Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam: A murder most heinous

The cold blooded murder of Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam in the early hours of Friday, April 13, 2007 was most heinous; a horrendous act beyond human imagination. No simple moulding of words can express the dimension of the heart’s sadness. The murder represents a most troubling development even by the standards of Kano’s ever volatile, contentious and highly contested political and religious milieu. If not quickly arrested, it portends a dangerous, slippery descend into anarchy, in a city known for its combustible tendencies.
Sheikh Ja’afar lived and died in Kano; but perhaps he was better known to us in Maiduguri, which was like a second home for him. For over a decade, Sheikh Ja’afar consistently delivered an illuminating interpretation of the Glorious Qur’an at the Muhammad Indimi Mosque in Maiduguri.
Over the years, the number of Muslims trooping to listen to his annual Ramadan Tafsir had increased from strength to strength. He propagated the eternal message of Islam by calm appeal to reason, on the basis of Qur’anic textual evidences and the hadith of the holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Anybody who held a contrary view, he had often counselled, should come forward with supporting evidence from the same Qur’an and hadith. For instance, less than two months to his brutal murder, he was asked to comment on the Islamic position on marking the first of Muharram with celebrations. He said:
“In all honesty, if we really want to go down to the history of Islam, and look through the Glorious Book of Islam, the Qur’an, and authentic Hadiths, there is no where we can find any support for what Kano state government is doing regarding the celebrations of the first of Muharram. Let us look at the facts before us. The prophet himself who embarked on the Hijra (migration) from Makkah to Madina lived for about 10 years after the Hijra in Madina. He never celebrated the anniversary of his Hijra for once…”
He went further to argue in his characteristic candour: “I know there are some people supporting this kind of celebrations because of what they will make out of it…so my advice to the Kano state government is to beware of such clerics who are only interested in using the occasion to siphon government money…” (Weekly Trust, February 3-9, 2007, p41).
Similarly, Sheikh Ja’afar was fervent and fearless when it comes to issues affecting the poor and weak in society, and had always called upon leaders to be just and be concerned with the socio-economic conditions of their subjects. He was bold and provided the much needed internal critique of Muslim society—telling truth to power, the business class, the Ulama and lay followers alike.
He passionately sought for the intellectual and economic emancipation of the millions of Muslims who live in penury and squalor, and hence, the easy prey of all sorts of superstitions. Being well grounded in the teachings of the Glorious Qur’an and very conscious of contemporary trends in the world, he had often painfully talked about the conditions of Muslims in Nigeria, in Palestine, in Iraq and everywhere on earth. In his short life on earth, Sheikh Ja’afar, was indeed an embodiment of the quintessential Muslim, blending spiritual luminosity with social and political engagement.
In addition to the spiritual awakening of millions of Muslims, especially in Hausa speaking Northern Nigeria, he had time and again preached against indolence among Muslims, particularly the youth; consistently calling upon the youth to seek both spiritual and worldly knowledge, and to be economically productive. He had often called upon Muslims to pay regular visits to prisons and hospitals, to show practical care and concern for the plight of the incarcerated and the sick.
Meanwhile, even as we are terribly shocked and saddened by the death of Sheikh Ja’afar, Muslims must listen to the call of those in authority not to take the laws into their hands, and allow the law enforcement agents to do their work; notwithstanding the fact that a former Justice Minister of the country who was also murdered in cold blood, hasn’t yet found justice after four years.
The Sheikh lived and died for a worthy cause, and what else can we do but to pray for the repose of his gentle soul, and for Allah to raise him in the ranks of the martyrs. Most certainly, Muslims in Maiduguri in particular, Kano, and the rest of Nigeria have lost a worthy scholar but the ultimate losers—in this world and beyond—are those who murdered him in cold blood, as he led the Fajr prayers, on the blessed day of Friday.? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Written by ABBA GANA SHETTIMA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Culled from

RABI’U THANI 6, 1428 A.H. TUESDAY APRIL 24, 2007