumi with I.A. Tsiga, Where I stand, 1992, p.113

 

33.          R.D. Abubakre “Dawru ‘sh-Shaykh Adam Abdullah al-Ilory fi tanwiri ‘l-mustaqbal  lillughati ‘l-Arabiyyah wa’d-d irasati ‘l-Islamiyyah fi Nijiriya” in R.D. Abubakre, (ed.) Ash-Shaykh Adam  Abdullah al-Ilory fi Mawkibi ‘l-Khalidin, 2012, vol  1. p.31

 

34.          Mahdiy Satiy, ad-Da’iyatu ‘sh-Shaykh Adam al-Ilory, hayatuh waatharuhu ‘l-’ilmiyyah in R.D. Abubakre, (ed.), Shaykh Adam Abdullah Al-Ilory fi mawkibi’l-Khalidin, vol. 1, University of Ilorin Library and Publications Committee as well as The Nigerian Center for Arabic Research, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, citing al-Ilory min huna nasha’ tu wahakadha ta’allamtu hatta kharajtu, Thaqafah, Agege, 1991, p.17

 

35.          H.E. Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar “Shaykh Adam Abdullah Al-Ilory, A Universal Citizen” in R.D. Abubakre, (ed.), Shaykh Adam Abdullah Al-Ilory in the Tableau of Immortality Vol. 11, University of Ilorin Library and Publications Committee as well as The Nigerian Center for Arabic Research, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2012 p. Xxvi.

 

36.          Report on the Committee on Higher Muslim Education 1953, Government Press Kaduna.

 

37.          Report on the Committee on Higher Muslim Education 1953 p.4

 

38.          Premier’s Comments 1960 folios 14-15.

 

39.          A.M. Jega, I.A. Abba and H. Wakili (eds.) Consolidating the Citadel, Bayero University, Kano, 1994-2004 Centre for Democracy Research, Kano, 2004 pp3-4

 

40.          Past Co-ordinators of NBAIS were Haliru Binji 1959-1962, Mukhtar Abdr-rahman 1968-1986, Faruk Imam 1986-1989, Muhammad Shafiu Abdullahi 1989-2006, Muhammad Aminu Shehu 2006-2010 and Musa Rilwanu 2010-2011

 

41.          R.A. Rufai, “Foreword” to NBAIS JAISC and SAISC Curriculum 2011, p.1

42.          Abdullahi Mustapha, “Welcome Address Delivered by the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, at the Institutional Stakeholders Conference organized by the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies at Sokoto from 11th-13th January, 2011” pri
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beginnings

The first Negro empire was in Ghanah1. It was founded probably in the fifth and sixth centuries. An opinion held by both as-Sa’di and Gibb that the empire was founded by white people2 has not been proved convincingly, as far as knowledge goes by modern researches3. The Ghanah Empire extended its suzerainty from the Atlantic to the Niger and northwards to Mauritania. It engaged in commercial transactions with North Africa. Its position made it possible to exchange its gold, ivory and slaves with salt, swords, horses, cloth and books by the route via Awdaghast, Tawdenni and Taghaza to Morocco4 and Mediterranean world. The power of Ghanah under the Soninke dynasty of Kumbi was checked by the almoravids5 (al-murabitun) of Morocco in 1076. The empire was reinstated under the political hegemony of the Soninke dynasty of the Kannte in 12036. The destruction of the almoravid power made the Muslim inhabitants of Ghanah, who were displeased by the defeat of Muslim rulers to migrate to a water point named Walata.

 

Ghanah was captured and destroyed in 1240 by Sundiata, the King of Malinke (1230-55). He was converted to Islam and he established his new capital at Mali. Through his personal qualities, bravery and military prowess, he was able to lay a solid political foundation. It was on this that his much later successors Mansa Kankan Musa and Mansa Sulayman both built their successes. They were the grandchildren of Sundiata’s sister. Mali reached its imperial apogee during their time7. Mali became a flourishing commercial empire as its big towns, such as Niani, Timbuktu, Jenne and Gao (Kaw Kaw) were transformed into prosperous commercial and leading centres visited by a large number of traders and Arabic and Islamic scholars from North Africa. Also, salt mines at Taghaza, the copper mines of Takedda and the gold regions of Wangara8 all put the empire at a remarkable economic advantage, which contributed immensely to its impressive administration and commercial development.

 

With the death of Mansa Sulayman (1359), retrogression set in. But as the glory of Mali passed away, that of Songhai began at the commercial city of Gao (KawKaw), Sunni Ali (1465-92) organized the expansion of the Songhai Empire at the expense of the declining Mali. His achievements were consolidated by Askia Muhammad the Great (1493-1529), but after his reign there was a sharp decline until the Moroccan invasion of 1591 dealt a final blow to the empire. The Songhai Empire at its zenith extended to Takrur9 in the west, Kano (Nigeria) in the east, Taghaza in the north and of course, the Mossi kingdom in the South.

 

The last but not the least remarkable empire of this life zone is Kanem-Bornu Empire. It was said to be one of the longest lasting empires in the World. It began in the eighth century and lasted to the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was during this time that its imperial power was challenged by the jihadist activities of 1810. The golden period of this empire was during the reign of Idris Alooma (1572-1603). It was to the credit of Shaikh Muhammad al-Kanemi that the emergence of another dynasty took place which withstood the jihad until about the end of the nineteenth century. The imperial hegemony of this empire extended to Nupe; the Yoruba immediate neighbours to the north10.

 

The Guinea forest, the second region in our division of West Africa into two life zones, was also with its own types of socio-political and cultural advancement. Notable among the kingdoms were the Oyo kingdom, which has a direct relevance to this study, the Dahomey kingdom with its headquarters in the Abomey plateau, and which has a distinct segment of Yoruba population and was the immediate neighbor of the Oyo kingdom to the west. There was also the Benin Kingdom with a Yoruba ruling dynasty, to the south east of Oyo kingdom. Finally, the Ashante Kingdom to the west of Dahomey.

 

In view of the fact that these Kingdoms do not all have direct relevance to our study, we shall be content with the mere mention of their names except the Oyo kingdom. The need to show the Savannah zone as the one which contained empires which may be described as transmitters of Islam and Arabic learning  to our area of study, made the above survey necessary. The division into two life zones is not by any means to be viewed as a division into two watertight compartments. Far from this, they cooperated among themselves through trade, commerce and scholarship. They almost all shared the experience of the new religion vastly gaining ground within them.11 Robert Smith seems to be saying something similar to this (although he is somehow negative), when he writes:

   Before a single West African son knew a word of English or French, some of his people must have learnt Arabic characters, just as English and French are written in Roman characters17. As a result of the commercial and military contacts with North Africa, there was the introduction of Islam and Arabic learning to West Africa.

