Shaykh Uthman Dan Fodio’s ‘Advice for the Followers of the Four Schools”


Course Title: Shaykh Uthman Dan Fodio’s-‘Advice for the Followers of the Four Schools’

Instructor: Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes
Click the name above for a bio of Shaykh Muhammad.


One of the most contentious issues confronting Muslims today revolves around taqlid and the following of a school of Islamic thought (madhab)! Taqlīd is an Arabic word used to describe a non-scholar’s uncritical adoption of the opinion of a qualified scholar. For many Muslims, there is an inseparable connection between the practice of clinging to the rulings passed down in a single school of law (madhhab) and the preservation of the prophetic legacy (Sunna), while for many others this understanding constitutes one of the greatest collective misgivings and delusions ever communicated to the unlearned masses. Are we as Muslims obligated to follow one of the four schools of Islamic thought? Is it permissible to follow the rulings of another school outside of one’s own? Are we allowed space to pose legal queries to any given mufti regardless of his parochial affiliation?

A sample from this session focuses on how we should understand ‘following’ the madhab’ of  Imam WD Mohammed (ra). How should we understand this? Listen to Shaykh Muhammad Mendes thoughtful response.

Question: There are those who say that they follow the ‘madhab’ of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. Would you consider this a valid madhhab and something legitimate to follow? Click below to listen to clip taken from the seminar: Advice for the Followers of the Four Schools!

Imam Warith Deen Mohammed

Shaykh ‘Uthmān Dan Fodio

The 18th Century, Fulani scholar-Shaykh ‘Uthmān Dan Fodio is undoubtedly one of the greatest scholars in the history of the West African Islamic tradition. Shaykh ‘Uthmān offers a fascinating look at the above questions in his rare and small treatise, Hidayat At Tullab (The Guidance of the Students). Register for the course and receive an English translation of this text.
Join us as Shaykh Muhammad Mendes explores this rare work with us in his two-part webinar at Lamppost Productions. In the first session, Shaykh Muhammad will take us through a detailed look at Shaykh ‘Uthmān’s Hidayat at-Tullab.

Cost-$12.00  Click image below:




 Seminar Details and Instructions: This is a pre-recorded seminar and will be emailed within 24 hours to students . Students will also receive a translated copy of ‘Hidayat at-Tullab’. If you have any questions about the course please email us at

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.


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