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Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Ibrahim Bamba: A tribute

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By Professor Salisu Shehu

My first sight of Dr. Ahmad Bamba was 37 years ago in 1984 in the Ummah Mosque at the Old
Campus, Bayero University Kano where I just got registered as a pre-degree student.

Although the Central Mosque in Bayero University Kano would always be the first sight of any visitor or newly arriving student to the university, having been strategically located near the Main Gate, the Ummah Mosque may be the first place of worship for the new resident (on campus) student because of its location between the two major and oldest faculties of the university – the Faculty of Arts and Islamic Studies (FAIS) and the Faculty of Education. Because of its lively nature and vibrancy – series of nasihas, ta’alims, Qur’anic study circles and Tajweed, Arabic classes and even sometimes, very hot intra-faith dialogues and debates – Ummah Mosque, therefore, would always easily capture every newly arriving young Muslim student.

It was quite rare to see non-students’ faces at the Ummah Mosque except during Zuhr and Asr prayers when some visitors and lecturers might be around to join the congregation. There was however, a non- student face that was very familiar in the mosque most especially, during Zuhr prayer and seldom during Maghrib; that was Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ibrahim Bamba’s. He would certainly be the first lecturer students that used to regularly attend congregational prayer in Ummah Mosque would be familiar with because of his regular presence.

My first countenance of Dr. Ahmad in mosque reminded me of my first IRK teacher at Teachers College – Sheikh Yahya Abdul’Azeez – a fully bearded Pakistani Sheikh. On my first sight of Sheikh Dr. Ahmad in Ummah Mosque the memories of Sheikh Abdul’Azeez suddenly came back to my mind. More strikingly however, the sights of the two gentlemen present to the heart a mien of piety that sometimes made you think of the countenances of the Sahaba, or so we used to think as young people that still had some elements of naivety in our thoughts.

Our admiration of Sheikh Dr. Ahmad was ceaseless whenever he came and prayed with us in Ummah Mosque and left. But our interaction with him was no more than the salaam and typically, he would wave at you and make his way out or extend his hand for a shake when you happen to be close enough to him. The first time I had a conversation with him or heard him speak to me was when I was appointed as an imam in the mosque.

With the vestiges of adolescent exuberance and obsession for fashionable and smart appearance, my wardrobe had more of the fashionable shirts and trousers of the time (TOBI shirts/jeans and HARA trousers) than kaftans. Invariably, therefore, the imam in me would most of the time lead prayers in the said kinds of fashionable shirts and trousers in Ummah Mosque. I led the Maghrib prayer one day. After the prayer, Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Bamba called me, held my hand and led the way outside the mosque. In his typical gentle manner and way he said, “Liman, yaya kokari”. I replied, “Alhamdulillah”, with a mixture of exciting and nervous mien. He then said to me, “Toh liman ga karatu mai kyau, amma kuma kullum ana mana Sallah kai babu hula?” With a sigh of relief, I said , “Na Gode Mallam, insha Allah, za a gyara.”. It was both an awesome and joyful moment
for me. But what was most instructive was the fact that that simple and gentle counsel not only made me appreciate that I was no longer just an ordinary student on campus but I was treading the path of spiritual leaders, it also changed my life in terms of personal disposition and appearance on campus and beyond.

A second experience with Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Bamba made me a witness to his magnanimity. It was in the case of attending his Hadith class for students offering Islamic Studies as Special Honours. I was not one, so I could not register for that course. I offered Islamic Studies as a subsidiary course but I was interested in attending his special or rather advanced Hadith class. All my friends and classmates were encouraging me to just enter the class and that they were sure Malam would not send me out. On the second or third lecture day, I joined some of these mates. I sat in the class with some bit of nervousness. Sheikh entered the class, conducted his lesson and alhamdulillah, he did not send me out. He definitely saw me, and he definitely knew that I was not duly registered for that course because it was a small class of less than 15 students. By virtue of my imamship in Ummah Mosque, I was already a familiar face to him. With a deep sense of appreciation, I must say that, that opportunity was my first experience with not only some of the basic and essential rudiments of Ilm al-Hadith but was also the greatest inspiration for deeper and more advanced study of the field.
After graduation in 1988, I got intellectually and personally reconnected with him when I returned to Bayero University Kano in 1991 to pursue my Master’s degree. That was the year Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Bamba started his very awesome, weekly/weekend Hadith Ta’alim sessions, beginning with Sahih al-Bukhari in the BUK Central Mosque, a teaching-cum- admonishment exercise that he continued to conduct uninterruptedly with a great sense of passion, vigour, consistency and rare faith and commitment for 30 years.