 

Thereafter, commercial cities became centres for Islamic culture and greaBut it is credible that events such as the fall of Ghana (to Al-moravids in 1076), the decline of Mali (in the late fifteenth century), and the fall of Songhai (in 1590) affected societies several hundred miles to the south of their area12.

 

Oyo kingdom which had emerged as a powerful state in the Guinea forest before the end of the fifteenth century was a Yoruba state13. At the zenith of its power it was said that all the other powerful states of the Guinea forest region enumerated above were brought under its imperial control. Benin was tributary to it. Dahomey has since been paying tribute to Oyo due to its defeat by the Yoruba army in 1698. It was also in the nineteenth century when the Oyo kingdom was involved in the internal crisis during which time the power of the Alaafin (the sovereign) was challenged by other Yoruba petty states of Ketu, Ijebu, Egba as well as the revolt of his Commander-in Chief, Afonja of Ilorin14 that Dahomey seized the advantage of the decline of Oyo and ceased paying tribute. It was also claimed that the Ashanti people paid tribute to Oyo during the reign of the despotic and cruel Bashorun (Prime Minister) Gaa. The Alaafin was said to be Agboluaje15. Some sources also include Oninana (and the name sounds Yoruba) the king of Gan (Ghanah) as one of the sons of Oduduwa, the ancestor of Yoruba16.

 

In addition to the political and economic prosperity of the various empires discussed above, there was also a remarkable intellectual advancement. By this intellectual advancement with reference to West Africa in those days, is meant traditional Islamic scholarship. t intellectual life. The intellectual life of Timbuktu was reflected in the Sankore mosque where higher education abounded with various courses in Arabic language and literature, together with Islamic sciences. Jenne was also a great metropolis of Islam, a Negro Islamic centre, which contrasted and compared well with Timbuktu18 which was thickly populated by foreigners.

 

Arabs were known to have migrated from Damascus during the time of Caliph ‘Umar ibn Abdul’l-Aziz about 100AH to Kanem Borno19. A scholar Muhammad ibn Mani from Fez around 1067CE was known to be teaching Arabic texts to several Borno Muslims and their rulers before the reign of Hummu Jilmi (1085-97CE).20 With the adoption of Islam by the ruler of Kano Yaji dan Islamiya (1349-85CE) scholars became motivated21. Some of such scholars were judges, secretaries and counsellors while all of them were teachers of Arabic texts to their hosts22. Such erudite scholars include ‘Abdulkarimi’ I-Maghili from Tilmisan in modern Algeria, Jalalu’d-Dini ‘s Suyuti who was in correspondence with this area from Egypt and Aidah Ahmad at Tazakti, pupil of al-Maghili. Others were Ahmad ‘Aqit, grandfather of Ahmad Baba of Timbuktu as well as Ahmad Baba himself and Muhammad ibn Masanih of Katsina23. They moved about with their knowledge through Niani, Jenne, Timbuktu, Kawkaw (Gao) to Katsina, Kano, Kanem Borno and Yorubaland especially at its old Capital Oyo Ile, where there were Arabic scholars and a mosque around 957 AH-1550CE.24

 

Such was how the terrain was with the pendulum of political hegemony swinging and scholarship thriving while total adherence to the Islamic tenets lacking when Shaikh Uthman b.Fudi, his brother Shaikh Abdullah b.Fudi and his son Muhammad Bello were destined to embark on the most successful reforms towards the close of the eighteenth century. The successes of the intellectual and physical strives in the course of Islam transcended nearly all the different life zones highlighted above. When the tranquility was attained and serenity achieved, Shaikh Uthman withdrew from active mundane life and withdrew to the spiritual and intellectual endeavours. The three frontiers of Islamic scholarship and tenacious adherence to the pristine precision of Islam namely Sokoto and the emirates under it led by Shaikh Muhamad Bello, Gwandu with its emirate headed by Shaikh Abdullah b.Fudi as well as the Borno axis were all making headways in their efforts.

 

Then came the Western colonization born out of the crave for territorial expansion, economic exploitation and the carrying forward the vendetta of the tales of their losses at the crusade encounters with the invincible Salahu’d-Din the Ayubid ruler of Egypt. They pretended not to know the contributions of Muslims to learning which brought out the continental Europe from the regime of darkness to that of efflorescence in learning though the medium of Arabic. They treated shabbily learned Nigerians in Arabic as illiterates and Muslims as objects of conversion25. The strategy adopted in the turning of the tide against Arabic and Islam all over the world has been identified by Prof. Babs Fafunwa as through a combination of three ‘B’s Bible, Business, and Bullet or three ‘C’s Christianity, Commerce and Colonialism26. The fall of Sokoto and the eventual assassination of Sultan Attahiru Ahmadu at Burmi in 1903 opened a new chapter on the fate of Islam and its scholarship in this part of the world. Many other uncompromising emirs such as those of Bida, Zaria, Kano Kontagora, Burmi, Katsina and Yola were dropped and sent on exile between 1903 and 190927. Even long after the establishment of the British rule, Sultan Tambari was forced to resign in 193128.

 

When the dusts of battle got settled, the colonial rulers came to realize that they have merely succeeded in upsetting a positive system of governance based on the truth, sound reasoning and divine ordinance. Partly because of this seemingly unrepentant sense of injustice and partly because of a cynical ploy to buy over, so to speak the natural rulers the British introduced the concept of indirect rule in the northern protectorates. They have merely usurped the powers of scholars of Islam in the task of moderating and guiding the rulers and the masses. They failed woefully in this task since somebody who lacks something cannot possibly be conceived to be a good donor of it. They merely corrupted the system with their successful sowing of the seed of greed, avarice and materialism in the minds of the natural rulers. The Muslim community was craving for a revivalist of  Islam to be raised by the victorious hand of Allah Who Alone is Almighty, Who Alone is Majestic and Who Alone Knows how He disposes His affairs.

 

The Coming of a Man with Principles of Work and Worship 

Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello was born in 1909 at Rabah29. He was a great-grand child of Usmanu b.Fudi through the latter’s son Muhammad Bello the first Sultan of Sokoto. Studied the Qur’an and rudiments of Islam with the reputable Sokoto tradition of Islamic learning. He studied at the Sokoto Provincial School to acquire western type of education. He later attended the famous Katsina Teacher Training College, Katsina, and became a qualified teacher. He spent the early parts of his life teaching in the Sokoto Middle School. This gave him the opportunity to access and comprehend the problem faced by his people in view of the then clash of oriental and oxidental cultures. His training at the reputable Katsina College with folks such as Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Isa Kaita, and Ahmad Commassie among others had been a solid background for him to prepare him for a new career. The school was later moved to Kaduna where Shehu Aliyu Shagari, Aliyu Dogondaji, among others studied.

