Written by Dr. Abdurrafiu Abdulganiy. Director Darul hadithis salafiyyah, Zaria Nigeria.
SHAYKH MUHAMMAD AUWAL ADAM ALBANIY ZARIA
Born on 6th Rabuinith Thani, 1379 equivalent to 27th September, 1960 in Muchia, Sabon Gari, Zaria, Kaduna state, Nigeria to the family of Alhaji Adamu Musa and Hajia Saudatu
It was the desire of his mother that he becomes a cleric and as such he abandoned his desire of becoming a journalist. Shaykh Albaniy started his educational career in a missionary school in Sabon Gari, Zaria and attended government commercial secondary school, Barewa college and Demonstration secondary school all in Zaria. He attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from 1992 to 1994 where he obtained a Diploma in Shari’a Law with Distinction. He also obtained a Diploma in Hausa Language from BUK, Diploma in Mass Communication from the University of Jos.
He attended Federal University of Technology Yola, from 2002 to 2007 where he graduated with a Second Class Degree Honors (Upper Division) in Information and Communications Technology.
He was a Postgraduate student at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University when he was killed.
He was a certified A+ / A plus professional, Certified N+ / N plus professional, Certified computer networking technician by NIIT, Certified computer repairing and maintenance technician by NIIT, Certified Microsoft Engineer by Microsoft company of America, Computer Scientist, Telecommunications Engineer & Information and communication technologist.
Shaykh Albaniy studied from a number of scholars and clerics at the Islamic University of Madina although not a registered student of the university. He gained admission to the university in 1991/92 but due to the Gulf war as that moment he was unable to pay for his flight ticket and travel to Saudi Arabia to take the offer. He studied from prominent scholars like Shaykh Salih Bn Salih Bn Uthaimin, Shaykh Zarban Al-Gamidy, Shaykh Muslih Al-Harithiy, Professor Ali Nasir Al-Faqihi of Islamic University of Madina, Sheik Tuwaijiri all in Saudi Arabia.
His scholars in Nigeria include, Dr. Muslim Khan formally of Faculty of Education, ABU, Zaria, Shaykh Aminudeen in Kano, Mal Mato, Alarama Mallam Abubakar, Malam Idris Kumbashi, Malam Sani Yakubu Zaria, Malam Shehu Umar, Alkali Malam Haruna Ishaq Zaria.
Among his students are prominent scholars like Dr. Kabiru Abubakar Aminu Al Asgar of the Department of Arabic, ABU, Zaria, Dr. Abdurrafi’i Abdulganiyy, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, ABU, Zaria, Shaykh Dawood Ibrahim Az zahiry, Ustaz Musa Umar Al-Minshawiy, Dr. Jamilu Ya’u a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, ABU, Zaria, Shayk Umar Mustapha, Late Shaykh Bawa Mai shinkafa, Shaykh Muhammad Auwal Abubakar Maishago, Shaykh Musa Sahabi, the former executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, the wife of the former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hajia Amina among others.
HIS STRUGGLES AND ORDEALS
Sheikh Albaniy has grown through dint of hard work, dedication and piety to be a serious threat to many including religious groups and organizations, traditional rulers within and outside Zaria, the government from the state to the Federal level, security operatives and top ranking politicians. Sheikh Albaniy was well known for his openness on the issue of Boko Haram. He was barely the only cleric in the country that openly attacked and condemned the ideology of Boko Haram in public. Those that killed him used this as an alibi to cover their sin of killing him. The Shiites on the other hand regarded Sheik Albaniy as the most dangerous foe they possess in Nigeria. He has on many occasions condemned the Shiite creed and the personality of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the spiritual and political leader of Shiites in Nigeria. His condemnation of Shiites has called the attention of the Iranian government which slightly affected Sheikh Zakzaky politically and economically. They have on several occasions wanted to clash with Sheikh Albaniy during and after his lifetime.
