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Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio (RA)

Started by Dan Yusuf, October 01, 2004, 06:33:03 PM

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Dan Yusuf

Shaykh Uthman Ibn Fodio (RA)
In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Compassionate
May Allah bless and grant eternal peace to our master, Muhammad, and to his family and companions.
In Amirul-Mu?mineen Shaykh Muhammad Bello ibn Uthman?s book, Infaq al-Maysur fi Tarikh Bilad at-Takrur, it is mentioned that it was foretold by the friend of Allah, the righteous Fulani woman, Umm Hani, that ?There will appear in this region of the Sudan (literally, the Lands of the Blacks) a friend from amongst the friends of Allah who will renew the Deen, revive the Sunnah, and establish the Religion. Only the fortunate shall follow him and his mention will spread to distant lands.  Both the elite and the common folk will be guided by him and those affiliated with him will be known as al-Jama?ah.?
Over two hundred years ago in West Africa a twenty-year-old scholar who descended from a clan of pious and learned Fulani began calling his people to the pure worship of Allah and strict adherence to the Sunnah of our master Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). His name was Uthman and was known as ?dan Fodio? (also spelt as Fodiyo, and Fuduye') which literally meant ?son of the scholar? in the Hausa language, as his father was already a well-established scholar in Hausaland. For the next thirty years Shaykh Uthman, along with his family, relatives, fellow scholars and students, committed himself to da?wah and teaching tours throughout Hausaland: calling people to establish Islam in their hearts and homes; adhere to the Qur?an, Sunnah and Ijma? (or consensus) of the mujtahid imams; forsake innovations; show compassion towards all Muslims; and on rulers to end all forms of political and economic oppression.  His main helpers in his tajdid (Islamic renewal) movement were his younger brother Shaykh Abdullahi and his son Shaykh Muhammad Bello, who were both accomplished scholars, who authored hundreds of works particularly on the sciences of the Arabic langauge, the Shari?ah, tasawwuf, and Islamic governance and its principles.
Shaykh Uthman was a compassionate husband and father who fed both himself and his family from the work of his own hands, sufficing himself with the income he earned from making rope.  He was famous for his impeccable character, material abstinence, and vast knowledge of the inward and outward sciences of Islam.  His books Mir?at at-Tullab (The Mirror of the Student), Umdat al-Ulama (The Reliance of the Scholars), Sawq al-Ummah ila Ittibaa? as-Sunnah (The Mobilization of the Muslims Towards Following the Sunnah), and Ihya us-Sunnah wa Ikhmad al-Bid?a (The Revival of the Sunnah and Extinguishing of Innnovation) are testaments to his successful methodology of Islamic renewal and devotion to reviving the sublime Muhammadan Sunnah that can be used as a model to be followed by Muslim communities around the world until the advent of the Awaited Imam al-Mahdi. He wrote hundreds of books and didactic poems in Arabic, Hausa, and Fulani clearly explaining the sciences of Islam for the laity and learned.  Shaykh Uthman mastered at least four different spiritual paths--the Qadirriyya Tariqah being the one he most strongly identified with--and he personally supervised the spiritual development of many men and women until they all became spiritually accomplished. He was favored with many miracles amongst which were his memorizing Shaykh al-Kharashi?s four-volume commentary on the Mukhtasar Khalil, an advanced Maliki jurisprudence text, in one night and his ability to smell the stench of those who were disobedient and the fragrant scent of those who were pious.
Shaykh Uthman avoided the gatherings of the rulers until it was no longer possible.  When he was invited to the gathering of the Sultan of Gobir he refused the Sultan?s many gifts and demanded the following from the Sultan instead: 1) That he should be allowed to call people to Allah without hindrance; 2) That none should be stopped from following him; 3) That any man wearing a cap or turban and any woman wearing a head-cover be treated with respect; 4) That all prisoners be freed; and 5) That the subjects of the Sultan not be burdened with unjust and heavy taxes, all to which the Sultan agreed.

Eventually the rulers became fearful and envious of Shaykh Uthman?s large and loyal following of believers and began persecuting the Muslims severely. This led to their being blessed by Allah to perform the hijra (emigration) and ultimately to their successful jihad (military struggle) against the Hausa kings.  Their blessed jihad established a true Islamic Caliphate in 1807 CE that became one of the most righteous, just and equitable societies this world has ever known.  The tajdid movement of Shaykh Uthman was probably the closest to the model of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in Islamic history.  His movement involved all of the phases of Islamic struggle culminating in the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate which established social justice in the society, a healthy economy, and institutions guided by his scholarly and pious daughters Shaykhah Nana Asma?u, Shaykhah Khadijah, and Shaykhah Maryam that safeguarded women?s rights, and promoted their education and scholarship.
Around 1903, after a century of Islamic governance in West Africa, the Christian colonial empire had plans to colonize the Caliphate. The Amirul-Muminin Muhammad at-Tahiru led his loyal community in making hijra towards the East as Shaykh Uthman had foretold they eventually would a century earlier.  The Christians murdered the Amirul-Muminin and many of his people at a great battle--that demonstrated the courage and fearlessness of the Muslims when confronted with the Euro-Christian imperialist military machine--but not before he had appointed his son, Muhammad Bello Mai Wurno, to succeed him as the Caliph and eventually establish the Caliphate in its present location of Maiurno, Sudan.
The Caliphate established by Shaykh Uthman still exists today; our leader is the noble Sultan and Shaykh al-Hajj Abu Bakr (may Allah protect and assist him) who resides in the righteous town of Maiurno, Sudan.  He is an extremely humble and friendly man who is known for his justice, abstinence from the dunya, constant remembrance of Allah the Most High and compassion and respect for all Muslims.  His norm is keeping to silence and teaching with his state.   Sultan Abu Bakr and his community are our spiritual, intellectual, and sociopolitical link to the baraka and legacy of the great Mujaddid Shaykh Uthman ibn Fodio and that of the Awaited Imam al-Mahdi. And all praise is due to Allah for this immense blessing.


Dan Yusuf I completely gotta agree with you.