What a good ending! What a great loss to the intellectual community! Professor Tidjani Abubakar El-Miskin, a Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, with specialty in Comparative Literature, was the former director, Nigerian Arabic Village, Gamboru Ngala and until his death, the assistant secretary general, National Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). He was also the former chairman Borno State Pilgrims Welfare Board and one of the imams at the famous Madinatu Sheikh Ahmad Abulfathi Mosque, the first to inherit the stool of his late father, Sheikh Abubakar Elmiskin. He met his (un)timely death at a time he was about to complete an aspect of Hajj rites. His death came at a point when students and the indeed the entire nation were tasty of true knowledge, character and discipline.
The late Sheikh through his numerous publications and public lectures has gained international reputation as an erudite and multi-faceted scholar. Because of his excellent command of languages especially Arabic, French and English among numerous others, students of knowledge are always afraid of speaking too deep in front of him, to avoid embarrassing themselves through blunders—even as, true to type, he was always humble.
Whenever it was his turn to lead Friday prayer in Madinatu, the turnout of faithfuls was always unprecedented, as people were very keen to listen to his refined, well-articulated and thorough sermons on topical issues. His diction, mastery and tone of Qur'an from its exposition to recitation would make one emotional. Today, one year after his demise, the ardent congregation of the centre is missing his sermon and melodic tone of qira’s so much.
As a detribalised Nigerian, the late sheikh would be remembered for transforming and streamlining the Nigerian Arabic Village, Gamboru Ngala to international best standards and engaging our people irrespective of denomination within the circles of Islam. He prioritized competence and hard work as yardsticks for employing staff at the institute.
The last time I saw him was at the Maiduguri International Airport, during the 2015 first flight of Borno state pilgrims. I saw him standing close to Sheikh Muhammad Arabi Abulfathi and we greeted, which of course, sad as it was, was ‘farewell’. Oh that was a final bye-bye of no return.
In this year’s Hajj exercise, the memories of the 2015 exercise still lingers in the minds of the state’s Hajj Committee especially because of the roles he played in the sensitization of pilgrims on the dos and don’ts of pilgrimage. It is glaring to say that the Borno State Government had immortalised the late Sheikh, by renaming the Borno State Pilgrims Welfare Board after him, as well as supporting the family he left behind. It is therefore incumbent on well-spirited individuals particularly the students he mentored in the classroom and elsewhere, to look after the widow and the 13 children he left behind, especially now that the country is faced with economic recession. This is just a token to show appreciation to his selfless services while he was alive as well as compliment the efforts of the state government.
I am rest assured that there is no reward for pilgrimage that has been accepted other than paradise. Yes, after successfully performing Hajj—one of the five pillars of Islam—and leading Borno state contingents in offering prayers for peace of the nation—the peace has come to abundance today—the polyglot of our time answered the call of His Lord on the day of Ed-el Kabir. May Allah accept his final Hajj and accept him as martyr, forgive his short comings and grant him Al Jannatul Firdaus, Ameen. Adieu Professor El Miskin!!!