Sheikh Albaniy has been warned severally by the Zazzau emirate council under Alhaji Shehu Idris. The Emir has once threatened him that they have the security operatives at their disposal and they will use them against him if he refuse to comply to their wish. This threat was well documented on a video clip recorded by the emirate council itself. The emirate council has on several occasions used the Nigerian police to harass late Sheikh Albaniy and tried to deny him a freedom of worship enshrine in the Nigerian constitution. The Emir has once threatened to repatriate Sheikh Albaniy from Zaria as he claimed that his father was not an indigene of Zaria. A threat that led Sheikh Albaniy to make his popular lecturer named “ana wata ga wata“.
Shaykh Albani was faced with several tribulations at the very early stage of his career as a cleric. It started with his immediate family at the very tender age of 18 when he was sent out of his father’s home in 1978 as a result of his quest for religious knowledge and commitments. Within the same period of time he bought a bicycle with the sum of fifty naira (N) and a sewing machine with the sum of one hundred naira (100) to help him move around and also earn a source of livelihood haven learned tailoring from his father. The bicycle and the sewing machine were both confiscated by his father in an attempt to frustrate him and make life very miserable for him.
He was offered a room in his mother’s personal house in the same neighborhood but his family connived with the local authority (mai anguwa) and threatened that the house will be sold.
He was offered an unoccupied bungalow apartment which has been vacant for 17 years but also confiscated. All his clothes were also confiscated by his family and he was only left with a single set which was the one he was wearing. The family went so far to Barewa college where he was studying and demanded he be expelled from school. At that point, no means of transportation and source of livelihood (bicycle and sewing machine confiscated) Shaykh Albaniy resorted to hawking kola nut. Shaykh Albaniy was treated as an outcast in the family and only received support from his mother who has been a source of inspiration to him.
Some times in 1995 he was attacked by unknown mobs at his tailoring shop where attempt was made on his life but survived it. Armed military and police were deployed at his Jumu’at mosques in Muchia in 1997 simply because he observed Jumu’at prayer at the early morning hours of nine O’ clock. This was a violation of his religious freedom by local authorities who connived with some debauched Islamic clerics who always envy Shaykh Albaniy because of his popularity among students. Being a peace loving man, Shaykh Albaniy suspended the prayer indefinitely not put the life of his followers at risk even though he presented evidences from the Holy Qur’aan and authentic Sunnah of the Holy prophet (SAW) that supported his action.
In 1999, the Emir of Zazzau connived with the same debauched clerics under the umbrella of Jama’atu Izalatil Bidi’ah in Zaria and confiscated his popular preaching mosques called “Qudus” in Maje road, Tudun Wada, Zaria, Nigeria. The Emir even threatens that he will send him on exile out of Zaria. The said mosque has remained closed to date.
The Vice President of Nigeria offered him a huge amount of money to help him and his party during the 2011 presidential campaign which he declined. According to the students of Shaykh Albaniy, this was the genesis of his arrest by the men of the Nigerian Police under the leadership of the Inspector General of Police, Hafizu Ringim and later imprisoned. The students of the late cleric in an open letter written to the President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan they accused a prominent top politician in the Nigerian leadership of being behind the arrest and detention of Shaykh Albaniy. In a retaliatory letter, some people who claimed to be supporters of the Vice President came out openly to deny that the Vice President, Architect Muhammed Namadi Sambo was not responsible, an idea which made people to be convince that he was really behind the arrest and detention.
After the unlawful arrest and detention, the police went in search of reasons to present to court and the general public that will justify the arrest and detention but they could not find any. They compiled hundreds of his tapes and videos and listened to them repeatedly whether they will hear any misleading and implicative comment made by him but still to no avail. The police went to his house for a thorough search after which they wrote as an outcome of their search ……….nothing was found and nothing was destroyed. But only for them to re-arrest him and wrote in their FIR that a cache of arms was found in his residence. This they used to send him back to prison.
