The Teachers of the Dan Fodios - by Abdullaah bin Fodio

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful. All praises are due to Allaah who has blessed us with the favours of al-Iman and al-Islam. All praises are due to the One who has guided us by means of our Master Muhammad, upon him be the best blessings and most perfect peace and upon his family and all the Shaykhs who possess knowledge and learning.

To continue: Says the needy man of Allaah, Abdullahi ibn Muhammad. It occurred to my mind to put down in writing those shaykhs from whom I acquired knowledge and from whom I benefited. I have singled out some of these Shaykhs about whom good words have been attributed as well as others for mention, in order that it may be of benefit to all . I ask Allaah by means of His blessings and generosity to make this easy for me. I have named it: The Repository of Text Concerning Those Shaykhs From Whom I Took Knowledge.

1st of Them

The first of them was my father from whom I learnt the Quran .

He was Muhammad and his honorific name was Fuduye. In our language of Fulfulde it means the jurist. He was the son of Uthman ibn Saalih ibn Haruun ibn Muhammad who was known as Ghurtu. From what we have heard, he was among those who were given the authority over ourtribe. His father was Jubba Ibn Muhammad Thanbu (Sanbu) ibn Ayub ibn Maasiraan ibn Buuba Baaba ibn MusaJakuli. This is the genealogy, which has reached us even though the genealogists are liars.

Only Allaah and His Messenger speak the Truth. This Musa, according to what we have heard, is the one who came with our tribe from the lands of the west, which is Futa Toro and was one of its leaders until he came with them to the lands of Konni. These Turudbewere the first people to inhabit this area before the Hausa and the Tuareg, and their numbers spread into the lands of the Hausa. They are the original members of the Fulani tribe and their language is Fulfulde.

According to what we have heard, they preceded the remainder of the Fulani to the lands of Hausa by seven years. We have heard that their origin is from the African Christians of the Roman Empire, to whom came the armies of the Companions. Their king accepted the faith and married his daughter to the Mujaahid Uqba ibn Aamir, the Companion of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and Amir of the West. He then fathered the celebrated Fulani tribe.

This Ruum grandfather of theirs was the son of Eissa ibn Ishaq ibn Ibrahim, upon them be peace. Then, My Brother Among the shaykhs from whom I took knowledge was my blood brother, the Amir I-Mumineen Uthman ibn Muhammad. My father left me in his hands after having completed the reading of the Quran and I was at that time thirteen years old. I recited to him the al-Isriniyyaat , the al-Witriyyaat and the Six Poets . I also took from him the science of Divine Unity (attawheed) from the books of Sanusi their commentaries and from other works. It was rare that a book of tawheed made it to our country and I knew about it that we did not copy it from him .

I took from him the science of inflection and syntax (al-iraab) from the al-Ajurumiyya, al-Mulhat, and al~Qatr and their like along with their commentaries. I took from him the science of the exegesis of the Quran (tafseer l- Quran) from the beginning of al-Faatiha to the end of the Quran more times than I can say. I took from him the science of prophetic traditions (al-hadeeth) which comes by textual narration, like the books of al- Iraqi and those by way of oral transmission like al-Bukhari, in a way that trained me for other works. I took from him the science of arithmetic (al-hisaab), that which is complex and that which is simple. By the praises of Allaah, I attained insight into the religion by means of the overflowing of the lights of the Shehu and through his beneficial writings, both in Arabic and non-Arabic (ajami).

For he never composed a work from his first composition until the present except that I was, for the most part, the first to copy it down from him. I accompanied him at home and abroad. I did not leave him from the time I was a young boy up until my present age of almost fifty years old. All praises are due to Allaah for that! A Family of Knowledge The Shehu studied the Quran with his father and learnt the al-Isriniyyaat and similar works with his shaykh Uthrnan, who was known as Biddu al-Kabawi.

