Sunday 17thJune 2018 marked forty days since the passing of Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu at the delicate age 93. The fortieth day after death during which The Qur’an is recited and people gather to offer condolences. It is a day, which concludes the 40thday memorial period and has a major significance.
The day that Khalifa died was a day when those who knew him will never forget for the rest of our lives. Khalifa’s breathren, millions of struggling masses, peasants, toilers and those who followed his sermons and lessons have come to revere his wonderful heart and gentle soul. He endeared himself to the public wherever he went and he stood for peace. He was a torchbearer of knowledge, sustenance of life and comfort to every one of the excluded, subjugated youth and homeless families that had the grace of coming across him.
Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu was born in 1928 to a renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Muhammadu Rabiu and Hajiya Fadimatu at Jingau Quarters in the ancent city of Kano. Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu studied the recitation of the Holy Qur’an under his father from 1936 to 1942. He then proceeded to Maiduguri, Borno State for further studies under Sheikh Hamisu Shu’aibu where he graduated in the field of Qur’anic recitation in 1946. Khalifa later studied the field of Tasawwuf and Dariqa under Sheikh Abubakar Mijinyawa at Bakin Ruwa Quarters, Kano city. He later returned back to his father’s school and further studied the science of Tajwid. However, Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu subsequently transferred to Sheikh Abdullahi Salga’s school at Sanka in the city of Kano for the study of Islamic Law, Hadith and Jurisprudence, where he later passed out in 1949. He was extremely dedicated to his studies.
Such tenacity was a defining characteristic of his life. Apart from his early exposure to education, he went further to seek knowledge and become self-taught through experience and a penchant for reading, mosque visits, sermons and he had a profound sense of commitment to a mission and goal of Islam.
Today, the millions of the people who followed his efforts closely and admired Khalifa’s life work and dedication to his Deen will continue his work through lectures, literature, video and their own Mosque visits. Spreading the word of God and the understanding, philanthropy, unity and peace he so much believed in.
During the course of his education, having been satisfied with his performance in Islamic Studies, his father agreed that he should go into trading. Based on that, Khalifa started trading in the renowned Kano Kurmi market in 1949. From there Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu registered his company as ‘Isiyaku Rabiu and Sons’ under the business names registration in February 1952, which was subsequently incorporated into a ‘Limited Liability Company’ in 1973 as ‘Isiyaku Rabiu Group of Companies,’ a conglomerate of twelve companies dealing in trading, Manufacturing, Insurance, Banking, Aviation and Real Estate with over 1,000 employees.
He was a gentle larger than life figure who possessed so much knowledge, humility and a winning personality, which breathed so much love and affection. He was a diligent, reliable and committed being, who was held in high regard across the world. To those who were downtrodden, Khalifa became their leader, their guide, their teacher and their symbol of hope and survival day after day. Any time one went to the house where Khalifa and his family lived, one would find it packed full of struggling masses eating and being taken care of.
He won the veneration of people by the austerity and humility of his life; and by his unbounded and immeasurable faith and confidence he moved masses to break away from destitution and hunger. His faith in the masses was completely merited. He commended himself to people largely because he cared for them and their wellbeing and people, in return, revered him.
Although he was undoubtedly powerfuland extremely successful in life, he never lost touch with his humanity or the fact that we came and were created by the Almighty and to the Almighty we shall return. He lived an exemplary life.
Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu was the Chairman and Chief Executive of the following Companies:
· Isiyaku Rabiu and
· Kano Vehicle and Ac
· Bagauda Textile Mills
· Rabiu Bottling Com
· Kano Suit and Pack
ing Cases Factory Ltd
· IRS Rice Mills Ltd
· IRS Airlines Ltd
· Afro Sacks Nigeria
· Kano Sugar Industries
· Combined Services Ni
Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu’s direct involvement in Industrial ventures was in 1969 when he and some other prominent Kano Businessmen established the first Indigenous Trading Company, Kano Merchants Trading Company, which later gave birth to the first Indigenous Textile Company Called ‘Bagauda Textile Mills Ltd. Thereafter, he played an active role in the establishment of the following Companies:
· Nigerian Victory Assurance Company
· Stanbic Merchant Bank Nigeria (as it’s first Chairman)
· Habib Nigeria Bank
· Giwarite Nigeria Ltd
· Combined Services
Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu was a Director in many other companies across the country and was also a Board Member of the following:
· University of Ibadan Governing Council
· Islamic University of Niger, Niamey, Niger Republic
· International University of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan
· Senate Member, University of Faisal, Njamena Chad
· Member, Organization of Islamic Conference, Saudi Arabia
· Member, Muslim World League, Saudi Arabia
· Member Council of Ulama, Nigeria
With his passing away our accountabilities become the greater. The most fitting homage that millions of us can pay to him, at this hour, is to carry forward the cause for which he lived and died; to dedicate themselves to the task of practicing the Deen, be the humanitarians that he was and spread knowledge with the passion that he practiced. To exterminate the vice of communal dissension and to restore communal peace and harmony, so that the message of which Khalifa helped to obtain can become a living reality and the greatest monument to his life.
One of Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu’s community development initiates is to organize and encourage peaceful coexistence amongst people from different tribes, regions, and religions by accepting and respecting diversity in our common humanity. His hard work and dedication was recognized and frequently acknowledged and celebrated.
Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu was appointed Leader of the Tijjaniyya Movement in Nigeria and the neighboring countries in 1994, thus gaining the title of ‘Khalifa.’ He was also the President of ‘Sheikh Muhammadu Rabiu Islamic Foundation International,’ an Islamic Organization for both humanitarian and Islamic propagation.
Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu is a recipient of so many awards, including ‘Men Of Achievement Award in 1999 by the Cooperate Press Services Ltd. Lagos and Kano State Government Sports Award and the Industrial Giants Merit Award in 1998 and also the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Award in 1999.
The government of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo also honored him with the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in recognition of his contributions in uplifting the standard of living in his community and the nation at large.
The utmost truth in the story of man on earth is not his wordly accomplishments, or the wealth he has amassed, but the evolution of his soul from age to age in its pursuit of faith, candor, honesty and virtuousness. That is what Khalifa stood for. Those bold enough to partake in the quest of pursuit of faith and cleansing of the soul secure an everlasting place in the history of mankind. He was a hero and while time has a way of shunning certain heroes as definitely as it has disregarded everyone else; the legend of the likes of Khalifa shall remain (Insha Allah). The greatness of Khalifa is more in his holy living than in his material accomplishments.
Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu singlehandedly constructed three gigantic Juma’at Mosques in Kano namely:
· Sheikh Muhammadu Rabiu Mosque, Goron Dutse, Kano
· Sheikh Ahmadu Tijjani Mosque, Kofar Mata, Kano
· Sheikh Ibrahim Niass Mosque, Gadon Kaya, Kano
Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu was also the founder of the first Holy Qur’anic University in Nigeria in addition to establishing many Islamiyya and Western type of primary schools for the benefit of the community and sponsoring many students to study Islamic Studies in Sudan, Libya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia
In his lifetime, Khalifa became enmeshed in millions of hearts. His message and examples of faith he dedicated himself to went beyond Nigeria and spread all over the globe. His message was heard in every hamlet and hurt of the lowly and those who suffer. He lives in the hearts of millions and he will live for immortal ages.
His hobbies include daily recitation of the Holy Quran and other philanthropic activities. He is well known for his assistance towards numerous community development projects across the country and abroad.
He has gone, and for so many, there is a feeling of having been left desolate and forlorn. The day he was buried in the ancient city of Kano, the center of Commerce literally stood still! In my lifetime, never have I witnessed the huge crowds that lined the streets in order to bid the great man that Khalifa was farewell.
For those of us who feel this great void at his passing, with that feeling there is also a feeling of proud thanksgiving that it has been given to us of this generation to be associated with this mighty person. I believe that, in ages to come, centuries and many millenniums after us, Sheik Khalifa Isiyaku Rabiu will not be forgotten. Those who come after us will look and think of this generation when this servant of Allah traipsed this planet blessed for we witnessed, first hand, a shinning example of how to manage worldly success while having a pure devotion to the words of Islam and the examples set for us by Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Let us be worthy of him. Let us always be so.
Therefore, we dedicate ourselves with the assurance and resolve to the cause of universal peace and equality which were the guiding principles of Sheikh Khalifa Isiaka Rabiu
s life. He maybe gone but his spirit lives in the hearts and minds of millions all over the world. IRS and Sons, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, CEO of Bua International, who is among the first ten Industrialists in Nigeria, Alhaji Kabiru Rabiu who is Group Executive Director of Bua International and Rabiu (Karami) Isiyaku Rabiu, owner of IRS Airlines. He was also the oldest cooperate account holders of First Bank of Nigeria Plc at the time of his passing.
Khalifa Sheikh Isiyaku Rabiu had every cause to thank his God. He has one of the largest families in Nigeria. He was the most successful Islamic Scholar Business man in the whole of the African Continent.
While he is no more with us, God has blessed him with Children who are equally successful in business. The most prominent among them are Alhaji Nafi’u, Managing Director of
We will remember Khalifa with pride. Even absorbed as he was in his businesses and his search for more knowledge, his interest and support for the cause of humanity remained unabated during his life. The plight of people was a matter of grave concern to him and he was at all times willing to guide and assist us. I hope and pray that it may be given to us to complete Khalifa’s mission.
We mourn for him. The world mourns for him. Let us weep. Let the people from all over the world weep and wipe off from it’s very being the passing of one of the greatest men our nation has ever produced. We must follow the path shown by Khalifa and other people that share his imperishable teachings.Let us now undertake the holy and blessed task that has been left undone by his passing. I count myself as one of the lucky people to have known and seen Khalifa during his lifetime. May all his descendants be proud to be part of the bloodline of such a great man!
As the dawn breaks and the loss of an International Treasure slowly sinks in, it seems appropriate to collectively say a prayer to all those who loved, learnt and received his message and those whom he loved…
“To all who loved Sheikh Khalifa Isiaka Rabiu; his companions, neighbors, helpers, admirers, friends, in-laws, children, grandchildren and great-great grand children, especially his wife, Hajiya Ruqayyatu Isiaka Rabiu, (Goggo);
May the Almighty augment your recompense, be kind in your misfortune, forgive the deceased, encourage you with endurance and give you peace. I pray you have the fortitude to bear his loss.
I pray that God forgives and has mercy on the soul of Sheikh Khalifa Abubakar Isiyaka Rabiu and makes honorable his reception.
May Allah keep him safe and sound, protect the place where he rested and make his entrance wide; bless him her for his good deeds and surround him with a garden filled with beauty.
May he receive the gentle blow of a cool breeze, be washed with snowflakes, ice, sleet, water and everything pure and cleansed of sin as a white cloth is purified perfectly.
I pray Allah admits Sheikh Khalifa Abubakar Isiyaka Rabiu to Paradise and may his grave be spacious and filled with abundant light; …Amin.”