A SOLDIER OF SUNNAH: SHAYKH MURTADHA ABDUS SALAM (1920 – 2007)
In the mid and late of the 20th century when organizing funerals was a norm among the Yoruba Muslims, who could have stood against it that it is Bidiah and Muslims should stay away from it, not even when the ‘baba baba’ were believed to kill anyone who go against them.
Shaykh Murtadha Abdus Salaam stood against it as it has no evidence from the two primary sources of Islamic jurisprudence; Quran and Sunnah, he challenged scholars of time to bring their evidences to prove its legal.
In the presence of Shaykh Aadam AbduLlah Al-Iloriy who was assumed to be the leader of Yoruba scholars in the 20th century and who was also in support of organizing funeral, Shaykh Murtadha openly challenged the scholars in presence that organizing funeral is heretic in Islam and no one could refute him.
The list of great Yoruba scholars of 20th century is never complete without the name of our beloved father, Shaykh Murtadha Abdus Salaam among other great scholars like Shaykh Aadam AbduLlah Al-Iloriy (1917-1992), Shaykh Kamaldeen Al-Adaby (1907-2005), Shaykh Abdul Baaqiy Muhammad (1916-2011), Shaykh Mudathir Abdus Salaam and many others.
Shaykh Murtadha Adegbola bn Abdus Salaam bn Zubayr bn Haarun was an indigene of the ancient city of Ibadan, he’s fondly called “Baba ni Ma’hd” (Shaykh of Ma’hd) and “Baba orisun mimo (Source of knowledge).
Baba was known for his expertise in scholarly fields of Nahw, Sarf, Tafseer and Maliki fiqh. Our Shaykh is known for his blessed charactersb of humility, sincerity, and honesty.
His great sincerity to Allah and the deen made baba dump Sufism for the pristine Islam, after he had been a Sufi leader for a long time. Though very jovial, lenient and simple, but baba was very blunt when it comes to the religion of Allah, he was very harsh against the disbelievers and the mubtadie s.
Shaykh Murtadha Abdus Salaam was also known for his firm stand on the obligation that a Muslim woman to observe the niqab as he would show great love to anyone whose wife is a muntaqibbah and show detest for women who moved around unveiled.
Shaykh was also known for his stand that celebrating Mawlid Nabiyy is bidi’ah. His footsteps till today are followed in his great citadel of learning, Ma’hd l arabiyy An naiygeeriy student must be present in school on Mawlid Nabiyy day as they don’t recognize the holiday. It’s Bid’ah!
During his lifetime, Shaykh held gathering of knowledge for people, mainly elderly people at his home every day and night in fields like fiqh, usool l fiqh, hadeeth, Mustalah, balagha and Nahw. This gathering brought about creating an organized school, Ma’hd l arabiy An naygeery ( Arabic institute of Nigeria) in year 1958.
As part of Shaykh’s humility, he doesn’t love to be placed above others, he doesn’t love to be exaggerated, he loves to be treated like other people like him. He does warn students from standing for him whenever he enters a gathering and when they insist, he would say “you’ll answer for this before Allah the most high”
Shaykh was a member of league of Muslim scholars in makkah and he has a cordial relationship with Shaykh Abdul ‘azeez bn baaz, Dr. Muhsin bn AbduLlah at turkiyy and Shaykh Muhammad Naasir ‘Ubuudiy.
Shaykh also faced the storm of life as it was recorded that a lot of his wife and children died during his lifetime, 19 of his children died while he was still alive and there are some period in his lifetime that he has no child in his house, but AlhamduLlah, he was survived by 24 biological children and numerous others.
Shaykh couldn’t finish the book he was writing before the arrival of death, he had an unpublished work named ‘Aysarul Jawaaiz fee Ahkaamil Janaa’iz’
The sudden news of baba’s death came to us on Sunday evening, 27/8/2007 (12 shaban 1428), though Shaykh was 86 years before his death but his death was really saddening, people couldn’t imagine what left the world in knowledge, his home at Ile Tuntun, Ibadan couldn’t accommodate the population who came to witness his Janaazah.
May Allah admit our Shaykh to Jannatul Firdaws.
Mubaarak Olayemi Ismail