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Life and times of Liman Lawal, Katsina’s Chief Imam

For the past 42 years, Liman Muhammadu Lawal has held sway as the Chief Imam of Katsina Central Mosque, until last Sunday when he passed…

For the past 42 years, Liman Muhammadu Lawal has held sway as the Chief Imam of Katsina Central Mosque, until last Sunday when he passed away after a protracted illness. His funeral attracted a mammoth crowd of sympathisers who thronged Kofar Soro to attend and pay their last respects to the departed illustrious son of the state.

Born in 1930, late Lawal was a descendant of a family of Imams. A lineage from Liman Idris to Liman Sani, then to his father Liman Amadu Rufa’i. His mother was Hafsatu, daughter of Alkali Ruma Muhammadu, who is a son to Muhammadu Umaru.

According to a brief biography, said to have been told by the deceased, and made available to Daily Trust Saturday by the family, late Liman Lawal spent five years of his early childhood with his grandparents, who introduced him to the Islamic religious callings, and quest for knowledge.

Upon his return to his parents, he continued his pursuit of knowledge and completed his memorisation of the holy Quran at the age of 11, and began to study other religious books of knowledge with his father, which he spent 34 years doing. 

Late Lawal got married at 18, and by 22 he had already started having students, even while attending lessons by his father. His search for knowledge took him across different scholars and schools in Katsina, and he was at a time with Malam Aala, and Malam Yusuf, both of Tsohuwar Kasuwa, at Unguwar Alkali with Malam Attahir. He went to Darma, and Yaranci, as well.

Lawal was appointed as Chief Imam at the age of 46, a position he held until his death last Sunday. A strong member of Fityanul Islam, late Lawal maintained excellent relationship with various scholars from Kano, Daura, Sokoto, Funtua, Borno and neighbouring states of Damagaram and Tasawa, both of Niger Republic. He is survived by 4 wives, 28 children, 87 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.

As soon as the news of his death broke, it spread like wildfire across the state, with most enquiries as to when and where will the funeral prayer hold, because many were wishing to attend. And attend they did. The gathering was unprecedented, with symphatisers from different walks of life converging at the palace of Emir of Katsina, Kofar Soro, to attend the prayers.

Ratibi Mustapha Amadu led the funeral prayers which was attended by the state governor Aminu Masari, his Deputy Mannir  Yakubu, Secretary to the State Government Mustapha Inuwa, alongside top government functionaries. He prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased, and for the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

The late Imam Lawal was interred at the Dantakum burial ground. 

The personal visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to condole with the family further signified the well-lived life of the deceased. Buhari arrived the emir’s palace on Monday, a few minutes after 10:00am, and left about thirty minutes later. He was accompanied by Governor Masari, and others. 

Buhari, extolling the virtues of the late Chief Imam, described him as pious and humble, and a person who had lived a fulfilled life that has impacted many positively. 

For Governor Aminu Masari, the death is a devastating loss not only to Katsina State, but to the Islamic world, adding that the gravity of the loss will be felt beyond the shores of Nigeria in view of the vastness and depth of his knowledge.

In a statement signed by his Media aide Abdu Labaran, Governor Masari described the deceased as a simple, humble and serious Islamic teacher whose tutelage extended beyond Nigeria, even as he called on Islamic clerics to emulate the life led by the deceased.

While condoling the Emir of Katsina and Daura, the immediate family and disciples of the deceased, as well as the people of the state, and the Muslim community at large, the governor prayed to Allah to forgive him all his shortcomings and make paradise his final resting place.

The Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumin Usman, who prayed for eternal rest for the deceased equally spoke of the good deeds of the late cleric, adding that Katsina would miss him .

Already, late Lawal’s deputy, Malam Gambo Mustapha Amadu, has been elevated and appointed of  as the new Chief Imam of Katsina. The secretary of the Emirate Council and Sallaman Katsina, Bello Ifo, confirmed the development to Daily Trust. 

Consequently, he along with his deputy, were installed with their new titles yesterday, Friday, by the Emir in his palace, and he led his first Friday prayer at the Central Mosque. 

The encomiums and eulogies that followed the death of late Liman Lawal is a great vindication that the departed cleric lived a life worthy of emulation.

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