Brief history on the life of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H)

By Saifullahi M. Kabir

This great and pious servant of Allah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, his eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H); was born on Tuesday 15th of Sha'aban 1372 based on Hijra calendar, meaning to say that he is now 65 years. While the birth date was on May 5th 1953 based on gregorian calendar which the honorable sheikh is now 63 years and 7 months based on this count.

He is Ibraheem by name, popularly nicknamed as El Zakzaky, whereas Sheikh Usman bn Fodiye by-name him as Sharafudden and Ibrahemul Magribiy (may the protection of Allah be on him).

The name of his father is Ya'qoub, his grandfather was Ali the son of Tajuddeen who was the son of once a famous Imam called Imam Husain. Therefore, the second grandpa of Sheikh Zakzaky was an aide to Sheikh Usman bn Fodiye, who were sent to various cities and towns as representatives of Fodiye. In a sense, Malam Tajuddeen was sent to Zaria province as special adviser on Islamic affairs to the then Amir of Zazzau, Malam Musa.

Going by this, when one is trying to attribute the origination of Zazzau unto himself, that individual is by far behind the ancestry of Sheikh Zakzaky! For his grandpa was among those that founded the emirate of Zazzau, though it was by then based on Islamic recommendations, contrary to the current western ideological style led by constitutional recommendations.

Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky was a Fulani born from both side of his Father and Mother, who originated from Mali. The name of his mother is Hajiya Salaha, popularly addressed as 'Hari' (which is a nickname given to anyone born during the rainy season in Fulani community). Her father is Malam Muhammad Gidado the son of Malam Abdulqadir, who was a Fulani man from Mali.

The father of Sheikh Zakzaky (H), Malam Ya'qoub; died since 1972, about 44 years ago when the Sheikh was only 19. Malam Ya'qoub attained martyrdom while trying to rescue a drown goat from dying in a puddle. While his mother died on November 2014. The sheikh is the 6th out of 16 children born by his father.

The Sheikh was very steadfast and attentive on two important aspects right from his childhood to adulthood, that is scholarship and farm attendance. The custom of Sheikh Zakzaky's father is that a child only attend to farm after completely memorizing the holy Qur'an. Comparing that Malam Ya'qoub attained martyrdom when the Sheikh was only 19, one can understand that Sheikh Zakzaky fully memorized the holy Qur'an at his very early age; I mean older days memorization not the present day parrot-like one.

"Any book been taught in the  lobby be it from Maliki Order, Sunni Order or linguistic one, Sheikh Zakzaky has read them with various teachers right at his early age." This is the testimony given by the sheikh's younger brother, Malam Badamasi Ya'qoub. It will baffles you the most whenever you hear an enemy trying to attribute illiteracy to the Sheikh.

Among the teachers of Sheikh Zakzaky, beside his father, there is this one who taught the Sheikh and his elder brothers right at their early ages; his elder brother who is an adherent of Sunni sect, once said "Ibraheem is very intelligent." It was attested that the Sheikh used to remind them whenever they were lost, though; he by that time didn't reach the level. But because he used to overheard them during the recitation before his turn, thereby memorizing both.

The Sheikh studied in one renowned apprentice school located in the house of the then Chief assistant Imam, he also acquired knowledge from various scholars, among of which was Malam Sani Abdulqadir of Kwarbai area, whom the Sheikh studied various Islamic books from; especially Arabic learning and grammar. He also studied from Malam Isa na Madaka, Malam Sani Na'ibi and Malam Ibrahim na Kakaki among others. Simply put, Sheikh Zakzaky was authenticated to have attended all the known apprentice schools in Zaria.

Been that the Sheikh studied only in Arabic based schools, one in Zaria; which whilst studying he was at the same time teaching at various Islamic schools in Kwarbai, Kakaki, Lemu and Rimin tsiwa areas. The second is School for Arabic Study (SAS) in Kano, which the Sheikh primarily attended to study Arabic, but was questioned in English language and he responded brilliantly (though he didn't attend any English based school, even primary level)! They were amazed, and admitted him to grade two (G-2) directly. After 5 years he graduated with flying colour result that gave him the opportunity to join directly the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University.

While the Sheikh was still at SAS Kano, he spent the years throughout attending various scholars in town during his free time to acquire more knowledge. For example, he studied several books one-on-one with Shaikh Nasiru Kabara for years. And also studied from Sheikh Isa Waziri, Malam Ibrahim Babarbare and Malam Nuhu, the Imam of Yola Mosque; all in Kano. Malam Datti Ahmad, Malam Abdulra'uf Usman (Who is an Egyptian) and too numerous to mention.

Sheikh Zakzaky engaged his life entirely in learning and teaching, and also the struggle to revive actual Islamic teaching. The Sheikh has been trying to emancipate the country from its state of total deterioration, a task he entrusted upon himself right at University level; been that the country was once ruled by Islamic system of governance under the honorable Sheikh Usman Danfodiye, which is not so today as the country is not ruled by Islamic system, but rather by western ideological stipulations which is head to heels contrary to Islam. The sheikh tasked it upon himself calling people to Islamic revivalism, the struggle to actualize Allah's law and order on earth and ensuring that people recur to the teachings of holy prophet Muhammad (S). 

The Sheikh was greatly persecuted and has always been a prime target of western imperialists right from the declaration of this call while as student in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU), he was severally jailed by those in authority (tools of western imperialism). From that time up to now that the Sheikh is in detention, he was jailed more than ten times; and has attended various prisons across the country. The last before this one, was during the reign of Sani Abacha which the Sheikh was charged before court for saying, there is no authority except that of Allah!

The life of Sheikh Zakzaky (H) has many vast aspects. The history of his struggle while in university and interaction with other people, as example. The beginning of his profess till date, the persecutions he was subjected unto by those in authority. And other aspects like his marriage, children, interaction and so'on. Which we expect writers to bring forth other aspects of the Sheikh from time to time.

May Allah increase His protection on the Sheikh, grant him good health and long life.