 

He later became District Head of Rabah in 1934. It is instructive to note that Sultan Hassan Dan Muazu had a special liking for him along with Sardauna Siddiq Abubakar both of whom he referred to as his choice  children. The Sultan’s proposal for Ahmadu Bello to join the Native Authority Council as Sarkin Rabah met with an objection from the colonial rulers, partly because they recognized in him sterling qualities for leadership and ostensibly to claim that there was dearth of qualified teachers in schools.  The Sultan insisted saying that he had the right to release his son to the colonial rulers whereas he has not abdicated his right to withdraw him for his own employ.

 

The death of Sultan Hassan in 1938 threw open the contest for the seat of Sultan. Six princes were nominated from the House of Bello. They were:

 1. Sarkin Gabas of Goronyo

 2. Sarkin Gobir Isa

 3. Sarkin Baura of Danga

 4. Sardauna Abubakar

 5. Sarkin Rabah Ahmadu Bello

 6. Ladan, Village Head of Giyawa30

 

This list was reduced to two by the selection council and these were Sardauna Abubakar andAhmadu Bello the District Head of Rabah from which the Chief Commissioner approved the appointment of Abubakar with a letter of June 5, 1938. Ahmadu Bello was appointed Sardauna of Sokoto and Wakil Gusau the positions both of which were occupied by Sultan Abubakar before his installation. Thus Ahmadu Bello was seen from 1938 as heir apparent to the Sultanate. High as the position of Wakil is, it was felt that Sardauna should be posted back to Sokoto to coordinate various departments as a new blood with cognate experience in the Sokoto Native Authority Council. By 1948 Junaid succeeded his brother Abbas as Waziri and Adviser to the Sultan on the Council. Waziri Junaid was a man of erudition in Islamic learning. This scholar should be noted for the significant role he was destined to play in the mission of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello.

 

The same year 1948 when Waziri Abbas died and his brother Junaid succeeded was when Sardauna Ahmadu Bello was selected to replace the late Waziri Abbas as a second member of the House of Assembly in Kaduna from Sokoto. Because Sardauna had some issues to pursue on the Native Authority staff condition he initially declined to accept the nomination which eventually opened the way for him to become Premier of Northern Nigeria. This is doubly significant.  In the first place it revealed his commitment to service just as it manifested his reluctance to grab an advantage for a lift in office.

 

The Northern Province Law School, Kano, was not open at the formative life of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello, he would have obviously preferred to attend this school which is a distinguished National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies institution. The idea to establish the school was original to Alhaji Muhammad Gidado, the Waziri of Kano.  He was inspired to give the advice to the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Abdullah Bayero due to his experience in the Sudan when he visited this country enroute to Makkah and Madinah for Hajj. He visited the Gordon College which eventually became the University of Khartoum and was pleased with the Islamic Law content of the institution. As principal adviser to the Emir Abdullah Bayero on religious matters, Waziri Gidado suggested the idea and it was accepted. The Emir needed to hold consultations with the Sultan and other Emirs with a view to securing the approval of the colonial authorities. This should not be difficult since it was the same British rulers that established the Gordon College in the Sudan. A committee was raised with the Sultan, the Emirs of Kano and Katsina and the mover of the concept Waziri Gidado.  The school was established in 193431.

 

The positive impact of this school in broadening the understanding of Sardauna and widening his horizon is significant. He has watched how the colonial rulers corrupt the natural rulers with material baits. He has been disturbed by the distortion of the glorious past of jihad leaders through indoctrination of pupils laden in the books written for them. In his bid not to lose touch with the pristine Islam he kept close to himself whoever was learned in Islamic fundaments. An illustration for this was his contact with young Abubakar Mahmud Gumi as a teacher at the Elementary Training Centre, Maru in the Sokoto emirate. Abubakar preferred to attend The Northern Province Law School, Kano, to the prestigious Kaduna College formerly Katsina College. He was viewed as being stupid to have rejected the Western type of education for the Islamic one. Inspite of the fact that he was eminently qualified for admission. However, Allah knows best how he disposes his affairs.

 

An incident happened at Maru which brought Abubakar Gumi to the reckoning of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello which lasted to the latter’s death. Abubakar also met Aminu Kano as a senior tutor and second in command to the English man who was the principal.  In view of the fact that every devout Muslim would wish to learn more about his religion, both Gumi and Aminu Kano organized their students to attend the Jumu’ah prayer at the Maru central mosque. Abubakar was surprised to discover that the imam and many other notable followers in the mosque observe their prayers with tayammum sand ablution. Since this for Jumu’ah prayer was contrary to the book of law in Islam, Abubakar wrote to Sultan Abubakar to use his good offices to correct that anomaly.

 

To show the degree of incongruence of these people with the early occupiers of the office who were erudite scholars of Islam, the Sultan referred Abubakar’s letter to the Native Authority Council. The Council had Ahmadu Bello and Waziri Junaid as members. The truth of the observation in Gumi’s letter was established but out of ego dressing, it was feared that if it was upheld it would open further pandora boxes to expose other shortcomings which would be inimical to the authority of the sultanate. Instead of commending the young Abubakar Gumi for his budding talents, a letter of condemnation was forwarded to the colonial rulers with lies against him to justify his punishment. Waziri Junaid wrote in his handwriting the popular Arabic expression: ‘This is time for being silent and keeping indoor in ones house, for whoever told the truth would die.’ The agony of an innocent young teacher after reading this could be imagined. On the part of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello he visited Abubakar in the school and gave him confidence that what he wrote was the truth. He assured him that nothing evil will touch him inspite of their steps. He gave him clothes, turban and money. That was the beginning of a union never to be broken throughout the life of Sardauana. He discovered in Gumi what he lacked by the circumstance of his time and he utilized this to the full to compliment his towering Islamic stature. It would seem as Ahmadu Bello listened to him even after death because of what happened on the day he was assassinated. It was the wish of Sardauna that he should be buried at Rabah close to Muhammad Bello, his great grandfather. Gumi then gave the fatwa that he should be buried where he was killed as martyr32. The Premier died as a man who died in the cause of Islam like the dead companions of Prophet Muhammed at Uhad.

 

Ahmadu Bello’s collaboration with Muslim South for the Growth of Arabic and Islamic Studies

Shaykh Adam Abdullah al-Ilory, a school first established founder of the famous Markaz Arabic Training Centre, at Abeokuta 1952 and moved to Agege Lagos in 1955, a prolific writer and a committed researcher had toured the Arab world in a bid to gather experiences to establish his school in 1946.33  During those trips he made acquaintances with notable men of letter such as Shaykh Mahmud Abu’l-llyun, a leading scholar of Alexandria, Egypt, Shaykh Shalabiy Yahya, Shaykh Uthman Murayziq, Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut and indeed the leader of the Ikhwan, who then as it is now dominated Egyptian politics, Hasanu’l-Banna’ all of whom were from Egypt34. He achieved this at a time when the colonial rulers were preventing the Muslim north to have anything to do with that country because of the Suez Canal crisis with Britain. He met many others in Sudan who could have been met by scholars from the North who had visited here like Wazir Gidado of Kano. He also met scholars like Shaykh Alawi Maliki and Muhammad al-Amin in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He also produced the first edition of his Islam in Nigeria and the Life of Shaykh Uthman dan Fodiyo in Arabic around 1949.

