Biography of Sheikh Sharif Ibrahim Saleh Al-Hussaini CON, RTA


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Biography of Sheikh Sharif Ibrahim Saleh Al-Hussaini CON, RTA

A prominent Islamic teacher in Nigeria, who wrote more than 400 books on Islam with his own hand.

 The cleric, who is a leader of the Tijjaniyya sect, is currently the chairman of the Supreme Council of Fatwa and Islamic Affairs in Nigeria (NSCIA).

 The teacher was a member of the Shuwa Arab tribe, and studied in many places including;  Mecca, Medina, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Senegal and others, in front of the leading Islamic scholars, including the great scholar of the Qur’an, Mahmoud Khalilul Khusari, in Egypt.

 Sheikh Sharif Ibrahim Saleh Al-Hussaini, CON, was born on the night of Saturday, May 12, 1938, in Aredibe, a village near Dikwa in Borno State, in the North East of Nigeria.

 His father, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Salih bin Yunus Al-Nawy, is a famous Islamic scholar who excelled in the field of Islamic education.

 His mother, Fatima bint Sheikh Muhammad Al-Bashir Al-Hussaini, is a woman with a lot of generosity and fear of God (SWT), and she was respected by everyone in the community.

She was a disciplinarian with a strong passion for education.  Since her husband died when their son was only seven years old, she took over his training until he grew up.

There is no doubt that she was the greatest influence in his life, she would have made Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh a great teacher in the world today.

For example, she once rejected his decision to abandon the pursuit of education instead of trading animals, when he was only fifteen years old.

There is no doubt, she played a great role in confirming Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh based on the correct principles.

Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, started to learn Al-Qur’an since he was a small boy, while he was always with his father, who was most of his nights to lead the nafila prayer (nawafil).

 This is what made him start memorizing the verses of Al-Qur’an even before he entered school.  Many times, the students who study under his father are often surprised by his efforts and skills as a result of the way he corrects them in studies even though they have been ahead of him.

 He also started his studies at his father’s school, one of the famous Islamic schools in Borno at that time.

 From 1944 to 1964, it was when Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh struggled to make an impact in the fields of reading the Qur’an and religious education, as well as other areas of education including physics, philosophy and linguistics, and  other books.

 His search for expertise in the knowledge of the Qur’an began at home, which later moved to some prominent educational institutions known as “Tsangayu” in Maiduguri and its surroundings.

 Soon his fame increased in the field of reading Al-Qur’an in all the places he stayed to seek knowledge, such as: Tarmuwa, Gulumba, Gide, Maishumari and Maiduguri.

 He was easy to deal with, even to the scholars whom he met for the first time, as a result of his good manners, politeness and obedience, and his deep learning and his knowledge in reading the Qur’an.

 There are many teachers who praised the efforts of Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, since he was a small boy and as a student, and gave him a good understanding and encouraged him to reach the heights of safety when he was developing as a student.

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There are such;  Sheikh Muhammadul Habib grandson of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tijjani (Abul Abbas) during his visit to Maiduguri from Algeria, Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Alawi, Sheikh Al-kadi Lari Abani, Sheikh Mustafa Birshi, Sheikh Ahmad Ali Abulfathi, Sheikh Gibrima Dagira, Sheikh Tijjani Usman  , Sheikh Abubakar Atiku and many others.

 Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, spent 20 years seeking education as a student, and learned almost all of his studies in Nigeria, but that does not mean that all his teachers are Nigerians.

 He also studied English in London.

 The reading of Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh is stronger in the field of Hadiths, Usul Fiqh, Ilmul Kalam, and Tafsir.  For example, any verse from the Qur’an when it is mentioned, the teacher can say if it is related to a hadith.  The teacher also went very far in studying theology and jurisprudence.

 Some of his teachers are;  Sheikh Al-Qadi Abanj Borno, Sheikh Abubakar al-Waziri Borno, Sheikh Adam al-Mahrusa Borno, Sheikh Ahmad Abulfathi, Sheikh Tijjani Usman (Zangon Barebari), Sheikh Abubakar Atiku Sanka Kano, and Sheikh Muhammad al-Arabi  bin Kubbani, Sheikh Abubakar al-Kashnawiy, Sheikh Muhammad al-Hafiz, Sheikh Mahmoud Khalil Al-Hussary, Sheikh Ahmad Nur al-Barni, Sheikh Muhammad Zakariya al-Kandahlawiy, Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass Kaolac, and others.  

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One of the best methods of effective learning that Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh discovered early on is that any student who wants to become a teacher must learn from some of the previous generations of teachers, and do try to learn from them.

 In accordance with this strategy, he set out to imitate and organize his life in the style of Al-Ghazali. 

