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Maulana Sheikh Ahmad Abulfathi (RTA) studied the principles of reading and basic obligations of worship at the onset from his father before the age of five, afterward, he joined Qur’anic School in company of Malam Ali, a year after, his father passed onto the next life (in 1924). Thereafter, the Sheikh migrated to Maiduguri and continued with the Qur’anic study briefly under Sheikh Goni Garba; the Father of Sheikh Abba Goni. Thereafter he travelled to Gonori Garuwa village and successfully completed the memorisation of the holy Qur’an there.
He then journeyed to Bunkure village in Kano State where he studied complete commentary of the holy Qur’an (Tafsir) in the hand of Malam Abubakar Dawaki. Also, at Bunkure he learnt basic principles of Arabic grammar and Islamic sciences at the hand of its scholars. In the same village alongside his studies the young Sheikh ventures into commerce. This, however, did not last long for he suddenly dreamt with the noble Prophet (SAW) instructing him to abandon commercial activities for the pursuit of further Islamic knowledge, an instruction which he obeyed without delay.
After relinquishing trade and in line with carrying out the divine order, Maulana set out to many grand scholars of his time in different cities of northern Nigerian, such as Zaria, Kastina and Kano. In Zaria the Sheikh (RTA) learnt from glorified specialists such as the renowned scholar of Fiqh, Malam Na’iya, the celebrated Imam Ahmad Bin Ibrahim, and the noted Sheikh Ishaq Nama’aji. In Kano he studied Sharia jurisprudence and mysticism under the famous scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Atiku Sanka (RTA), whom he stayed with for a long time and benefited from both educationally and spiritually. Although the Sheikh was initiated into spiritual path (Tariqah) by Sheikh Malam Aala (RTA) in 1357 AH, it was Sheikh Atiku that elevated him from Murid or Salik to Muqaddam of Tariqa Tijaniyya.

IJAZAH (Certificate)
Sheikh Ahmad Abulfathi had the opportunity to study from leading Ulama of his time. He obtained many certificates of authorization (IJazah) from them. For instance, his Ijazah in reading the holy Qur’an issued to him by Sheikh Adam Arze (RTA) of Damagaram village. He also obtained the certificate in Hadith from Sheikh Muhammad bin Alawi Al-Maliki (RTA).
In addition to the ones he obtained in the fields of Qur’an and Hadith, Maulana Sheikh Abulfathi obtained several Ijaza in Tariqa Tijaniyya, among them is theSILSALAH ZAHBIYYA issued to him by the prestigious Sheikh Ibrahim Niass (RTA).
Students and Establishment of Islamic Schools
A lot of knowledge-seekers had benefited enormously from Maulana Sheikh Abulfathi, men and women, the young and old, in various fields of Islamic knowledge and Sufism. During his life time the Sheikh was holding a couple of direct teaching sessions for adults; morning session and evening session at his second parlour and Garden respectively. In normal days at both sessions Maulana (RTA) teaches several subjects from jurisprudence (Fiqh) to Divine Unity (Tawhid), Arabic Grammar (Nahwu & Saraf) to Hadith and Mustala’a Hadith, Quranic Commentary (Tafsir) to Ilmu Tasawuf, etc. During holy month of Ramadan, however, the morning sessions were dedicated to commentary (Tafsir) of the Holy Quran only.
In order to facilitate education among children and the youths Maulana Sheikh Abulfathi (RTA) established the first school, in entire Borno State, that teaches both Islamic and western subjects simultaneously, under the name Madarasat-ul-Anwar-ul-Islam Fita’alim Wa Nizam at Hausari quarters, Maiduguri in the year 1956. Not long after this, the Sheikh moved to Lamisila district along with the school and later it was relocated to Abba Ganaram neighbourhood in 1970. In this same year the school was expanded and developed and its name changed to Ma’ahad Alhaji Ahmad Abulfathi.

In 1991 the Sheikh (RTA), in his efforts to further expand educational provisions for the sons and daughters of Muslims, set up another College for Higher Islamic and Science Education named Thanawiyatu Sheikh Ahmad Abulfathi. Subsequently after 3 years he established a Qur’anic Memorization School in his founded district and home; Madinatu. Finally, Maulana Sheikh Abulfathi (RTA) established a foundation – Ahmad Abulfathi Foundation, to oversee the administration of the schools and other activities such as preaching, humanitarian assistance, resolving of disputes etc.
It’s worth mentioning here that Sheikh Abulfathi (R.T.A) was the first to enact the celebration of Maulud Nabiyi (SAW) in Borno state on the level of preaching and guidance. Before him Maulud was celebrated only by scholars and royal members of the Borno Emirate, where in the night of 11th Rabiu Auwal , they celebrate it by reciting Qasida Al-Burda and followed by large royal procession the following day.

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