 

The Premier of Northern Nigeria recognized the talents of this Yoruba scholar and cultivated friendship with him. The fruit of the relationship was the utilization of the contacts of al-Ilory in the Arab World to form a world body of Muslims, Muslim World League.35  Premier Ahmadu Bello also visited many Muslim leaders in Africa and beyond. The two of them were founding members while Sir Ahmadu Bello was vice-President of the League until his death.

 

Both of them along with Shaykh Mahmud Gumi floated the idea until it came to fruition in 1962. This same year Markaz turned a decade after inception and in the spirit of solidarity Mallam Maitama Sule, the then Federal Minister of Mines and Power graced the occasion obviously to play the role of Sardauna. The death of Sardauna brought untold hardship to Shaykh al-Ilory. First he lost a co-worker for Islam, a lover of Arabic and Islamic Studies and a great grandson of Shaykh Muhammad Bello, son of Shaykh Uthman b. Fudi. It was as a result of the hostilities which trailed his assassination that urged al-Ilory to migrate his residence built by himself at Agege to buy a house at Surulere that same year. His death and the sense of anguish manifest in al-Ilory left a deep scar in our minds as students then in his Markaz. It showed that Shaykh al-Ilory lost a brother, a running mate in the relay for the development of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Nigeria. It was guessed that he obtained a relief when he produced a fresh and enlarged edition of his book al-Islam which now carried the name and the picture of Sardauna of Sokoto, the great grandchild of Shaykh Uthman b. Fudi and to whom the work was dedicated after the civil war. Both of them attracted funds from the Muslim world for the growth of Arabic in Nigeria.

 

How Sardauna Utilized His Political Powers for the Growth of Arabic and Islamic Studies

His political activities began with his active role in the formation of the Youth Social Circle in Sokoto in 1945, which later attracted membership from products of Katsina College. This body served as the nucleus in the formation of the Northern Peoples’ Congress in 1948 with Sardauna as founding President. He was elected from the Sokoto Province the same year to replace the late Waziri Abbas. He was an active participant in the Constitutional debates of 1948-1950 as the most respected voice from the North with the Federal Government. During the 1952 general elections held in Nigeria he was elected to the Northern House of Assembly with NPC having an overwhelming majority. He became Premier of Northern Nigeria in 1954 and remained so until he was assassinated on January 15, 1966. His party won the Nigerian general election in 1959 but he opted to remain the Premier of Northern Nigeria to enable him face squarely the task of development of the region and restoring the past glory of Islamic culture for which his forebears were celebrated. Rather he asked Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to assume leadership of Nigeria at the Federal level.

 

On 2nd June 195236,the Council of Ministers in Northern Nigeria presided over by Sir Ahmadu Bello set up a powerful committee to deliberate on how Higher Muslim Education  can be supported to satisfy the growing public opinion in the North. Membership of the committee included Emirs of Zaria and Misau, Ministers of Social Services, that of Community Development, that of Works, and Minister of Natural Resources. Others were Sardauna’s friend Wazir Junaid of Sokoto and Ciroman Kano among others. This Committee recommended in its report published in 1953 by the Government Printer, Kaduna, the need for the mainstreaming of the Arabic schools, provision of facilities for teaching students with little or no western education, expansion of the curricula of the Arabic teacher training schools, to provide manpower for the schools and breaking the schools into two streams. One stream concentrated on training teachers while the other stream focused on training of law students.37 Among the products of such schools were the rulers and administrators, the bureaucrats and judges of the Sharia courts nationwide while many of them went to the UK and the Sudan to further their education and they came back to Nigeria as doctors, University teachers, administrators, technocrats and judges of the civil courts and shariah Courts.

 

The law of Northern Nigeria on education established the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS) housed in the Ministry of Education Kaduna. The same government established the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria two years later. With the creation of states, there ceased to be a central government for the North. Thus, it was difficult to find a central place to accommodate the Board. As such, the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS) was and still is hosted by the Institute of Education, ABU, Zaria, till its recognition by the Federal Government in February 2011.

Sarduana’s Comments on Ministerial Special Committee Report on Arabic and Islamic Education

 

There was also set up in 1960 a Ministerial Special Committee headed by Alhaji Isa Kaita, Minister of Education, Ibrahim Musa Gashash, Minister of Land and Survey, member, Alhaji Ahman Pategi, Minister of Health, member, Alhaji Ibrahim Biu, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Works, member with Mallam Haliru Binji, the colleague of Mahmud Gumi at different levels who was a co-opted member and who also served as secretary. The comment of the Premier in a memo to the Minister reveals the mind of the Sardauna on NBAIS for the most of his life in power, part of which is quoted here:

 

Minister38:

‘I have gone through pp.11-13 but I regret I have seen nothing that attracts my mind to show that any immediate help is forthcoming to our Koranic Schools. I know your Ministry is full of British officials who are only out to help the Missionaries to firmly establish their own faith in this country and for that reason the large amounts of money you give to Voluntary Agencies are nothing compared to what I am asking for our people who are in majority.

2. Turning to P.12 in the minutes of your meeting on which I would like to make the following observations-

a) Your paragraph 2: how should Mallams be encouraged to improve their accommodations if they themselves have not got the means of doing so?

b) Paragraph 3: how many of these schools are there and where are they sited?

c) It is this teaching to the untrained Koranic Mallams which we have been asking your Ministry to give for the last five years but unfortunately every year the money earmarked you shifted it to Mission schools. How would you organize something that is not properly set up? And reading this paragraph in conjunction with paragraph 6-if I may ask-how many Grade II Teacher Training Centres and Grade III Teacher Training Centres have you got in the Region? For you to say that study classes have been opened in Kano is ridiculous compared with the Teacher Training Centres you do open annually. I myself (being the great grandson of Shehu Usman Dan Fodio) will strongly say that your Ministry is only paying attention to Western Education in place of our own Eastern Education which we inherited from our ancestors. Western Education is merely concerned with mundane affairs that would never save you in the next world.

3. I am sorry to be so critical but I feel if anything at all is to be done for our common people which they can see in the near future it has to be done without delay. I have done my work as a leader but I leave the judgment to God. I am sending copies of this minute to M. Ibrahim Musa Gashash, Alhaji Ahman Pategi and Alhaji Ibrahim Biu.

