By Nurudeen Dauda

nurudeendauda24@yahoo.com ; nurudeendauda24@gmail.com

September 11, 2022

Permit me to pay my “debt” of “tribute” to the great soul of our “generation” in the person of Late Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi of blessed memory 1924 to 1992. He was a great scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh), an honest judge, a dedicated teacher, a bold/patience preacher, an author, and the Grand Khadi of the defunct Northern Region (now nineteen states plus F.C.T) from 1962–1967. He was the Sheikh of Sheikhs! The teacher of teachers! The judge of judges! The Faqih of Fuqaha! The preacher of preachers! And the Malam of Malams!

Sheikh Gumi was an international scholar of great influence. The first Nigerian to win the prestigious King Faisal Award for services to Islam, the first Nigerian to be a member of the Muslim World League (Rabidah), a member of the World Council of Fiqh, a member of the Legal Committee of the Muslim World League, a member of the Supreme Council of the Islamic University of Madinah, a member of the Islamic Development Bank, and a consultant to World Supreme Council for Mosques (WSCM) among others.

Sheikh Gumi as a great scholar of “Fiqh” who had succeeded in strengthened “Islam” and “Muslims”in Nigeria and the world at large during his life time due to his seminal interpretations of issues based on the circumstances the Muslims found themselves at the time. As a great “Faqih” (an expert in Fiqh) he had a clear interpretation on Muslims joining the Armed Forces, Civil Service, Customs, Police Force , Banking work, setting up Hotels , studying Law, women’s education etc., at a time when most scholars were “skeptical” or even openly against it.

Sheikh Gumi distinguished himself among his contemporaries for not being materialistic.Even if one has the “quantum” of knowledge that Gumi had one might not have his very rare characters of truthfulness, selflessness, and a seminal contentment. Below are some of the very rare attributes of our highly revered Sheikh:

…I gave him some money (American Dollars) and when he saw the money ,he said, Ah this money is too much for me, I will only take a little and give Jama’atu Nasril Islam(JNI) the remaining. Back home in Kaduna at Sultan Bello Mosque, where most wealthy people took Sadaka or Zakat to him , Malam always shared it among the needy people around him without enriching himself.- (Late Galadiman Kano , Alh. Tijjani Hashim)

… in 1981 , a highly placed Minister visited Malam .He saw that all Malam’s chairs in the sitting room were torn .This Minister later sent a friend of ours to Malam with a gift of N250,000. When he handed over the money , Malam removed two bails of N10,000 each from it and gave the man as gift.The man was very happy because of the money Malam gave him. When Malam saw how happy he was, he called him back and gave him the whole money as gift.This man built a house , bought a car ,got married and started business from the money Malam gave him. He is presently a very rich man. That was Malam for you.- (Bashir Ibrahim Al-Mustapha).

After the Hajj of 1972, the World Muslim League (Rabidah) gave a cheque in dollars to Sheikh Gumi in order to give JNI. The cheque was issued in the name of Sheikh Gumi. Gumi politely asked that the Cheque be written in the name of the actual beneficiary. Gumi feared that if he died between then and sometimes later, the money would be part of his family’s inheritance since it was issued in his name.- (Late CP Usman Farouk).

Yusuf Gardi a Pakistani who owned the largest shares in a Kaduna Textile LTD decided to go back to his country after Sardaunas death. He went to see Sheikh Gumi and told him he wanted to transfer the entire shares to him free of charge. Sheikh Gumi said:”What am I going to do with the textile industry?” I am not a businessman, I am not good in business,”. The man said:” Then give it to your children,” and Gumi replied: ” Well , my children should work hard and earn something for themselves; they should not get something for nothing.” Then Yusuf said: “What about your wives?” Gumi said:” My wives are part of me .” Gumi said: let me advice you, why don’t you give JNI? It will enable them to continue to propagate Islam”. He then gave it to JNI- (late Amb. Yusuf Maitama Sule).

A businessman and a great farmer from Kano state, Alh.Sani Kabara sent a truck load of bags of maize to Sheikh Gumi in Kaduna as Zakat. The truck arrived Kaduna at about 2a.m., Sheikh Gumi was told that it was from Kabara. Gumi said, he should not do that again because there were many poor people in Kano that the Zakat belonged to. Gumi said, but since he had already brought it here may Allah reward him.That very night, from 2a.m till Fajr Sheikh Gumi distributed all the bags to the needy without taking any for himself.-(Prof. Sani Zaharadeen).