Breaking:Renown Hadith Translator Dr Ahmad Is Dead

In the Hadith Ta’alim sessions, we did not only learn the texts of the Hadiths and elements of Mastalahul Hadith but we also learnt to be much more committed to Sunnah in terms of faith and practice. Quite instructively also, we learnt lots and lots and lots of the Aqwal (wise or sayings) of the salafs, many aspects of Usul al-Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), Qaw’id al- Fiqh (Jurisprudential principles and maxims) and many Islamic religious and Jahiliyyah poetries (Qasa’id and Shu’ara’ al-Jahiliyyah).
Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Bamba did not only contribute to the knowledge of Hadith through the Ta’alim sessions, he also contributed to it through authorship. Within the first three years after the commencement of the Sahih al Bukhari lessons, one of his very scholarly Hadith works was released was his Takhreej and Tahqeeq work on Imam al- Bukhari’s “Juz al-Qira’ah Khalf al-Imam.

For Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Bamba, it was a life well spent. Thirty solid years of uninterrupted teaching of the Hadiths of the Prophet (s.a.w) was not just a monumental intellectual and scholarly contribution but evidence of true love of and for our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w).

The death of our most honourable Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Ibrahim Bamba is certainly a tragic loss to the world of knowledge and Da’awah.

Prof Shehu is the Vice Chancellor, Al- Istiqama University, Sumaila, Kano State

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Remembering my late sister: Hajiya Salamatu Ajiun Abdulrauf

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By AbdurRaheem Sa’ad Dembo

It was at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, precisely May 22nd, 2020 and a day to the end of Ramadan fast when death struck and took her away from us. On the 29th day of Ramadan, she was served her food to break fast but she could not, and that marked the end of an era in our family. Her selflessness was beyond
description. A good family woman who did not in any way jettison her family. She could travel from Lagos to Ilorin in order to attend family events as many times as possible within a year. She was not a millionaire but she had a heart of giving. Her investment on us has paid off.

We lost our father at a time some of us could not fend for ourselves but we have elder brothers, sisters and even cousins who were selfless, and they assisted us in actualizing our dreams. A woman would always be woman; they have large heart and there is a way they always do their things with care and spice. As an undergraduate student in Bayero University, Kano; before resuming to school for a new semester, it was willy-nilly to visit Lagos and get cash from her.

My observation of her was that of a woman with a great mind. She was not educated as such but had exposure that could match or compete with some who had privilege to get higher education. How do you know a great mind? Certainly, it is through selfless attitude and her contributions to humanity. There is no any discussion you would embark upon and she would not contribute immensely. At that point you would look and appreciate her for being an enlightened person.

I learnt the culture of giving from observing my father and selflessness of my brothers and sisters; it is a profitable enterprise. If I have had selfish brothers, sisters and cousins I might not have had the opportunity of going to school. I might have ended up somewhere less glamorous in the society. An educated person sometimes may not be rich or enmesh in a perpetual poverty but he would be free from shackles of ignorance and penury. Like the common saying “We are acquiring education to overcome or have a say over poverty” .But being educated and rich at the same time; ultimately the prerogative of Allah

If you are building somebody; you are invariably helping yourself. My sister is no more alive but her good deeds still illuminating and resonating in our minds. Despite her huge investment in us, she would never ask you to go and bring anything even though she deserved everything from us.

Significantly, it is not until one is rich before he or she can help. If one is waiting for that time, it may never come. Like the popular saying on the social media, “it is not the rich people that help, but the good people”.

My sister was blunt; if you had offended her she would tell you. She had no heart for malice. Another beautiful thing about her was the way she united the family. She did not belong to that class of women that would say “let us scatter everything”. Of course, if you scatter everything, everything would go worse.

