Alhaji Jibril Martin (20 November 1888 – 13 June 1959) was a Nigerian lawyer and educationist who was a member of the Nigerian Legislative Council. He was also chairman of the Hajj Pilgrims’ Board of Nigeria’s Western region, following the independence of Nigeria. He was a prominent member of a splinter group of Ahmadiyya movement in Nigeria. He rejected the Qadiani-Khilafat (1940). He is first mentioned by Fisher in 1963. Ahmadiyya in West Africa was mostly amongst the Yoruba people, who are even til this day, mostly Sunni-Muslims (see Fisher). Jibril Martin died in 1959. He was president of the splinter sect of Ahmadi’s until his death. He was then succeeded by Al-Haj B.D. Oshodi.
Jibril Martin’s early life
Jibril Martin was born in Popo Aguda, the Brazilian quarters on Lagos Island populated by liberated slaves from Brazil. He was born to the family of Haruna Jose Martin and Seliat Remilekun Martin. Martin was educated at Holy Cross Primary School and St Gregory’s College. After his secondary education, he took up appointment with the colonial civil service where he worked from 1907 to 1923.
Per Hanson, Jibril Martin became the President of the local Ahmadi’s in Lagos. Martin was a member of two Muslim organizations in the 1910s and 1920s, the organizations: the Juvenile Muslim Society and the Muslim Literary and Debating society became the foundation of the Nigerian wing of the Ahmadiyya movement.
He resigned to study law at University College, London in 1923. Martin qualified as a lawyer in 1926, becoming the second Muslim lawyer in the country after Basil Agusto. He moved back to Nigeria in this state.
Martin was attracted to the movement partly because of movement’s positive attitude towards acquiring western education. He later played a prominent role within the local branch, he was vice president of the movement in 1927 and was a member of the first Board of Trustees.
On returning to Nigeria, he became a solicitor but later got involved in politics. He was a member of the Nigerian Youth Movement and was the movement’s candidate to represent Lagos in the Legislative Council elections of 1940.
Another split in the Ahmadiyya Movement happened in Nigeria. However, the majority sided with the Ahmadiyya imam, Hakim Fadl-ur-Rahman (See Fisher).
In December of 1939, the problem of loyalty to the Khalifa at Qadian was so bad, Hakim Fadl-ur-Rahman was ordered by the Khalifa to force all Ahmadi’s to renew their bait (See Fisher). The majority of Ahmadi’s refused.
By January of 1940, there were 4 sects of #ahmadis in Nigeria. Jibril Martin officially quit the Qadiani-sect of Ahmadis and created his own sect. They were called “Independents” and “The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam Nigeria” (see page 112 of Fisher). Hakim Fadl-ur-Rahman stayed on and represented the Khalifa from Qadian and were called “Independents”.
There was a 5th split of Ahmadi’s in 1941. They were called the Muslim Mission Community, founded by the son of Imam Dabiri in June of 1941, they were an off-shoot of the “Loyalists”. They believed that MGA was only a Mujadid.
The famous Muhammad Zafrullah Khan passed through Lagos during WW-2 and seems to have tried to reconcile the differences between the sects. However, more Ahmadi’s left the Qadiani-Khalifa-Loyalist group and became Independents (see Fisher).
Extract of the Judgment Reads:-
In the West African Court of Appeal holding at Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday, the 7th day of May 1949 before their honours.
Sir, Henry Walter Butter Blackall, K.C. President
Sir, John Verity, Chief Justice, Nigeria
Charles Abbott, Puisne Judge, Nigeria
BETWEEN W.A.C 2822
1. Alhaji Jibril martin Plaintiffs
2. B.A. Fanimokun Appellants
3. S.I. Ayeni
1. Alhaji F.R. Hakeem Defendants
2. H.O. Sanyaolu Respondents
3. O.G. Kuku
This is an appeal from a decision, giving in the Supreme Court of Nigeria at Ibadan, by Jibowu J. The appellants, who were the plaintiffs at first instance, failed in their claim for the Exclusive possession of certain premises, known as the Ahmadiyya Mosque at Ife. Their claim was founded upon the contentions that the Mosque is the property of a religious community, of which they are members, within he faith of Islam and that they are lawfully appointed trustees of the Mosque. In the year 1916 there came into existence in Nigeria a branch of a religious movement known as the Sadr-Anjuman-Ahmadiyya, which movement has its Headquarter at Qadian in India and owes spiritual allegiance to one Hazrat Mirza Bashirud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, known as His Holiness the Khalifatul Masih. The appellants and the respondents were members of this movement and of its branch in Nigeria.
