Malam Sani Yakubu is the elder brother of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Shiite movement. In this interview with Daily Trust, he explains his intimate relationship with the Shiite’s Sheikh at childhood and why they parted ways. Excerpts
Malam Sani Yakubu: By my estimation, the Shiites have spent about 30 years conducting their activities. From the facts I have about them, they are the first religious group that introduced the ideology of Boko Haram in Nigeria. When you look at their history and activities, you would find that in the 1980s, under the leadership of Ibrahim (Zakzaky), they made many students drop out of school.
Many graduates were made to destroy their certificates and many workers were made to leave service all in the pretence that Western education and working in the civil service are same as worshipping another God than Allah. It was later in their development that they realised their mistake and began to enrol in schools, civil service and even military, police and other professions that are related to government.
DT: How has your relationship with Zakzaky been like?
Yakubu: We enjoyed a cordial one growing up. In fact, we were very close. We went to school together. Ibrahim has been intelligent right from childhood. When we attained adolescence and we were separated, our rooms were close. We were like best friends at that time.
But to be frank with you, when we realised that he was deep into the creed of Shiite, I particularly ceased to relate with him. I took that stand after all efforts to make him realise the danger of what he was doing failed. I and our elder brother did our best, but he ignored us.
It is a long story, but let me make it short. When Ibrahim graduated from School of Arabic and Islamic Studies (SAS) Kano, he started writing letters to different countries especially China and Iran. He developed interest in relating with China largely because China had revolutionalised her economy through agriculture and moved her people out of hunger.
Iran was responding to his letters by sending their books to him; trying to lure him into their creed of Shiite. Because of that, he turned his attention to Iran, especially after the Ayatollah’s revolution in 1979. They started having meetings in England every year, before they moved their meetings to Iran. When Iran attained certain level of development, he sometimes travelled there twice in a year.
When we saw that, we decided to start counselling him, particularly with our teachers Malam Sani Abdulqadir and Malam Usman Maccido. This is because even at that time we know that Shia is not Islam. Based on that, we sat him down to tell him the implication of what he was doing. He kept saying that he was not into Shi’a that he was only into struggle for revival of Islam. This started in early 1980s. When we realised that he would not listen, largely because it involves a lot of money, we left him alone.
But our elder brother, Malam Abdulqadir Yakubu, did not stop counselling him. In fact, about a week or so before their clash with the Army, our elder brother wrote him. In the letter, he told him that what they were doing is not part of Islam.
DT: How serious was the disconnection, that it made you to cut ties with a brother?
Yakubu: Shiites engage in Mutu’a (temporary) marriage and this was forbidden on the day the Prophet (pbuh) forbade eating of donkey’s meat for Muslims. Above all, they are fond of abusing the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) and his wives, which are big sins inIslam, among many other things that are un-Islamic. How do you expect me to continue to relate with such a person?
DT: What do you have to say on what happened to the Shiites?
Yakubu: What happened to them is the outcome of their sins and their confrontation with Allah. It is even good for them because Allah can try them, particularly their leader, for him to repent. Another issue about them is that they don’t respect authority; be it the police, military, judges, Islamic scholars and even traditional rulers. They don’t listen to anybody provided one is not a Shiite. What happened to them should serve as a warning for them to repent. They brought it upon themselves. Anyone among Muslims who is sad with what happened to the Shiites is a hypocrite.
DT: You’ve cut off ties with Zakzaky. What about your families?
Yakubu: The way I ceased my relationship with him, it is the same for my wives and children. There is nothing that is linking my family with his. He doesn’t have my mobile number and I don’t have his. Even on the road, we don’t greet one another.
DT: What about your parents: Have they tried to intervene?
Yakubu: When he attained his present status, our parents were not alive. But as I told you earlier, our teachers had attempted to bring him back to our fold, but he refused to listen.
DT: What do you have to say to the government on the Zakzaky issue?
Yakubu: My appeal to the government is to undertake a thorough investigation on Ibrahim and other arrested Shiites. If they are found guilty, they should be made to face the wrath of the law. From my understanding, the Shiites under Ibrahim wanted to take over the government because all their activities were towards that. If they fail to overtake government, their intention was to form a militia, to run a powerful, parallel government.
From their activities, you can see that their intention was to amass weapons and have trained personnel to enable them attack anyone they wish, especially those that are not in their good books. Unfortunately for them, Allah descended on them. We were even lucky that they have not amassed much weapons from Iran, otherwise their uprising would have been much more devastating than that of Boko Haram.
If you can remember, some years back, the government intercepted their weapons in Lagos, but the matter strangely died. The weapons were from Iran and there is no-one in Nigeria that Iran would give weapons to, except the Shiites. This is why we understood that the weapons were meant for them.
Source: Daily Trust