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Sheikh Qasim Umar: A Trail of Sacrifice

By Mahdi Garba
Speaking or writing about a martyr is a herculean task. This is simply because, I know every person is hold dearly by his family members. The question of how would his family or to be precise his children perceive what I’m saying about their doting Dad cum breadwinner.

This impression struck me on Tuesday, 5 February 2019, exactly a year that Sheikh Qasim Umar, a prominent disciple of Sheikh Zakzaky died of gun injuries he sustained on January 9, 2018 while calling the President Buhari-led administration to comply with a court order that calls for the release of the unjustly detained leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. The context of the attack and the nature of the injuries later proved it as a premeditated one.

Sheikh Qasim’s resilience and the revolutionary role he played in the history of the Islamic Movement are few among the many things that cannot be overlooked in the four decades of the movement’s existence.

In July 2007, following the assassination of one Umar Danmaishiyya, a Sunni preacher who was known for his anti-Shia polemics by unknown gunmen, Sheikh Qasim was arrested alongside 114 Muslim brothers in Sokoto. Under the nose of the then Governor of Sokoto State, Alu Wamakko, hired mobs in consortium with heavily armed soldiers and the police went to on to kill 6 members of the Islamic Movement, with over 63 homes and shops belonging to them demolished.

Since then, Sheikh Qasimu Umar Sokoto had been in jail, until a divine intervention that ended their illegal detention in 2014. After 7 years of detention in different detention facilities across Nigeria, Sheikh Qasim and 112 others regained their freedom. Two had passed away under detention.

Late 2015, about a year after they’ve went back to their homes, comes the Buhari government that declared its all-out war on members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. Known for his tenacious stance on cause of the movement, Sheikh Qasim was also at Gyallesu, residence of Sheikh Zakzaky in Zaria during the attack that left the whereabouts of more than 1000 people unknown. He was among the few that survived the attack.

In the aftermath of the attack, Sheikh Qasim Umar also known as Qasim Rinin Tawaye Sokoto has led series of protests in Sokoto and Abuja in his quest to see a halt of Sheikh Zakzaky’s continued detention. The doggedness he had shown before his martyrdom has waken many from their slumber to join the protests, which makes the number of protestors skyrocketing by the day.

This was the lone reason why he was targeted by a serial killer attached to the Nigerian Police in Abuja on January 9, 2018 along Herbert Macaulay way. On February 5, 2018, he attained martyrdom.

While on sickbed, Shahid Qasim had shown his readiness to immediately go back to the streets of Abuja after recovering for the Free Zakzaky protests, little he knew that the die is cast.

It is obvious that the perseverance of Shahid Qasim Umar had not and can never be contested. Until his martyrdom, he has become a thorn in the flesh of Nigeria’s President Buhari and his bootlickers. A known wannabe of the president, popular for doing his bidding, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T. Y. Buratai once visited the Sokoto emirate to express his dismay on how the emirate continue to downplay the role Sheikh Qasim in leading Free Zakzaky protests in Abuja. The army chief saw him as the architect of the protests and should he be killed, the protests would come to an end.

The life of Sheikh Qasim has been a trail of sacrifice. Aside mastery of the Holy Quran, he had dedicated the whole of his life to teaching and learning. He has toured different places in Nigeria calling people to the Islamic Movement.

Many have described him as an arbiter that resolved conflicts at inter-societal and intra-societal levels.

The life of Shahid Sheikh Qasim Umar Rinin Tawaye is one worthy of emulation. A life full of lessons that the youth will learn from, especially on aspects of clemency, resilience, worship and unending pursuit of knowledge.


 sheikh qasim umar sokoto


 sheikh qasim umar sokoto