Wali Suleiman

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Wali Suleiman (1890-1939) was a religious scholar from Kano who was well versed in tafsir and in interpreting Islamic law. He was a religious adviser to Emir Abdullahi Bayero and was a student of Shaykh Abd al-Wahid Ujidud, a Mauritanian Islamic teacher and Muqaddam.


Suleiman came from a line of a scholarly Fulani families that fought with Uthman Dan Fodio in the jihad against Kano's Hausa rulers. After the late nineteenth century civil war in Kano, Suleiman's father, Aliyu Baba's Liman Isma'ila became the Imam of Kano.

Suleiman studied law and grammar in Zaria and Kano and then taught at the Shahuci Judicial School where he was the headmaster. In 1932, he became the treasurer (Ma'aji) of the Kano Native Authority and was later made Wali. While on a pilgrimage to Mecca, he met Ibrahim Niass, a Tijani Shaykh who presented himself as Khalifah of the Tijani order; it was while there he and Abdullahi Bayero submitted to Niass leadership paving the way for more acceptance of Niass in Northern Nigeria.

After the death of Muhammadu Gidado, Suleiman became the Wali, a title brought from Zaria. The new position gave him the role of senior legal adviser in the Emir's judiciary council.