24 Dec 2015

Biography of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky

Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky was born on May 5, 1953.

He had his earliest education at the traditional Quranic and Islamic
Schools from when he was very tender to when he was sixteen years of age. He started his formal education at Provincial Arabic School Zaria in the year 1969. In the year 1971, he was admitted into the School for Arabic Studies (SAS), Kano, where he was until 1975. The school was founded in 1934 as a law school for the Northern Nigeria, and is the foundation for what is today known as  Bayero University. Most Grand Khadis from the Northern Nigeria are products of this school. 

Zakzaky sat for Advanced Level GCE in Government, Economics, Hausa and Islamic Studies in the year 1975. Coming out successfully from the examination, he qualified for a direct entry into the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria where he studied Economics, Between 1976 and 1979.

While in the university, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky was an active member of the Muslim Student Society (MSS) both at the campus and national levels. As at the year 1978, Zakzaky had become the Secretary - General of the Muslim Student Society (ABU), as such, he is believed to be the person that pushed for the inclusion of Shari’ah in the Nigerian Constitution. This he achieved through the nation-wide demonstrations he organized  in support of the inclusion of Shari’ah in the Nigerian constitution. In 1979, he became the Vice-President (International Affairs) of the Muslim Student Society.

Zakzaky also understudied different ulamas in the traditional system of learning, both in Kano and Zaria. The people that taught him in Zaria includes Malam Sani Abdulkadir, Malam Isa of Madaka, Malam Sani Na’ibi and Malam Ibrahim of Kakaki. In Kano he studied under Shawish Abdallah of Sagagi and Malam Nuhu the Imam of Yola. Right from the time he was a student, Zakzaky have chosen Islamic Scholarship and activism as his main occupation. He engages most of the times in learning, research and teaching Islamic studies. His speeches have been compiled into books written in Hausa Language.

Zakzaky has been described by Dr Iqbal Siddiqui as the "the de facto leader of the Islamic movement in Nigeria". The movement aims at enlightening the Muslims as to their duties as individuals and as a community. The movement is said to have built over three hundred primary/secondary schools located in different parts of the northern Nigeria. The schools are popularly called the Fudiyyah Schools. The  movement is also said to have have built many Islamic centers and other institutions. The movement is the owner of the Nigeria’s most widely read Islamic newspaper called Al Mizan, which is written in the Hausa language.

Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky has been jailed on several occasions on account of his ideas by different Nigerian regimes, beginning from the time of the military administration of Olusegun Obasanjo up to the time of Abacha/Abubakar. Under the Goodluck Jonathans administration, his group crashed with the Nigerian Army, leading to the loss of his relations. Under President Muhammadu Buhari as a civilian president, the Army clashed with his followers, leading to loss of lives of several of the sect members. In all these periods, charges against him were always sedition or inciting disaffection to Government. Under Abacha regime, it was alleged that he declared that "there is no government except that of Islam". He has spent a total of about nine years in prison in nine different prisons across Nigeria. The most notable was that of Enugu where he was jailed from 1981 to 1984. He was at the notorious Interrogation Center of NSO, Lagos between 1984 and 1985, Kiri-Kiri Maximum Security  in 1985, Portharcout from 1987 to 1989 and 1996 to 1997, then Kaduna in 1987, and 1997 to 1998.

Zakzaky have traveled widely, all over the world, for one Islamic reason or the other, attending conferences and seminars. Countries that he has visited include Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Kingdom,  South Africa, United States of America and Russia.

Zakzaky is married to one wife and has nine children.

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