Tribute to a Pacesetter, Philanthropist, and Companion of the Quran

Innalillahi wa inna’ilaihi raji’un! Certainly, every soul shall taste death!

I was just informed about the death of Dr. Muhammad Gambo Hamza, who was a father figure in Gangare and the provost of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) College of Education, Zuba. He passed away today in his hometown of Jos after a protracted illness.

Dr. Gambo was a pacesetter. Well-versed in both Islamic and formal education, he co-founded some of the earliest Islamic private schools in Jos to address challenges faced by the ummah in the city. When they started classes for married women, they faced unspoken criticism and discrimination. But they persevered. His legacy lived on, and my mother was one of the first students to benefit from his efforts.

Like the late Dr., I also was born after twins, and so by our tradition, we are called “Gambo.” Any time I do something that impresses or makes my mother happy, she’ll, out of excitement, call me “Dr. Gambo Hamza,” a name I once also proudly used on my social media handles.

Growing up, I have seen with my mother several books authored and co-authored by him on spirituality, linguistics, and self-development. His gift to my mother’s class as they visit him twice every year for Sallah greetings used to be the Qur’an and other books. The first Roman English translation of the Qur’an I ever read was his Sallah gift to my mother.

Recently, Dr. Gambo set up and funded a Qur’anic school in our community. In December 2022, the school graduated its first cohort of over 30 women who had memorized the Qur’an by heart. For many years, he has been the chairman of the board of trustees (BoT) of our community’s youth organization, the Gangare Youths Forum (GYF). His remarkable contributions to our community, both spiritually and otherwise, are too numerous to mention.

For me, he was like a father. A mentor. I attended the same school and the same class as his daughter, Summayya, at a community school that he also helped build many years before we were born. On two different occasions, Dr. Gambo offered me a chance to be employed by the federal government. I missed one because I had failed to complete my documents, and when the other came, I was already working where I wouldn’t want to leave. I respectfully declined.

A secret between us that even my mother was not aware of is that he helped fund the studies of some young people in our community through me!

When I moved to Abuja, I called to ask to visit him and inform him of my new role, only to be told that he was critically ill. That illness is gone today. Innalillahi wa inna’ilaihi raji’un.

Dr. Gambo lived a life well lived, and we are very grateful for all he did for us. My deepest condolences go to the entire people of Gangare, especially his family and students.

May Allah repose his soul, grant him Jannah, and continue to bless the family he leaves behind, amin.

Misbahu El-Hamza


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