A selection from our course ‘Advice to the Followers of the Four Schools’. Taken from A beautiful session with Shaykh Muhammad Mendes on one of the great scholars of West Africa, Shaykh Uthman Dan Fodio.
For more details and to register for this session click HERE
Brief Bio of Shaykh ‘Uthmān Dan Fodio:
Shaykh ‘Uthmān Dan Fodio, also known as the ‘Shehu’ was a scholar, teacher, and political leader. He was born on 15th December 1754 in Maratta, a town in the West African-Hausa state of Gobir. He was of the Turude Fulani tribe. He began studying the Qur’an with his father, Muhammad Fodio who also was a learned scholar. The Shehu memorized the Qur’an and began a life devoted to study. He studied quite a variety of subjects, starting with the Arabic language, tafsir, Hadith, and Sirah, through Fiqh to astronomy, arithmetic and tasawwuf. ‘Uthmān’s teachers, as his brother Abdullah Dan Fodio reported, were too many to be recorded. This reflects the intellectual background and scholarship prevalent in the Hausaland. Among many of his teachers, after his father were Shaykh Abd al-Rahman b. Hammada, Muhammad Sambo and Uthman Binduri who was in fact Shaykh’s uncle and influenced him remarkably. Others were Hajj Muhammad b. Raji, Ahmad b. Muhammad, both Shaykh’s uncles, and Shaykh Jibril b. ‘Umar, a scholar of high learning and revolutionary zeal who also influenced the Shaykh tremendously.
When he reached the age of 25, he began teaching and preaching, and his reputation and appeal to the common people grew. Known for a sober and balanced approach, Shaykh ‘Uthmān emphasized the abandonment of fault worthy innovation while affirming a spirit of brotherhood and tolerance for the common Muslim.
The Shehu also spoke out against oppression. He criticized the Hausa ruling elite for their heavy taxation and other practices that violated Islamic law. His call for Islamic reform (and tax reduction) earned him a wide following in the 1780s and 1790s, when he became a political threat to the ruling elite of Gobir. They began to crackdown on the followers of Shaykh ‘Uthmān.
In 1802, the repression of Shaykh ‘Uthmān and his followers worsened. Following the example of the prophet Muhammad, Shaykh ‘Uthmān went on a hijrah (spiritual migration), was elected Imam (leader), and launched the jihad that would bring down the Hausa royalty. In the conquered areas, he set up emirates whose leaders acknowledged his religious sovereignty, and in October 1808 the Gobir capital, Alkalawa, fell. In former Gobir, Shaykh ‘Uthmān established a new capital, Sokoto, from which he ruled virtually all of Hausaland.
Soon after Shaykh ‘Uthmān gained and established political power, he withdrew into private life, writing many works on the proper conduct of the pious Islamic community. After his death in 1817, his son Muhammad Bello succeeded him as the ruler of the Sokoto Caliphate, then the largest state in Africa south of the Sahara.
Due to numerous requests, we have extended the registration period for the course until June 9, 2012-Midnight-Eastern Standard Time. Students will obtain the previously recorded session and will be able to participate in our special live session with Shaykh Muhammad Mendes on Sunday, June 10, 2012! Click the banner link below to register for the course!