Home History The Legacies Of The Chief Imam of Kano, Gwani Muhammad Zahraddeen in...

The Legacies Of The Chief Imam of Kano, Gwani Muhammad Zahraddeen in Katsina State

FROM 1893 – 2020 A.D
The entire human race descended from Prophet Adam and Hauwau (Adam and Eve). The Almighty Allah created us male and female, and distributed us into Nations and Tribes so that we know and understand one another. From a single couple, mankind grew into billions and spread over time to all nooks and crannies of the globe through continuous movements, migration and settlements. In essence, people in all Nations and Continents are biologically related despite their physical separation and cultural diversity.
For centuries, people of Katsina and Kano have been enjoying cordial relationships, harmonious co-existence, friendship and brotherly cooperation. They have blended well through intermarriages, socio-economic, religious and cultural uniformity. The people of Katsina and Kano have for ages been contributing positively to the development of each other as both have also been doing to other parts of Nigeria and beyond.
When you talk about the intellectual and commercial contributions to the Northern part of Nigeria, Katsina and Kano have always been at the forefront, and have from time immemorial been exchanging Scholars and Merchants among them as well as to other parts of the country and across the borders.
The Chief Imam of Kano Gwani Muhammadu Zahraddeen according to historical records, was born in the year 1768 A.D (1182 A.H), in Ngazargamu, the former capital of Borno Empire. He was the son of the Chief Imam of Ngazargamu Abubakar. His family belong to the famous Fulani Clan in Borno (Fulata Borno) who helped the revered Shaikh Usman Fodio during his Jihad campaigns in Borno between 1808 – 1812.
After the Borno campaigns, Gwani Muhammadu Zahraddeen and many of his relatives like Gwani Mukhtar (Father of Sarkin Misau Mamman Manga), Liman Jalli, etc went to Sokoto to pay homage to Shaikh Usman Bin Fodio. The Shaikh was very happy and recommended that the entourage relocate to a place where Misau Emirate is currently situated in order to avoid likely hostilities from the Borno Kingdom. While the visiting team was moving out of Sokoto, Gwani Muhammadu Zahraddeen was retained by the Shaikh where he stayed with the Shaikh for many years. It was during his stay with the Shaikh that he was recognized as a Great Islamic Scholar, Jurist, and above all, as one of the greatest memorizers of the Holy Quran. It was in recognition of his Scholarly achievements that the Sheikh honored him with the tittle of Gwani, which means a highly recognized Memorizer of the Quran and expert in Quranic Sciences.
After spending some years under the tutelage of Sheikh Usman bin Fodio, the Shaikh posted him to Kano as the religious adviser to the Emir of Kano Sulaiman. He was serving in that capacity when the then Chief Imam of Kano died. Imam Gwani Muhammadu Zaharaddeen was then appointed as the new Chief Imam of Kano, and also becoming the first Chief Imam of Kano during the Fulani dynasty in Kano, as his predecessor was appointed during the Habe dynasty.
From the time Gwani Muhammadu Zaharaddeen became the Chief Imam of Kano to date, Seven of his Descendants served as Chief Imams of Kano, including the immediate past Chief Imam Idris Kuliya Alkali (Former Grand Kadi of Kano State) and the present Chief Imam, Emeritus Professor Muhammad Sani Zahraddeen (Former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano and Pro-Chancellor of University of Benin).
The eldest son of Gwani Zahraddeen, Liman Hamman and Hamman’s younger brother Liman Umaru both served as chief Imams of Kano at different times. The three remaining Chief Imams of Kano from Zahrawa lineage included Liman Dikko, Liman Ahmadu Na Waziri, and Liman Usman (Manu).
Besides this long list of Chief Imams from his descendants, the lineage is also blessed with thousands of prominent personalities who served or are still serving in various capacities.
Let me cite few examples from Imam Muhammad Zahraddeen’s Descendants in Kano.
His Royal Highness, the immediate past Emir of Kano Muhammad Sanusi II (CON) is a descendant of Gwani Muhammadu Zaharaddeen from his maternal side. Emeritus Professor Shehu Galadanci, Emeritus Professor Muhammad Sani Zaharaddeen, Professor M.K.M Galadanci, Prof. Usman Ahmad Zaharaddeen, Malam Aminu Kano (First Generation Politician), Ambassador Ghali Umar, Ambassador Dahiru Abubakar Wali, Barden Kano Habibu, Dan Amar of Kano Alhaji Aliyu Harazumi Umar , Waziri of Kano Gidado, Current Waziri of Kano Alhaji Sa’ad Shehu, Fagaci of Kano, Alhaji Habibu Bello Dankadai, Imam Abubakar Wali, Air Vice Marshal Nura Imam, Brigadier General Mahe Bashir Yakasai, Brigadier General Abdurrahman Kuliya, Alhaji Mustapha Umar, Hajiya Rabi Abubakar Wali, Shaikh Bashir Aliyu Umar, Dr. Hadiza Galadanci, Dr. Fatima Usman Zahraddeen, Dr. Safiya Usman Zaharaddeen, Malam Nasiru Balarabe Zahraddeen, Malam Faruk Bashir Yakasai, Malam Bashir Umar Yakasai and Malam Mustapha Adamu Zahraddeen.
