I HEARD of the death of Dr. Haruna Salihi, Head of the Department of Political Science, Bayero University Kano, last week.
I was quite saddened by the passing of a wonderful and devoted teacher and man of deep religious faith and incredible modesty. Malam Salihi taught me Islamic Political Experiences, in my M.Sc. Pol. Science class. I did a term paper on Yusuf Qutb, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; this has become poignant today, with the political events in Egypt.
Looking back now, I think education in Northern Nigerian universities, especially during our times, gave us a rounded development that equipped us to appreciate the contradictory realities of our contemporary world.
For example, a post-graduate student of Political Science in say ABU Zaria or BUK in Kano, would have studied the classics of Western philosophy and politics, from Kant, Hobbes, Voltaire, Marx and Machiavelli, etc.; but he was also obliged to study the classical traditions in Islam from Al-Farabi’s MADINAT AL-FADILAH through works like AL-MUQADIMMA by Ibn Khaldun, the founder of the science of sociology or Al-Maghili’s OBLIGATION OF PRINCES and the more contemporary works, in the context of Islamic political experiences.
That combination of the Western and Islamic philosophical and political traditions gave us a rich grounding into the complexities of the world and the tapestry of knowledge which, in a profound sense, shape the world we live in!
It was intellectuals like the late Malam Haruna Salihi, who helped us navigate that complex experience. I do remember my polemics with Malam, given my Marxist materialist approach and his own Islamic ideological framework.
He nevertheless tolerated and respected my perspective. Dr. Haruna Salihi was completely dedicated to a lifetime of teaching and research and will be sorely missed.