If we’re alive and seeing each other; it is a rare opportunity to be kind and fair to one another. The reason is simple, because there would be a time death will overtake us one after the other and we would account for our deeds. We should always be patient with one another. A united family is far greater and stronger than the scattered ones.

On 12th December, 2023 I was in Lagos on official assignment, but I was not elated. I told my nephew that any time I was in Lagos it was usually a boring experience after my sister’s demise.

Eulogising our own Ajiun Omo Ade in a singular tone of mine won’t be sufficient and that’s why I had to reach out to some members of the family to tell their own perspective of her.

A foremost politician, Alhaji Ahmad Alfa Dembo describes her this way, “Ajiun united the family and would never want to see anyone in difficulty. She always rejoiced with whoever that was doing well among family members.She would ensure that she prevents anything that might pave way for misunderstanding among family members. She was a great lover of the family”

A retired Warrant Officer II , Nigerian Army, Mallam Usman Dembo captured her personality thus “She was very liberal , accommodating, and has no hate in her mind. She was honest and straight-forward .Above all ,she was always on the side of the truth.May Allah increase His mercy on her.

Alhaji Shuaib Lanre Dembo, a retired Training Manager, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja said,” Ajiun was a team player who felt at home with everyone in the family irrespective of the lineage. She was so much loved by my wife because she accorded my wife the respect she gave me. She helped resolved some disputes I can’t mention here. She is really missed.”

The Imam of Masalasi Alfa n’ta ,Sheikh Salihu Sa’ad Dembo said Alhaja Ajiun was a good elder sister , who had done her best in uniting the family of her father and that of her husband. She was generous, prayerful, kind, and one who hardly gets angry. She was a guardian to him as her advice had worked for him on several occasions. He asserted that to the best of his knowledge, she was submissive and kind to her husband.He prayed Allah to overlook her inadequacies and that of her husband by granting them aljannah firdaus

Hajiya Maryam Imam Bashir, who is the second wife of Chief Imam of Ilorin describes her aptly: “She was kind and generous,and a family unifier.May Allah grant her aljannah firdaus”

Sheikh Hassan Sa’ad Dembo,who is also the Khalifatul Quadriyya in Portharcourt ,River State opines “Alhaja Salamatu Ajiun was a good sister, she united the family and was not selfish. She always stand with family members either in good or bad time. During my wedding she bought
clothes for me and my wife. If you visit her in Lagos she would treat you with comprehensive hospitality”

In the words of Ajanasi Makana,Mallam Yusuf Sa’ad Dembo, “She was so compassionate, kind, prayerful, and she loved saying the truth”

Mrs Shakira Abdulrauf is her eldest child. Here is what she has to say about her late mother,” My mother was not temperamental. She was kind, caring, and a family unifier.

She was so generous that she could spend her last kobo and began to look for another money the following day.

She had no hate and did not underrate anyone either among friends or family. May Allah continue to grant her mercy by granting her aljannah firdaus”

Yusuf Issa Aloba, a staff of Kwara Inland Revenue Service also has this to say about her
“She was generous to a fault, she was a pillar for me during my undergraduate days, She upheld the family ties.

I know I owe her a lot. I’m happy that at least I was able to visit her during an official training in Lagos, at the same house we used to stay whenever we went for holidays . She was very happy when she saw me, she said ” Amuda, eku ojo meta”

When I heard the news of her death I was shocked and I said to myself, I’m I dreaming? I wished she could live longer for me to reciprocate her generosity. May jannatul Firdaus be her final abode.”

Alhaja Ajiun was not only a sister but also Godsent. She understood me so much that by mere looking at me she knew what I wanted.May Allah forgive her shortcomings.

Finally, May Allah reward her with aljannah firdaus and bless her children she left behind.Ya Allah equally bless those who have touched our lives positively: family members, friends, and outsiders.

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Tribute To Late Justice Ahmad Belgore

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By AbdurRaheem Sa’ad Dembo

Death is an inevitable
visitor. When it strikes its victims it’s usually the end of an era. It was in the morning of Eid-l-Fitri, which was 10th April, 2024 I read the news of the demise of Justice Ahmad Olanrewaju Belgore, who died the previous night. He was a star in the judiciary because of his piety, consistency and fairness.

