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His Eminence Sheikh Zakzaky:The sage and stoical of our generation

By Abdullahi Muhammad Makama
Zaria city is the hub of knowledge and learning in northern Nigeria teeming with learned and erudite Ulamas of diverse denominations. To him, Sheikh Zakzaky, leadership came submissively, in spite of his indifference to it right from his youthful stage. 

He grew up in the way that his lord wanted him to be. It is quite natural for him to have achieved this level of greatness and glory because those perfect traits and that mood which is free from all sorts of aberration could only spring from such personalities that are prepared for a mission like that of the saintly.

Right from the time of his youthful formative stage he was very fond of collecting books, a trait which continued till today, he took great care in his pursuit and was very successful in gathering precious books in all fields of learning to the admiration and envy of many, thus there is little wonder in his success in delving into major scholarly issues and topics that is seldom discussed by many scholars. His library has a range of rare collections of books not possess by many scholars and perhaps some precious books are not found elsewhere. Consequently, he gathered a rich and large number of books in various field of knowledge.

Alas! The said library is now destroyed torched, set ablaze and burn to ashes!

He is very kind, generous and always very careful about the common good. He would not draw near him anyone for emotional reasons, just because he neither loved them nor distance others because he disliked them, nor respect people because of their power. For him the only yardstick is faith and goodness.

He took up the task of promoting the mission of the Ahlul Bait and devoted his life for that; he will never miss a single chance to support it at all times.

He is of sound disposition, perspicacious, sharp in comprehension and very lively in a humble comportment. He is also endowed with acute presence of mind, a high degree of self-respect and formidable intellect. In addition, he had sound reasoning. His language is very clear, attractive and exhibited a skilful acuteness that carries the listener along with it. He knew how to steer the hearts and subdue the minds with his saintly words which were saturated with his lively spirit. He is never satisfied with the superficial aspects of things but always delved into their essence and chose what is most congenial to his elegant taste and natural disposition.


He is a versatile man with numerous discusses on classical theological and political dissertations to his credit, he is a man of reticence and refinement. He towered high above his contemporaries in sagacity and leadership acumen, In his early life he had loftiness for mind and always aspired for perfection. Thus, he engaged himself in rigorous learning and distinguishes himself among his peers; he became famous for his Exceptional intellect, moral excellence and charisma. Resolute, charitable and humble, he is ascetic in his habits, always engrossed in prayers and fasting, reading and learning were his main traits, always keen to learn more, frequently in research unlocking and finding solutions to burning issues that require urgent attention.

He is blessed with a very apt and retentive memory, gifted with the rare memory of easily recollecting and remembering distant past events, names and faces lucidly with alacrity. His sense of aesthetic  transcend beyond physical appearance, but also his hand writing which is a delight to the eye and also his versatility in Arabic calligraphy is astonishing and pleasing to behold. Those that are privileged to ask him questions affirmed that, he would readily and immediately answer them with convincing proofs, for which they always express gratitude and commendation. They were amazed at how he treated those questions so naturally and adduced ready historical proofs on ambiguous topics on which they spent a lifetime without finding the solution.

When he stood in prayers before the Lord of the Lords he resembled Imam Ali Ibn Hussain (AS), the adornment of the worshipers and master of those who prostrate themselves before Allah, and his meekness before Allah the mighty and Glorious, pervaded his heart, hearing, sight, and all his senses and limbs.

His lectures and discusses were in fact schools from which guidance could be sought and in which was available whatever is desired to make a perfect human being, all sorts of wisdom and admonitions which would uplift one to the level of the righteous.

When he took to preaching and guiding the people, words of wisdom flowed out from his lips and as a result, he captured the hearts, refined the dissidents to the right way, and bridled the obstinate desires and reformed deviated souls. Consequently, his listener’s eyes and heart lowered in submission.  He is strong in furnishing his evidence and is very eloquent; his speech is a smooth flow uninterrupted by faltering with a tactical hesitation. He made simple the difficult and ambiguous topics so that his listeners might find it plain even though it was not. In fact, it was his eloquence. Power of demonstration and his charming mode of speech that makes such topics seems pleasant and simple to the audience. His lectures were excellent with knowledge and dealing with subjects that may be desired. The topics of discussion usually varied according to the type of audience and their needs. He expresses his ideas so vividly that the listener imagines the scene. At the end of the lecture one would leave with a polished mind and wealth of information, little wonder, many people travelled from remote and near to attend his lecture twice every week in thousands.