He was labeled as a terrorist by security agents on orders from that top government official and was charged with non bailable offences so that he can be prosecuted and executed. His student rushed to the court of law where they won his bail. He was arrested again at the prison gate that very day his bail was granted and the police framed another offence against him immediately and taken back to court and sent back to prison. On rushing back to the court to apply for bail, the Honorable Judge who granted the first bail was threatened by the government and therefore refused the bail. He spent 45 days in prison before another Honorable Judge (Justice Binta) granted him bail despite all the threats she received from top government officials. At the end he was acquitted of all charges and security agents were asked to pay him a ransom for violating his human right.
In 2013, the Emir of Zazzau again invited him to his palace as a result of complaint by some depraved Islamic clerics under the umbrella of Izala, headed by Malam Sani Yakubu, and some members of the emirate council because of their grudges with him on the issue of polio vaccine. Also among the clerics at the forefront of waging war against Shaykh Albani is Ustaz Uthman Abubakar Baban Tine, the Imam of the Central Mosque in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Kaduna. Shaykh Albaniy was treated unjustly by the Emirate council under the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris. He was denied the right to express himself and quote references to justify his actions. Rather the Emir, Alhaji Shehu Idris used his veto power to sanction the action of Shaykh Albaniy. The Emir was insisting that Friday prayer should be stopped at mid-day and never observed again at that particular time while Shaykh Albaniy keeps on repeating that it was done by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) while the Emir keep on insisting also against the teachings of the Holy Prophet. This event was recorded and the video is online.
Shaykh Albaniy took this as a violation of his religious right and ignored the Emir. According to Shaykh Albaniy, the Emir of Zazzau is not the custodian of Islam and since he is not learned he cannot tell them when to observe their prayers. Even if he reverted from Islam the Emir has no business with that.
Shaykh Albaniy faced several obstacles from his fellow clerics within the same creed. A book was written by Shaykh Yusuf Sambo Rigachikum on Shaykh Albaniy which he named “Salafiyyah Wacce?” the book was filled with insults and labile against Shaykh Albaniy. Another cleric, Shaykh Ahmad Uthman Kauru wrote a very long letter to Shaykh Albaniy also containing several insults and false allegations.
Among his prominent enemies are Ustaz Aliyu Telex, who was fond of abrogating and condemning anything that comes from Shaykh Albaniy. His envy for Shaykh Albaniy was so opened that even his own students later discovered he was deceiving them. Who was of the opinion that in order for him to be popular, the easiest way for him is to preach against Shaykh Albaniy.
One major tribulation Sheikh Albaniy passed through towards the end of his life was his influence among the masses that contributed to the failure of the then ruling party in Nigeria. Sheikh Albaniy was called upon by the then Vice President who tried to entice him with money. The denial of the proposed offer made by the Vice President and his refusal to support the PDP was the major reason for sending him to prison. The Vice President connived with the Nigerian Police under the leadership of Hafizu Ringim and framed Sheikh Albaniy to be a Boko Haram leader. This assertion did not gain any popularity and they resort to stopping him at all cost. While in Police custody, the then Kaduna state commissioner of police called him to his office and told Sheik Albaniy that they have nothing against him but waiting for orders from above to release him. Sheikh Albaniy told me this physically when I visited him in police custody on that very day. Sheikh Albaniy vowed that PDP will never win the 2015 elections as he affirmed that even if he is beneath the ground, his students shall continue on the course of stopping PDP from winning the next presidential election.
Sheikh Albaniy was entangled in these dangerous webs of religious bigots and jealous clerics, desperate politicians, tyrannical traditional rulers and errand security operatives.
Shaykh Albaniy while in prison emancipated many individuals from prison by paying their ransom to the respective courts of law that ordered their detention. While in Police custody at the Gabasawa police station in Kaduna, Shaykh Albaniy was the one feeding close to 90 inmates in police cell for the period of 10 days he spent there.
