Hubbaren Shehu is the most visited historical site in the ancient city of Sokoto. It is a cemetery for royal families but some prominent Nigerians have also been buried there. They include the former Eze-Igbo of Sokoto, Dr. Muhammadu Nweke, Umaru Ali Shinkafi among others.
Hubbare was initially the private residence of the late Islamic reformer, Sheikh Usman Bin Fordiyo, affectionately known as Shehu Danfodio in Sokoto and other Hausa-speaking states in northern Nigeria, who died on April 20, 1817.
Shehu was buried in one of the chambers of his wives, Hauwa’u, the mother of the pioneer sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Bello. Next to his grave were the graves of two of his sons, Sambo and Hassan.
However, the place later turned into a full-fledged royal cemetery where his lieutenants and former sultans who were his direct descendants were buried.
Daily Trust understood that Hubbare was divided according to the number of Sheikh Danfodio’s children so that each family would have a place to bury their loved ones.
Hundreds of pilgrims visit Hubbare every day from different parts of the country and beyond to pay their respects and pray for the great Islamic reformer and founder of the Sokoto Caliphate.
According to Mai Bude Hubbare (the person in charge of Hubbare’s care), Alhaji Bala Ibrahim, visits peak during the festivals of ed-el-Kabir, Maulud and Shura and pilgrims cut genders and races.
Ibrahim told our reporter that eight sultans rested at the Hubbare and the most recent was Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki, who died four years ago.
Daily Trust We noted that the other rooms of his wives were still occupied by a few women but we could not determine whether or not they were part of his descendants.
On entering Hubbare’s main entrance, the first stop is ‘Jangirde’, a school where Sheikh taught his students and there was a section where his wives are said to have lived and a graveyard.
Our reporter observed visitors gathering in Hubbare, greeted by women and children who lined the long path to Shehu’s Tomb, begging for alms.
The most common alms given to them, as our reporter observed, were grain because, according to our findings, some villagers brought grain to Hubbare and strewn it on graves, in search of a harvest. exceptional during the next agricultural season.
However, one of the site guides said Daily Trust that there were people recruited to guide pilgrims on the etiquettes of visiting burial sites to avoid un-Islamic actions.
“Some pilgrims ignore these labels. They do things that are contrary to the teachings of the Holy Prophet (SAW).
“Some of them sprinkled seeds on the graves of prominent Shehu lieutenants, which is very untrue. So our job is to educate them. Teach them what to do and say when they visit burial sites,” he said.
According to him, some of the people visiting the site were those who could not travel to the Holy Land to visit the tomb of the Holy Prophet (SAW).
“So they come to Sokoto to visit Shehu’s grave,” he said.
Our reporter observed that the other side, for eminent personalities, urgently needed attention.
Talk to Daily Trustone of the pilgrims, Malam Shehu, a nomad from Kayama in Kwara State, said, “I am happy to come here and pray to come back next year.
“I always feel happy to come here. God willing I will be back here next year.
Shehu, however, asked for a photo of Jingirde so he had something to prove to his parents that he was once a visitor to Hubbare.
“Please help me take the picture of this place for me,” he said, pointing to Jangirde.
“I want to show it to my people, I want them to know that I visited Hubbaren Shehu in Sokoto. I am so happy to be here. This is the place I have always wanted to visit,” said he added.
According to him, he was in Sokoto to choose his daughter-in-law, but decided to take the opportunity to visit the site.
Mai Bude Hubbare, Ibrahim, could not give the exact number of people who visit Hubbare each day, but said visitation peaks during Islamic holiday periods such as Eids, Maulud and Shura festivals.
“During these times, we are seeing an unprecedented increase in visitor numbers. We allow some in our private homes because the two guesthouses we have cannot accommodate them,” he said.
He noted that Hubbare is usually overwhelmed with visitors on Thursdays and Fridays.
On why the Fulani were the most regular visitors to the site, he said it could be because Shehu was from their tribe, but people from other tribes also visit the site.
Ibrahim explained that they usually take advantage of the visits to preach the gospel of peace and unity within the Ummah.
However, he attributed the poor sanitary condition of the place to the influx of pilgrims.
“But we do our best to keep it clean and secure,” he said.
He also noted that commercial activities around Hubbare were still booming because of visitors.
Who is Danfodio
Shehu Danfodio was a religious teacher who became the leader of a revolution. He criticized the elite and changed the political system in present-day northern Nigeria.
Danfodio was born on December 15, 1754 in the village of Maratta in the Hausa city-state of Gobir in what is now northern Nigeria. He studied law, theology and philosophy in Agadez (in what is now the Republic of Niger) under the Islamic scholar Jibril Ibn Umar. Due to his religious knowledge and authority, he was later respectfully called Sheikh Usman.
After completing his studies, he returned to Gobir and began to preach Islam to the people, who at that time mixed paganism with Islam. His popularity grew in Gobir and came to a stage where the then King of Gobir, Rimfa, saw Usman dan Fodio as a threat and attempted to assassinate him.
Usman escaped and began moving among rural communities preaching, teaching, and writing. In 1803 Sheikh Usman and hundreds of his followers migrated to Gudu where he continued to spread Islam. While in Gudu, Usman dan Fodio declared a holy war (jihad) against King Yunfa of Gobir (son and successor of Rimfa) and his people as he felt their way of life did not correspond to the teachings of Islam .
The declaration of holy war spread throughout the Hausa country and many people volunteered to join his army. In 1804, he formally declared a holy war on the entire Hausa territory. In 1808 Usman and his followers conquered Gobir, Kano and other Hausa city-states. He retired from battle in 1811 and returned to teaching and writing, but his armies continued their conquests until 1815.
This religious revolution united the Hausa states under Islamic law, and in 1812 led to the creation of an empire called the Sokoto Caliphate, made up of emirates and sub-emirates, many of which were built on the sites of previous Hausa states. The Sokoto Caliphate became the most powerful economic and political system in the region in the 19th century and contributed profoundly to the Islamization of northern Nigeria.
His Islamic religious empire includes most of what is now northern Nigeria and parts of Niger as well as northern Cameroon.