At heights of the Tariqa-Izala conflicts the then Federal Government sent a delegation of Ulama to some Muslims countries to learn on how to leave in peace between sects. As the secretary of the delegation I brought Sheikh Gumi his Estacode , he asked me what was if for, I told him it was given to us by the government which he said, I should keep for him. I kept his own account whenever I paid for my expenses I also paid for his. After the tour there was excess money left. I gave him the balance he asked again what for? I reminded him, he said were we not supposed to return it to the government, I told him No, it “Estacode” not an “Advance” it is all yours. He then asked me what am I going to with my own? I told him I will buy souvenirs for my children and friends. He then said, bought me whatever you bought. I asked him the sizes to buy, he said, he had no particular sizes, any size you want to buy, then buy for me.Gumi said, anybody that got a gown or shirt that didn’t fit him or her should give to someone that it fits. When I bought the souvenirs filled in a Box, Gumi said, Zaharadeen are all these mine? I said yes, he said you were turning me into something else. I told him, but is all your money.(Prof. Sani Zaharadeen).

Alhji M.K.O Abiola was very close to Malam ; he had free access to Malam’s house. There was a time he requested to demolish Malam’s house and rebuild it into a mansion; he also asked Malam to mention whatever he wanted him to do for him. But Malam told him that whatever assistance he wanted to render to him , he should render it to Islam. Malam also told him that, since Allah blessed him with wealth , he wanted him to use his wealth, influence and experience for the growth and progress of Islam.- (Mal. Yunus Hussain).

Chief M.K.O Abiola established a school at Abeokuta and requested Malam to come and commission it. Malam went and after the commissioning , he gave Malam a huge sum of money inside an envelope and Malam rejected it, but he insisted that Malam must collect it. Malam eventually collected it, but immediately Malam returned to Kaduna, he sent for the secretary of JNI and handed the whole money to him. He told him it was a donation from Abiola. He told the secretary to write him an appreciation letter.-(Alh.Garba Gumi).

There was an occasion when Abiola , being a nice and religious person ,who helped the course of Islam with his money , wealth , and influence, sent a brand new car to Malam , but Malam sent the car to the charity.-(late Amb. Magaji Moh’d).

Malam was not after wealth. I remember there was a time when Peugeot company gave him a car and on the spot , he gave it out to one of his students- Malam Lawal Abubakar . He didn’t consider wealth as important (Moh’d Bello Gumi).

When the World Muslim League (Rabidah) wanted to come and establish an Islamic library in Nigeria. They would come to Kano and from there went round. Malam was not financially bouyant at that time and he felt not proper to ask the visitors to pay for his tickets. So, I bought him all the necessary tickets i.e Kaduna to Kano , Kano to Lagos, Lagos to Maiduguri etc. Unfortunately, at the time they came around December the weather was not good. Malam ended up not utilizing those tickets, and they made all their visits by road.To my surprise , after sometime ,I was with Malam and he said to me, Malam Gimba ,these are your tickets, which I did not use again. I told him , Malam I booked them for you , you should use them . Malam said : The intention of buying these tickets was to travel with the envoys from Saudi Arabia who came to Nigeria , and since we could not travel by air, due to bad weather , have your tickets back. I told him that , Malam you can use the tickets for other purposes, and Malam replied that , now that you have given me permission , I can now utilize them.I was so surprised, for I have never seen such a person before. -(DIG Gimba Umar, rtd).

Sheikh Gumi served in many capacities, prominent among them were: Grand Khadi of then Northern Nigeria (now nineteen states). He was Chairman National Pilgrims Welfare Board, Chairman of the National Teachers Institute (NTI) Kaduna 1979 till death, Chairman General Purpose Committee JNI, Pilgrims Officer (1958), Pilgrims Welfare Board (1976-78), Amir al-Hajj (1978), member of the Judicial Service Commission, and was appointed Grand Mufti without portfolio by General Murtala Muhammad regime in 1976.

He translated Qur’an into Hausa language (Tarjamar Qur’an from Tabara to Nas).
He later translated the whole Qur’an into Hausa language (Tarjama). He wrote Tafsir Compendium- Raddul Azhan Ila Ma’anil Qur’an and Aqidatus Sahiha Bimawafaqatush Sharia. He wrote interpretations of several Islamic books.

To know about Sheikh Gumi one needs to read the following books: (1) Where I Stand,(2)The Selfless Reformer: Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, and (3)The Life and Times of Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi: Lessons for the Muslim Ummah.

May the Almighty Allah have mercy on our highly revered Sheikh.

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