Sheikh Bin Fodiye Annual Conference: Sheikh Zakzaky Clears Historical Distortions

Some historical perspectives on life and times of legendary revivalist, Sheikh Uthman Bin Fodiye were distorted and significance of his jihad misconceived over the years.

This was stated by Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky(H), at the 5th Annual Conference of Sheikh Uthman Bin Fodiye, organized by the Resource Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Abuja branch held at the Abuja Central Mosque.

Sheikh Zakzaky pointed out that, right from the onset, Sheikh Bin Fodiye did not bring Islam to the region but fought injustice and innovation through preaching, teaching and examplary good conduct.He said, Sheikh Bin Fodio devoted his 63 year life span in the search of knowledge and teaching, which made him a symbol of learning.

According to Sheikh Zakzaky, Sheikh Bin Fodiye was an Islamic scholar, and not a traditional ruler as he is being portrayed. The name “Fodiye”, he explains, means Islamic scholar and he therefore represented knowledge.

“Sheikh Bin Fodio could not just keep silent on the prevailing situation of injustice and religious distortion by rulers he found himself, being a schloar who was divinely vested with the trust of speaking out against injustice and misrule”, said Sheikh Zakzaky.

Sheikh Zakzaky also explained that some mythical historical distortions had given Bawa Jan Gwarzo, the ruler at the time of Sheilh Bin Fodiye’s struggle, supernatural powers over and above Sheikh Bin Fodiye, which he said were unfounded.

He pointed out that, though Sheikh Bin Fodiye was a threat to Bawa Jan Gwarzo, he was however diplomatic with him, til his death and subsequent rulers took over him.

Another misconception cleared by Sheikh Zakzaky was portraying the Jihad of Sheikh Bin Fodiye as a tribal issue, to be specific Fulani versus Hausa. “This is why sometimes they refer to it as Fulani Jihad”, he added. He emphised the Sheikh Bin Fodiye’s Jihad was an Islamic Jihad which changed the course of history, as there were Fulani, Hausa and other tribes among his students and disciples. He cited the example of Shehu’s flagbearer in Bauchi, Yakubun Bauchi, who he said was not Fulani.

“Sheikh Bin Fodiye did not necessarily used sword to successfully actualized his revolution. His, like other revivalists, was a revolution of knowledge and good conduct which he used as basic weapons to change the unjust system of his time. The then rulers were Muslims who mixed Islam with sorcery, bad innovations and tyranny. Sheikh Bin Fodio could not have kept quite silent in the face of these as an Islamic scholar who was looked upon as a role model”, said Zakzaky.

Drawing the lessons to be learned in the life and times of Sheikh Bin Fodiye, Sheikh Zakzaky said in the current Nigerian situation, where traditional institutions similar to the time of Shehu are intent on destroying the remnant of his good work, it is incumbent on those who are now living in the land where the Shehu lived to revive the Jihad of Shehu.

He said, Islam is now portrayed as a religion of terrorists through evil machinations, and that they only way out of this is taking up the model of Sheikh Bin Fodiye.

“This is the land of Shehu and the land of Muslims and Islam, wheather one likes it or not, it is the truth. We are not dead, but in a slumber, and surely we will be awake”.