 Signed

Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello

Premier Northern Region

9/3/1960

 

A citation of part of this comments by the present writer received a wild cacophony from the over two thousand delegates comprising of permanent secretaries and directors of education nationwide during the Joint Consultative Committee on Education meeting at its plenary session in Jos 2010. The genuine mission of Sardauna could not possibly be faulted. NBAIS memorandum  faced the dangers of being stepped ground. We stood our ground and we made a careful explanation of the history, the roles, the intent and purpose of NBAIS as an examining body. The memorandum was passed unanimously the following day without any objection. The Honourable Minister of Education Professor Ruqayyat Ahmed Rufai who presided over the National Council on Education was fully in the mood to give NBAIS a fair hearing at its 57th meeting at Sokoto between 21st – 25th  February 2011. The reverse is unthinkable since as former Commissioner for Education in Jigawa State, her state was next only to Kano in the list of new NBAIS government schools established in the recent time. Thus it was a grand divine design that the mission initiated by the Sardauna of Sokoto in the middle of the 20th century was accomplished in his hometown.

 

If the Premier of Northern Nigeria was this bitter about the corruption in the diversion of government money for schools to the Christian missionary schools under a Muslim minister in the North with the protection of the colonial rulers, the level of similar exploitations for the same purpose in the Southwestern Nigeria can merely be imagined. This was neither with a traditional fiat nor a political power to checkmate them as obtainable in the North. Such economic exploitation deserves redress. Such redress can be nothing short of reparation from whatever is the heir of such administration. It means that contemporary and subsequent governments especially in the Southwest should embark on massive grant aiding of NBAIS schools in their states to compensate for the injustice of the colonial regime in the past. There should be no further playing a devil’s advocate that public funds cannot be expended on religious bodies the membership of which constitute majority of the masses and the electorates.

 

Carrying Along the NBAIS Spirit in the Establishment of Ahmadu Bello University

The British considered the possibility of the Kano School for Arabic to be affiliated to the University College, Ibadan when it was founded in 1948. This met with objections from those who knew that the North should be allowed to develop at its own pace. But Sir Ahmadu Bello established the Ahmadu Bello College, Kano which was located at the Kano School for Arabic Studies and under the charge of its principal the forerunner of academic study of Arabic in Nigeria, late Dr Aliyu Abubakar. In May 1959, the Sir Eric Ashby Commission on Higher Education in Post-Colonial Nigeria was inaugurated. The outcome of the efforts was the establishment of University of Nigeria Nsukka in1960, funded by the Eastern Region, the University of Ife, Ile-Ife  (now Obafemi Awolowo University). whose proprietor was Western Region and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, owned by the Northern Region. The Federal Government maintained the ownership of the University College Ibadan established as a College of the University of London and got full autonomy as University of Ibadan in 1962. The Federal Government added the University of Lagos also in 1962.

 

Now that ABU Zaria has become a reality the Ahmadu Bello College changed name to Abdullah Bayero College of ABU. The existing campus was maintained. The name was in recognition of the noble role played by the late Emir of Kano 1927-1953, who established the Kano Law School in 1934. S.A.S. Galadanchi , later professor of Arabic and Vice-Chancellor of Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto headed both the School for Arabic Studies and the new ABC, ABU.39 Sardauna always maintained a delicate balance between work and worship.

 

Thus it pleased Allah that Abdullah Bayero College should become a University now named Bayero University Kano, along with Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri University of Ilorin, Ilorin and University of Jos, Jos all located in the North of Sardauna’s dream. It is instructive to note that all these Universities located in the north are in the forefront in the growth and development of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Nigeria.

National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies

as a Nation Builders

NBAIS has contributed its quota to the modern Nigeria for the past six decades judging from the quantity, quality and diversity of the roles of its products in all walks of life. They are the forerunners in the integration of the almajiri system of education. NBAIS system of education as a nation builder is in the forefront of the educational and moral advancement of the country. As though a pyramidal structure, the largest numbers of its products are teaching in the Primary schools, Secondary Schools, Colleges of Education, while some of them teach in the Polytechnics and the Universities.

 

Many of the products of NBAIS are past and serving professors, past and serving Vice-chancellors. Professors S.A.S. Galadanchi, Abubakar Gwandu, M. Sani Zahradeen, Razaq Abubakre, Munzali Jibril, Mustapha Abubakar and Ishaq Oloyede are few examples of products of NBAIS who were former Vice-Chancellors or an Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission. Many of them were past and serving judges of the High Courts, Appeal Court and Supreme Court. All the past and present Khadis and Grand Khadis nationwide are products of the NBAIS system of education. Many products were posted to Nigerian Missions abroad not necessarily in the Middle East where their cognate knowledge is centrally relevant but also in the rest of the world. Indeed Sardauna Ahmadu Bello mooted the idea of sending Shaykh Abubakar Gumi one of the early products of NBAIS to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1960 as first ambassador of this country in Riyadh, but for the latter’s passion for judiciary. He and his friend Haliru Binji became Grand Khadis of Northern Nigeria and North Western State respectively. The latter was the first Coordinator of NBAIS in 1959.

 

The examining bodies and agencies for quality assurance employ products of NBAIS system of education. Such bodies include the West African Examination Council, National Examinations Council, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council and National Universities Commission where they hold key positions. The Nigerian Army employs them in their education corps, the imamate section and the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna. The Nigeria Police Force also enrol them for their spiritual, moral and intellectual qualities.

 

Many products went into business utilizing the training of hard work, perseverance, discipline, honesty and fear of Allah in their transactions. Many of them have made headway with this and are now paying back their alma mater through establishment of NBAIS recognized schools nationwide. Many of the products are imams in mosques across the country while many of them are social workers inviting people to what is right and discouraging people from doing what is wrong.

 

Products of NBAIS are technocrats in the various Federal and State government ministries serving in different capacities. Those who have flair for politics have risen through the ladder to occupy almost all available positions in the Nigerian polity. It is no surprise that the first civilian President of Nigeria Alhaji Shehu Shagari has established an NBAIS recognized school at his homestead. This attempt should be understood as acknowledgement of the system that produced him. The Senator representing the district of the present writer in the current National Assembly attended Markaz, Agege the pivot of NBAIS in the Southwest.

