ANALYTICAL STUDY OF RIJĀL AL-‘ILM OF SHAYKH TAJUDEEN AL-UMARI AL-IWOWI
1.1 Background to the study
It is axiomatic that one of the factors that contributed to the development to Islam in Nigeria was poetry works. Arabic poetry began in Iwo town some years after the town came in contact with Islam in the year 1655 as said by Al-Iloriy. There were different types of themes used by the scholars such as Didactic, Ascetic, elegy, descriptive, panegyric, and thanksgiving poems.
The most popular among the poets are: Shaykh Ahmad Amin, Shaykh Muhalliy Aroworeki, Shaykh Muhally Badrudeen, Shaykh Abdul Baqi Muhammad etc. Their poetry works were rendered eloquently so much so that its rendition is made possible for their students to understand their message because it serves as a way of imparting knowledge.
Ascetic poem of Shaykh Ahmad Amin:
(1) Enough to renounce pleasure in the worldly things for acquisitive nature of human property (after him). For the inheritor and the properties are subjected to destruction.
His didactic poem:
In the name of Allah and His grace, I hereby list the battle fought by the Prophet comprehensively.
Thirdly, I salute the best mankind and the universal prophet after which I have praised the Almighty Allah.
Later another poet emerged after them, and those who emerged after them were their students and those who went further to study in Abroad.
Shaykh Tajudeen emerged and his work was quite different from the previous works because he did not rely only on the poetry works of those who came before him but went extra miles than the previous poets.
All Al-Umari‟s work was written to wake the students up and for the understanding of their religion. He narrated in Rijāl al-‘Ilmi that knowledge is light which guides the owner in the darkness and wealth which cannot be vanished while reward of this life and the hereafter have been prepared for such person who searches for it.
However, most of these poetry works are not published, perhaps this sabotages the effort of these poets by buying their erudition and talent in the field. It is only displayed occasionally in some social gatherings like naming, marriage, graduation from Quranic school and so on. Today, poetry has become so rampant among the scholars in Iwo to the extent that even the contemporary students are even showing their appetite in composing Arabic poem.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The work Rijāl al-‘Ilm is an Arabic text which cannot be understood to the large number of people who are not Arabic literates. So, I wish to translate and analyze the work for social transformation. Especially, for those who are English literates that use English language as their means of communication.
1.3 Objective of the study
This work aims at achieving the following aims:
To translate the text of the work Rijāl-al-‘Ilm into English language for it to be enjoyed by wider audience.
To contextualize the content for further understanding
To determine how the message could be explored for social transformation.