My first time in Prang was, five years after Shaykh Abdullahi Maikano (raḍiya ‘llāhu ‘an-hu) has transitioned to (Barzākh) isthmus. I had had so much terror, heard so much rumors growing up in the area of New Fadama, Accra. Enough, after a 7 hour journey with my paternal Brothers from Bawku living here in Nima, they chanted so much Dhikr as the vehicle moved non-stop till we got to our final destination, Prang in the Brong Ahafo Region. I said to myself, Indeed there’s more terror ahead. Lo and behold, it was an adventurous journey and a rebirth into a mystical world, Sufism.
We arrived on Thursday Morning, I established contact with a friend Romeo and Mohammad Ahmad Abu Faili whom were already there, whiles my brother Basiru Ali who connected me to the Caravan at Achimota, was on his way to Prang on a motorbike. I was overwhelmingly overwhelmed!!
With so much horrors withheld, different misconceptions and doubts, I saw people but with a different view. People welcomed me, but inwardly I never did welcome them. I saw Brothers and I sense their strong Brotherhood which seems heavenly endowed but weird to me. They love extending hands for a shake, You escape one without seeing the other smiling, rejoicing, excited, I mean super-excited. I began to get relief. Bought some kebab, two guinea fowls, yams, tomatoes, onions, garlic and some peppers on Friday Morning at a fairly price. It was a Market day and the brothers we went along were good shoppers and bargained well. As Brother Sly, Romeo and others prepare the food, I went to bathe at the River ‘’Gulbi’’, which is connected to River Pra.
The town was about to lit, we counted over 200 cars as they arrive till we got tired and counted no more. The town was over-crowed, network connection seized and the area was jamming with Dhikr, as passengers get down from their various caravans with their leader or Muqaddam to sign a register at the Secretary of Shaykh Abdullahi Maikano.
This register generated was to account for the people in catering for their water, food needs, I heard from a source where a man said ‘’Were Mallam Maikano not be a saint and miracle worker, with his strict orders and principality, he will indeed have made a mighty nation.’’ I believed what I saw and it affirmed what the Man said earlier. We had a powerful Jumuah led by Khalifā, People went back to their various lounges and apartments. The street was choked, what a Human traffic. Some people living in close towns like Ejura, Atebubu, Yeji went back to relax as they prepare for Hailallāh, Wazeefah and other activities. Whiles some just came in to observe Jumuah amidst tens of thousands of Muslims.
It was all beautiful, till we went to the Mawlid ground, as Brother Basiru got in, we went around and made some visitation (ziyārah) to friends, family and Spiritual Guides (Shuyukhs), I wasn’t aware nor informed about the practices and norms there so I joined when I felt like, asked different questions from different people and received answers to either clear my doubts and misconceptions or increase it.
Around 12am as the Family of the Grand Shaykh (ra) arrived in, I heard a soothing and angelic, Tajweding in a supra voice reciting a verse (ayāh) from the Holy Quran in a way I had long longed for, I was stroke and I could barely stand on my feet. I questioned my brother who that reciter was ‘’Shaykh Nasrullāh’’ he responded, my mind was trembling and inwardly I recited:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
إِذَا جَاء نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ
وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا
فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا
- In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.
- When comes the Help of Allah, and Victory,
- And thou dost see the people enter Allah’s Religion in crowds,
- Celebrate the praises of thy Lord, and pray for His Forgiveness: For He is Oft-Returning (in Grace and Mercy).
Surah An- Nasr, (The Divine Support) Chapter 110, Verse 1–3.
Then I was guided, I was divinely attracted, pulled and hence enraptured to the affairs of Awliya’Allāh.
Surah Yusuf Chapter 12 Verse 21 Reads: ‘’…And Allah hath full power and control over His affairs; but most among mankind know it not.’’
We thank God for his light, It is true Men will see the light, if they walk in that light they will someday be the Light. As our Guide, Shaykh Abulfaid Maikano keeps hammering: ‘’This Mawlid is for our benevolent Master, Shaykh Ahmad Tijani even, Shaykh Abdullahi Maikano was also invited.’’