It should be noted that there are many District Heads and other Traditional Title holders from the lineage in Kano not mentioned here due to lack of ample space. The Chief Imam of Kano, Gwani Muhammadu Zahraddeen died in Kano in the year 1852 A.D (1269 A.H) at the age of 84.
The Kano civil war was the root cause of the Migration of our forefathers from Kano to Katsina. The war was fought from 1893 to 1894 A.D. It was fought as a war of succession to the throne of the Emirship of Kano by members of the same family. The conflict was initiated by supporters of Tukur and Yusuf both of whom were princes and strong contenders to the throne.
The war was intense to the extent that residents of Kano dispersed to many directions outside the city to save their lives. While followers of Tukur headed North-West wards towards Katsina, Supporters of Yusuf went South East wards towards Gumel and other areas.
Alkali Muhammad Mustapha Gabdo, one of the descendants of Gwani Muhammadu Zaharaddeen along with his younger sister Fatima (Dudu), his wife (Yaya), his three children (Dikko, Abdulaziz (Na Annabi) and Maryama (Iya) were among the group that followed Tukur to Kasar Katsina.
Both Emir Tukur (who was earlier turbanned as the Emir of Kano by Sultan of Sokoto Abdu Danyen Kasko) and Yusuf (who opposed the appointment of Tukur and who was also turbanned as Emir by his supporters did not enjoy their separate appointments as Yusuf later died from a sickness and the leadership of the revolt was taken over by Alu, who gathered his troops and met Emir Tukur’s Army in Tafashiya (within Katsina Emirate) and eventually succeeded in killing Emir Tukur after a fierce battle. Emir Tukur was buried in Tafashiya (in present day Kankia Local Government Area of Katsina State) while Alu later became the Emir of Kano.
Most of the people who followed Tukur to Tafashiya later went back to Kano when the conflict was over, while a large number of them dispersed to different parts of Katsina Kingdom. It was during the reign of the Emir of Katsina Abubakar, son of Emir of Katsina Ibrahim. Emir of Katsina Abubakar (who served as emir of Katsina from 1887 – 1905) welcomed all who chose to remain in Katsina, as many of them had relatives and friends in the land of Katsina through centuries of intermarriages and other forms of associations.
Alkali Mustapha Gabdo and members of his family stayed in some towns like Kurkujan, Musawa, Kurfi before finally settling in Katsina. While serving as the Imam of Kurkujan, he was appointed as the Judge (Alkali) of Musawa. When he retired from service after serving as Alkali in many towns of Katsina Kingdom, two of his children, Alkali Dikko and Alkali Abdulaziz Na Annabi were also appointed as Judges at different times and served in many towns of Katsina Kingdom. Some years after Alkali Gabdo settled in Katsina, two other Grandchildren of Gwani Muhammadu Zahraddeen namely Malam Gidado and Malam Abdullahi Maikano also joined their brothers and sisters in Katsina. Malam Abdullahi Maikano later became one of the senior Alkalis in Katsina Kingdom after serving in many parts of Katsina like Faskari, Dutsi, Jibia, and Mashi.
Many of the earliest descendants of Gwani Muhammadu Zahraddeen in Katsina followed the footsteps of Alkali Mustapha Gabdo and became Alkalis. Among those from the family who became prominent Alkalis in Katsina Kingdom especially from the first quarter to the last quarter of the 20th century included: Alkali Mustapha Gabdo, Alkali Dikko, Alkali Abdulaziz (Na Annabi), Alkali Abdullahi MaiKano, Alkali Muhammadu Gayya, Alkali Ibrahim Wada, Alkali Amadu Gwadabe, Alkali Muhammadu Bello, Alkali Tukur Kundi and many others.
From the time of their arrival in 1893, (127 years ago) Gwani Zaharaddeen’s Descendants in Katsina, besides serving as Judges (Alkalis), thousands of them served in many other prominent positions in their various fields of endeavor. They contributed and are still contributing to the development of Katsina State, the Nation and beyond. The Family has and still have distinguished Professors, Engineers, Doctors, Journalists, Traditional Rulers, Politicians, Philanthropists, Administrators, Authors, Pilots, Army, Police and other people of impeccable character exhibiting the Islamic refined conventions of moral ideals.
