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We don’t have problem with Tijjaniyya sect -Sheikh Qaribullah

I am very happy indeed. All Qadiriyya followers, as you know, will equally be happy. It is a thing one should thank God for and…

I am very happy indeed. All Qadiriyya followers, as you know, will equally be happy. It is a thing one should thank God for and I thank the Almighty God for the honour done to us.

How can this add value to the cause you have committed yourself to?

Authorities of the university said in a letter that the honour is in appreciation of our approach to issues in our religious activities. They also appreciate the way we preach and educate Muslims in accordance with Islamic teachings. Our day to day interaction with various segments of people –Muslims and non Muslims -equally counts for this regard. Islam enjoins Muslims to always be of good conduct in all their dealings, be it private or official. Islam is more than preaching and praying. The way you relate with people of different faiths, how to interact with them matters a lot. You have to be patient while dealing with people; you have to be honest and frank at all time. All these are good things in life and I enjoin all Muslims to imbibe this conduct. We have to portray ourselves as good ambassadors of Islam. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said; Islam/religion is how people relate with one another (mu’amalat). So, I believe this honour will spur us to do more for the development of Muslims and humanity in general

Which kind of university is this?

European-American University is the name of the institution. It is an institution jointly owned by the European Union and America based in Ghana. It is just a conventional university like any other university in the world where it teaches everything. It offers different courses including Arabic and Islamic studies.

Are you the only one from Nigerian who was honoured?

Apart from me, I know of Usman Bayero Nafada, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives.

Can you further explain other reasons that informed the university to honor you?

We wrote a lot of books on Islam and many other things. We also have written many books in Arabic that were later translated into English. They have followed all that we were doing. As you know, the white man is very curious and critical in his approach to things and actions.

You said you wrote a number of books, can we know some of them?

I may recall some of them. We have Albir’atus Sabia. It is a book on Dariqa; its history, root in Qur’an and Hadith of Prophet Muhammad as well as its significance. It was written in Arabic. Professor Isa Hashim and other scholars such as Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu, Dr Shehu Kaba and late Dr. Mutari Attama translated it into English and it is now being called, A Crystal Clear Mirror of Sufism. There is another book called Addawf Wassafa. This book is on Fiqh and hajj rites. We also have what is called Shaddul Risali, which explains the significance of visiting Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and other good servants of God. There is what we call Muwahibul Rahim. This is a book on the history of our grandfather Sheikh Ibrahim Natsugune. He was a pious man and well known Muslim cleric in those days in Kano and it was written in Arabic. There is a book on the history of Sheikh Jazuli, the author of the famous Dala’ilul Khayrat. We have Risalatul Jaliyya which explains how Islam came to Nigeria and Africa. It also explains how Islam gained roots even long before the coming of Sheikh Usman bn Fodio. It is on this I wrote my degree thesis. Durul Dariqatul Qadiriyya is another book we wrote that explains the contributions of the Qadiriyya in spreading Islam and Arabic language in West Africa. This was a collection of seminar papers by Bayero University, Kano and other universities. There is Fata’ul Jiljalal that explains the contributions of Islamic scholars to the development of Islam. We also have a book specially on poems written by our late father. These are some of the books I can recall now.

Today, Muslims all over the world, especially in Europe and America, are being branded terrorists because of the September 11, 2001 attack. Can we now say the US and the West have begun to change their perceptions of Islam having considered you for this award as a Muslim leader?

Islam is a religion of peace and it is a complete way of life. And I know the US and the West are fully aware of this fact. In Islam, we have what is called Tasawwuf (Sufism). Our major pre-occupation is how to spread Islam and for Muslims to live by it. As we all know, the Sufis brought Islam to Hausaland. The religion was brought to us peacefully and not through war. They brought it to us diplomatically which made it acceptable to all of us. This made our people to embrace the religion. So, this has a great impact on us. The Europeans are quite aware of this.

What are the challenges of Qadiriyya sect in Nigeria today?

Everything has its challenges. If you look at the sect, 70 percent of its followers today are youths, and 30 percent are the aged. Our biggest challenge remains the same since the time the sect was founded. The Tijjaniyya sect is our greatest competitor. But we thank God that we are succeeding together as we don’t have problem with them. We pass the message through giving knowledge. If you look at our Tafsir at the emir’s palace during Ramadan, at least more than one million Muslims listen to what we are teaching. And we thank God we are really succeeding. And if you come here, the Qadiriyya House, where we teach Quran and Hadith every Thursday, you will see that we have come far. This is in addition to our Islamiyya Secondary School where we have just started offering diploma courses in Arabic and Islamic education. Our hope is to see that in no distant future, we start awarding degrees. You should also look at our yearly Qadiriyya procession. It is enough sign that we have succeeded in our movement.

Then, how do you relate with other sects in Nigeria?

We don’t have any other sects apart from Qadiriyya and Tijjaniyya. To our understanding, Qadiriyya and Tijjaniyya are the same. We are from the same parents. We are from the same root. We do our things together. We live peacefully with them. Let me give you one example, the leader of the Tijjaniyya sect, Khalifa Isiyaku Rabi’u, was instrumental to our Ghana trip. He contributed immensely to our trip to Ghana.

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