It is now one year since the brutal killing of Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam, the Kano-based erudite Islamic scholar of international repute. He fell to assassins’ bullets in the early hours of Friday April13, 2007 while leading the early morning (Subhi) prayers at the Dorayi Juma’a mosque in Kano Nigeria.
Though every soul must taste of death, the demise of such a fearless scholar was felt (and shall continue to be felt) for several reasons. Those of us who listened to his Tafseer for the past 13 years would continue to remember him for the impact he has made in our lives. He was remarkable in several respects. He was intelligent, friendly, good mannered, humane, forthright, gentle, understanding, amiable, humble, consummate scholar, a cautious optimist, a believer and a fearless vanguard of Islam and the masses.
Even in death, Sheikh Adam remains a wonderful companion. His works played on various broadcast media are wonderful means of immortalizing him. He was trustworthy, just as he played credible opposition to all government policies which contravened Islamic teachings. His sincerity, frankness and fearlessness in telling truth to the power-that-be made him far above his contemporaries. Sheikh Adam was a detribalized scholar; he never reduced himself to ethnic or tribal sentiments. He also committed his entire life to the propagation of Islam within and outside Nigeria.
Sheikh Adam was indeed the personification of humility, honesty and sincerity of purpose. His life, brief as it turned out to be, benefited many Muslims both within and outside Nigeria. He taught many Islamic books, which include the famous book of Hadith, like, Riyadus-Salihin in Kano and other parts of the country. He also conducted Ramadan Tafseer (Qur’an Commentary) at the famous Indimi mosque on Damboa road in Maiduguri for the 13 years. The famous Indimi mosque was always full to brim as early as 2:00pm i.e. two hours before the commencement of the Tafseer. People close their places of business from far and near to attend his preaching, which is full of wisdom. His Tafseer was aired in many television and radio stations in the country like, Radio Kaduna, NTA Maiduguri, BRTV Maiduguri, Bauchi Radio Corporation, CTV Kano, OITV Damaturu, and NTA Yola among others.
Late Sheikh Adam had also delivered Islamic lectures on diverse topics in Maiduguri for more than a decade in places like University of Maiduguri, School of Nursing, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Ramat Polytechnic Maiduguri, among others. He also conducted Tafseer for women at the famous Indimi Mosque in Maiduguri.
Sheikh Adam’s tremendous contribution to scholarship was felt even by the prison inmates in custody. It was the late Sheikh who initiated the visitation of prison yards by the ummah during the Holy month of Ramadan in Maiduguri. He led the Muslim Ummah to deliver lectures and donated cloths and foodstuffs to the inmates. The visits to prison especially during Ramadan have since become annual events. Inmates in the maximum security prison and new prison all in Maiduguri are certainly among those who greatly missed Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam.
Listening to Sheikh Adam, this writer often asked himself whether the Sheikh Adam has obtained a higher academic qualification in Political Science or international relation. This is because of how he (Sheikh Adam) analysed both national and international political events as they unfold and how he discussed national and international issues in an articulate manner.
Born on February 12, 1960 in the ancient city of Daura, Katsina State, Sheikh Adam started his education at home from his teacher Malam Haruna. He was taken to Fage in Kano in 1978 for memorization of the Holy Qur’an. He was also at the Egyptian Cultural Centre situated on Bello Dandago Road, Kano in 1981. He was at Government Teachers’ College, Gwale between 1984 and 1988. He secured admission into the prestigious Islamic University in Madina for his first degree, which he graduated in 1993. He was also at Sudan’s International University of Africa for his second degree.
Sheikh Ja’afar Adam at many times represented Nigeria in international Qur’anic recitation competition where he make Nigeria proud by emerging victorious. During his lifetime, he was often (but of course wrongly) described as controversial or confrontational. On the contrary, Sheikh Adam was one of the most peaceful scholars Nigeria ever had. Sheikh Adam told the truth and nothing but the truth to whoever is involved (including those in power). It is the saying of the Holy Prophet S.A.W that "Tell the truth even if it be unpleasant…" And Sheikh Adam, like any other faithful Muslim, who held the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) in high esteem wouldn’t and didn’t hesitate in this regard.
Even as I write this piece, I never fail to wonder why anyone or group of people for whatever reason should assassinate such a scholar and a gentleman of tremendous goodwill and immeasurable contribution to Islam and humanity; someone who committed the whole of the Holy Qur’an to memory and dedicated his life to the propagation of Islam.
The loss of Sheikh Adam is sad. He left (or rather he was made to leave) when we needed his service most – at a time of moral degeneration even among leaders. Those who assassinated Sheikh Adam should know that they might have killed the man but not the light he represented and they will never get away with it insha Allah. Alhamdulillah, the Sheikhdied a martyr.
Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam remains in our memories today, tomorrow and forever. May Allah broaden his entrance into the most elevated and choicest place in paradise. Ameen. And may He give us the fortitude to bear this great loss.
The authorities concerned should as a matter of urgency fish out those behind his murder and ensure that they are brought to book. Doing so would serve as deterrent to others. The sooner these perpetrators face the wrath of the law, the better. As they say, justice delayed is justice denied.
Ibrahim, a Political Scientist lives at Lawan Bukar Junction, P. O. Box 219, Maiduguri, Borno State Nigeria.