Few of the professionals and other prominent personalities among the descendants in Katsina besides the listed Alkalis above, include Alhaji Hussain Mashi (Sarkin Dawan Adamawa), Alhaji Inuwa Dutsi (Wakilin Fulanin Katsina), Alhaji Aminu Abdullahi (A Veteran Broadcaster of BBC fame), DR. Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa (SGS and Former Commissioner of Education), Senator Hadi Abubakar Sirika (Minister of Aviation), Hajiya Hadiza Bala Usman (M.D Nigeria Ports Authority), Professor Ismaila A. Adamu, Professor Mansir Lawal, Alhaji Yusuf Ibrahim Custom, Alhaji Lawal Jibia, Alhaji Bashir Ibrahim, Alhaji Abdulaziz Lawal K/sauri, Sheikh Muhammad Hadi Balarabe, Hajiya Aishatu (Jaju) Hussaini Mashi,Alhaji Zubairu Modibbo Hussaini, Alhaji Labaran Lawal K/Sauri, Alhaji Garba Jibrin, Alhaji Sadisu Bala Haruna, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Charanchi, Colonel Tajuddeen Aminu, Arc. Lukman Amadu Gwadabe, Hajiya Mariyatu Bala Usman,Hajiya Badiyya Saminu Kankia, Hajiya Balaraba Shuaibu Kurfi, Alhaji Ahmad Bello Charanchi, Alhaji Sirajo Inuwa, Alhaji Nura Yusuf, Engineer Ahmed Abubakar Sirika, Alhaji Mainasara Bello, Alhaji Ahmad Bube Jibia, Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi, Alhaji Muntari Yusuf, Alhaji Habibullahi Aminu and many others too numerous to mention.
We never missed contact with our relatives in Kano. We always attend each others occasions and pay regular visits to members of our families. We are recently honoured by the physical presence of the immediate past Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, when he led a very powerful delegation from Kano to Katsina to Launch a Book on the Genealogy of our Extended family in Katsina. His Royal Highness launched the book with the Royal Support of their Royal Highnesses, the Emirs of Katsina Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman and Daura Alhaji Faruk Umar Faruk as well as His Excellency, the Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari Dallatun Katsina, the Deputy Governor, the State Chief Judge, the Secretary of the Government of the State, the Chief Imams of Kano and Katsina and other important dignitaries. A similar occasion was also attended in Kano by a large contingent of the Katsina Descendants when the Kano book on all descendants was launched in the presence of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, the Emirs of Kano and Misau, the SGS Katsina State, the Minister of Aviation, the Deputy Governor Kano State, the Chief Imam of Kano and other important personalities.
It is pleasing to know that in an effort to cement the bond of relationship between all descendants of Gwani Muhammadu Zahraddeen and create an avenue for helping each over, two very functional Foundations of Limamin Kano Zahraddeen were established in Kano and Katsina. The Headquarters of the Foundation in Kano is situated near the famous Masallacin Jalli, Kankarofi, Yakasai, Kano, while the Headquarters of the Foundation in Katsina is Located at LIZAFO PLAZA, near one-way roundabout, Sabonlayi Katsina. The current National Chairman of the Foundation is the Chief Imam of Kano, Emeritus Professor Sani Zahraddeen, while the Chairman of the Foundation in Katsina is an elder statesman, Alhaji Aminu Abdullahi, former General Manager, Katsina State Radio. His Royal Highness, the immediate past Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II is the Grand Patron of the entire Foundation with Distinguished Members of the Boards of Trustees and Executive Members in both Kano and Katsina.
Finally, we are grateful to Almighty Allah for all His blessings to all the members of our extended family. The cordial relationship, friendship and brotherhood sustained in the past 127 years between our families, the royalty and citizenry in Katsina from the time of Sarki Abubakar, Sarki Yero, Sarki Dikko, Sarki Usman Nagogo, Sarki Muhammadu Kabir Usman to Sarki Abdulmumin Kabir Usman, has been very remarkable, progressive and fruitful. The many centuries of cordiality and brotherhood between Katsina and Kano has further been cemented and sustained by the descendants of the Chief Imam of Kano, Gwani Muhammadu Zaharaddeen in Katsina. We are proud of both Katsina and Kano, as we are happy Katsinawa with golden roots in Kano. May Allah continue to bless and guide all of us.

Muhammad Kabir Sani
Director General
Limamin Kano Zaharaddeen Foundation, Katsina


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