A renowned Kano businessman and Islamic scholar, Sheikh Isyaku Rabi’u, died yesterday in a London hospital, the Kano State government has announced.
Also confirming the death to Daily Trust by phone from London, his son, Alhaji Abdussamad Isyaku Rabi’u, who is the founder of the BUA Group, said his father died after a protected illness.
He described the death of his father as a great loss not only to the immediate members of the family but to the entire people of Kano, Nigeria and the African continent.
He said, “We have lost a father, guardian, teacher and mentor. We hope to be in Kano on Thursday for the burial according to Islamic injunction.”
It would be recalled that late Rabi’u had slumped and fainted on the day late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero died, a development that prompted the rumour of his death.
The late Islamic scholar was born into the family of a great Islamic scholar, Muhammad Rabiu Dan Tinki. His religious upbringing influenced his development as a young man. As a young man, he embraced Islamic scholarship and was popularly known as Mallam before he later got the title of Khalifah of Tijjaniyya in Africa.
In the early 1960s, Daily Trust learnt that the late business mogul ventured into commercial enterprise, leading to the establishment of his own procurement agency for textiles produced by the Kaduna Textile Factory.
After success in trading textiles, he later established his own textile factory, and was also involved in selling of sewing machines. In the 1970s, he also ventured into construction business by building housing estates and buying up shares of some foreign nationals in the country.
Born in 1928, late Isyaku Rabiu is survived by three wives, six concubines, 42 children and many grandchildren. Among his children are Alhaji Nafiu Rabiu, an influential Nigerian businessman; Abdussamad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA Group; Rabiu Rabiu, owner of IRS Airlines; Quraish I. Rabiu, Makiu Rabiu, Abdullahi Rabiu, Muhammad Rabiu and Daha Rabiu.
The deceased lived in his Goron Dutse residence in Kano, the biggest single house in Kano.
‘He has fulfilled his father’s wishes’
According to Sheikh Ibrahim Khaleel, late Isyaku Rabi’u was born to the family of a prominent Islamic Scholar, late Muhammad Rabi’u Dan Tinki.
Khaleel, who paid tribute to the late leader of Tijjaniya sect, said the deceased had distinguished himself with four qualities that he would always be remembered for.
“First, late Sheikh Isyaku Rabi’u has fulfilled the will of his father by constructing 60 houses and donating them to the memorisers of the Holy Qur’an. His father had instructed him to do that when he was alive and he did it. These houses are located behind his house in Goron Dutse.
“Two, late Rabi’u is a memoriser and consistent reader of the Holy Qur’an. Anywhere you saw him, he would be reading the Qur’an – be it at home, on his way to the office or in the office.
“Three, he was an open-minded and straight forward person and took care of Qur’anic scholars and students as well. And lastly, he worked diligently for the progress of the Tijjaniyyah sect not only in Kano but in Nigeria and Africa as a whole,” Khaleel said.
Sheikh Khaleel said apart from late Alhaji Uba Ringim, late Alhaji Uba Waru and late Alhaji Ibrahim Yayi, no other person worked for the development of Tijjaniyya sect like late Isyaku Rabi’u.
He said another interesting quality with which the late scholar distinguished himself was that he had not only published all the books written by his late father, but memorised them.
“The death of Isyaku Rabi’u is great loss to many categories of people. It is loss to scholars, the business class, academicians, the elderly, women and followers of various religious sects and above all it is a loss to the memorisers of the Holy Qur’an. Sheikh Isyaku Rabi’u was father to all. He was a simple, generous and dedicated person.”
Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, in a statement signed by the state’s Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, extended his condolence to the family of the deceased and the entire Muslim community in Nigeria and beyond.
Alhaji Tanko Yakasai said as a Khalifah of the Tijjaniyyah sect, his death had shocked many Muslims across the globe.
He said, “Late Isyaku Rai’u was blessed with Qur’anic knowledge, wealth and children. He is a generous businessman who was always ready to assist the needy. Death is inevitable and therefore, we should pray for him.”