Haruna Yusuf Shellen: The Exit Of A Silent Contributor
Abdallah Muhammad Makama
I first met Malam Haruna Yusuf Shalleng in Jos when I newly joined the Islamic Movement some two and a half decades ago.
I had to relocate to Jos from Kano on the insistence of a friend, Malam Isa Sani Jos,(now a renegade!) that it was more appropriate and beneficial to contribute my own quarter in the movement from my ancestral origin. At that time, Malam Haruna was in Jos on his way to Bauchi for an official engagement of Hurras activity, his host and bosom friend Muhammad Nazifi Suleiman introduce me to him,then as a greenhorn and an enthusiast in the movement I was always eager to meet and acquaint with people and routines of the movement, Malam Haruna was the first person to welcome me officially to the fold of the fraternity, ever since that three day memorable encounter, malam Haruna has remain not only a shepherd, friend, but also a mentor of great importance in my life.
Early Monday morning I notice my wife wearing a sullen and forlorn countenance, the glyph clearly suggest that something is amiss, when I enquire why she was emotionally looking hush, she courageously said “Shalleng is dead, he and one other brother, I read last night in the Facebook, you were already asleep, I deliberately kept the news away from you till this morning, it is a fatal auto accident along Abuja-Kaduna road” instantaneously, before I recover from the rude shock, malam Adamu Malami from Ningi also call my line and started condoling me for the repose of the soul of malam Haruna shalleng, initially I was dumbfounded and startled, before I quickly gather myself. I momentarily said, Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raji’un! it was barely a month now when I was chatting with him on Facebook and coincidentally he was with malam Nazifi probably in Kaduna, he wrote, “Ai muna tare da mutumin” (meaning Nazifin Jos as he is call hitherto), I simply send a thumb-up, that was the end of the chat. I simply entered my bedroom, changed and text my HOD in the office, that “I might not make it to the office today due to the loss of a brother in a ghastly auto accident along Abuja-Kaduna express way” I then Put a callacross to Malam Musa Khamnei and malam Abubakar Zaki Gwagwalada to please join me to Kaduna for the burial of malam Haruna Shalleng and Alhaji Mika’ilu Abdullahi. Meanwhile, malam Nazifi has already inform me that the burial rites is going to take place mid-day. By the time we arrived Kaduna, malam Mika’ilu Abdullahi had already been buried and the remains of malam Haruna has been taking to Zaria to Darul Rahmah for his burial, when we reached Alhaji Mika’ilu’s residence, we met Sheikh Ibrahim Akilu, Professor Abdullahi Danjuma and malam Ibrahim Musa and multitudes of brothers and sisters and numerous well-wishers, we consoled them, thereafter, went to Bachama road cemetery where Alhaji Mika’ilu was laid to rest, prayed to him and took the opportunity to visit and pray to other brothers that lie in the cemetery, thereafter we returned back to Abuja.
To recollect the last time we met with Malam Haruna has been very difficult, but we were always in touch either on phone or on the social media, we ought to have met last year December in Iraq during the Arba’een of Imam Hussain, but we kept on missing each other, as our entourage was not part of the larger contingent, ours was a private group of nine persons for the pilgrimage to the holy shrine, when we arrived Karbala they have left to Najaf, when we reach Najaf they were already off to Tehran In the Islamic republic of Iran, this we gather from Brother Alhassan Sufi who is studying in Najaf. I yearn to be in the company of Shalleng on a journey because he is the sought after type as you will enjoy all the moments with beneficial insight and share valuable foresights and the quiddity of the gentleman, his calm and articulate disposition is seldom seen among his phylum, I remember his first visit to Lebanon, when he was narrating to us his experience and the places and people he met, it felt as if I have never been to Lebanon although I have been there twice before,but for his itinerary acumen, his approach to situations and issues is always unique, seamless and result oriented. He rarely dabbled into any activity without invitation and when he engaged in an assignment, he diligently put his best with all pleasure, zeal and enthusiasm, his foresight and wisdom was one of the secrets why he was highly endeared by many and that same attributespares him to attract fewer adversaries, his reserved nature and restrains in any unnecessary arguments and vain discussions contributes immensely for the elevation to his present position of dignity that is widely associated with him to which both friends and foes attest in his favour.
Malam Haruna was highly intelligent and gifted in numerous aspect of endeavour and was fortunate to acquire mastery in various fields and this with extraordinary capability, his speciality and proficiency in the fields of safety and security management, event management and programme coordination, conflict resolution and marriage counselling, photography and film edition and animation and a consummate journalist with vast experience over the decades which has conferred on Malam Haruna as a perfect multi-talented gentleman and a clerisy in the Islamic movement in Nigeria.
