By Muhammad Saminu Ibrahim

The acronym; MSS stands for ‘Muslim Students Society of Nigeria’ is known as an umbrella for Muslim students in the institutions of learning in Nigeria. This society was founded in 1954 by the efforts of its early founding fathers like; Professor Babs Fafunwa, Tajudden Aromashodun, Dr Abdullateef Adegbite and many others of blessed memory. 

It was founded with the objective of depending Islam and Muslims from the menace of secularism brought about by the British colonial masters after overthrowing the Islamic State of Sokoto caliphate (1804-1903) at the inception of the 20th century. Gradually, the society continued to guide and mold Muslim students on how to live in line with Islamic tenets.1

Professor (Senator) Jibril Aminu when enumerating the achievements of MSS at the plenary session of its fifty years anniversary 1954-2004 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Friday 3/9/2004 commended and saluted the efforts made by Ibrahim El-Zakzaky for his exemplary leadership qualities through piety and sacrifice.2

Ibrahim Ya’qub zakzaky, popularly known as El-zakzaky is a native of Zaria city Kaduna State of Nigeria. He was admitted into famous Ahmadu Bello university, Zaria Kaduna State in 1976. He studied Bsc Economics and graduated with First class Degree in 1979. Although his certificate was denied to him because of his Islamic activism while he was undergoing his under graduate programme.3

 Ahmadu Bello University Zaria was a battle ground for ideological supremacy between Socialism (Marxism) spearheaded by the USSR and Capitalism spearheaded my USA in determining the faith of most of the African Nations which were look upon as the thirdWorld. It was at that time that the voice of a young, vibrant and Islamic conscious youth in person of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and some handful Muslim brothers emerged and took over the affairs of MSS from the campus to the National level.4

          Sheikh Ibrahim Ya’qub El- zakzaky appeared in the religio-political scene of Nigeria precisely on Saturday, 5th April, 1980 where he presided over the Annual Islamic Vocation Course (IVC) at Funtua during the closing ceremony that year. After making a very lengthy speech on the deplorable condition of Islam and Muslims, finally he re-iterated on the following declaration:

… I wish to the declare before you and before god (Allah ) as my witness that I dissociate myself from the Nigerian constitution, its system of leadership. I oppose all these and at the same time I re-declared my faith in the Book of Allah, His Laws and the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). I will not take my seat until I admonish you with a saying of the prophet (SAW) where he said: “…God shall raise at the end of every century a revivalist to revive the religion.”5
The above declaration that day marked the beginning of open call to all and sundry from being students’ affairs only. Since then, Sheikh Zakzaky has been jailed several times by the successive Nigeria governments. This declaration is known as ‘Funtua Declaration’ whose impacts gradually started attracting people from all walks of life because of its religio-political re-awakening.

Furthermore, as the movement continued to increase in strength and followership in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroun, Chad, Ghana, Libya, USA,UK, and many parts of the world has made it to became a trans-National Islamic movement aimed at restoring Islam to its pristine stage. However, Sheikh IbrahimYa’qub el-zakzaky kept on initiating committees, Fora and other organs for the smooth and efficient running of the movement. As of now, this movement under the leadership of his eminence sheikh Ibrahim Ya’qub El-zakzaky has the following committee, wings, and foras to meet the needs of Islam and humanity as a whole. They are:

Hurras (Guards).This is an organ of the movement responsible for the provision of security and defense to members and the general public during occasions and periods of misfortune or nasty happening like; communal, religio- political and ethnic disturbances in Nigeria. The activity of this committee is well known and visible to our Christians brethrens and Southerners in particular during such episodes. Its activities could be access via:

Lajanar Fuddiyyah (Educational Committee).

This is a committee of education for primary, secondary and tertiary institutions of learning for training and educating future leaders of movement and other Muslims in Nigeria and beyond. As of now, this committee owns hundreds of primary and post primary institutions within and outside Nigeria. In addition, the committee also earns tertiary institutions which award Diploma and certificate in Health education and technology in Nigeria and beyond. Nevertheless, admissions into these institutions of learning are accepted from all and sundry irrespective of denominational disparities.

Mus’assatu Shuhadah (Martyrs Foundation)

This foundation was officially inaugurated by the Sheikh himself on Saturday, 17th Rajab, 1413/ 1st January,1992 during a massive gathering of the members of the movement at Babban Dodo play ground in Zaria city. The function of this committee is to take care of the dependant relations left by a Martyrs (Shahid) from the levy being collected from the members on monthly basis as voluntary contribution. The organ has hundred of beneficiary in its register who are fed, clothed and their school fees are taken care of by this foundation.

Daurah (Seminar/Conference). This committee is in charge with the responsibility of organizing intensive educational programmes on either weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually as the case may be. It is consist of some classes which include; Murtadha and Mujtabah which are handled over by the Sheikh himself for his senior disciples. More so, for proper sensitization, orientation and enlightment of its members and the general public, days are usually embarked when lectures and interactions are made. Yanmul-Shuhadah (Martyrs Day) for instance is being observed annually on 27th Rajab (Lunar calender). Ashurah (the day for the annual commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A.S): The grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) at Karbala, 680A.D) is celebrated annually in the mouth of Al-muharram (The first month of lunar calender).Unity week (Makon Hadin Kai), an annual birthday celebrations of prophet Muhammad (SAW) between 12th -17th Rabiul Awwal. Quds day (the last Friday of each Ramadan of the lunar calender) as the day of showing support and solidarity to the oppressed people of Palestine and other oppressed people in the world. During all these celebrations and commemorations which are attended by millions of members and other on lookers, lots of sales and profits are made from the business transaction. In addition to the above, the insightful focus of the revered Sheikh and his pragmatism within the span of four decades, he allowed some other wings and Fora to be dully registered with Cooperate Affairs Commissions (C.A.C) of Nigeria for effective and efficient services to Islam and humanity as well. Some of these wings and Fora registered are; Islamic Movement Medical Association (ISMA): The health maintenance wing of the movement. The resource forum as the intellectual and skilled man power bank of the movement which is charged with the responsibility of organizing conferences, symposium and public lecturers to members and non- members from the larger society. Academic forum; as a mother wing that brings all brothers and sisters of institutions of learning into union, Sisters Forum, Zahrah Relief foundation and many others.

