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Ancient History
Holy Men
Special Places
Winds of Change
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Important Historical Personalities

Usman Dan Fodio (1754-1817)

Usman Dan Fodio was a Fulani from Degel in Gobir. He was brought up strictly in the Maliki rite and at an early age found his vocation as teacher and writer, but above all as a preacher.In the 1790s, He began a holy war, swept through Hausaland and, repulsed only by the eastern empire of Kanem-Bornu, engulfed Adamawa, Nupe, and Yorubaland to the south. After the invasion by the Fulani of the northern provinces of the Oyo, the emirate of Ilorin to the northeast became the base from which Islam was to spread among the Yoruba. Usman, who was more a scholar than a statesman, ceded the practical direction of the eastern part of the empire to his son Muhammad Bello, who settled in Sokoto, and the western (with its capital at Gwandu) to his brother Abdullahi. In the late 19th century British rule over ended their domination in Nigeria.

Nana Asma'u, (1793-1865), Teacher, Poet & Islamic Leader

Nana Asma'u (1793-1864) was a poet, teacher, and role model for Muslim women.
Nana Asma'u was the daughter of Shaykh Usman dan Fodio, leader of a jihad to reform and purify Islam in the Sokoto region of what is today northern Nigeria. Her half-brother was Muhammad Bello, who became caliph of the region and whose descendents still hold that office. Nana Asma'u was a remarkable woman who was devoted to the cause of purifying Islam and unifying the region. She established a group of literate women teachers (jajis) who carried her teachings, written into her poems, and disseminated them to illiterate women throughout the community. One stunning example in the book is the poem "Be Sure of God's Truth" (pp. 120-

126), which reaches out to ordinary people (men and

 women) with advice on the behavior of good Muslims anywhere. She was a scholar of Islam and a key advisor to her father as he waged a jihad to bring Islam to the population of what is now northwestern Nigeria. Asma'u's literary legacy, consisting of 65 poems in Arabic, Fulfulde, and Hausa, constitutes one of the largest existing collections of 19th-century materials from the region. Her poetry has been transmitted over the years and is familiar to Hausa Muslims today, attesting to the power and continued relevance of her convictions and achievements. She is portrayed in the book entitled:
One Woman's Jihad Nana Asma'u, Scholar and Scribe; By yeverly B. Mack and Jean Boyd

El-Hadj Umar Tall (1797-1864)
El Hajj Umar Tall was a muslim religious and military leader in W Africa. Declared a holy war in 1852. In several engagements (1857-59) against the French in Senegal, he was repulsed. Thereafter he turned eastward, conquering the kingdoms of Segu and Massina and sacking Timbuktu.  

CHEIKH Ahmadou Bamba Khadimou Rassoul

Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba whose true name is Ahmed Ben Mohamed Ben Abib Allah was born about 1852, called by the community Khadimou Rascal, the servant of the prophet. Like a considerable number Black apostles of Islam, he was of Fulani origin that four generations earlier came from Fuuta Tooro to settle in the Wolof countryside. Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba then left Cayor to come to settle at MBacke-Baol the village of his ancestor. He founded close to Me Backe-Baol his own village, called TOUBA, which today has become the large religious metropolis, sanctuary of Mouridisme and an annual place of pilgrimage of the Black Muslim world. The French authorities bothered by the increasing influence of Ahmadou Bamba, exiled him in 1895 to Gabon where he remained for 7 years, 7 months and 7 days. He returned to Senegal continued to preach, to write and to oppose the French.

El Hadj Malick Sy

El Hadj Malick Sy was born in 1855 in a village of Gaya in Northern Senegal. He studied Quran and went to Mecca. When he came back from Mecca he started preaching the Tijaniya, and Islamic Suni. He settled in Tivaoune (Senegal) in 1902 and began organizing the Gamou, a well established holiday celebrating the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad. He fought against poverty and ignorance in the villages as well as in the cities. He was called the Maodho, the Guide.

Alpha Yaya Bocar Biro

Apha Yaya was a King of Labe in Fuuta Jalon, he was one of the most controversial figures in the history of Fuuta Jalon.
He was tricked byFrench colonials and was sent in exile in Mauritania where he died in 1912. His ashes were returned to Guinea in 1969. He inspired the Guinea National Anthem which was derived from a song by one of Alpha Yaya's griot
  Bocar Biro was the last great Almamy of Fuuta Jalon. He fought to consolidate his power and to safeguard the independence of Fuuta Jalon.
  In alliance with Samory Toure, he resisted the French conquest of Guinea. He was killed by the French army at the battle of Poredaka in 1896. He belonged to the African of great destiny who valiantly gave their lives to oppose colonization.

Sr. Ahmadu Bello (1910-1966)

FSir Ahmadou Bello was a teacher, farmer, administrator, politician, statesman and a religious leader. He was one of the founding fathers of Nigeria. His effort and others led to attainment of independence by the country in 1960. He encouraged both Islamic and Western education. He preached religious tolerance and honesty. He established Ahmadou Bello University, a Teaching hospital, the Nigerian newspaper, radio-television Kaduna, the northern Nigeria housing corporation and several others. Ahmadou Bello received honors and awards at home and abroad during his life time.He was made a Knight of the British Empire. He was

Ahmadou Ahidjo

Ahidjo, Ahmadou , 1924-89, president of the United Republic of Cameroon (1960-82). A Muslim Fulani chief's son, he served with the French during World War II. Entering politics in the French Cameroons, he became vice premier (1957) and premier (1958) of the territory. With the Cameroon Republic's independence (1960), he was elected its first president. He also became president of the Mouvement d'Union Camerounaise, which favored continued strong ties with France. He persuaded the British-administered Southern Cameroons to unite (1961) with the Cameroon Republic in the Federal Republic of Cameroon. He was reelected president in 1965, 1970, 1975, and 1980 .see book pdf