Every Sunday, Muslims conversant with Hausa language receive moving lectures from the exposition of the book Madaarijis Saalikeen from His Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, the fourteenth Emir of Kano and the leader of the Tijjaniya sect in Nigeria. The book is a commentary of Ibn Qayyiim Al-Jawziyya by Abu Isma’il Alharawi rendered into Hausa by the emir so that we can benefit from the spiritual, moral, and transformative power of the lessons contained in it.
A cursory look at the life and times of Khalifa Sanusi immediately strikes one as the quintessential reflection of a personality that has actually internalized the lessons in the book, which made him stand out as one of the most influential spiritual and political figures in the country. An examination of the manner the revered Emir deals with challenges of leadership, determination to adherence to moral rectitude amidst a corrupt environment, loss of position first as Governor of CBN and subsequent loss of throne as the 14th Emir of Kano and his eventual triumph as the leader of Tijjaniya movement in Nigeria revealed that he is an embodiment of the ideas contained in the book. As the pendulum swung between the extremes of success and tribulation, his highness exhibited a remarkable composure that glaringly reflects years and years of intellectual and personal development of one focused on the journey of life to eternity with the sole aim of uniting with his Lord: the purpose of the dictum and the lessons in the book and the transformative power it wields on the personality of the philosopher king, Muhammadu Sanusi II.
The following character traits evolved by the seamless transition of theory and praxis of the principles of the book in the responses to personal challenges of khalifa’s life are immediately identifiable:
i) ACCEPTANCE (RIDHA) AND TRUST IN ALLAH (TAWAKKUL):
It is on record that his highness confronted myriads of challenges first as the Governor of Central Banks with his strident yet necessary endeavour at sanitizing the banking sector which was wallowing in debilitating milieu of underhand practices and it’s attendant negative consequences. We all know the outcome of his relentless fight against corruption, the 20 billion dollar debacle and his subsequent suspension as the CBN Governor. A second significant watershed in his highness dogged activism as a votary of truth and champion of the society was his removal as the 14th Emir of Kano in March 2020. Through these apparent tribulations, his highness displayed remarkable aplomb and equanimity as he readily accepted (Ridha) his fate and completely reposed his trust in Allah for his travails. Indeed faith is awakened through endurance to trials where the soul is illuminated through windows of intellectual and spiritual understanding of majesty and magnificence of Allah’s divine essence and attributes. Where such an understanding propels man as it did the Khalifa to perceive life beyond the mundane and to focus on the fundamental verities of existence.
A man set upon a spiritual journey to his Lord must be wary of descent to spiritual narcosis in fits of spiritual ecstasy and exhilaration lest he perpetrates the inexcusable sin of heresy of associating himself with the divine essence. The Khalifa in his exposition of the book Madaarijis Saalikeen reiterated the sanctity of Tawheed and compliance to the dictates of the Sharia irrespective of the magnitude of the ascension of spiritual contemplation in an endeavour to connect with the divine. The error of Hallaj’s self apotheosis and his consequent execution on grounds of heresy is matter of justified adjudication to preserve the sanctity of Islamic doctrines.
iii) AKHLAQ: FORGIVENESS, MAINTAINING RELATIONS AND HUMILITY
Forgiveness, maintaining family ties, keeping the peace among individuals and society are prominent features of character development expounded by the Khalifa in his lectures of the book Madaarijis Saalikeen. Humility devoid of weakness and integrity devoid of arrogance are sound character traits encouraged for individuals on the spiritual path to meet with their Lord. Indeed all who were in one way or another connected with the Khalifa trials were not met with unnecessary recriminations as he gracefully moved on with his life to confront issues of far greater importance than remaining fixated to the shackles of the past.
iv) VICTORY FROM ALLAH
The resounding manifestation of victory in this world as well as hope in the next is clearly gleaned in the life of Khalifa Sanusi. Allah exalted him from the loss of his position as the CBN Governor to become the Emir of Kano. After his removal as the 14th Emir of Kano, Allah in his mercy and wisdom elevated him to position of Khalifa of Tijjaniya movement in Nigeria. As generously implied in the book that Allah promises help and success for believers in this world and the next, faith in Allah’s help then becomes the springboard of hope for His divine blessings. For Allah mentions that He calls mankind towards belief and abundance while the devil invites mankind to disbelief and poverty. Furthermore, another sign of divine blessing is the fact that His Highness remains one of the most influential voices in Nigeria. Undeterred, he continues to proffer sound economic advice to the nation and the government should do well to heed to his prescient projection of the nation’s economic status and his suggested solution. To do otherwise would definitely be at the nation’s peril. As the Khalifa of Tijjaniya movement in Nigeria, His Highness has the golden opportunity to steer the socioeconomic and religious well-being of the multitudes of the followers of the sect and other religious groups to greater heights and also to rid the sect of beliefs and practices that are antithetical to genuine Islamic doctrines and practices. As a UN ambassador to SDG, the Khalifa is engraving a permanent niche by contributing to the educational development of the girl child and the economically disadvantaged populace of Africa. A recent remarkable achievement was the MTN pilot project or educational development of citizens set to commence in Kaduna brought about through the effective leadership of Mai Martaba Sarki Khalifa.
Indeed the scholar has amply demonstrated that he practices what he preaches. In the lessons gleaned from Madaarijis Saalikeen every Sunday as delivered by MSII and exemplification of the the internalisation of the principles contained in the book through his conduct, we have found a veritable role model to emulate amidst the dearth of men of integrity in the country that our future generations are expected look up to.
Mr Zailani is Head, Abuja Liaison Office of Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, Warri Delta State. He can be reached at [email protected]