 Al-Hafiz bin Hajaral Asqalani, regarding Hadith; and Abdulwahab Sha’arani, in terms of providing a wide range of knowledge, and according to the efforts of other scholars of this era.

 The influence of these great Muslim scholars in the life of Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh shines.

 Unlike many of his contemporaries, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh maintained a balance between the modern system of seeking religious knowledge, and embracing the long-standing Islamic tradition of evaluating and certifying scholars.

 In this way, his efforts to compare the writings of other scholars, and submit himself to them for deep research, led him to the most prestigious institutions of Islamic knowledge and learning in Nigeria and the African continent.

 For example, in 1963, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh went to Saudi Arabia for the first time with the intention of performing Hajj and obtaining a certificate (or ijaza) in the field of Hadith, reading the Qur’an and other branches of religious knowledge.

 He met some of the great scholars who are respected and known in the fields such as: Sheikh Umar bin Ali Al-Faruq Alfullati, Sheikh Alawi bin Abbas Al-Maliki, Sheikh Muhammadul Arabi Al-Tubbani and Sheikh Hassan bin Ibrahim Al-Barley. 

They all found him to be good enough to own the certificates. In the same way, in Egypt, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh received the necessary approval in the field of Hadith from Sheikh Muhammadul Hafiz, and other fields including reading the Qur’an from Sheikh Mahmud Khalil Al-Husari and Sheikh Amir bin Usman Al – Sayyid.

 His other teachers who gave evidence of his expertise in the field of Hadith include; Sheikh Ahmad Nur Al-Barmi from Pakistan, Sheikh Muhammad Zakariyya bin Yahya Al-Khan Dahlawi from India, and the famous scholar and leader of the Tijjaniyya sect, Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass from Senegal.

 It can be a joy to know that Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh spent only twenty years (1944-1964) as a student, and he received almost all of his training in Nigeria. 

 However, this does not mean that all his teachers are Nigerians. However, he was a local expert, which was produced in the house through the Tsangaya system.

 In other words, it is the training he received in the home school system that allowed him to be famous in the world, and to be respected as a professional teacher.

 These are the issues that the scholars talk about: nasikh wal mansukh or asbabul nuzul. He is also able to provide all these information on every verse of the Qur’an, unless the weakness of Adam fails.

 Besides these fields, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh gave great importance to the study of Tauhidi and Fiqh. He also read most of the important books available on theology. And he understood the source and nature of the differences between sects. 

 Fiqh of the Maliki School is also a space in his place.

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However, Sheikh Sharif said that he is more interested in the knowledge of the Qur’an and Hadith and this is where he is most proficient. 

 Then he memorized the Hadiths that are in Bukhari and Muslim and other great books of hadiths.

 This is the result of his interactions with scholars and followers of other sects.

 Some of his works are; Establishment of the College of Science and Islamic Religious Education (Annahda), in 1957.

 In 1963, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh worked in the administration of the government of the Northern region, which he asked to include Tsangaya schools in the modern education system, in Borno province.

 When the Borno state government established the Borno College of Law and Islamic Religion (BOCOLIS), he was appointed to help organize its educational programs.

 And later he became a member of the Board of Directors of the School. Also, from 1984 to 1990, he became the Chairman of the Board. But in 1990, he was again appointed as the Chairman of the State Pilgrim Welfare Board. 

 He was in his new office for almost two years, and then he was returned to his old position (BOCOLIS) as the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

 Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh has also established good relations with various governments since 1976, at the federal level.

 He was a member of the committees that were established to advise or guide the government on some of its policies related to religion.

 He was also one of those who are often sent by the government to countries as government representatives or in a delegation to countries such as;

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Libya, Morocco, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Senegal, Iraq, Sudan, and others.

He has also been invited many times to perform Tafsir at the Government House in Lagos, during the month of Ramadan, by various past presidents.

 He was at the forefront of programs to strengthen Muslim unity and dialogue between religions for peace in Nigeria and abroad.

 In an interview (BBC Hausa) he said, teachers should stop insulting each other. 

 “They should cooperate in educating the community.”

 He also complained about how he said politics in Nigeria is not for the development of the nation.

 Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, has a large number of students and disciples across the Muslim and Arab countries, and they are seeking religious guidance and improving education.

 Likewise, his followers are always with him in every aspect that affects their lives. Some of his pamphlets and books were written directly on some legal and teaching topics.

 In his main field of interest in education and research, he has written more than four hundred (400) books and articles, and more than one hundred (100) conference papers, all of which are in Arabic, including : 

Al-Quran Sciences, Prophetic Traditions, History, Philosophy, Islamic Jurisprudence, Astrology, Arabic Literature, Linguistics, Mystical Science, Islamic Politics, Islamic Laws of Inheritance, Peace Between Nations, True Humanity and Freedom, and various other issues.

