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Farewell to the last ascetic

In an authentic Hadith of Prophet Muhammad SAW, one of the companions went to him and asked “Tell me a deed by which Almighty Allah…

In an authentic Hadith of Prophet Muhammad SAW, one of the companions went to him and asked “Tell me a deed by which Almighty Allah will love me and the people will also love me.”

Rasulillah SAW answered: “Do not desire the world and Allah will love you. Then do not desire what people have and they will love you.”

Of course, it is obvious that most Muslims do not live by this dictum. Indeed as far back the days of the latter-day caliphs and sultans, affluence and luxurious living have been the hallmark of Muslim rulers. Today the grandest palaces in the world are mostly those built by Muslim sultans, during the glorious days of their rule in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

In other words, this seemingly simple prescription of the Prophet, peace be upon him, was so hard to live by, that when Muslims ruled the world several centuries ago, they couldn’t conquer the desire to love it. They lived in grand palaces amidst great splendour, and the evidence is there today in Granada, Spain, in Delhi, India, in Cairo, Egypt, in Fez, Morocco and many ancient cities around the world.

But every once in a while we come across those who really subscribe to a lifestyle that resembles what was prescribed in the hadith above.

Malam Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, who died last Wednesday was one such example. All the tributes that were paid to him, in the last few days, have dwelt on his asceticism, his commitment to the well-being of ordinary people, his ability to shun corrupt practices and corrupt people, as well as his almost superhuman ability to leave public service without a blemish.

As a resident of Kaduna town, over twenty years ago, I once passed by his house in a car, and could not believe it when I was shown an ordinary house with a barbed wire fence and told ‘This is Balarabe Musa’s house.’ In these days of high walls and electric fences, I can’t imagine any big man, let alone a former governor, living in such an exposed environment without any fear for his safety. But he probably had no reason to fear because he knew he never kept what could attract criminals.

Everything about the house could be seen from the street, except its interior. But it’s precisely because he had conquered his desire for worldly grandeur and had no wish to take what belonged to others, by way of self-aggrandizement with public funds, that he was able to achieve so much, in the 18 months he spent in office as governor.

In a list of all he did, in all the local government areas of the old Kaduna State; which then comprised Katsina and the present Kaduna States, late Balarabe Musa was able to execute no less than 600 projects which cut across all the existing local government areas of the state.

While going through the list, I recalled the Quranic verse ‘Wa man yuuqa shuhha nafsihi, fa ulaa’ika humul muflihuun’ (Whoever is saved from the greed of his own soul is among the successful). Surely Almighty Allah has spoken the truth.

Only a totally selfless leader, who had no wish to pursue personal gains, could make the impact of governance felt in so little time, across the length and breadth of his area of jurisdiction.

Below is a list ofsome of the projects accomplished during his 18 month old administration. I can’t publish all of them all due to space constraints. I hope to conclude the list next week,  in sha Allah. May Almighty Allah have mercy on the soul of Malam Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa and reward him with a home in Aljannah Firdausi, amin.

Here is the project list, alphabetically, according to local government area.

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