Many prominent Nigerians have sent their condolences to his family, Ilorin Emirate and Nigeria judiciary. One significant thing about late Justice was the fact that his life as a judge was filled with face of humanity.

Emir of Ilorin Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari and Chairman of Kwara State Traditional Rulers Council in his condolence message described the demise of Justice Belgore as a big loss to the Ilorin Emirate and the Nation at large.

According to the Emir “Belgore was one of the finest justices that the Ilorin Emirate had ever produced, who contributed in no small measures to the growth and development of the judiciary in particular and humanity in general.He prayed that Almighty Allah accept his good deeds, forgive his shortcomings and admit
him into aljannah firdaus.

The Turaki of Ilorin Emirate, Senator Saliu Mustapha has also expressed grief over the death of the legal luminary, described him as a renowned jurist who lived and served the country with his knowledge of the law as an examplary member of the bench.

Senator Mustapha while commiserating with the Nigerian Bar Association on the death of Justice Ahmad Belgore noted that the late jurist contributed immensely to the development of his community and the state in general. Recalling his years of service in the judiciary where he worked with utmost dedication and bowed out in glory last year.

The Senate Committee Chairman on Agric production and Services condoled the Belgore family, The Emir of Ilorin, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union, the people of Balogun Fulani Constituency, Associates and friends of the deceased over the demise of illustrious son of the Ilorin Emirate.He prayed Allah to overlook Justice Belgore misdeeds and grant him eternal rest.

Meanwhile, Kwara state Governor,AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq equally expressed sadness over the death of Justice Belgore who passed on Tuesday night.The Governor sent his heartfelt condolences to the entire Ilorin Emirate, and to the Belgores who have lost a rare gem.His Excellency prayed to Allah to forgive justice Belgore of his shortcomings, and admit him to aljannah firdaus.

The Nigerian Bar Association,The Lagos Lawyers and other prominent Nigerians have also mourned the late Ilorin born jurist, but mentioning all of them may not be necessary.

It is imperative to say that late Justice Ahmad Belgore was an incorruptible judge as he retired meritoriously last year.This was aptly captured by the words of Shehu Bashir,Esq “Justice Ahmad Belgore was a jurist with decency of conscience.He journeyed the delicate profession of adjudication with distinction and came out unblemished.

He was an incredibly tolerant, calm, generous, religious and extremely patient man.His propensity to generosity would almost make you think he had more than he was giving,yet he was undoubtedly incorruptible. And he would never make public his generosity to a third party.He was such a responsible gentleman.”

According to a retired judiciary staff who craved for anonymity, disclosed that in 2015 when his benefit has not been paid,he reached out to late Justice Ahmad Belgore and he gave him 120,000 naira as at that time.

Significantly,the late Justice has been described by many as an embodiment of humility, generosity and accessibility. In the words of Pharm Munirat Bello “He was a great icon of peace and beacon of hope to the less privileged, reliably a dependable pillar of support. His act of kindness could be likened to the scent of the natural musk, very calming yet so impactful. No life hardly gets in contact with him and fail to progress. He was gifted with a divine heart of generosity. An upright jurist to the core, an impeccable symbol of Islam. I have never for once seen him angry to the point of passing derogatory words, he could be stern but in a loving way”

Sheikh Saidu Ibrahim Maimasa is a close associate of late Justice Ahmad Belgore and he is also the Public Relations Officer of Markaz, recounted how helpful he was to him and other friends.He said describing his magnanimity and generosity would be inexhaustible.

He cited a case of a person whose house was forcefully taken and he approached Late Justice for possible redress at the Court of law.He explained that the justice told the man not to go to court, because there was no point going to court and win, and thereafter he lost his life.He later ensured that another house was erected for the man from his personal purse.

Furthermore,A family source disclosed that anything that has to do with Belgore’s family, the late Justice Ahmad Belgore was always at the forefront.Meaning he had imbibed the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in uniting the family.

In unraveling his unwavering support for the less privileged, a young man was said to have gone to his GRA residence and appealed to him that he wanted to go to school but he had no sponsor.The late Justice embraced him and sponsored his education throughout.