Part of his boldness, he preached against injustice and bad governance in the presidential villa in Abuja during the military regime of General Sani Abacha. He took a bold step to caution the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Architect Namadi Sambo on the dangers of accepting the offer of the office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This he did one-on-one. The same Governor offered him a plot of land in the new Kaduna city, an ultramodern city proposed by the Governor that will look like any top city in the world but Shaykh Albaniy declined the offer.
Shaykh Albaniy was at the forefront of the struggle that emancipated Shaykh Bello Yabo from prison after he was detained for almost eight years by the then Governor of Sokoto state for selfish reasons. Shaykh Albaniy hired a lawyer and sued the state Government to court and he was eventually freed.
Shaykh Albaniy was the proprietor of Daarul Hadeethis Salafiyyah, Zaria Nigeria. An institution which he built solely with hundreds of millions of Naira. He established a secondary school under this institute which he named Albaniy Science Academy and Albaniy Foundation. Currently there are about eighty (80) orphans and less privilege children in Albaniy Science Academy under the scholarship of Albaniy Foundation.
His Foundation as planned include Albaniy Orphanage, Sheikh Mahmud Gumi University of Islamic Law, Sheikh Albaniy University of Science and Technology and Albaniy TV and Radio.
THE ASSASSINATION OF THE GREAT SCHOLAR LATE SHEIKH ALBANIY ZARIA.
Late Sheikh Albaniy returned from Yola where he studied ICT in 2006 and told his disciples that all he has done before were just introduction and that he will just commence his Da’awah and the teaching of Islamic religion to the his students and general public. He devoted all his life to the cause of Islam after his imprisonment in 2011. He centered his Da’awah in the premises of his school, Daarul Hadeethis Salafiyyah and Albaniy Science Academy where he do have daily lectures from morning till evening. He also maintained his Da’awah at Markazus Salafiyyah, located at Maje Road, Tudun Wada, Zaria. Sheikh Albaniy was fond of telling his disciples that he will soon rest and therefore they should be prepared to take over from him. This he was saying continuously a couple of weeks before he was murdered. Sheikh Albaniy had a session with the general public where he teached a book named “Daariqus Salihin Ila Rabil-Alamin” in the morning between 9 am and 11 am, in the afternoon the same day, he taught the popular “Saheehu Muslim” between 4 pm and 6 pm all at Daarul – Hadeethis Salafiyyah located on No. 4 Madarkachi Road, Gaskiya Layout, Zaria.
The same evening he taught the most valuable book to Muslims after the Holy Qur’aan “Saheehul Bukhariy” at Markazus Salafiyyah between 8.30 pm and 10.30 pm. After this last session he was on his way back home that he was met with his death. Some few meters to his residence and his school, he was attacked by gun men. Bullets were sprayed on his van using AK47 rifle.
He was the one driving the van in the company of his wife, Ummu AbdulBarri, his children, Abdullahi, AbdulBarri, AbdulHaleem and AbdulHaq. Also together with him were some of his disciple among whom was Bello Nakaka the present Principal of Albaniy Science International Academy. Immediately, his wife, Ummu AbdilBarri and his son Abdullahi were killed on the spot while Sheikh Albaniy died shortly at the Saint Luke Anglican Hospital, Wusasa, Zaria. This ugly incidence happened on the 1 February, 2014.
His funeral was witnessed by hundreds of thousands of people from different part of Nigeria and the neighboring countries. Markets were closed and traffic was brought to a halt in Zaria metropolis as a result of his death. According to elders like the Dan Isan Zazzau, the former District Head of Tukur Tukur, Zaria has never witness such a crowd in history. It was an irreparable loss to the generality of Muslims and Nigeria as a country. He was survived by three wives and 22 children.
May His Gentle Soul Rest In Perfect Peace.
By Dr. Abdurrafi’i Abdulganiy (The Director, Daarul – Hadeethis Salafiyyah Zaria, Nigeria).