Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam: Emancipator & Devout Cleric
Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam: Emancipator & Devout Cleric

Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam: Emancipator & Devout Cleric


Until the Fulani jihad in 1805, much was not known about Daura. It was Malam Ishaku, a Fulani warrior, who after a successful siege established an emirate headquarters in Daura, Katsina State. The town lies in a savanna zone at the intersection of roads from Katsina town, Kano, Zango, and Zinder (Niger). It is an ancient settlement that was founded by a queen and was ruled by women in the 9th and 10th centuries. This is the historic town where Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam was born on February 12, 1960.

The Sheikh spent a reasonable part of his life serving Islam and humanity through Da’awa and Tafsir. He was a Salafi Islamic scholar and a renowned member of the famous Jama’at al Izalat al bid’ a wa Iqamatus sunnah. His Islamic teaching and preaching aimed at revolutionising the socio-political and religious life of his people.

His main interest is Hadith, Tafsir, Tauheed and Da’awah. His denomination is Sunni and Salafi and his Jurisprudence is Malikiyya. He was known for his good understanding of the Qur’an and Hadith. His main interest was Da’awah, teaching and Tafsir.

Sheikh Adam, annually from the beginning of the month of Ramadan to the end of the Ramadan fasting he used to be in Maiduguri at the Indimi Mosque to conduct the annual tafsir and that is where they met with the late Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the book Haram sect. He was able to memorialize the Holy Qur’an at the early age of 17.

He died on Friday 13, April 2007 at around 5:30 am. He was shot while leading the Fajir (morning) prayer at the Dorayi Juma’at mosque in Kano. The assassins shot him at close range tearing his chest and abdomen. Soon after the incidence, he was taken to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano where he died before he could receive medical attention.  Earlier, the gunmen stopped at his former mosque at Gadon Kaya looking for him before they could trace him at the Dorayi mosque where they murdered him gruesomely.   

According to Dr Muhammad Sani Umar, few weeks before he died, one issue that keeps disturbing Ja’far was the issue of the Ulamas unity in Kano, he said there is need to bring the Ulamas together which he promised to call for the meeting of the Shura council where he will bring up the matter for discussion and possible solution.

But, because of the political differences among the Ulamas, the meeting could not take place, because the Ulamas were divided along political lines. Some are in support of the incumbent government to continue while others are in support of a new government. Sheikh Adam did not take a side. Insisted, and always he prayed Allah to choose a leader that will be of benefit to the Ummah and one that will bring changes to the society.

He insisted that the unity of the Ulamas is far better than meeting with the politicians. On April 9, 2007, three of them met to fashion out ways and modality to be adopted during the public lecture to sensitize the Muslim ummah on the need to elect a leader that will bring changes in the sound to enlighten the electorate on the importance of the election and the need to vote and the right people to vote for. In that public lecture, there are four speakers and they are sheikh Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa, Chairman of the occasion, Dr.Muhammad Sani Umar Musa, speaker, Sheikh Muhammad Nazifi Iuwa, speaker, Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam, Speaker.

Ja’afra spoke on five issues that any leader in the society is supposed to do as a leader and those are the qualities of a good leader and what the electorate are to look for in a leader. That public lecture was the last public appearance before his death.

Teaching and Da’awah Activities

His most transparent achievement in the field of Islamic teaching and Da’awah is his establishment of a centre which is known as the Usman Bin Affan centre which became autonomous in 1995. He taught various classes. He also conducted Tafsir annually in Maiduguri during the Ramadan.

He was the head of Usman Bin Affan Islamic Trust. At various times he represented Nigeria Internationally in the Qur’anic recitation competitions. He was a member of the Ulama Consultative forum in Zamfara and Bauchi states.  He also presented various Islamic programmes on Radio and Television stations like Radio Nigeria Kaduna, Bauchi Radio Corporation, Abubakar Rimi Television (ARTV) Kano, NTA Maiduguri YTV Damaturu and NTA Yola among others.

Early Life and Education

In 1984 he was admitted into Government Teachers College, Gwale, now Government Arabic College Gwale, Kano, Kano State. He graduated in 1988 and 1989 he secured admission into the Islamic University in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, where he studied for four years and graduated in 1993. 

His first teacher was his relative named mallam Magaji, sheikh Ja’far grew up in their house. Ja’far first learn the Qur’an from mallam Magaji. From there Ja’far moved to his Mallam Haruna, who is a husband to his elder sister where he learn the Qura’an and from there he moved to one of his relatives Baba Rabe at a village called Koza, about 9 kilometres away from Daura and from there Rabe to Ja’far to Kano in 1971 to one Mallam Abdullahi Danzarmo, who is from the Niger Republic, he was one of those who mastered the Qur’an at that time. 

Sheikh Ja’far Adam memorised the Qur’an in the year 1978 at the age of 17. It was the dream of Dan zarmo that Ja’far memorised the Qur’an in his lifetime but that dream did not come true, because Ja’far memorized the Qur’an after the death of Dan zarmo.

After the death of Dan Zarmo, Mallam Rabe took Ja’far to one mallam Sufyanu in Hadejia. Rabe took Ja’far to Hadejia just to take him away from the bubbling of the city and make him concentrate on his studies. He felt that city life have the tendency of diverting his attention from his studies and that is why he took him to Hadejia.  

After he memorised the Qur’an, the search of knowledge took him back to kano where he enrolled into Adult education for 3 years from 1980 to 1983. During that time he met one Shiekh Abdul-Aziz Mustapha, who took Ja’far on Taj’weed.  According to one of his close associates dr. Muhammad Sani Umar Musa, he said there was a time sheikh Jaafar told him that one Mallam Umar Muhammad kabiru of Islamic university, katsina invited them to come and lecture in the university of which he obliged and the two of them applied for the position of lecturers while Dr Muhammad Umar was employed as a permanent staff sheikh Jaafar was employed as a part-time lecturer.

They were given two days a week to come and lecture at the university. He said that is how they were able to be part of the university as lecturers. Ja’afar was teaching Islamic history but they later exchange, sheikh ja’afar agreed to teach Qur’an and Hadith while Umar was to teach Islamic history. The way they do the exchange because Jaafar told him that Islamic history is too wide and complex which he may not have the time to teach it very well. And they both agreed on that.

The students were happy that Sheikh Ja’afar Adam was one of their lecturers which they said they will immensely learn from his knowledge of the Qur’an and Hadith.    


Muhammad, S. U, 2007, Zamana da Rayuwata da Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam