Imam Muntaqoh Zuglool, the chairman, CEO of Zuglool International Limited, United Kingdom, and one of the renowned sons of the late prominent preacher and scholar, Sheikh Mustapha Sanusi Zuglool, has said preserving the legacies of the late sage is top priority, just as he vowed that the sons will do everything possible to continue to translate all books written by the late Islamic scholar from Arabic to English to reach a wider audience.
He stated this during the fourth annual lecture and unveiling of the English version of one of the works of the late scholar, “Azhar Ar-Ruba Fi Akhbari Biladi Yoruba,” which is about the history of Yorubaland, held at the premises of Daru Da’wah wal-Irshad Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Isolo, Lagos, over the weekend.
The book, which was written in Arabic in 1987 by the late Muslim scholar and historian, Sheikh Zuglool, was translated by Zuglool International Limited, United Kingdom, led by Imam Muntaqa and other eminent scholars who are products of Daru-d-Dawah Wal Irshad.
Among the prominent and eminent Muslim scholars at the event are the Chief Imam of Ikorodu, Sheikh Seifudeen Olowooribi; Sheikh Abdurrahman Ahmad; Sheikh Abdullahi Akinbode; the former Vice Chancellor of Fountain University, Professor Amidu Sanni; the Dean, Student Affairs, Kwara State University, Prof. Moshood Mahmud Jimba; Prof. Luqman Zakariyyah of the University of Abuja; the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, among others.
The Oluwo of Iwo Kingdom, HRM, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, chaired the occasion.
Imam Muntaqoh, who stated the project took about 19 months to complete, added that in the next three to four years, Zuglool International would have translated all the publications of Sheikh Zuglool into English and reprinted them for the market.
“Our project is to ensure that we translate all his books into English in order to give them a wider audience. We’ve started with Azhar Ruba, which is on the history of Yorubaland. We are on another one. The aim is to ensure that in the next three to four years, Zuglool International would have translated all the publications of Sheikh Zuglool into English and reprinted them back to the market, in shaa Allah,” he said.
Explaining their choice of starting the project with Azhar Ruba, History of Yorubaland, Imam Muntaqoh said it was the one he spent a lot of energy and academic excellence on.
He added that the book is on history, and it is timely to ensure history is not rewritten.
“We looked at all our father’s books, and we could see that Azhar Ruba is the one he spent a lot of energy on. He channeled a lot of academic excellence into it. Growing up, I was just about 6 years old in 1987 when Baba wrote the book. But I had a faint experience; the book was actually launched at the mosque (in the modrasah) with people coming from all over the world. And that was my own first experience of seeing Baba write a book. So, it was easy for me to start with that book.
“Again, with what is happening all over the world, it’s good to ensure that history is not being written when we have historians like Sheikh Zuglool and Shiekh Abdullah Adam Al-Iloriy. They’ve written a lot of books on history. So it’s just up to us to get them out there for a wider audience.
“The glory of the work goes to a committee of Sheikh Zuglool’s students. I had the vision, but the likes of Prof. Mashood Baderin, University of London; Prof. Luqman Zakariyyah; Prof. Yusuf in Malaysia; and so many other doctors did the majority of the work. They took it upon themselves, day and night, to ensure the vision translated to reality.”
He added, “With this experience, we are picking another of his books, ‘Almarhatu Baynal Hijaab Wa Sufuur’. Baba spoke about the girl-child and women in that book. We want the project out before Ramadan 2024, in shaa Allah. It’s a continuous project. And it’s not about money; we just want to reach a wider audience.”
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He lamented the declining reading culture across societies with the prominence of the internet.
“People want to watch Tiktok and do so many other things online. Most of our children are not reading and learning,” adding that Sheikh Zuglool’s works would arouse the reading culture, noting he deployed simple vocabulary for easy comprehension by readers.
“Even a beginner would be able to read his books. He came down to everybody’s level. That’s the way we went with the translation as well. We made it easy to read and digest. That way, we can revive the reading culture. It is important to get people back to that,” he said.
The chairman of the occasion, the Oluwo of Iwo Kingdom, HRM, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, who had at different fora preached against idol-worshipping in Yorubaland, urged the people to shun idolatry, saying it is a strange religion in Yorubaland.
He said, “Islam is the foundation. The first man Allah created (Prophet Adam) was a Muslim. He was never an idol worshipper. Our origin as Yorubas is linked to him (Prophet Adam). Idol-worshipping is alien to us. A time will come in Yorubaland when idolatry practices will no longer be fashionable.
“A lot of Yoruba monarchs are now disassociating themselves from idolatry practices. Islam, which is the religion of monotheism and belief in Allah, is the only acceptable religion to our creator. I therefore urge our people to stop the practice of idolatry.
Zuglool’s quality of thought is similar to Imam Bukhari’s, says Prof. Zakariyyah
Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence at the University of Abuja, Luqman Zakariyyah, who also went through the mentorship of the late sage at Daru-d-Dawah, where he graduated in 1990, said the originality of Zuglool’s thoughts also manifested in his book, linking it to Imam Bukhari.
“For his teaching, authorship, and preaching, I believe Sheikh excelled among his peers. If you see him delivering lectures, you’ll be amazed. You see the quality and originality. Someone might have said something, but he would say that same thing in another way.
“The originality of his thoughts also manifested itself in his book. Despite the fact that Sheikh Ibn Al-Masami has written a book on (Azhar Ruba) and the late Sheikh Zuglool didn’t even see it, he wrote a book with a similar title and distinctive features. I linked this quality to our predecessor, Imam Bukhari. When he wrote his book Sahih Bukhariy, many scholars had written on hadith, but few could compete with him because of his originality.”
“I think Sheikh has established the origin of Ilorin and the origin of Muslims in Nigeria, especially in Yorubaland. We learned from the book that Islam and Muslims are not inferior in this country. Muslims were the original inhabitants before adherents of other religions came. So, Muslims can say we are the majority in Yorubaland. It is fallacy for non-Muslims to say we should go back to where we are from. It is a pure fallacy. That’s what the book explained. I believe its translation to English will better enlighten people as to the origin of Muslims in Yorubaland.”
Sheikh Zuglool was able to navigate the controversial history of Ilorin – Prof. Jimba
Prof. Jimba, who was a guest speaker at the event, said the English translation of the book was timely, considering the controversies surrounding the history of Yorubaland in contemporary times.
“He wrote extensively about Yorubaland: its scholars, culture, and wars fought by the tribe. He also wrote on how Islam came to Yorubaland, and of course, Ilorin as part of Yorubaland. That area is especially controversial, but Sheikh Zuglool was able to navigate it.
“The book is very timely, especially for us, the Ilorins. It lays bare the way the Yorubas, European writers, and, in fact, the Ilorin indigenes view Ilorin. These are the three contradictory schools of thought on the history of Ilorin. When you juxtapose them, you have a better understanding of the ancient city,” he said.