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The Mysterious Story Of My Life – Popular Islamic Sheik, Abdulrahman Sulaiman Adangba

He is a many of many sides, religiously sound, philosophically excellent, he has a touch of everything. Sheikh Abdulrahman Sulaiman Adangba is a teacher who has raised many prolific scholars. He has a depth of knowledge that so many PhD holders cannot stand.

For many of the religious leaders in his class, fanaticism is always their bane but for Sheikh Adangba, he would rather preach humanity rather than preach Islam or any religion for that matter. I have never heard him talk of any religious superiority but he has a deep knowledge of the Quran, Islam, Arabic language, he has a little fling in science and can pass for a researcher.

Born in Lagos to an Ilorin father, Sheikh Adangba has been everywhere and returned to his place of birth, having been able to influence people everywhere he went positively. There are so many things mysterious about this man and he shared a few of them with City People’s DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 who had an exclusive interview with him last week. Below are excerpts from the interview, enjoy it.

I am so humbled by your depth of knowledge. I am not sing-praising you but I am fascinated by what I hear from you, having sat under your sermon twice, I am beginning to wonder where this knowledge of Islam and balanced life messages come from. Please, we would like to know more about you. Who is Sheikh Sulaiman Adangba?

All praise and adoration belong to the almighty Allah that has created us and given us life. We’re human and we can’t run away from that and if you have acquired some knowledge because you can’t acquire all and people say oh; you excel in this and that, you are only going to be a model for some people. So, whoever you are, you are still ordinary and tomorrow some people are still going to be ahead of you. So whatever you do, just give praise to Allah. I’m that boy that was born and grew up in Ilorin. I still call myself boy despite these grey hairs. The boy went through some tutelage of models who have nothing else in life than the pursuit of human liberation and whatever they have pursued in life, they did it to influence someone into greatness. I may be born in Ilorin but I’m a Nigerian and even as an Ilorin indigene, I was born at the Island maternity hospital in Lagos, in the 1960s. I was brought up in Kano state for 17 years but I came back to Offa to finish my secondary school when I couldn’t speak Yoruba but Hausa and English. I am more fluent in Hausa than Yoruba and I can speak other languages like Spanish and of course, Arabic. I never attended a formal university but I enhanced myself by attending some productive classes and capacity building both in Nigeria and abroad and one of them was at Harvard University. The barrier of the walls of a university is just a barrier to secularise you, the real knowledge is in the intuition of whatever you have acquired and this is what I run after. I don’t want to be tagged or tangled with any institution but I am very proud till eternity to say that I am a student of Markaz where I learnt about Arabic when I was searching for Allah. I learnt Arabic and Islamic students and then I learnt about humanity because I lived with Sheikh H’adam in his house, I was his personal assistance since I came in 1978 till 1992 when he died. I taught in Markaz for some years and up till today, that place has been the highest example of an institution. I tell anyone that if you attend Markaz and pass through it while you also let it pass through you, you are welcome to the world of knowledge.

We will come back to knowledge later but let’s talk a little bit about Nigeria for now. Talking from a scholarly point of view, what do you think Nigerian leaders should do or have done better considering our present status?

This country is divided by three things. Ethnicity or tribalism, crime and the third one is religion. I may one to say that some people are using those three ideologies to divide us but those who started propounding this division can no longer help the current situation. Most scholars are not versatile enough to be called one, most clergies are not versatile enough to be called one and anyone that is ethnically bias would see it that he has destroyed himself first before destroying others. Why? No tongue is evergreen, black, yellow, or white, every tongue is pink. The inability to change the tongue is to show us the overriding power of the creator. So, you are my brother though we speak different languages. I am your brother even though I come from another tribe; so, we are still the same. Instead of preaching this basic foundation in our different spiritual homes, especially the mosques and churches, many of us are dabbling to divisive elements and ideologies. But because some Islamic scholars that learnt the Quran are not able to put it to very good use, and by very good use I mean seeing everybody as God made them. And most importantly, some of these Islamic scholars are saying what they are saying because of money. And a lot of the church clergies too are doing the same because they want to make money. Imagine someone who is clergy in a church saying the Quran is a devil’s book or an Islamic scholar who knows that the Quran already stated that you cannot completely understand the Quran until you read and understand what is written in the bible including the old testaments and the psalms now saying that all Christians should go and die. Does he know what he’s saying? This is where we are on tribalism and religion.