Under the above mentioned wings, Foras and some others not mentioned here, the movement under the spiritual guidance of Sheikh Ibrahim Ya’aqub El-Zakzahky is able to keep hundreds of thousands of Muslims Youth morally soundand disciplined, persevering in the mist of torture, oppression and tyranny, self employed, organized, focused active and vibrant in rendering their services which are very much visible, impacted and still impacting on the lives of people and societies especially in the major towns and cities of Zaria, Kaduna, Kano, Abuja, Katsina, Jos, Bauchi, Yola to mentioned but few. The daily free Zakzaky peaceful Protest going on in Abuja; the Federal Capital Territory for over two years is a clear testimony to this assertion. In addition, people of the above mentioned towns/cities are also living witnesses. More importantly, Sheikh Ibrahim Ya’qub El-Zakzaky also founded a foundation known as Darul-Taqrib baynal Madhahib al-Islamiyyah (A forum for accommodating various schools of Islamic thought) for the purpose of bringing Muslims together and forester proximity. Scholars from different schools of thought, ideologies and creeds were invited from all over the country and beyond to come and share their ideas and understand on how Islam and Muslims could be save from the present predicament. This gathering is being observed between 12th -17th Rabiul Awwal since 2004 as Makon Hadin Kai (Unity Week).

Similarly, there is also anther gathering of the resource forum where important dignitaries/personalities from different aspects of the society including our Christian brothers were equally invited annually to exchange ideas/understanding on how our society could be elevated to greater height. It has been clarified several times during these occasions by the revered Sheikh that this movement is not a sectarian movement; Shi’ism so to say. Rather, it is a movement under the canopy of Islam comprising people of diverse belief and ideologies. “Agreed there are Shiites but there are also Sunnis who all came together to achieve a common goals” 

The impact made by revered Sheikh Ibrahim Yaqub El-Zakzaky within the span of four decades could not be explore so easily because of its magnitude on the lives of Muslims and non Muslims in Nigeria and the world at large. It is in recognition of his selfless service to Islam and humanity. he was commended and praised by many prominent personalities both in Nigeria and the world at large. Prominent among them are as follows:

Cornel Lawal Ja’afaru Isah (Rtd) Former Governor of Kaduna State commended the effort of Sheikh Ibrahim Ya’qub El-Zakzaky for his insightful advice suggestions and positive contributions on how our society could be move to greater height.6

While, Professor Emeritus Muhammad Sani Zahradeen (BUK) and Chief Imam of Kano served Sheikh Zakzaky with an Excellent remarks under his chairmanship after making a presentation at the Faculty of Law, Bayero University,Kano, 1999,titled: “Shariah implementation in Nigeria: Lessons from the past and present Historical experiences”. In addition Sheikh Iqbal Siddique; a member of Muslim parliament UK described Sheikh Zakzaky as “The defector leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria”.7

       On the other hand, Mr. Ebenezer Oyetakin; a human right activist and a Christian by faith when commenting on Sheikh Zakzaky, said:

During my brief encounters with Sheikh Zakzaky at various times, I must confessed that I am yet to see any Nigerian that can claim to be more patriotic than him. He is a man of understanding knowledge, sublime patient and excellent in sound mind and thought. Many see him from the point of a religious leader and leader and engaged him in unwarranted and myopic rivalries out of jealousy …his type can effectively lead a Nation. He is indeed a factor of National Unity in Nigeria”.8

While, Archbishop and Diocese of Sokoto Fr. Mathew Hassan Kukah expressed his minds on the military clampdown on Sheikh Zakzaky and his followers in the following words:

“As far as I am concerned the Zaria killing is a National disaster, I expect the President to have declare a National mourning especially because of the number of people that lost their lives .9

      Furthermore, from the International Community, an American journalist one day interviewed on the religious front lines that are emerging in Nigeria. He said;

….as a very significant leader in the Muslim Community, I could not have thought of any better person to give us a pulse on what exactly is taking place in Nigeria and what are the solutions to these problems…10

The questions addressed to the Sheikh were carefully answered to the best satisfaction of the interviewer.

Now that the movement founded with handful members forty years ago is now running into millions with committed, dedicated and faithful adherents. Although, many senior disciples of Sheikh Zakzaky were murdered during the 12/12/2015 Zaria massacred. As the movement is celebrating its forty years anniversary, we prayed for Allah (SWT)to spare the life of Sheikh Zakzaky to witness the day when this Ummah would be restore back to its lost glory.

Muhammad Saminu Ibrahim  Nayi-Nawa Quarters, Hausari Ward, Nguru, Yobe State, Nigeria. 08065360629

2.     A. Jubril. The Muslim in the World today. A Paper presented at the plenary session of the Golden Jubilee of 50 years Anniversary of MSS. International Conference Centre, Abuja. 2004/1425 A.H.
3.     Kassa, Y.M. et al. the Role of Muslim Scholars towards National Development in this 21st Century: An Exploration into the Activities of Sheikh Ibrahim Ya’qub El-Zakzaky, International Journal of Research without Boundaries Paris, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2019.
4.     Kassa, Y.M et al. ibid.
5.     Opcit
6.     GD/KD/ADM/02/ dated 20/8/1996
8.     Ibid
9.     Opcit

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