Perchance,I was privileged to have work closely with him for an event in the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, when during the official visit of the then president of the IRI Dr. Mahmud Ahmadinejad to Nigeria, Malam Haruna and co were the main organizers of the multitude well-wishers that thronged the beautiful city of Abuja from various parts of Nigeria in an orderly manner to welcome and cheer the August visitor, in no time, posters of Dr. Ahmadinejad were pasted in all strategic locations, school boys, men and women all donned in a uniform, positive demeanour, that touched and moved the firebrand former Iranian President to get emotional. This was all the hand- work of Malam Haruna. All arrangements began within a short notice; even so, accuracy and beautiful finishing at minimal cost were the results.
The proximity and closeness he enjoyed to his lifelong teacher, mentor and cynosure(Allamah Sayyid Ibraheem Zakzaky) is not known to many, but he has been severally entrusted by malam to handle many important assignment that have far reaching importance which is an indication of the trust and consideration of his commitment and sincerity of purpose, as for malam Haruna quintessential depiction I am not in a position to say much, what I barely said will suffice so that others who are more closer to him than me can have space to shed more on the enigmatic personality that parted with us when we need him the most, but Allah knows best, why He picked him at this material time of need, All this that I am saying, is still within the confine and bound of “speak no evil of the dead, and say no vain praise to the dead” all that I am now saying about this humble servant of Allah is what I know about him, but not to idealized reality,my dear brothers and sisters, don’t ever be astonished, these I know malam Haruna certainly possesses and I am neither exaggerating nor emotionally biased. I am only attempting with all modesty to justify reality and I know that many has more and better attributes to say about the gentleman far beyond and above the terse attributes I just narrate today. And also an attempt in trying to express my love and affection and to pray to a great mentor and friend and also shares our resolved to reflect on his memory.
But I can’t resist the urge and temptation of not touching a little about his gracious and amiable disposition, like his, cheerfully giving, patience, care, love, gratefulness, contentment, steadfastness, bravery, humility,loyalty etcetera, I am certain that many will attest to it and possibly add more to what I fail to mention. I would love to share one important tradition attributed to the commander of the Faithfull, Imam Ali bn Abi Talib (AS) that runs thus;
The commander of the believers Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, in one of his expositions and admonitions to some of his disciples in a speech, was asked by one disciple, named Hammam, who enquire thus. O Amir-ul-Momineen (as), describe for us the qualities of the believer as if we see him before our eyes.
“Amir-ul-Momineen (as) said, O Hammam, a believer is a smart, intelligent one whose delight is on his face and whose sadness is in his heart, his chest is vastly open, his soul is most humble, he criticizes ones leaning to every mortal, exhorts to go for everything good. He is not hateful, quarrelsome, and scandalous. He is neither fault-finding nor a backbiting one. He dislikes high positions and is an enemy of fame and publicity. He is inspired to grief which lasts for a long time; his ambition is far reaching. He very often remains silent, dignified, ever remembering (the Lord), and exercising patience, grateful, sad due to his thoughts, happy with his poverty.
My respected brothers and sisters, I along with many dignified associates agree that brother malam Haruna Yusuf Shelleng was fortunate to be endowed with the above depiction favourably. Our beloved friend, brother and mentor as a mortal, hopefully, has successfully pass his examinations on this sojourn in the ephemeral plain, contributed his own quarter and paid his own dues appropriately, you and I are still left behind breathing and are all suitable candidate to achieve the same fate of malam Shelleng, it was only last three weeks he was with us, but today he is no more, may Allah in His infinite mercy accept him with His Rahmah, by the virtue of his beloved guides, the Holy Ahlul Bait of the Holy prophet of Islam, Rasulul A’azam, Muhammad bn Abdullah (saww).
My sincere and heartfelt condolence goes to the bereaved spouse and children of malam Haruna Yusuf Shelleng, his relations friends and colleague, may Allah give them the fortitude to bear the loss of a dear one, I also want to use this medium to commiserate with the family, friends and colleague of Alhaji Mika’ilu Abdullahi (penname, Hakeem Raji,lit. meaning ”return of the sage”) a co-traveller in the vineyard of the holy Ahlul Bait, may Allah in His infinite mercy also make ours (dead)sublime and the best of martyrdom. As for those that survived the fateful ghastly auto accident that resulted to the demise of the duo, we pray to Allah to grant them speedy recovery and accept their ordeal to serve asrectitude to their deficiencies.
Abdallah Muhammad Makama
Secretary General Shi’ibi Abi Talib Islamic Organization,