When I learnt of the death of Late Ustaz Sherrifdeen Mohammed Nasir, I said to myself no! It couldn’t be true. But I quickly remembered the incidence that took place among Muslims after the demise of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W). Hazrat Umar brought out his sword and said anyone who said the prophet is dead will be beheaded. He said possibly, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) went for an expedition the way Prophet Musa (A.S) went for forty days. He continued that by the time the Prophet is back, he will not be happy with those that said he is dead. It took the intervention of Hazrat Abubakar, who was away before the incidence occurred and returned when the news reached him, to resolve the issue.
When Hazrat Abubakar came back from the journey he had earlier embarked on and heard of the death of our beloved prophet (S.A.W), he went straight to the house of the prophet. On getting there, he opened the cloth which the prophet was covered with. The pain of departure of his leader and friend struck him. He shed tears, knelt down in front of the prophet and kissed the prophet’s forehead. Thereafter, Hazrat Abubakar performed ablution and came out to address the Muslims.
After reciting tashaud, he quoted the verse of the Quran that state that “Mohammad is no more than a messenger; Many were the messengers that passed away before him; If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels?” (Surat Al-IMan 3:144). On hearing this verse as recited by Hazrat Abubakar (R.A), Hazrat Umar said it seems as if the verse was revealed on that day. He dropped the sword in his hand when the meaning of the verse dawned on him that Mohammed (S.A.W) is actually dead. This was actually how I felt when the news of the death of Uztaz Sheriffuden got to me.
Uztaz Sheriffdeen Mohammed Nasir was a native of Bauchi State in Nigeria. He was sent to Sudan at a young age to acquire Islamic education. On his return, through Allah’s grace and mercy, he met with the former Amir of the Jama’at in person of Alhaji Mohammed Mahmud Maishanu. The former Amir mobilized the late Ustaz and six others and discussed with them what Ahmadiyya stands for. Ustaz Sheriffdeen and one other person immediately accepted and signed the Baiat.
The other fellow could not continue as an Ahmadi due to serious pressure from his family members. Ustaz Sheriff was sent to Jamia Ahmadiyya to acquire more training about the Jama’at. It was not long before it was discovered that he was a great asset for the Jama’at. Consequently, he was converted to a lecturer. Ustaz Sheriff spoke Arabic fluently. He was an Hafizul Qur’an, who also knew and could quote the Bible (both new and old testament) extemporaneously, both in Hausa and Arabic.
I remember the first time he was sent to Zaria during Ramadan. His lecture pooled a lot of natives of Zaria to the Mosque. Also, I remember the first outdoor lecture he delivered; the front of the mosque was filled with people. No matter the level of hatred you have for Ahmadis and Ahmadiyya, you can’t help but to like Ustaz Sherrif when you encounter him. Stack enemies of the jama’at among the Sunnis and others were always coming to learn from him during his lifetime. His amiable personality and profound learning were irresistible attractive forces that endeared him to people.
A non-Ahmadi became very attached to the jama’at up till today as a result of his contact with Ustaz Sheriff. Though yet to sign the baiat; I remember there was a day when a jama’at program was going on and this fellow whom I said got attached to the jama’at as a result of Ustaz Sheriff was introduced as a guest. In response, he said he is not a guest but a member. Again, I remember vividly a Friday during his lifetime when a member attacked him for coming a bit late to deliver sermon. The brother used insultive adjectives on the Late Ustaz; but in response, the late Ustaz says “kayi akuri malan” (meaning don’t be angry Mr.…).
What a great level of humility. Not too long after that incidence, I remember hearing him said he is at peace with everyone; that he hold no grudge against anybody. I can also recall that he told a member of the jama’at in Zaria that there are more than 5,000 hadith in his head which he can quote without contacting any book. What an epitome of knowledge! I remember two pastors that normally visited him almost every Sundays to preach Christianity to him. He is always calm with them. I recall a particular Sunday when I was with him in his apartment and these pastors came in and engaged him in religious dialogue. Anytime they brought up points in the Bible, the late Ustaz would open the Qur’an and show them similar verses in the Qur’an.
He told them the meaning from the Islamic perspective, which in most cases is different from their understanding. In the process, he smiled, tapped them on the body and even shook hands with them. They became so close (he and the pastors) to the extent that if they did not see him for a day, they were not happy. When the news of his death came in 2005 and these pastors were informed, they quickly rushed to the mosque to find out the truth. They cried out their eyes when it was confirmed to the extent that it was we the members of the jama’at that consoled them.
All the missionaries I came across even years after his death hold Ustaz Sheriff in high esteem, none ever said anything near negative about him. I remember like 5 years after his death, I was tired of teaching in a private school. This is not because I hate the profession but because the pay was nothing to write home about for someone who has a lot of responsibilities. I started praying profusely to Allah for a better job which again will be less stressful so as not to deter me from acquiring more knowledge (both Western and Islamic). During the month of Ramadan, I kept praying.
I did not miss a day without praying tahajud; seriously supplicating to Allah. On the last night of Ramadan, after praying my regular tahajud and fajr, I went back to bed. I had a dream that I was standing in front of the jama’at mosque in Zaria and suddenly saw Ustaz Sheriff Mohammed Nasir across the road. He crossed and came to me. I held his cloth and told him all my worries.
He did not say a word but after listening to me, he raised his hands and prayed for me. I tried to hold on to his cloth so that he remain with me but he carefully removed my hands from his cloth and left. I cried as he was leaving. A day or two days after, I contacted one of our Ustaz in Zaria and told him about the dream. Before then, I had a different interpretation about the dream which is that the late Ustaz is a pious man and Allah is pleased with him as he was looking very fresh and healthy in the dream. The person I met about the dream said it is an indication that Allah has accepted my prayers and that I should not still relent in prayers. Shortly afterwards, I got an employment at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria without any human assistance. Allah is the greatest. May the soul of our beloved Ustaz Sheriffdeen Mohammad Nasir rest in perfect peace, Amin. Innalillahi wa inna ilaiyi rajihoon.
By: Mustapha Taufiq