The other one is politics. Politics in Nigeria has become that of acrimony and that kind of politics will not do anyone any good. If the best head of state in the world is brought to Nigeria to come and lead us, he will fail.


Because if he’s not your person, you don’t want him, if he’s not my person, I don’t want him. We have almost 310 ethnic groups in Nigeria, so, how many presidents are we going to have? What we were doing in Nigeria before it was eroded was civic education. Instead, we all go out there to kill our public schools and reinstate private schools who are only after profit-making and cause division between the rich and the poor and as such render those who are going to public school redundant in life. Therefore, if that borrowed culture and tradition did not return to where it came from and we follow our own culture and tradition, we will never prosper. What we fail to know as a nation is that the person in the driver’s seat doesn’t want to die. When people keep shouting at him while he’s driving, they may all perish. The best thing to do is tap him when you realize that he’s making a mistake so that you get to the destination safely. This present administration came in 2015 and we saw the drive but we started by killing it ourselves through finances, ideologies and provocative statements. And these are people that ought to know that such statements are capable of dividing us because they have a lot of followers. The only 20 percent that is making the 80 per cent work are the ones now destroying the polity themselves. What we have now is the herdsmen. During Jonathan’s era, we had the Niger-Delta militants and during another person’s time, we are also going to have something else. Is it because Buhari is a Fulani man? Yes, the Fulani have some criminals among them but crime does not have any tribe or religion, so this is where we are. Not until we set the communal living structure, we may not get it right.

I could see what is being posted all around, the DSS have an in-depth knowledge of what is happening, they can be stupid enough to just keep silent, they are doing something but we want to jump the gun, we want it done our way. This is why we will see somebody stand up to rubbish the government of his state and start dealing with other tribes in his state. What do you call that? Even if it is going to be done, it should be a collaborative scheme so that anybody will not feel cheated and to avoid a reprisal attack. Nobody is justifying what the killers are doing. There are killers before the Fulani herdsmen and there are going to be killers after them. The Fulani you are talking about are also divided, they are killing themselves too, so who are the killers among them, we should try and find that out. We should not just cone out to gain cheap popularity by being reckless with what we say. It is something that should be looked into, find out the reasons for this and we know where we are going. Very recently, the Sheikh in Kaduna went into the forest and discussed with them. Any right-thinking person will say that they will kill him and all but they did not kill him. So they have a grudge. What is their grudge? I read sometimes ago on Premium Times that they want to be settled as they have settled the Niger-Delta militants, give them university and all… should people now be using crime to get what they want from the government? We are wrong somewhere, somehow and it is just a gory situation that needs to be redefined. We should put up a structure that is going to last longer for the nation. Recently, I watched the parade of 433 children that were said to be kidnapped and the very day they were returned, they were well kitted from harmattan. They had blankets, they had clothes and everything. The question is who gave them those kits? The kidnappers, or the arrangers? We should look at things holistically and see how we can deal with issues. There is something in the offing and that we must find out. The Boko Haram in their den eat Chicken George, buy Mr Biggs directly from the restaurant. No restaurant has been held. They are killing and maiming people just to send a signal to the government that they are there. Do we refer to those killed as collateral damages or martyrs? No. if we are given guns to kill ourselves in our own land, what becomes of us tomorrow? We should take a cue from what happened in Syria, Liberia, Somalia, Egypt and Sudan. What has become of them now? If we pray for that then we can keep heading in that direction. What I can tell the government is to continue gathering information and security details and see how they can deal with it to the best of their knowledge. If the best head of state comes to rule Nigeria, he will fail.

Thank you so much, sir, that is quite explosive. Earlier on, you were trying to tell us the relationship between religion and humanity. Can you tell us further what you mean by that?

