Biography of Sheyyiha Bilqis
Sheyyiha Bilqis was born on 31st of December, 1939, she was the daughter of the Nigerian first High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (late Sheikh Abdulmaleek). Her father was a son to the first traditional leader (Attah) in Ebira land, Kogi State (Atta Ibrahim Onoruoiza).
Her mother was Hajiya Amina of blessed memory. The deceased got married to Sheikh Ibrahim Inyass in Kaolack, Senegal, in 1954 when she traveled with her father to the country. The marital rights was witnessed by her uncle, Sheikh Ahmad Rufai and several others.
Sheyyiha once narrated the story of her birth and growing up, titled:
My Birth, Upbringing and Marriage as follows;
Sunday 31st of December, 1939 equivalent to 21st of Zhul-Qidda, 1358 saw the fruit of that marriage between Alhaaj AbdulMalik Okene and Hajiya Amina, for on this day I came into this world as their third child.
The prayers and love of my father for me started with my name Bilqis, he showered so much love on me that word of mouth can’t explain. He hardly travels without me; he went on his first Pilgrimage in 1947 with me when I was just 8 years not minding the inconveniences of children of my age.
When I say love, I mean caring and kindness and with these I grew up to love none but my father or whoever and whatever he loves, my obedience was therefore natural. I remembered one day, I was asked by my primary school female-friends, “who would you like to marry when you grow up?,” I said: “Abubakar.”
This Abubarkar loves my father very well and was very close to him and because of this I mentioned him, but Abubakar was also the husband of my sister. So they said to me: “you can’t marry your sister’s husband.”
I replied: “then whoever my father loves to be my husband will my husband.”
They asked: “Even if such a person is physically disabled?”
I replied: “Even if he is physically disabled so far as is my father’s wish, I will love such a person.”
As a result of his deep kindness and care for me, I had this extreme love and intention of obedience for my father. My father later traveled with me to Kaolack, Senegal in 1951 to visit his Shaikh and the fruit and blessing of this Ziyara culminated into the showing of desire by Shaikh of his intention to marry me.
After our return to Nigeria, the likes of Shaikh Abubakar Atiku of Kano approached my father and disclosed to him the desire of Shaikh, then added: “Nigeria would be made proud if Shaikh married from us.”
Look, this was their habit, all the students of Sheikh saw themselves as one, not as Hausa, Yoruba, Fulani or Ebira, but as one tribe. This habit they learnt from Sheikh, who regarded the whole of Africa as one entity. He assists any of the Presidents of countries of Africa whenever the need arises, He assisted Seiko Tore of Guinea, Gamaal AbulNaser of Egypt; Sir Ahmadu Bello of Nigeria; Nkrumah of Ghana, etc.
This is Sheikh, whatever will be beneficial to mankind and he has the capacity to assist, he will. Finally in 1954, my father travelled again with me to visit Sheikh in Kaolack at which time Sheikh made a formal request to marry me in the presence of Sheikh Ahmad Rufai and immediately, the marriage was conducted.
Note that my father never asked for my consent, for he knows that my mind was also with him. My fellow brothers and sisters understand this lesson: The sincere love of a parent to a child will make a child to completely trust his parent; nobody will sincerely love his child and would not always wish for the happiness and progress of that child.
The most caring of mankind Sallalaahu Alaihi Wasallam has said on the authority of Abu Huraira as reported by Tabarani:
“Assist your children to be respectful; And whoever wishes, Can remove disobedience from his child.”
The remains of Sheyyiha Bilqis Ibrahim Niass was buried on Sunday at Okene in Okene local government of Kogi State at 2.00pm on the 16th of April 2017. May her soul continue to rest in perfect peace (Amin).