 

The quest for national recognition for NBAIS coincided with the steps recently taken by the Federal Government to streamline various activities of the almajiri schools for survival. Before the present Ag. Registrar of NBAIS, Professor Shafi aAbdullahi40 took over, there were just few schools established by different State governments such as Kano, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kwara, Borno, Adamawa among other states in the north. The accreditation of private similar schools by the Institute of Education ABU Zaria received a boost when this coordinator came on board. Indeed, these state governments increased the number of schools they inherited from their predecessors. Before this regime, accreditation by the Institute of Education was limited to the north. But now this was extended to cover the south where schools pass the accreditation exercise of the Institute of Education ABU Zaria. The national recognition for the NBAIS activities was achieved in February, 2011 at the 57th National Council on Education meeting in Sokoto on which the Honorable Minister of Education Professor Ruqayyat Ahmed Rufai MON has the following to say:

   The activities of the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS) were accorded national recognition by the 57th Meeting of the National Council on Education (NCE) in February, 2011 at its meeting in Sokoto. This recognition was long overdue considering the board’s long record of coordinating the academic activities as well as certification of products of Arabic and Islamic Secondary Schools spread across the country.41

 

Significance of Cooperation between Markaz Agege with its Allies in South Western Nigeria and National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies

It is instructive to note that the process of achieving this recognition was through the efforts aformidable team of scholars largely from Ahmadu Bello and was headed by one of the products of Markaz, the present writer. This recognition should not be cast to the stone, because there is a strong convergence between the two approaches of Markaz started by Mawlana Adam ‘Abdullah al-Ilory and NBAIS introduced by Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, both of whom devoted their lives to working towards the same goal, both of whom were intimate due to commonality of interest.

 

The NBAIS curriculum covers/ junior secondary level and senior secondary level. The present level of tahdiri at Markaz will not be covered by NBAIS. This should be devoted to intensive training in Arabic and Islamic Studies without any intrusion of English. This is attainable because many of us who carry aloft the banner of Markaz such as Shaykhs Raji Sulayman, ‘Abdul-Ghaniyy Salahu ‘d-Din, Mustafa Zaghlul ‘s-Sunusi, Abdur-Razzaq ‘Abdur-Rahman, Kamil Husain Raji, Murtada A-Bidmasi, Ishaq O. Oloyede, Senator Husain and the present writer spent only four years as students at Markaz.

 

The ‘idadi and tawjihi levels should adopt the NBAIS curricular. The result will be far reaching in opening new vistas of opportunities for the products to aspire to be whatever they choose as their careers. It should be noted that many products of Markaz branched out to study other courses at degree level in the Arab world. Many of such followed the example of the number one product of Markaz Shaykh Raji Sulayman who graduated with bachelor’s degree in English from al-Azhar and the indefatigable Secretary General of Niqabatu ‘l Markaziyyin,late Dr Hamid Ibrahim Olagunju who studied Translation also at al-Azhar University in Cairo. We should now see future products of Markaz with NBAIS certification specializing in medicine, engineering, pharmacy and common law when this collaboration being proposed comes to fruition. It will not reduce an inch from the solid background they have attained in Arabic and Islamic Studies. As a step in this direction the numbers of NBAIS zones which were hitherto restricted to Kaduna, Bauchi, Kwara and Kano to cover the whole of the North have been increased to six zones. Zone 5 covers the South Western Nigeria with its headquarters in Ibadan and Zone 6 covers the South Eastern Nigeria with its seat at Nsukka, Enugu State.

 

NBAIS has now joined the league of recognized examination bodies such as WAEC, NECO and NABTEB. Just as the last one mentioned here was established especially for business and technical education, NBAIS was created especially for the madaris in Nigeria to enable the products catch up with the trends of education in modern Nigeria. The struggle for recognition was tough as stones, scorpions and snakes were met on the way. But Allah granted us success from the Joint Consultative Committee, Reference meeting at Uyo in April, 2010. The Joint Consultative Committee, Plenary meeting at Jos in July 2010 and finally the National Council on Education meeting chaired by the Honorable Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayat Ahmed Rufai and attended by all State Commissioners of Education in Nigeria held in Sokoto in February 2011. It was here that the recognition was accorded and NBAIS is reckoned with in all subsequent activities of the Federal Ministry of Education. The Honourable Minister of Education and the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha as well as the Director of the Institute of Education, Professors M. S. Aliu and Y. K. Kajuru are acknowledged for their unalloyed support towards the autonomy of NBAIS. The current Vice- Chancellor of ABU Zaria succinctly put the history, definition and function of NBAIS when he says:

   In 1960, the Board, which was established as a unit, was responsible for inspection, supervision and examination control of the then established Arabic institutions under the defunct Ministry of Education of Northern Nigeria with Headquarters in Kaduna. The Board is one of the important legacies of the late premier of Northern Nigeria, Sardauna of Sokoto. Under the effective supervision and coordination of the Institute of Education, Ahmadu Bello University, as a result of the transfer in 1967 to the Institute of Education, NBAIS became stronger and covered the whole of Northern Nigeria and some parts of South Western States. Presently, the Board has a total of 298 schools and colleges both at Junior and Senior School levels.42

 

The Ministry of Education is assisting NBAIS in many ways even after the National recognition. Fund indeed is an area of challenge which all the stakeholders should face up to. One significant remark is that successive governments in the North whether military or civilian followed the footstep of Sir Ahmadu Bello even after the breaking of the region to nineteen states. Each state government is a proprietor of  over eighty percent of such schools. This was a reality that could not be compromised as pay back on the struggle of Usman b. Fudi and his followers up till the time of his great grandson Sir Ahmadu Bello. Conversely, the proselytization of Islam and the growth of Arabic learning and Islamic Studies in the Southwest rested on individual activities and reformists, the head of which indubitably was Shaykh Adam Abdullah al-Ilory the most prolific author of Arabic books in the 20th Century West Africa. The time is now to give effect to their common purpose of Muslim Unity. It was for the same purpose Sardauna established Jama’at Nasril Islam and and al-Ilory founded the League of Imams and Alfas in Western Nigeria which coincided with the 10th Anniversary of Markaz in 1962. The two of them worked together to see the formation of the Muslim World League realisable.

 

Markaz  at sixty should therefore cooperate with NBAIS at sixty while the latter should also encourage Markaz. Markaz had its first offshoot in 1957 when Arabic Institute was established by Shaykh Murtada Abdus Salam in Elekuro Ibadan and relied on Markaz for curriculum, staffing, textbooks and school management. Many more have followed suit across the West Africa. This cooperation of Sardauna Ahmadu Bello and Adam Abdullah al-Ilory at the global level which led to the establishment of the Islamic University in Madinah reveals further the strength in solidarity. It is this University that has admitted a large number of products of NBAIS for training in character and in learning. The returnees are busy contributing their quota to nation building. The labour of our past heroes has not, by the grace of Allah, been a nullity.