In 1938 the Mosque was acquired by the movement unhappy difference into which it is not necessary to go arose within the Nigerian branch of the movement with the result that on the 29th of December 1939, the Khalifatul, through the first respondent as his agent in Nigeria, withdrew his recognition of certain members of the movement, among whom were the appellants. The appellants, however, continued to regard themselves bound by the tenants of the movement in all respects except one; they no longer regarded the Khalifatul as their religious leader.
In 1913 the appellants brought into existence a new constitution to replace the earlier constitution, to which they had previously subscribed and which enjoined allegiance to the khalifatul. In the 1913 constitution all reference to the Khalifatul disappeared and whereas under the old constitution the Khalifatul was the final arbiter in matters of appeal, under the 1913 constitution the first applicants, as president of the new movement became final arbiter.
It was argued both here and in the court below that the applicants, by superimposing a new constitution, had withdraw from the parent movement and the learned trial judge, in a long and careful judgment held that this was so. I see no reason to disturb his findings of fact, which are borne out by the terms of the 1943 constitution, in which it is worthy of note, the appellants ascribed a new name (that of Ahmadiyya movement-in-Islam) to the movement. The learned trial judge held that the appellants, by their own acts, seceded from the movement of which they were once members and that they were not entitled, by reason of their secession, to the property of the movement.
This, in my view was the correct decision; this appeal should be dismissed, with costs in favour of the respondents in the sum of £42:4:6d.
(Sgg) C.T. ABBOTT
Puisne Judge, Nigeria
I concur (Sgd) H.W.B. BLACKALL, PRESIDENT
I concur (sgd) HOHN VERITY
CHIEF, JUSTICE, Nigeria.
Certified True Copy
(Sgd) E.A. Bamgboye,
Acting Deputy Registrar,
West African Court of Appeal,
Paid 5/6d on CR. 157522/40/17.549
After the judgment the Jama’at started on a new platform at the present place No. 10 Iremo Road Ile-ife and the other side that seceded established their own mosque at Ilare Area of Ile-Ife under their new name Ahmadiyya movement in Islam. The other party retained Sadr-Anjuman Ahmadiyya.
After the crisis, these following people worked tremendously to the Jama’at effectively. They are Pa: Abdul-Salami Jimoh “aka SELEM”, Imam Yahaya Hassan, Alh. A.R.A. Oluwa, Pa. Kasali Akanmu Pa. Yahaya, Fatunmise, Pa. Salami Fatunmise, Alimi Akintibubo, Alfa M.J.O. Hassan Bro. M.B.A. Junaid, Yusuf Omope and Elder Brothers. Pa. Raji, a farmer at Odesomi village off Ilesa Road in Ile-Ife. He was instrumental to the establishment of Agric Mission’ in the early fifties with the assistance of Alfa Oluwa.
Alfa A.R.A. Oluwa left indelible mark on the Ife Jama’at during his stay in Ile Ife .During the period a lot of missions were established outside Ile Ife.. From the late seventies towards the end of Eighties, the following people carried on the good work of Alfa A.R.A. Oluwa, they were Bro. M.B.A. Junnaid, Alfa, Ameen from Ede town, Bro. Lasisi Olarewaju, Lasisi Ayinde Bro. Salaudeen A. Lawal, Alhaji. Isiaq Lawal, Bro. S.D.A. Ahmad, Alh. Yusuf Amuda Hassan, A.K. Durodola, Bro. Adegboyega, Bro. Lamidi Fakeye, Alh. Kamardeen Ayoade, bro. B.A. Okeleye, Bro. Tijani Ayan, Bro. M.M. Orabiyi among others.
Missionaries were always posted to Ife regularly including Central Missionaries. All the auxiliaries bodies of the Jamaat were fully established. These are, Lajna Imaillah, Khuddamul, Nasrat, Atfal and Majlis Ansarullah.
We shouldn’t forget the activities worthy of emulation of three of our leaders in Ife Jama’at. Alfa A.R.A. Oluwa who donated the whole of iron sheet meant for his proposed building in Ile-Ife to Roof the Mosque. Brother B.A. Okeleye who donated the present praying mates to the Mosque in seventies which we still use presently and (3) Alfa Jihmoh Abdul Salami (a.k.a. SELEM) who came from Abeokuta and actively participate in Tabligh Activities in Ife land and later asked the Jama’at to bury him in Ife if he dies, He was buried behind the central Mosque in Ife according to his wishes.
He was a leader of the Nigerian Bar Association from 1952 to 1959.
Jibril Martin dies. He was president of the splinter sect of Ahmadi’s until his death. He was then succeeded by Al-Haj B.D. Oshodi.
Links and Related Essay’s
- “The Ahmadiyya Movement in Nigeria”. Harvard Divinity School. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
- Animashaun, Bashir (2012) Jibril Felix Martin (1888 – 1959) and the spread of Western education among Muslims in 20th century Lagos. Ilorin Journal of History and International Studies Vol 3 No 1 2012
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