 In addition to many teaching and research activities, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh has also led or participated in the activities of national and international Islamic organizations over the years, which include;

 * Chairman of the Fatwa Committee of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) and Jama’at Nasril Islam (JNI).

 * President of the Muslim Council in Nigeria (AMIN).

 * President and founder of the Islamic Renaissance Organization International (IROI).

 Deputy Secretary General of the International Muslim People’s Leadership (GIWPL), until 2010.

 * Member of the Nigerian Religious Affairs Council (NIREC).

 * Member of Vision 2010.

 * Founder and Member of the International Council of Islamic Scholars (IFMS), Makkah.

 * Member of the Executive Council of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), Ireland (headquartered in Doha until 2010).

 * Chairman of the Financial Advisory Committee of Experts (FRACE), of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He is the Head of Islamic Business Law Department, (CBN) since 2012.

 * One of the members of the Council of Muslim Elders (CME) Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates.

 * Member of the Board of Trustees of the International Charity Organization.

 * Member of the Board of Trustees of the Organization for the Propagation of the Islamic Religion (Sudan).

 * Representative of the Board of Trustees Musxaf Afriqiya (Sudan).

 * Member of the Board of Trustees of the Al-Qur’an Reading Council, Borno State.

 * Member of the Board of Trustees of the National Mosque, Abuja.

 * One of the ones that allowed the Association of Islamic Scholars in Africa (Morocco).

 As a result, in recognition of his contribution to the Islamic religion, and his continued efforts to ensure peace among people of different opinions, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh received international awards. 

 These include:

 1. Certificate of honor from the Borno State branch of the National Students Association, 1985.

 2. The first Egyptian award in the field of science and technology (Wisam Al-Jamhuriya), which was given by the president of Egypt, Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, the Arab Republic of Egypt, 1993.

 3. Certificate of appreciation from the students of the Lawyers section, Midogray University, 1995.

 4. Testimony from Honors from Students of the Shari’ah of Islamic Religion, 1995.

 5. Certificate of Appreciation from the Emergency Department of Jama’atul Nasirul Islam Group, 1996.

 6. The Certificate of Honor and the Islamic Da’wah Award, which was presented by the Abi Alnnour Islamic Foundation and the Supreme Council of Islamic Religious Affairs of Syria, 1997.

 7. The First Honor Award for Pioneers in Public Service (Wisam Elriyada), which was given by the leader of the Libyan revolution Colonel Mu’ammar Gaddafi, Libya, 1998.

8. Praise number (Dir’a-Daawah), by the International Call to Islam, Libya, 1998.

 9. “Al-Imam Abu Ala’za’m” (Imam Gold Medal), Cairo, 1998.

 10. First Prize for Writing (Afro-Asian Writer of the Year 2004), presented by the Afro-Asian Society of Egypt, Cairo, 2004.

 11. The Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), which was presented to him by the President (Umaru Musa Ya’ardua) and the Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Armed Forces of Nigeria, Abuja, 2008.

 12. The third degree of Science (HNORIS COUSA) awarded to him, at the third convocation of Turkish Nile University of Nigeria in Abuja, on Saturday, June 13, 2015.

 In addition, a mosque was named after him in the Republic of Niger, (Sheikh Sharif Ibrahim Ibn Saleh Mosque, Niger).


 1.”Highest ranking Islamic figure, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, visits Nigeria” 19 May 2016. Retrieved 2019-09-16.

  2. “The Muslim 500”. Retrieved 2014-09-16.

  3. “King Mohammed VI Defense of Islam Sets ‘Modern’ Model: African Ulema.” Morocco World News. 2017-12-09. Retrieved 2019-09-18.

  4. “Shaykh Ibrahim Ibn Saleh”. 23 October 2020.

  5. Idris Ahmed (14 January 2013). “Nigeria: CBN Inaugurates Financial Regulation Advisory Council of Experts”. allAfrica. Daily Trust. Retrieved 8 February 2023. (subscription required)

 6. “Annahada first aid group of Nigeria Maiduguri”. Retrieved 2019-09-18. [user-generated source]

  7. “General secretariat for fatwa authorities worldwide”. Retrieved 2019-09-16.[permanent dead link]

  8. “Buhari, Sultan, Saleh listed among the world’s top 50 Muslim leaders”. 3 October 2015.

 9. Muhammed, Isiyaku (2019-09-27). “Tomorrow Sheikh Sharif Saleh Institute Foundation will be inaugurated”. Aminiya (in Hausa). Archived from the original on 2019-09-30. Retrieved 2019-09-30.

 10. “Ibrahim Salih.”

 11. University, Nile (2015-06-13). “#Sheikh Shariff Ibrahim Saleh Alhussaini giving his #acceptance”. @nileuni. Retrieved 2019-09-18.

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