 

The membership of the Muslim World League joined the Muslims of Nigeria in mourning the assassination of Sardauna. But as if he knew that his time on earth was short he strengthened his relationship with Shaykh Adam Abdullah al-Ilory 1917-1992 and Shaykh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi 1924-1992. The former was in constant contact with the scholars in the Muslim World like Shaykh Abdu ‘l-Aziz b. Baz who became Secretary General of the Muslim World League and foundation Vice- Chancellor of the Islamic University, Madinah. Shaykh Gumi who has proved his stuff and make as a scholar, a puritan Muslim and the most intimate jurist with Sardauna carried forward the intellectual jihad of the family of Shaykh Uthman b. Fudi.

 

King Faisal of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia employed the expertise of the duo to have meanings of the Glorious Qur’an translated to Hausa and Yoruba and had them published by the Muslim World League in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One of them rejected Sufism while the other called for moderation since the reform in Saudi Arabia which came on the heals of Shaykh Muhammad b. Abdul Wahhab’s Jihad was in a different setting while that of Shaykh Uthman b. Fudi of Nigeria with its uproaring success did not reject Sufism. Shaykh Adam ‘Abdullah chose Shaykh Abdullah Fudi the emir of Gwandu as his role model and pursued this as a prolific author to be matched throughout his life. Gumi was doyen of Shari’ah in Nigeria. In view of the achievements of these two great scholars companions of Ahmadu Bello can anyone doubt the towering legacy of Sardauna?

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

The story of the Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies can correctly be told by Allah, the Author of the Universe and the all seeing narrator of all events and the determiner of same. That is why we have attempted to follow Him as the events unfolded. Would Ahmadu Bello have served Islam better if he had become Sultan of Sokoto in 1948? Nay Allah had bigger assignments for him. Would it have been better for him to study the fundaments of Islam in depth like Waziru Junaid, Adam Abdullah al-Ilory, Nasiru Kabara, Mahmud Gumi and Haliru Binji? No Allah knows that he needed a reasonable exposure in the Western type of education to enable him put his talent to work. Would it have been better for him to become Prime Minister of Nigeria when his party won the general election of 1959? Far from this, Allah wanted him to write his qualities of humility, total commitment to work and worship in letters of gold for posterity to judge. He saw himself as noble offspring of his great forebear. That was why he worked with all for the development of all and cooperated with all to ensure worship in Islam was not corrupted. He established ABU so that North will not lag behind in the independent Nigeria. He established Abdullah Bayero College Kano as campus of ABU so that the duty of scholarship in Islam was not compromised.

 

His gruesome murder opened the door for a culmination of events among which is breaking of the Northern States. But he had acted well before this by making the Institute of Education have a strong tie with Northern Region Government which was unique. It was a precursor for the transfer of NBAIS to this place after the break up of Northern Nigeria into states in 1967. His love for what NBAIS stood for made the crest of the University to carry its name in Arabic just like that of the University of Ibadan crest which carried a Latin aphorism. Let NBAIS carry on the work of Sardauna by encouraging the teeming schools of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the South Western Nigeria and the East to get accredited and certificated.

 

It was perhaps due to Sardauna’s total commitment to right guidance, solidarity of mankind and straight behavior that his enemies were displeased with him. We have from the archives that he was more disposed to work with Awolowo than with Azikiwe. That was why his younger brothers in Islam Mallam Aminu Kano and Saad Zungeru who were Zikists were not close to him even though both of them have a convergence of interest in their acumen to learn the prestine Islam and abide by it. On the other hand, himself and Alhaji Gbadamosi Adegoke Adelabu had soft spots for each other. So, when Ladoke Akintola gave him the opportunity to work with the Yoruba, where his Muslim brothers and many contributors and products of the NBAIS abound in majority he seized the advantage. Then there was a coup masterminded by a section of this country the agents of Zionism resulted in the killings of the Muslims and their allies. If it was not decreed that he would not live longer than his great grandfather Muhammad Bello, Allah, the Lord of the universe would have guided him to stay behind as guest of King Faisal b. Abdul-Aziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after performing the Umurah in January 1966. We praise Him for His superior  wisdom because Sardauna’s legacies live on.

Recommendations

 

1.            The Federal Government should support NBAIS by establishing a minimum of one Federal Government College that will run the curriculum of the NBAIS in all relevant states of the Federation

2.            The State Governments that have established NBAIS type of schools should increase them now that the syllabus has been mainstreamed without losing its identity.

3.            State Governments that should have established NBAIS schools such as Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti and Edo States should follow the example of their counterparts that have done so.

4.            Efforts should be geared towards upgrading the Shari’ah Schools in Kano, Sokoto, Maiduguri and Ilorin to Universities by relevant Governments.

5.            Lagos State Government should build another campus for Markaz and turn the Agege Campus to a University.

6.            Osun State Government should support the efforts of the sponsors of the proposed Inayatullah University at Iwo and the proposed Hijrah University at Ede to ensure the early take off of the two Institutions.

7.            Oyo State Government should support the Arabic Institute of Nigeria, Elekuro, Ibadan to become a University.

8.            Ogun State Government should support Moshood Abiola College of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Abeokuta to become a University.

9.            Ondo State Government should support the Arabic Institute in Owo to become a University

10.          Kwara State Government should grant aid the Al-Azhar Institute of Shaykh Kamalu ‘d-Din and Daru ‘l-ulum of Shaykh al-Ilory as well as Muhyideen College, Ilorin to become Universities.

11.          The Federal Ministry of Education should consider NBAIS for some form of take off grant to make its autonomy less tight financially.

Notes and References

 

1.            The Name Ghana was used by the Arab geographers to designate the Soninke Kingdom which probably corresponded to the South-east of Mauritania and the West of Mali. For the naming of the Kingdom as Ghanah, see Nehemia Levtzion, Ancient Ghanah and Mali (London, 1973), p.3. He attributes the naming to an Arab geographer, al-Fazari.

2.            A.R. as Sa- ‘di, ta rikhu ‘s-Sudan, 1665 p.9, quoted by J.S. Trimingham, A History of Islam in West Africa (London, 1963), p.48. See also Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354, edited and translated by H.A.R. Gibb (London, 1929), p.380.fn 21.

