His Eminence, Shaykh (Dr.) Muhammad Kamalud-deen Al-Adabiy, MFR, OFR, ORSA (Egypt). D.Litt. (University of Ilorin), Fellow of Islamic Studies in Nigeria (FISN) was born in Ara-Agbaji compound of Masingba, Okekere area in Ilorin at the turn of the twentieth century. His father was Mallam Habibullahi, son of Musa while his mother was Madam Khadijah. The paternal grandparents are said to have migrated from Katsina
SHEIKH KAMALDEEN is widely acknowledged as the initiator of the modernization of teaching Arabic and Islamic studies in our clime.
He was also the founder of the first voluntary Muslim organization in Northern Nigeria, the Ansarul Islam Society of Nigeria, which was founded in 1942. The Association is one of the largest in Nigeria with functional branches across the country. His society has the highest number of schools established by any singular Muslim organization in the Ilorin Emirate.
He was acclaimed to be the longest-serving preacher and Islamic scholar of recent time. He started his career as a preacher, scholar, and educationist in 1921 and ended doing so in 2005, making him have served as a prominent scholar and preacher for 84 years!
He, along with Shaykh Adam Abdullahi Al-Ivory, is reputed to have produced about 50% percent of modern scholars of Arabic and Islamic scholars who are teachers of the twin’s subjects of Arabic and Islamic studies in higher institutions across the length and breadth of the Federal Republic of NIGERIA.
He also made a financial contribution to the construction of the network of Pakata-Omoda-Ita-Ogunbo-Oja-
Oba Road in the 1970s. He also made a significant contribution to the funds with which the Government Secondary School, Ballah, was built in the 1970s. His financial contribution to the building of the moribund Ilorin City Hall was also significant. Apart from being the Guest Speaker at the fund-raising and foundation laying ceremonies of the Hall, he also donated some money as well.
Besides, his contributions to the human resources development of the Emirate would remain mind-blowing. This can be seen in the number and caliber of those who were trained in the Arabic and Islamic as well as western-biased educational institutions that were established by him. For instance, four of the products of his school, Ansarul Islam Primary School, Okekere, Ilorin, at various times, served as the National President of the Union while three of the alumni of one of the same school also served as the Secretaries to the Government of Kwara State, at one time or the other, while one made it as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and another as a distinguished Vice-Chancellor of a frontline Federal University. Several others, amongst the ex-pupils of the same school, were and are holding very important spiritual and chieftaincy titles in Ilorin Emirate including the soon-to-be turbaned Danmasani of Ilorin, Engr. Suleiman Oba Yahaya, FNSE.
He was the Chairman of the Committee of the World Muslim League, which scrutinized the translation of the Holy Quran to the Yoruba language in the early 1970s.
He also chaired the Committee, which raised the money with which the Ilorin Central Jumaat Mosque was built and commissioned in 1981. He was so appointed in 1974 after the initial one, raised in 1964, made no significant progress.
Most importantly, he was a renowned agent of peace among the people of the community who he always counseled against division and conflict through his open-air preaching and outright interventions in the resolution of the crisis of various dimensions. He would be remembered as a man of peace who always enjoined pacific dispositions no matter the level and intensity of provocation.
He was similarly the most decorated religious personality of his time with the street passing through his ancestral home renamed after him as far back as 1962. Two national awards, M.F.R(1963) and O, F.R(1981), conferred on him by the Federal Government of Nigeria. He also won the Merit Award of the Ilorin Solidarity Club in 1982. He was also conferred with the honorary doctorate in literature by the authorities of the University of Ilorin in 1998. He was twice given special recognitions and awards in 1987 and 2014 by the Kwara State Government in recognition of his versatility in the human resources and general development of the State.
May Allah(SWT) be pleased with him and grant him Janna .