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WISDOM of the OLD: A 190-year-old Letter With a Clear Message for All Nigerians



The ex- FCT Minister Nasir El-Rufai has recently shared a text of a historic document on his Facebook account: the letter from Shehu Elkanemi of Borno to Sultan Mohammed Bello in January 1824. The ex- Minister, who thanked to Aminu Gamawa of Harvard Law School for sharing the text, states it contains a clear message to all Nigerians…

Read the abstract below:


Letter From Sheikh Of Borno To Sultan Mohammed Bello

Dated 23rd of Rabee-ul-thani, 1238; (Corresponding to January, 1824)

Praise be to God, and prayers and peace be unto the Apostle of God (Mohammed).

To the honoured and accomplished, the virtuous and munificent, the pattern of goodness and the standard of benevolence, head of the Soodanic kingdom, and ruler of the country of Hausa, our friend, the learned Mohammed Bello, son of the intelligent Sheikh Ossman, whose soul may God shelter with the clouds of mercy and peace.

Our salutation, accompanied with affection as strong as the odour of musk, and as perpetual as the movement of the globe, and with the mercy and blessings of God, be unto you.

Hence, the cause of writing this letter and the purpose of its lines, is to acquaint you that the bearers are English travellers; whose nation, out of all the other Christians, has maintained with the Mooslemeen uninterrupted treaties of religious amity and friendship, established since ancient periods, which they inherited from their forefathers and ancestors; and on this account, they penetrate into Mooslemeen countries whenever they please, and traverse all provinces and lands in confidence and trust, without fear. They came to our country, sent to us by our virtuous and accomplished friend, the Lord Yousuf Pasha, master of Tripoli, to see and delight themselves with the wonders of the Land of Soodan, and to become acquainted with its rarities, as lakes, rivers, and forests (or gardens) ; equal to which are seldom seen in other countries.

After having accomplished their wishes, in seeing all the things that the land of Barnooh (Borno) and its environs contained, they felt anxious to visit your country from what they heard of the innumerable wonders therein. I have, therefore, permitted them to proceed on their journey, accompanying them with letters which explain their object.

You are well aware of what is stated in Alcoraanic sayings upon the subject of the obervance of honour, dictated by our Lord, the Apostle of God; and that the true Mooslemeen have always avoided shedding the blood of Christians, and assisted and protected them with their honour. Be then attentive to these travelers, and cast them not into the corners of neglect; let no one hurt them, either by words or deeds, nor interrupt them with any injurious behaviour: but let them return to us, safe, and may the high God bestow upon you the best reward for your treatment to them, and insure to us and to you the path of righteousness for conduct in this life.

Our salutation may be given to all who are about you, and to those who are related to you in general. And peace be unto you.





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  1. Abdallah I. Gidado

    December 8, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    What a true muslim leader he was! Tolerance and justice to all subjects wether subject inspite of religion. This is the true Islamic stand; justice without descrimination. I think we should learn from this and stop blaming any religion for Bad things. Bad people can be of any faith and can use any name. To accomplish their devilish mision.

  2. Abayomi

    December 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    The decision we make today determines our tomorrow. The action or inaction of a man will either be regretted or appreciated. Some people who SAW while others were LOOKING sought for money to purchase some plots of land at the present Lekki Penninsula when a plot of land in that arear was been sold for as low as between N500,000 and N1m; are reaping the benefits now that its now been sold for as high as N130m. Some heard of it then and ignored it or never believed such an area could develop, bringing about drastic appreciation of properties in the area. Lekki Free Trade Zone, The New International Airport, The Deep Seaport (which will be the second in Africa after that in South Africa), The Lagos Industrial site, Eleganza Industrial site, The Permanent site of PAN Africa University and many more developmental projects are springing up in Epe, Ibeju Lekki and their axis. Blue Chip Companies are now acquiring hecters of land in that area. Just for the ones that have foresight and will take action while others are ignoring, PWAN HOMES LTD is now selling Estate Lands for as low as between N330,000 and N1.5m at Ajah, Ibeju Lekki and their environs. Promo is currently on for limited time. Some of these lands are with title such as C of O, Global C of O while some are awaiting title. Omo onile problem have been wiped off. For more information, site visitation and to pick up your own plots call Abayomi on 08179517872 or 08065415971. EVERY OTHER ASSETS DEPRECIATE, WHILE LAND APPRWCIATE. INVEST WISELY TODAY TO APPRECIATE YOUR DECISION TOMORROW

  3. Anonymous

    December 9, 2013 at 2:39 am

    BIG GAMES invites you to play and win in “The Big Toyota Corolla Giveaway” powered by MTN mobile ads. Every lucky winner will win a brand new Toyota Corolla 2013 every week till January 2014. For enquiries simply call [MR KENNETH ADELEKE] via our helpline on 07038818425 and you could be the winner of the brand new Toyota Corolla. It’s that simple! Wouldn’t it be great to have a car in time for Christmas!

  4. leonardo

    December 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Can it be said of today’s muslim to be of good & kind behavior towards christians? This letters says it all concerning what it takes to be a muslim not the kinds we see now? I pray every muslim imitates this great man

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He added that CNN was biased in its report and needs to be sanctioned.

The Minister also addressed a letter to the management of CNN in Atlanta.

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Watch video below;

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