3.            Trimingham, 1963, A History of Islam, p.48.

4.            Federal Republic of Nigeria, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Lectures for the Orientation, anonymous (np Lagos?) July 1973, p.27

5.            N. Levtzion,  ‘Patterns of Islamization in West Africa’, in N. Levtzion  (ed.), Conversion to Islam  (New York and London 1979), p. 209

6.            Levtzion, however is not specific on the dating. He puts the time when Ghanah regained her independence from the almoravids at the beginning of the twelfth century. Levtzion, 1973, Ancient Ghanah and Mali. p. 46

7.            Levtzion, ibid., p.63, sees the Mali Empire as something that can be telescoped into four generations of greatness and decline from its beginning in the first half of the thirteenth century, to the reign of Niani Mansa Mamudu (‘circa.1600)

8.            Federal Republic of Nigeria (NYSC) Lectures (1973), p.28

9.            This was said to be the first Negro Muslim State and it explains why almost every Negro land was regarded as Takrur by Arabic writers. In reality, the name may apply only to Tokolor i.e. Senegalese Futa alone. An example of this is Muhammad Bello’s naming of his account on the jihad as ‘infaqu ‘l-maysur fi tarikhi biladi ‘t-takrur, See also N. Levitzion (ed.), Conversion to Islam (New York and London, 1979), p.208 See also J.S. Trimingham, 1963, pp.41-2

10.          H. Barth, Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa, 1857-1859 (London, 1965), II,pp.583-4)

11.          R.D. Abubakre, The Interplay of Arabic and Yoruba Cultures in South-Western Nigeria, Daru’l-Ilm, Iwo, 2004, pp5-6

12.          R. Smith, Kingdoms of the Yoruba (London, 1969), p.7

13.          R. Law, The Oyo Empire (1600-1836),  a West African Imperialism in the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade (Oxford, 1977), p.7, disagrees with the classification of the old Oyo site into the Guinea forest zone.

14.          R. Smith, ‘Ijaiye: the Western Palatine of the Yoruba’, in  JHSN, vol.II, no.3 (December, 1962), p. 331.

15.          S. Johnson, The History of the Yoruba (London, 1921), p. 179.

16.          W. Bascon, The Yoruba of South Western Nigeria (New York 1969), p.4.

17.          W. Reade, The Wanderings of Mine in Senegambia (London, 1873), I, p.311; see also Professor M.S. Elgarh’s foreword to A. Ajetunmobi, A School Certificate Arabic (Ibadan, 1973).

18.          As- Sa’di, Tarikh., quoted by Trimingham, A History of Islam, p.93.

19.          I. Salih Tarikh ‘I-Islam wahayatu ‘l-’Arab fi ambraturiyyati Kanim Burnu- (Mustafa ‘l-Babi ‘I-Halabi, Cairo, 1976) pp 62-6

20.          M. Hiskett, The Development of Islam in West Africa (London and Newyork, 1984), p.61.

21.          Ibid-p.46.

22.          N. Levtzion, ”Abd-Allah b. Yasin and the Almoravids,” in J.R. Willis, (ed.) Studies in West African Islamic History. Vol.1. The Cultivators of Islam, (Frank Cass, London, 1979), pp78-80

23.          ‘Abd ‘r- Rahman as-Sa’di Tarikh ‘s-Sudan, (edited by O. Hondas), (Paris, 1900), p.37; Ahmad Baba at-Timbukti Naylu’ l-Ibtihaj bitatrizid-Dabaj on the margin of Ibrahim b. Farhun, ad-Dibaju-’l-Mudhahhb, (Cairo, 1932-33) p343; ADH Bivar and M. Hiskett, ‘The Arabic Literature of Nigeria to 1804. A Provisional Account’ in BSOAS, Vol.25:1, (1962) pp 104-48

24.          R.C.C. Law, The Oyo Empire-c 1836, a West African Imperialism in the Era of Atlantic Slave Trade, (OUP, London, 1977, pp 75-76).

25.          S. Agourides, “Greek Byzantine Bias about Islam: The influence of National Social and Cultural Factors” unpublished conference paper presented at the Dialogue for Muslim-Christian Fellowship and Understanding by Council for the World Religions held at Istanbul Turkey 1991.

26.          A.B. Fafunwa, History of Education in Nigeria (George Allen and Uwin Ltd, London, 1974), p.74.

27.          A. Mustapha, “Sabotage in Patronage: Islamic Education Under Colonial Rule in Nigeria“, in NATAIS, 6:1, (2001), p.1

28.          Jean Boyd with H.M. Maishanu, Sultan Siddiq Abubakar 111, Sarkin Musulumi, (Spectrum Books Ltd Ibadan, 1991), p.4

29.          “Sir Ahmadu Bello“, Gale Encyclopaedia of Biography (1909-1966).

30.          Jean Boyd with H.M. Maishanu, Sultan Siddiq Abubakar 111, Sarkin Musulumi, (Spectrum Books Ltd Ibadan, 1991), p.9.

31.          Sheikh Abubakar Gumi with Ismaila .A. Tsiga, Where I Stand (Spectrum Books Ltd, Ibadan, 1992), pp.30-32.

32.          Sheikh Abubakar Gumi with I.A. Tsiga, Where I stand, 1992, p.113

33.          R.D. Abubakre “Dawru ‘sh-Shaykh Adam Abdullah al-Ilory fi tanwiri ‘l-mustaqbal  lillughati ‘l-Arabiyyah wa’d-d irasati ‘l-Islamiyyah fi Nijiriya” in R.D. Abubakre, (ed.) Ash-Shaykh Adam  Abdullah al-Ilory fi Mawkibi ‘l-Khalidin, 2012, vol  1. p.31

34.          Mahdiy Satiy, ad-Da’iyatu ‘sh-Shaykh Adam al-Ilory, hayatuh waatharuhu ‘l-’ilmiyyah in R.D. Abubakre, (ed.), Shaykh Adam Abdullah Al-Ilory fi mawkibi’l-Khalidin, vol. 1, University of Ilorin Library and Publications Committee as well as The Nigerian Center for Arabic Research, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, citing al-Ilory min huna nasha’ tu wahakadha ta’allamtu hatta kharajtu, Thaqafah, Agege, 1991, p.17

35.          H.E. Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar “Shaykh Adam Abdullah Al-Ilory, A Universal Citizen” in R.D. Abubakre, (ed.), Shaykh Adam Abdullah Al-Ilory in the Tableau of Immortality Vol. 11, University of Ilorin Library and Publications Committee as well as The Nigerian Center for Arabic Research, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2012 p. Xxvi.

36.          Report on the Committee on Higher Muslim Education 1953, Government Press Kaduna.

37.          Report on the Committee on Higher Muslim Education 1953 p.4

38.          Premier’s Comments 1960 folios 14-15.

39.          A.M. Jega, I.A. Abba and H. Wakili (eds.) Consolidating the Citadel, Bayero University, Kano, 1994-2004 Centre for Democracy Research, Kano, 2004 pp3-4

40.          Past Co-ordinators of NBAIS were Haliru Binji 1959-1962, Mukhtar Abdr-rahman 1968-1986, Faruk Imam 1986-1989, Muhammad Shafiu Abdullahi 1989-2006, Muhammad Aminu Shehu 2006-2010 and Musa Rilwanu 2010-2011

41.          R.A. Rufai, “Foreword” to NBAIS JAISC and SAISC Curriculum 2011, p.1

42.          Abdullahi Mustapha, “Welcome Address Delivered by the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, at the Institutional Stakeholders Conference organized by the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies at Sokoto from 11th-13th January, 2011” private circulation p.1

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