The 23 Orbits of Knowledge
This is the ad-Dawaa’ir at-thaalith was `Ishruun (The 23 Orbits of Knowledge of Shehu Uthman ibn Fuduye`). The author of this text was Shaykh Abdullahi ibn Muhammad al-Kunaawi, who was born to a leading clerical family in Hausaland prior to the commencement of the jihaad. In fact, his father was regional judge in the region of Konni, and this post was later filled by his son, Dittu Bukar, on his death. He and his brother, Shaykh Abdullahi joined the jama`at of the Shehu during the earliest days of the reform movement when he was still in Degel.
It is alledged that they joined the jama`at in 1788 when the Shehu was able to win a social contract between the Habe’ ruling elite and his growing Muslim community, giving the Muslims political recognition and five far reaching special measures designed to assure the growth of Islam in the Habe` kingdom.. It was during this period that Allah ta`ala blessed the Shehu with dazzling miracles which encompassed the entire central Bilad ‘s-Sudan.
In 1805 during the height of the jihaad the Shehu settled with his forces in Gwandu, and made their first attack against Alwasa, in which many Muslims became martyrs and many were captured. It was during this battle that Shaykh Abdullahi al-Kunaawi was captured by the Habe` forces, but was eventually freed due to the miracle of the Shehu..
Waziri Gidadu ibn Layma narrated this story in his Rawd’l-Janaan where he said: “Among the same genre was the brother of the Qadi Ditu Bukar, Abdullahi al-Kunaawi,who informed me that he was once captured by the enemies who took his weapon, stripped him of his clothes and intended to kill him. He then called upon the Shehu saying, “I would love now that Allah could show me some of your miracles!” Suddenly the enemies began saying, “If we kill this single man it we not avail us from fighting this people. Killing him and leaving him alone will be the same.”
They then returned his clothing and his weapon and released him. When Allah conquered the land, Abdullahi came to the Shehu at his place at the village of Gwandu and informed him of what had happened. After that, Abdullahi al-Kunawi, became one of those who accompanied the Shehu and who went through spiritual training at his hand. As a result of this he was given transcendent mastery of the sciences of the spiritual realities until he obtained an abundant share in that regard.” In the same text Waziri Gidadu counts Shaykh Abdullahi, his brother the judge Dittu Bukar and 47 other men and woimen among the leading spiritual disciples of the Shehu who had completed the spiritual path (suluuk) at his hand, and who had attained the position of spiritual guide (shaykh murrabbi) able to guide others on the Path to Allah ta`ala.
This text was composed in 1814, while the Jama`at were in Sifawa. This period was the most explosive intellectual and spiritual period for the Shehu. It was during this period in Sifawa that the Shehu composed his most controversial and original works and it was here that he dispensed many of the mystical secrets and Gnostic teachings to his disciples. The ad-Dawaa’ir is a reflection of the kind of epistemology that the Shehu had systematized a t the height of the consolidation of the Sokoto Caliphate. The SIIASI is honored to present this study to the reader, as a demonstration of the transgenerational transmission of the minhaj of the Light of the Age and Sword of Truth – ShehuUthman ibn Fuduye`.
Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid
Chongqing, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China
28 Rabi`’l-Akhir 1413, (April 12, 2010)