2 years before this illustrious journey of mine to Prang, I had traveled with my Mother Sayyidah Lailah, tracing back to Our roots, where our Ancestors lived, talked, walked, taught, fought and were buried to rest. They were Gurus and their spirit needs rejuvenation to fill the born and unborn Children to dine and shine. Typical example was the father of Musah Gunguma, the khebab seller in our hood (unguwan Adarawah), New Fadama, Who fought with a Lion all by Himself and came home victorious. Alone in a thick bush, despite having a deficient eye which was caused from an attack by gang of thieves on their way to Nigeria by Road. He slew the lion with his mighty Sword (takobi), the very place that event occurred was cited to me, it still rings in mind, that;
My Ancestors are Warriors, I must grow to be a Warrior too!
My Ancestors are Warriors, I must grow to be a Warrior too!.
Whiles in Niger we toured 2 Regions, Niamey and Tahoua. We visited many places and introduced to family and relatives and they helped and oriented me into things I cannot pen. I am really indebted to Mom, for taking me home with little Sister Ruqayya. She is a kind and generous mother, No amount can describe a Mother’s worth, I love you Mom!
I was told Kaolack, Chota, Bagay, Sokoto and Katsina do commemorate Mawlid sameday in Rabi’al-awwal (3rd Hijri Month). My father’s village, Bagay had a grand and mini-grand Mawlid presided by the household of Shaykh Ahmad Yaluna (raḍiya ‘llāhu “an-hu) with a week intervals, so I said to Myself, since we missed the grand Mawlid, the semi-grand we must not miss. Mawlid in Niger is followed by slaughtering 100s of cows, 100s of Camels, and unlimited number of goats and sheeps, shared to households to host and accommodate guests. Celebrated the 1st Mawlid outside the perimeter of Ghana with my senior Sister, Nasarah who leads, as Brother Tāhiru (May his soul rest in Peace) follows, Myself, Habibah and Hafsah our last born. We talked and shed moment whiles preparing, a family Re-union and Mawlid Day!.
I rode back on my Uncle’s Camel to the Mawlid ground, the Camel was adorned, I was dressed all white and received a Royal treatment, Home is Home it was a journey to record, a fragrance to inhale. Surprisingly on arrival I saw a vast spacious land, thus the parking lot for the Caravans; Camels, Donkeys Horses and a few cars and royal motorbikes, as my Uncle rested the Camel we joined the Celebrants. Amazed to see another acres of land being filled with grains, roots, animals, sack-bags, different species of foods, raw materials and business Capitals. I questioned what was this for? My Uncle replied. ‘’They are all seeking to be touched and receive the active blessing (barakah) of the blessed birth (ayhuwan) of the Holy Prophet respectively.’’ The Women birthed good children, Farmers make good harvest, those business capital regenerate more income, upon the Blessing of Muhammad. May Allah grant us that blessing too, we need it now more than ever.
The Mawlid was interwoven with Dhikr. I remember a few lines in mind ragingly’’
Allah Allah Rabbana Salli ala Mustafa
Allah Allah Rabbana Salli ala Mustafa
Wa kukaso, Mustafa!, wa mukabi Mustafa!! (O God, Dear God Shower Blessings upon our Master the Chosen one, Whom we dearly love, whom we dearly follow guidance to your Majestic Presence).
La ilaha illalah Allah, la ilaha illallah, lailaha illallah Allah la illah illallah (Profession and attestation of faith, the first Pillar of Islam).
After my ether has been soaked by Shaykh Nasrullahi Maikano with recital of al-Quran, I reflected on some settings in Prang, which tuned with that in Bagay. I was really moved. I thought it was raining unknowingly it was tears dropping from my eyes, rather than from the sky, Subhan’Allāh!!!. I thought that, for a Man to cry openly was a weakness, or thus being too emotionally, something like a girlish thing, I wiped that tears hurriedly.
The settings in Prang;
The Mawlid ground was grouped into groups, chairs arranged orderly, roped fence, women on the other side as men on the one side, The venerable and honorable guests in a section (VIP) and family of Shaykh Maikano Jallo in front line as the Khalifa sits on the Throne, majestic seat of the Father, as Heir and Viceregent of the Secret. A few Caravans were packed on the Mawlid ground, with many prayer mats and water ready to be supplied for ablution, when the time was due for Subhi Prayers.