His topics of discussion are usually varied according to the type of audience and their needs. When he changed the subject of discussion this feeling persisted due to his power of imagination and expression.In short he does everything at a proper time and in a proper way and keeps everything in its proper place.Loved by his adherents and admirers, alas! Highly averse by his adversaries!The effect of his formidable success was such that his adversaries prayed for his dead! And when the Sheikh encounters any challenge they display their joy without any shame.

A kind father and a compassionate teacher who has spent a life full of efforts and resistance, and suffered pains, tortures, and depravations for the sake of his noble goal and ideals, all the struggles which provided the purpose and direction to his life are now rearing and his goals are still cherished by many. To his side, there are wailers and hailers. But to me Zakzaky has three categories in-respect of relationship; they are, proponents, opponents and spectators, I know how difficult and fortuitous it is to be his proponent, because nothing good comes easy, my sincere and candid advice to all brothers and sisters is to distance themselves from being among the element of the opponents, I would rather advice love ones to be at least among the spectators its wiser, safer and more honourable.

“There is no doubt that an ignorant soldier or a mercenary fighting in the battle field against the bearers of glad tidings of truth and justice shall never succeed forever”

The commander of thefaithful Imam Ali (AS) in the following quotation, which is full of wisdom, said: a steadfast, patient person would never be denied success; however it may materialize after a long time.

I heard Abu Abdullah Ja’afar B. Muhammad (AS) say, “Even a prophet among the prophets may be tested with thirst till he dies thirsty, even a prophet among the prophets may be tested at a deserted Place till he dies naked, even a prophet among the prophets may be tested with diseases and illness till he dies, even a prophet among the prophets may come to his people, stay with them so as to enjoin upon them obedience to Allah, and call them to the absolute unity of Allah, yet he may not be opportune to complete his speech, nor given even a patient listening, until he is killed. Verily, the Most High, test His servants according to their station in His estimation”

My respected brothers and sisters, may I please refer you to my friend Harun Elbinawy the maestro whom I always respect and cherished, an apt writer and avid defender of the truth and the down trodden, one among the many lovers and adherents of Allamah Sayyid Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky in one of his write-up when he postulate thus;

“His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky taught millions of Nigerians like myself to speak against injustice, to live the life of honesty free of crime, to be obedient & kind to our parents, to be good to our neighbours, to assist & help the poor, the downtrodden, the barefooted & the homeless.

Sheikh Zakzaky taught us that Nigerian Christians are not our enemies like how some Wahhabi clerics are portraying, he taught us that Nigerian Christians are our brothers and sisters in humanity as clearly stated by Imam Ali (as) in his famous Letter to General Malik alAshtar. He taught us that respecting all human is among the fundamental teachings of Islam.

He taught us to feel the pains of anybody oppressed & wronged in whatever part of the world, no matter the religion & no matter the colour of skin. Sheikh Zakzaky taught us about the evils of colonialism, neo – colonialism, imperialism & Zionism. He gave practical examples of how these evil tendencies invade nations, killed its people and plundered their resources.

Sheikh Zakzaky taught us the importance of unity among Muslims, he forbid us to build our own separate Mosque and told us that all Mosques are the House of God. He told us that building our own separate Mosques will further deepen the division of Muslims. He said Muslims should be tolerant of each other’s views and should avoid sectarian extremism.

He taught us to always invite Christians and other non-Muslims to all our programs and activities so as to build trust, mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence. And he told us to also send delegates to their program whenever invited.

He totally condemned terrorism in all its manifestations and he declared that Western intelligence agencies created, nurtured and controlled these murderous terrorist groups that are killing people in the name of Islam. He taught us that terrorism has no place in Islam.

Sheikh Zakzaky has consistently condemned the wanton corruption and looting of public treasury by the corrupt Nigerian elites especially the corrupt elites of Northern Nigeria that has impoverished Nigerians. He said all actions and activities of leaders will be accounted for by God on the Day of Judgement. He said the corrupt elites are one and the same and that they only use fault lines of religion, tribe and region to divide the Nigerian oppressed masses.

The above are some of what we were taught by Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky in Nigeria, Niger Republic, Cameron, Chad, Mali, and Senegal etc. Our dear Nigerian compatriots, please is there anything above that warranted the Nigerian Army to brutally killed 1000+ of his followers in Zaria, attacked his residence and burnt people alive with him and his family in the house, killed his three (3) biological Sons and burnt all his properties that included his valuable and rich Library”


Abdallah Muhammad Makama

Secretary General,

Shi’ibi Abi Talib Islamic Organization;

Jabi, Abuja.