In 1774, a young Turudbe Fulani man named Shehu Uthman Dan Fuduye’ began a social revolution that would change the entire map of Western, Central and Eastern Bilad’s-Sudan. Shehu Uthman began his career by traveling throughout the villages and metropolis of Hausaland, calling the people to the religion of Islam. His methodology of reforming Hausaland included going to the markets and singing Fulbe and Hausa songs to writing Arabic texts addressing the many social ills which affected the people. The
The blameworthy characteristics, which he rose to correct, were: the persistent pagan customs that prevailed among Muslims and non-Muslims alike; the heretical innovations that the evil scholars allowed to proliferate among the people; the injustice of the rulers; and the illicit behavior and immorality that afflicted family and community life. Shehu Uthman initiated the practice of teaching as he learned.1
Thus, around him there emerged a cadre of learned colleagues who shared his zeal for erudition and reform. Among these colleagues were his brother Abdullahi, his best friend Umar Kammi, and many of his sons and daughters – like Muhammad Bello, Muhammad Sanbu, Khadija and Nana Asma’u.
Whenever the Shehu recognized that an issue was unresolved or not clear to his colleagues, he would set out immediately to compose a book dealing with the fundamentals of that issue. Thus, around him grew a very learned group of men and women, who were inspired to spread education and reform as the Shehu had done.
To read More of Shaykh Muhammad Shareef’s excellent intro to the Shehu,