By Ibrahim Usman
Sayyid (Ayatullah) Taba’etaba’e is among those renowned scholars Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky came into contact with briefly during his knowledge pursuit in Ghana. Below is the transcribed statement he made while addressing African students, shortly after the joint special prayer session for the repose of the soul of Sheikh Zakzaky’s mother, held at Hussainiyyah al-Shuhada in Qom, Iran recently. The prayer session was jointly organized between African students in Iran and Imam Sadiq Foundation (Mu’assatu Imam Sadiq).
The Ten Blessed Days
“I met Sheikh Zakzaky in Ghana 25 years ago. I invited to my house, as it was during holidays and my family were in Iran. He became my guest for 10 days and ten nights. He listened attentively while I talked. He never said a word while I talked, all did was to listen carefully.
After the ten days, I gave him books as a present out of my personal collections. I asked him to choose the books he like, because I realized he was influenced by the teachings of school of Ahlul Bayt (AS). When I escorted to the airport as he was going back to Nigeria, I told him to keep what he learnt (of the school of Ahlul Bayt) to himself. But he did not! He began to disseminate the teachings of Ahlul Bayt (AS) to the people.
His Prison Experience in Nigeria
After some time, I got the news from one of his friends that the (Nigerian) government had arrested and imprisoned him. He had told me that while on Da’awah on Sunni platform, he was imprisoned seven times, and that was the eighth time. According to the person who told me the news of his arrest, he (Sheikh Zakzaky) had said he had a feeling he was not going to come out alive, as he was kept in the worst prison of all. Then Allah brought to an end the reign of the country’s president who detained him, and he was released by the next president who took over.
Leader, Pace-Setter and Vanguard of Shi’a in Nigeria
Presently, he is the leader of all Shi’ites in Nigeria. Although some of his Ahlul Sunnah followers have rebelled, but some of them have returned because they had no to shelter to turn to but him.
During Ashura and other Majalis, thousands of his followers across as Kano and Zaria attend. We often receive information on how security operatives open fire on the Shi’ites kill and injure scores. It happened during last Quds Day procession, where his followers were killed, including three of his sons.
He is undefeatable!
Now one dares to go to his residence and arrest him, because he has become a community and the community is attached to him, out of the special blessing and protection of the Ahlul Bayt (AS). He is the most influential and powerful man in Nigeria now, as he leads millions of Shi’ites. Therefore, the Shi’a owe him support, and he owe the Ahlul Bayt (AS) support. This is part of the blessing of following the teaching of Ahlul Bayt (AS).
In my view, this blessing had roots from our meeting during those complete ten days, today he is the vanguard of Shi’a and Shi’ism in Nigeria. I think his Da’awah on the platform of teaching of Ahlul Bayt (AS) started about 25 years ago.
I never told anyone this story, this is the first time. I told you this today not because I want to make myself known, but just for historical purpose.