All roads led to Daru Da’wah wal-Irshad Institute of Arabic and Islamic studies, Isolo, Lagos State, on Saturday, August 26 as the fourth edition of the Zuglool Annual Lecture was held amid massive attendance by top Muslim personalities from within and outside the country.
The event which was in honour of the late founder of one of the leading Arabic schools in the country, Sheikh Mustapha Sunusi Zuglool, featured the unveiling of the English version of one of his seminal works, ‘Azhar Ar-Ruba Fi Akhbari Biladi Yoruba’, meaning, “History of Yorubaland.”
Muslim News learnt that the translation project was undertaken by Zuglool International Ltd United Kingdom of Imam Muntaqa Zuglool, supported by a committee of scholars, including astute professors and doctors who are products of Daru-d-Dawah.
Detailing the history of Yorubaland from diverse perspectives, the book was originally written in Arabic in 1987 by the foremost Muslim scholar and historian, Sheikh Zuglool, who died in July, 2017 at the age of 80.
A copious reprint of the Arabic version also formed part of the project.
In attendance at the unveiling were the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi; Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou Nolla (ably represented); a former Vice Chancellor of Fountain University, Professor Amidu Sanni; Dean, Student Affairs, Kwara State University, Prof. Moshood Mahmud Jimba; Prof. Luqman Zakariyyah of the University of Abuja, among others.
Idol worshipping is strange to us, says Oluwo of Iwo
Oluwo of Iwo Kingdom, HRM, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, who chaired the occasion, extolled the virtues of the foremost Muslim scholar, urging the modern day Muslim scholars to emulate his scholarship.
The Oluwo, who has at different fora preached against idol-worshipping in Yorubaland, urged the people to shun idolatry, saying it is a strange religion in Yorubaland.
According to him, “Islam is the foundation. The first man Allah created (Prophet Adam) was a Muslim. He was never an idol worshipper. Our origin as Yorubas is linked to him (Prophet Adam). Idol-worshipping is allien to us. A time will come in Yorubaland when idolatry practices would no longer be fashionable.
“A lot of Yoruba monarchs are now disassociating themselves from idolatry practices. Islam which is the religion of monotheism and belief in Allah is the only acceptable religion to our Creator. I therefore urge our people to stop popularising idolatry practices.
Our plan is to translate all Baba’s books for wider audience – Son
The CEO of Zuglool International UK, one of Sheikh Zuglool’s sons said their plan is to translate all books written by the late Islamic scholar in Arabic to reach a wider audience.
He added it was their own way of keeping the legacies of Sheikh Mustapha Zuglool.
“Our project is to ensure that we translate all his books into English in order to give them a wider audience. We’ve started with Azhar Ruba which is on the history of Yorubaland. We are on another one. The aim is to ensure that in the next three to four years, Zuglool International would have translated all the publications of Sheikh Zuglool into English and reprinted back to market, in shaa Allah,” he said.
Explaining their choice of starting the project with Azhar Ruba, History of Yorubaland, Imam Zughool said it was the one he spent a lot of energy and academic excellence on.
He added that the book is on history and it is timely to ensure history is not rewritten.
“We looked at all our father’s books, and we could see that Azhar Ruba is the one he spent a lot of energy on. He channeled a lot of academic excellence into it. Growing up, I was just about 6 years old in 1987 when Baba wrote the book. But I had a faint experience; the book was actually launched at the mosque (in the modrasah) with people coming from all over the world. And that was my own first experience of seeing Baba write a book. So, it was easy for me to start with that book.
“Again, with what is happening all over the world, it’s good to ensure that history is not being written when we have historians like Sheikh Zuglool, Shiekh Abdullah Adam Al-Iloriy. They’ve written a lot of books on history. So it’s just upon us to get them out there for wider audience.
“The glory of the work goes to a committee of Sheikh Zuglool’s students. I had the vision, but the likes of Prof. Mashood Baderin, University of London; Prof. Luqman Zakariyyah; Prof. Yusuf in Malaysia, and so many doctors did the most part of the work. They took it upon themselves; did day and night to ensure the vision translated to reality.”
The CEO meanwhile disclosed that the project took about 19 months.
He added, “With this experience, we are picking another of his books ‘Almarhatu Baynal Hijaab Wa Sufuur’. Baba spoke on the girl-child and women in that book. We want the project out before Ramadan 2024, in shaa Allah. It’s a continuous project. And it’s not about money; we just want to reach a wider audience.”
He lamented the declining reading culture across societies with the prominence of the internet.
“People want to watch Tiktok and do so many other things online. Most of our children are not reading and learning,” he noted
He expressed hope that Sheikh Zuglool’s works would arouse the reading culture, noting he deployed simple vocabulary for easy comprehension of readers.
“Even a beginner would be able to read his books. He came down to everybody’s level. That’s the way we went with the translation as well. We made it easy to read and easy to digest. That way, we can revive the reading culture. It is important to get people back to that.”
Book contains Ilorin history from diverse perspectives – Prof. Jimba
For his part, Prof. Jimba said the English translation of the book was timely, considering the controversies surrounding the history of Yorubaland in contemporary times.
The don who served as a guest speaker at the event explored the contributions of Sheikh Zuglool to Arabic and Islamic education in Yorubaland and Nigeria as a whole.
“He wrote extensively about Yorubaland: its scholars, culture, wars fought by the tribe. He also wrote on how Islam came to Yorubaland, and of course Ilorin being part of not being part of Yorubaland. That area is especially a very controversial area, but Sheikh Zuglool was able to navigate it.
“The book is very timely, especially for we the Ilorins. It lays bare the way the Yorubas, European writers and in fact the Ilorin indigenes view Ilorin. These are the three contradictory schools on the history of Ilorin. When you juxtapose them, you have a better understanding of the ancient city,” he said.
Sheikh Zuglool original in thoughts, says Prof. Zakariyyah
Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence at the University of Abuja, Luqman Zakariyyah, commended the late Zuglool for the quality and originality of his thoughts and authorship.
Prof. Zakariyyah said he also went through the mentorship of the late sage at Daru-d-Dawah where he graduated in 1990.
“We learnt a lot from him. So, we have to rally round to support his legacies. That’s the reason we are here today to launch the abridged translation of his book.
“For his teaching, authorship and preaching, I believe Sheikh excelled among his peers. If you see him delivering lectures, you’ll be amazed. You see the quality and originality. Someone might have said something, but he would say that same thing in another way.
“The originality of thoughts also manifested in his book. Despite the fact that Sheikh Ibn Al-Masami has written a book on (Azhar Ruba) and the late Sheikh Zuglool didn’t even see it, he wrote on similar title with distinctive features. I linked this quality to our predecessor Imam Bukhariy. When he wrote his book Sahih Bukhariy, many scholars had written on hadith but few could compete with him because of his originality.”
Prof. Zakariyyah said Sheikh Zuglool has established the history of Islam in Yorubaland, noting Yoruba Muslims are not inferior in the country.
“I think Sheikh has established the origin of Ilorin and the origin of Muslims in Nigeria, especially in Yorubaland. We learnt from the book that Islam and Muslims are not inferior in this country. Muslims were original habitants before adherents of other religions came. So, Muslims can say we are the majority in Yorubaland. It is fallacy for non-Muslims to say we should go back to where we are from. It is pure fallacy. That’s what the book explained. I believe its translation to English will better enlighten people as to the origin of Muslims in Yorubaland.”
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