For the 2nd time I prayed in between multitudes, People from different countries, who spoke unanimous languages, look different than I am but we were One in the Spirit-of-Allah, the Most High. Raised hands in Surrender to the one true God (Allah) saying ‘’Allahu Akbar’’ (God is the Greatest), as Imam lead we followed, prostrated and knelt in line, what a perfect unison that was, this performance of religious ritual prayer amidst tons of Believer reminds me of Hajj; the Holy City, Mecca and Illuminated city Medina, as taught in my early days in Makaranta. May Allah grant us means to visit there someday.
The celebration was wit and blended with Dhikr different than that of Bagay, except the profession of faith, which is a Universal tone for Muslim. I remember one Dhikr they chanted and danced and Others were making money rain on the Singer ‘’La illaha illallah allah Shaykh Tijani kaakan Awliyah. (An elegy in Praise of the Grand Shaykh by Tijanis with so much reverence to Him).
The one who experiences the most wins, I believe with no doubt Love is the goal of our Shaykh and that is the reason for visiting the Shaykh, to obtain the love of God and spread it forth.
If my memory served me right, was it in 2010 that the Museum (An interim) displayed stuffs of Shaykh Maikano? ah, well I was opportuned to see, touch and feel some of the stuffs of the Shaykh; his ring, sun glass, hair, some of his books, Tesbihs, Holy Qurans, turban, clothes, mighty sword honored to Shaykh from the Royal Kingdom of Hijaz (Saudi Arabia), a portfolio bag in-which he made his last contribution of 50 million Cedis from, towards the Mosque renovation of Zaweyatu Shaykh Ahmada Tijani al-qubra in Kumasi, the blue-black thick robe (al-kebba) which he was gifted at Medina Fez, Morocco as a sign and indication of Him being a regent and a bearer of the Saintly Seal al-Tijani (raḍiya ‘llāhu ‘an-hu).
In my early twenties, as a freshman indoctrinated and afflicted by the Salafi/Wahhabi syndrome, surrounded by people who bad mouth Shaykh, I grew to dislike Shias, Sufis and was unpleasant hearing Dhikr aloud (jahran), hated Salat al-Fatihi, neither was I encouraged to recite Salat al-Ibrahimiyyah or any other Salawat on the Prophet like the Tijānis and other Sufis are mandated to do. The Most High God and His Angels bless and honor the Prophet, and ordained Believers to follow suit.
In the Holy Quran;
‘’Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.the Believers.’’ Surah al-Ahzab 22 verse 56.
I being traumatized hated the Tijāni folks, most especially Sidi Muhammad Bakr (the discipline whom Allah reflected Salatu-l-Fātihi on a golden card ‘plaque’ mystically engraved after his 13 years in khalwā, a Spiritual retreat). Later, I found-out that Imam Ali Ibn Abi Tālib (‘alayhi s-salām), The cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad used to recite Salatil Fatihi but in a different form, Imam Sulayman al-Jazuli, the author of Dala’ilul Khayrat cited Salatul Fatihi in his magnum opus, with unlimited Prayers and benediction in Praise of the Prophet, until recently I never knew that. Little did I know, how systematical misinformed have I been, O Wretched Poor me!!!!!!!!
I had consumed much for myself from my first journey, my mind was so terrified and flavored with the good, bad and ugly. I still recount around Prang Post Office, whereby some guys were quarreling and to the extend of using weapon, Incredible speaking it takes a man to fight a man but that scared the hell out of me, The woodencrafts (janfal), amulets (lâyoyi), theft occurrences. Already been scaled to measure everything with harām and halal, I became judge of everything that I saw, how pitiful that was.. In recent times, things have change, Khalifā shutdown the cacophonyical misconduct, all matters and issues causing chaos and confusion is brought forth to the Authority, Police and security forces.
Angola Faila base launched an album of Dhikr, and it was all seasoned over in Prang, La ilaha illa allah, La illaha Illah Allah.
Our entrance in the resting place (tomb) of Shaykh Abdullahi Maikano was never a new thing to me, some People say, ‘’He is being worshiped, revered and raised high as a deity’’ I challenge them because of my upbringing, I knew the importance of visiting the dead especially the pious one, in my area New Fadama, On Fridays we used to follow Mallam Abdul-Qadir (Mallam Thousand) chanting Dhikr ‘Allah la ilaha ilallah Allah la ilaha illah’’ to the tomb of Imam Abass and his Brother Imam Mukhtar (raḍiya ‘llāhu ‘an-hum) as kids and the Mallam inturn reward us with biscuits, toffees, and freshly 1000 cedis notes each. If Mallam Thousand can reward us with toffees and extra money, then the Almighty Merciful God will reward us abundantly. We prayed on the Tomb of Shaykh Maikano and asked for Allah’s blessing upon this Pious servant of His, May Allah reward him by Himself.