I said a while ago that there are basics and there are fundamentals. A Muslim is a fundamentalist who tries to abide by the rules and tenets of Islam such as five daily prayers but they are not extremists because every man has four dimensions of himself namely; the spiritual, the personal, the welfare and the criminal side of life. That is what I want to do to myself, what I want to do to others according to the relationship we have; and then we have the crime side. Everybody has a criminal tendency but because some are more positive than negative then they find out that they can live peacefully with their neighbours than others. Anyone who has to do with criminology must understand temperaments. Human temperaments are many but four are fundamental. The choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic. These are what we need to understand but something is the same all over the world, we, first of all, are humans before whatever religion you are going to practice. If you look at the books that were sent by God, why were they sent? They are constitutions to manage the four aspects of humanity in crime, welfare, personality and spirituality. So, don’t do it your own way. The books are here to bring us into communities. The community of people in Christ, the community of people in Islam, the community of people in Judaism and what have you. But all of us have a guiding book from the creator to guide all his creations because he alone knows us before our creation, during our lifetime and after we might have died. So, if we do it the normal way, everyone will be satisfied. The government of the world is chanting human rights but is there anything called human rights? Human responsibility is what we should be preaching. Your responsibility to me when you are coming in is to greet me and I reciprocate. If you carry out your responsibility, it automatically becomes my right to do the needful as well. When you are clamouring for human rights, have you taught the people involved what their responsibilities are? A woman is not performing her responsibilities at home and she’s claiming that they are equal forgetting that there is equity and equality. A friend does not do the same, a brother to another is not doing the same, in the office, people don’t do such even the biggest boss will be terrorizing the workers. Can he do the work alone? Why are offices created? Because everybody has a responsibility to perform. Then they automatically have their rights. In life, all of us are humans. The rules of spirituality and religion are to give you an encyclopedia that will guide you through humanity, to live communally, wisely, intelligently and rewardable. So, that is it.

The world is in the middle of a pandemic. What do you think people should do right?

You see, if I look at it with the eyes of religion, it is wrath from God. When something without arms and legs can suppress humanity, then something is wrong somewhere. We are shouting COVID-19 is just one of the sisters of SARS. Why do we have cures for Ebola, Lassa Fever, cancer, other diseases and not this? Now, they did not tell us that it has become a superbug, and now it has another variant and some people in other religions believe that there is more to this disease than what it’s been revealed. Let me give you one scenario. We have been battling cancer and a few other diseases for donkey years without a solution why do we have a solution for this in less than six months? With all these in mind and it is killing at that alarming rate, then God is angry somewhere. Let’s help ourselves and become responsible by following the instructions of the government. The questions we should ask ourselves if we are truly concerned about humanity is that why are the drugs so expensive? Who is making the money for who? Ok, you paid so much to make the research and you’ve got it but nobody imported anything from heaven, it was given to them by the mercy of Allah. Where is the mercy for mankind to enjoy? Nigeria budgeted some millions for emergency on this pandemic. Where is the money coming from? We are in a mess nit just a financial mess but a big mess overall. COVID is real as they have said, I went to the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research NIMR to enquire what the COVID-19 vaccines will look like and I was hearing that there are some that will use the same COVID to treat another and many other things like that. But in all, I got to realize that it is a disease that takes advantage of reduced immunity. Why is it affecting the whites so much? It is because their population is 70 percent adults and 30 percent youth while the population here is directly opposite. We already know that if it didn’t come here in 2019, it is definitely going to come later but what did we do to prepare ourselves? Another question is who is making all the money in this venture? Is it a laboratory infested disease like AIDS? Who knows what? Is it another venture of man’s inhumanity to man? Who knows what? These questions are begging for an answer but no one can answer them. But definitely, COVID is real, let’s wash our hands regularly, cover our nose and mouth appropriately, observe physical distance, maintain perfect hygiene and stay safe. The government of Nigeria is buying this vaccine from abroad, where are our own scientists? Can’t they get a localized solution for us from here? So many questions are left unanswered. It’s a pity there is no one to stand firm. But I tell you the truth, something is wrong somewhere. A layman like me may not be able to provide all the answers but COVID is real.

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