By Kabir Nizam Baba
Alhaji Ali Muhammad Kwara Elias Ali-Kwara, Baushe, had answered the inevitable call as he returned to his Maker on Friday, 6th November 2020 after a brief illness in Abuja. Thousands of people gathered to pray over his body according to the Islamic tradition in the afternoon of Saturday, 7th November 2020 at his hometown of Azare.
When death was eminent to Khalid Bn Walid (May Allah be pleased with him) – the renowned legendary companion of the Holy Prophet of Islam, he lamented the situation of his death in some lines of poetry along the lines of ‘I’ve been in hills and valleys fighting with men. Yet, I’m here to die on my bed like an old camel!’
Khalid (May Allah be pleased with him) fought battles as a non-believer, and as a believer all through to the caliphate of Umar Bn Khattab (the second caliph).
Ali Kwara was the similitude of Khalid Bn Walid. He had exhausted his youthful age in the pursuit of criminals and terrorists. He had paid a price for that adventure with his freedom, his health and his resources. But he didn’t relent, even as his efforts were often undermined and unappreciated. I just have a feeling that Ali must have been concerned as was Sayyiduna Khalid.
Ali Kwara had grown up in the age-long vocation of hunting. He was trained in the trade by his father. With time, he raised an empire of his own that wasn’t just hunting down wild animals, but humans too. Over the decades, he had been predating on armed robbers, bandits and kidnappers through much of Northern Nigeria to the borders.
He was equally a respected dealer in animal skin. He was a construction expert whose reputation in uncompromising quality was intact to his last breath.
Like Fidel Castro, Ali Kwara was a target of numerous assassination attempts. I still have bleak memories of a video cassette we watched back then in my mother’s living room. From what I could recollect, some armed robbers in the process of rehabilitation under his care plotted to assassinate him. A snitch blew the whistle to Baushe, and they were ambushed.
Long before I knew what ‘rehabilitation’ meant, Ali Kwara had rehabilitated hardened criminals, afforded them shelter, got them married and accommodated them as a father would his children. He cared for them and transformed them back to the humans that they were.
Those of us who have had the pleasure of studying outside Azare enjoyed the honour of knowing Ali Kwara. We are often looked upon with sincere deference for the simple fact that we are from Azare, the town of Ali Kwara, and somehow possibly know him. Perhaps I would personally hold my shoulders higher if I had revealed that I shared the same school with his children, and same class with his nephew. That’s just on a lighter note.
But as the first caliph of Islam after the demise of the Holy Prophet addressed the bereaving Ummah in the following words: ‘whoever has been worshipping Muhammad (peace be upon him), let him know that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is dead. But he who is worshipping Allah, rest assured that Allah is Ever-living’.
Ali Kwara was but a human, a servant of Allah, who was blessed with divine gifts, and who had contributed immensely to the welfare and security of his country.
Ali Kwara never had the dominion of even his own personal peace or security. Allah Alone is the Peace-Giver. He Alone is capable of raising another Ali Kwara or even Ali Kwara plus. Like any other mortal, Ali was bound to die. And he just did. The Lord that looked after this community before Ali, is still there to look after it after Ali.
May Allah have mercy on his soul, forgive his shortcomings, make our end the best part of our lives and may Allah not afflict us after him with what we can’t bear. Amiin.