He learnt the science of inflection and syntax (al-iraab) and the science of grammar (an-nahwu) from al-Khulasa and other works from our shaykh, Abdr-Rahman ibn Hamada. He read the Al-Mukhtasar with our paternal and maternal uncle, Uthman, who was known as Bidduri ibn al-Amin ibn Uthman ibn Hamm ibn Aal. This shaykh of his was learned and pious, well known for righteousness, ordering the good and forbidding indecency and for being preoccupied with what concerned him.

He is the one whom our shaykh, Uthman, imitated in spiritual states and in actions. He accompanied him for nearly two years, molding himself according to his character in piety and in commanding the good and forbidding indecency. Shehu Uthman informed me that he had studied tafseer of the Quran from the son of our paternal and maternal uncle, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Amin . He also told me that he was also present at the assembly of Hashimaz-Zamfara and heard from him the tafseer of the Quran from its beginning to the end. I was with him at that time, but I was not occupied, then, with the science of tafseer. He learnt the science of prophetic traditions (al-hadeeth) from our maternal and paternal uncle, al-Hajj Muhammad ibn Rajibn Modibo ibn Hamm ibn "Aal , reading with him the entire Saheeh of al-Bukhari, while I listened.

Then he gave us license(al-ijaaza) to pass on all the narrations that he received from his shaykh, Abul-Hassan Ali al-Madini, whose origin was from Sind. In short, the shaykhs of Shehu Uthman were many. Some of them I knew and some of them I did not know.

Shaykh of Our Shaykhs

Let us return to enumerating the shaykhs from whom I took knowledge.

Among them was the son of our maternal uncle Muhammad ibn Muhammad from whom I learnt the Maqaamaat of al-Hariri and other works. Among them was our paternal and maternal uncle, Abdullahi ibn al-Hajj al-Hassan ibn Hamm ibn Aal from whom I studied the grammatical works al-Qatrn-Naada and its commentary called Shudhuur ad-Dhahab by al Maridini and its commentary called Buluugh l-Arab, the al-Khulasa of Ibn Malik with its commentary al-Bahjat l- Mardiya by as-Suyuti and other grammatical works.

Among them also was our shaykh, the shaykh of our shaykhs, the learned Imam Jibril ibn Umar, renown among the scholars in the lands of the east and the west. His good qualities are not in need of mention. From him I learned books on the origin of the law (usuull-fiqh), such as the books of al-Qarafi, al-Kawkab as-Saati and the [amual-Jawaamiand its commentaries. I also read with him some of his own writings. I stayed with him and profited much from him.

He instructed me, together with my brother and shaykh, the above mentioned Uthman, initiating us in the pronunciation of the word of tawheed. He also gave us license to passon all that he had related. Among them was our maternal and paternal uncle, al-Hajj Muhammad ibn Raj. I heard from him the Saheeh of al-Bukhari and he gave us license in all of the works he received transmission. ...And Others ... Among them was our shaykh, the shaykh of our shaykhs, Muhammad al-Maghara, illustrious as the sun in our country for teaching the Al-Mukhtasar.

Anyone in our country who had not studied the Al-Mukhtasar with him in his time, it was as if he had not studied it at all. I read to him the entire first part of the AI-Mukhtasarin the year 1200 from the prophetic hijra I then read the second part-with his disciple famous as the Imam because he was one of the imams which the Amir l-Mumineen appointed over his mosque (in Sokoto). He was Muhammad Sanbu ibn Abdr-Rahman who attained martyrdom during the jihad against the disbelievers. I am unable to enumerate all of the shaykhs from whom I acquired knowledge, but these were the principal ones among them.

How many scholars and seekers of knowledge came to us from the east from which I profited, so many that I cannot count them? In addition, how many scholars and seekers of knowledge came to us from the west from which I profited, so many that I cannot count them? May Allaah reward all of them with His pleasure and adorn them with being resident in His Paradise. Ameen.

Abdullahi ibn Muhammad ibn Fudi.

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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