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Alhaji Hamidu Danlami: A Tribute

There can never be a better tribute on late Alhaji Hamidu Danlami than what Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, His Eminence Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky said of him. During the mourning period, Al-Mizan editors and reporters interviewed Shaikh Zakzaky on the death, and below is the full interview translated into English from Hausa by Ibrahim Usman.

 Alhaji Hamidu Danlami’s death is a great shock

From Allah we are, and to Him we shall eventually return. Alhaji Hamidu Danlami had been suffering from heart problem, and when he died it was discovered to be the source of his death. There was plan to take him to Egypt for treatment, but then as Allah wills, his death came impromptu. Death, in whatever form, is sad and painful. However, it would have been less painful if one had died of a protracted illness, instead of a sudden death. This is more painful, shocking and agonizing. This is the will of Allah, and from Him we are, and to Him we shall eventually return. May Allah repose his soul, grant him eternal rest.

His first contact with the Islamic Movement

Alhaji Hamidu Danlami came into contact with the Islamic Movement in 1985 as a sympathizer, but he was a sympathizer with a difference because he was constantly with the movement, on daily basis. He used to come to my residence every day, and he became our companion wherever we went. Together we attended a programme in Bauchi in 1986; he actually drove me to Bauchi. From Bauchi we also attended IVC programme in Bichi, and finally drove me to Kaduna, where I booked for a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. He actually took me to the airport. We went to places together. Even at that stage he was referring to the Movement as “Yours”, not “Ours”. I can still remember him telling me, “never relent in your struggle, you are on the right path”. But within a short period he began to see the Movement as “Ours”, and became active and committed member.

I discovered the basic reason for his full involvement in the Movement was as a result of the respect he had for his mentor, Malam Tukur, who was known for his precise predictions. He was reported to have hinted that, those people (Brothers) in ABU were the group on the right path, and would later become champions of Islam. Alhaji Hamidu Danlami used to remind students of MalamTukur’s prediction, which made him became closer to the Movement; from a sympathizer to active member.

Alhaji Hamidu Danlami suffered trials and tribulations, which included the arrest in 1987 when the government used the Kafanchan crisis as an excuse and made arrests here in Zaria. He used to be a very successful businessman and philanthropist, but had to abandon all these for the sake of the Movement.  Together, we faced all the severe trials and tribulations between 80s and 90s, up to the time things came to a near standstill. I remember they came out of prison in the 80s, as they were the first batch to come out, I wrote to him that, we should adopt a strategy of individual enrolment into the Movement; he replied that, the situation had changed, people were joining the movement in groups. At that time, there was an old man who was reported to have told his children, as his will that they should never leave me. For those who knew us in those years, especially those born in that period, knew us together. We never parted. That was how it had been before the final call.

Alhaji Hamidu Danlami’s good conduct

I once wrote a letter to him, in which I even swore that I liked him. I told him I admire his outstanding sacrifice and commitment. He faced trials in worldly affairs, yet he persevered for the sake of his faith. He chose the path of Allah far above worldly materials, and accepted that in good faith. Among his outstanding qualities was his sincerity of purpose. Those who knew Alhaji knew him by his good moral conduct; this singular quality made many people joined the Movement. He became a gate through which many people came into the Movement. He was popular by people of Bakin Kasuwa community (in Zaria), because he lived with them for years. Because of his exemplary moral character, they trusted him and what he was doing. His popularity and good moral conduct among the people made many joined the Movement. Although I am from Zaria, but people knew him more, and therefore had faith in what he was doing.

We will live to remember him by this sacrifice; he sacrificed his all for this religion. Few people can pass such trials. Many people have faith in what we are doing and knew it is the truth, but they could not be fully involved. It is so difficult to imagine, a very wealthy man, a philanthropist, to join an Islamic Movement with all the attendant tribulations and suppression, lost all that he had, and yet kept firm in his belief. Only few can pass this trial. People thought if they join the Movement they will become poor; we lost nothing. Alhaji Hamidu Danlami lost nothing.

The prison years

We did not stayed together in the same prison during the arrest on Kafanchan crisis. They were taken to Suleja and we were detained in Kaduna. We met only when were taken to the Karibi Whyte tribunal, even then it was just for two nights before we were finally taken to different prisons in the southern part of the country. When we were arrested again in 1996, we were arrested on Thursday, and we stayed together for only two days before we were finally transferred to different prisons in the southern part of the country.

When were brought to Kaduna prison, we stayed together, the four of us. We were many, but we were scattered in three sections. They first kept us in the VIP section, before they transferred us to a specially secluded section. However, we transformed the place to a more prestigious section than the VIP section with adornment. It has four rooms, each one of us was given a room, but the way we adorned it, it became more prestigious than their VIP section. We stayed together there; we parted only when it is time for everyone to go into his room. We could talk to each other even when we were in our rooms. The rooms are opened in the morning, and we stayed out until evening. We lived together for some time that we read much in aspects of Ibadat and Mu’amalat in TahrirulWsila, though we could not complete it. We also had time to do some selected readings, and worship.

His exemplary legacy

Alhaji Hamidu Danlami will be remembered by his outstanding sacrifice, knowing fully that this life will eventually come to an end whatever greatness a person attained. Whatever position you have held in your place of work, or wealth you have acquired, whatever it is, you will one day die. All these things you have acquired in your life time will be left here. Therefore, never allow these material things come between you and the hereafter. Work towards the hereafter, which is your permanent dwelling place.  The life in this world should be a mean to an end, the end being the hereafter. It should not be the ultimate end. If you allow this material world to be your ultimate end, and at the end you leave behind whatever you have acquired in it, then you have lost. But if the hereafter becomes your ultimate goal, and the material world becomes a sort of a ladder towards attaining the hereafter, which is a permanent abode of eternal bliss, then you have succeeded.

Alhaji Hamidu Danlami demonstrated this during his life time.  When he was successful businessman, there were many more successful businessmen than him, but they are now no more. Some of them are dead. He is also no more, but on his part, he carried along with him a security, which is his faith. For those people, they left behind that which they acquired where they got it from. If we look closely, they are not better than him. This should be a food for thought.

If you see yourself a wealthy man, philanthropist or a man with ease of life, we are not saying that you should abandon all these, but if it will become barrier to your religion, let go of it. If you persevere, and you pass Allah’s test, it will then all come to pass. This is the case with Prophet Ayub (AS), who was given wealth, nice family and good health. He was tested on these, when he persevered, Allah returned to him the wealth, family and good health, with additional similar things. Alhaji Hamidu Danlami used to drive a brand of Mercedes car, popularly known as Bagobira. Back in the 70s few people could afford it, but he owned it then. But a time came when he had to be given a ride in my Beatle car, or even borrowed it. Yet he persevered and endured, eventually the situation came back to normal as if it has never happened before. It is very difficult for one to endure this, but it was a trial. If one is afraid of losing what he has, the life times of Alhaji Hamidu Danlami should serve as a lesson to him.

I remember during the martyrdom of Dr. Abdul’aziz Rantisi I said, this was a great challenge to doctors. Here is a medical doctor who stood firm in Islamic struggle and became a martyr. Doctors have no excuse whatsoever. Here, we can say that the life time of Alhaji Hamidu Danlami was also a challenge to businessmen. They have no excuse to fear losing what they possess, or intimidation. Alhaji died while he lost nothing. Did he lost a thing in this world? No. Above all, he left behind a lasting legacy, which he carried forward- his faith and his religion.