I thank Allah for my experiences and how it has helped in reshaping me into a better person than I used to, I seek refuge from Allah from the accused Devil and the evil whispering from my lower-self. Astagfirullāh wa atubhu ilayhi.
The long time deprivation was coming to it’s end, grew much fondness and passion for Shaykh Abdullahi Maikano and his Community. Walking flanking like an airwaves who have become an Ambassador of Light, Crusading and reaching out to family and friends (hal yaran al-naasu ma ‘ara?) Do you not see what I’m seeing lovely people? My first trip to Medina Jallo shrinked and ingested so much into me, time was much needed, to get it all digested, for my mind to settle down and to be distill.
It took me two years to get back to Prang after my first appearance there, I saw new developments too, I had fathomed much as from the first. I missed a lot, the group Dhikr (samā), the taste of Dhikr tailoring the community, the coming of Shaykh Kabiru Kano, Sharu Ahmed Bello (raḍiya ‘llāhu ‘an-hum) and their Praise singer ‘’Madha Mei-Annabi’’, and the speech by Shaykh Aliu Kalamu-l-Faidah Ibn Maikano (raḍiya ‘llāhu ‘an-hu) that clamored controversies in the Community ‘’Son Baaba ba dooley ba ne’’ He said, which means, ‘’Loving Shaykh Maikano is not compulsory’’. Actions are judged by intentions, and Allah knows best!
I heard a man on the Radio praise shopping. I swear. He said that shopping is the modern version of going to the marketplace. It’s the way we see each other, get a feeling for each other, feel included in the social fabric. This reminds me of a brother we met Last week, Salihu. ‘’Muslims are back from Hajj, we are going for our Hajj.’’ He passionately said. I have heard many at-times where ardents refer Prang to as ‘’Paris’’ is it because of The Eiffel Tower? I think not, it might be because of the City’s fragrance and nice interwoven smell and taste of things. Our Shaykh has made Hajj and Umrah with His family, disciples many many times, yet still the community admonishes us, not to be heedless and strive to perform Hajj or Umrah once in our lifetime, the least.
My point is, to meet people from all walks of life, to perform religious rites, celebrate and connect in the Divine Line is very rewarding be it in Saudi Arabia, Africa, Asia or Europe. As part and parcel of Hajj’s obligatory is ‘’Arafāh’’ which is the recitals, performance of religious acts on Mount Arafah in Mecca. Arafah Literally means to know! and if the real substance of Hajj is knowing, then whom must we know? and for what reason?
The activities in Prang envelops us in the world of colors, textures, fragrances. You don’t have to buy anything. But you can touch everything. Variety of books, fabrics, fragrances, tesbihs, Islamic prayer accessories and essential displayed stuffs you can’t skip without having a second look. All your senses can be used when you shop — hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching. In recent years I have met more family and friends from my area (New Fadama, Accra) joined us in Commemoration service in Prang, I am overwhelmingly delighted with that, I believe we are the future, unless we are well informed or oriented we will end-up fighting.
A group of 7 men with 3 powerful ladies, gave Shaykh Maikano one big couch as hadya (Gift), which has an engravement of this ayah ‘’Fas’alu Ahla Adh-Dhikri In Kuntum La Ta’lamun” (Quran 21:7), ‘’So ask the People of the Reminder if you do not know’’.
My story focuses on someone from one side or the other who needs to get out or who lives for the glory of their side and is blindfolded by the Reality. I urge us to Wake up, get out, it’s never late. Sides are the problem but truth is not, may we spot truth and Goodness wherever it is.
Congratulations for staying with me and reading through my journal, it was such a tough journeying together with you in my past-present.
Nasiru Deen Abdul Jabbar | Journey to the Mystical Path of Tijāni. ©2017
If you’re inspired. Kindly share with Others and Ask Allah to pardon his poor servant on your behalf.