Parts of the traits of great men are humility and accessibility. If you are the type that cannot render help to people until an influential person in the society recommends them, then you may be far from circle of great men.Your door should be open for help , that is when you would be able to identify those whole truly need succour .

Justice Ahmad Belgore was never a religious bigot,According to Sheikh Saidu Ibrahim Maimasa “He had an open door policy, because he was very accessible.His security orderly was a Christian from Oyo State and he did not only sponsored his wedding but he was also there in person.He did not discriminate”

He was born on April 18,1953, Belgore studied Law at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello university (ABU),Zaria, where he bagged LL.B (Hons.) with specialisation in Islamic Law 1975 to 1978.He attended the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island,Lagos between 1978/1979 session.

He was the presiding Justice of the Ilorin Division of the Court of Appeal before his retirement in April,2023.He was also former Chief Justice of the Gambia.Justice Ahmad was younger brother to former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Alfa Belgore.

There is no doubt about the fact that late Justice Ahmad Belgore had lived a life worthy of emulation.He was a regular reciter of holy Quran and a great scholar in his own class.He was the president of Darul-Uloom Alumni Association.

Perfection, they say, belongs to God. I pray Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him aljannah firdaus.

abdurraheemsaaddembo@gmail.com

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A Tribute to Barrister Sulaiman Ahmed Assayouty

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Late Barrister Suleiman Ahmad Assayouty

 

By AbdurRaheem Sa’ad Dembo

Death is a reminder that this world is fleeting and interim. It has yet corroborated the assertion that we are strangers on this planet called, earth just as Barrister Assayouty has left us unannounced through the inevitable shackles of death

I was shocked because he was a brother that I knew very well as an undergraduate in Bayero University, Kano.He wasn’t a regular student as he was preoccupied with hustling in photography business.He usually stationed at the old site of Bayero University Kano where he carried out his business activities

I was at the new site and we had our regular photographer in person of Hope Photo there but whenever we were at the old site we patronised him.In fact his business point was a regular station for Ilorin Emirate students and other customers whenever they did not have lectures.

Since I left the University I have not heard or seeing him until the day he graduated from Law School and the same was posted on the BUK Alumni WhatsApp Group, Ilorin Emirate chapter.I knew within me that day that he struggled to attain the feat and I rejoiced with him through my comments.

We were all in BUK but Assayouty was an hustler and we patronized him not just because he was one of us but he’s very humble. He had a dream and he pursued it with tenacity, hardwork and prayers so he became a certified lawyer eventually. I was not even aware that he later had a Sayuti Cafe on campus,i got to know through BUK Chat zone on Facebook; an online medium for BUK students and others. I’m sure it was after we have left the school he operated the cafe business

From the Account of my friends and brothers that are resident in Kano, they said he was going to a Police Station in Tofa with his wife and his child yesterday 8th April,2024 before they had an accident that claimed his life and injured his wife and his child who are still in the hospital. I pray to Allah for their speedy recovery.

When a promising young man died it is usually tremendously painful because a dream has been shattered and retrogressed.The demise of Assayouty was one too many as it reinvigorated and rejuvenated the futility of this world.He laboured so hard to become a lawyer. He was studying Law in pari passu with hustling. How great would it have been if He had lived long to enjoy the fruit of his struggle?

According to Mallam Zakariya Bayero “we were staying in an uncompleted building together in 1998, he was running a diploma programme then”.

Barrister Yakubu Abdullahi reacted to my Facebook post about his demise thus “May Allah admit him to Jannat, his death is shocking, I know him as a struggling lawyer, despite his commitment to law practice,he has other struggles he did around Janguza axis. May Allah forgive his shortcomings”.

In Quran 62 Verse 8, Allah says “Say, indeed, the death from which you flee.Indeed it will meet you”. Today it has met our brother but our solace is that Barrister Sulaiman Assayouty died as a Muslim in the holy month of Ramadan, he never tarnished the image of his family and lived a dignified life.May Allah grant him aljannah firdaus and give his immediate family, the Ilorin Emirate BUK Alumni and friends the fortitude to bear the huge loss.

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