Yesterday, Kano state, in particular, was rocked with the untimely passing away of the revered Sheikh Dr. Ahmad BUK aka “Ƙala Haddasana”. Social media was awash with condolences and prayers for Allah’s mercy on the deceased. In all my years on this space, I have never seen a single event that generated as much unanimous positive reactions from all quarters as this one. Experience has taught me that Northern Nigerian cyberspace is one of the most polarised places on the social media. Religious/doctrinal and political differences easily blind us to reason. Yes, Islam encourages us to speak good about the dead. However, seeing how the social media mourned the late Sheikh almost in unison makes me realise that indeed there is a big lesson to learn from this death.
The late Sheikh was one of the earliest Salafi scholars in Nigeria. In his many lectures, he confessed to have earlier been a follower of Tijjaniyya, which is arguably the biggest Sufi sect in the world. Despite his doctrinal leaning, the Sheikh commanded respects from all and sundry. The secret behind this is the fact that he never created bad blood with his rivals. In other words, the Sheikh was steadfast in his Salafi ideology while at the same time maintaining a cordial relationship with others. This is a rare character trait that we all need to embrace fully.
You can be a Salafi or a Sufi, an APC or a PDP fan, a Buharist or a Kwankwasite and so on. But learn to never burn bridges with others. You can hold different religious or political opinions. You can always disagree with others on different issues. But always try to disagree politely and learn to respect others’ opinions. Most of the animosities and tensions that characterise our existence are borne out of our seeming intolerance and in-your-face attitudes towards others.
I have come to the realisation that the outpouring prayers for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness on the Sheikh are not only the results of his teaching and mentorship but are also the consequences of his tolerance and thoughtfulness. When you live a useful life, your death would leave even your detractors with a void impossible to fill in. When you make tolerance your guiding principle, even your enemies would be left with no choice than to admire you, even if grudgingly. The take-home lesson is: be respectful of others regardless of existing differences.
May Allah SWT forgive the Sheikh and all others who have passed away before him.
Aliyu Yakubu Yusuf