Following is (parts of) a song poem of Nana Asmau’s: a silsilah of  Sufi women in praise of all those who have carried the light before her as well as some of her dear companions….

Alhamdulillahi, we thank God(dess),

We invoke blessings on God(des)’s messenger.

We invoke blessings on his family and companions

And those who have followed them, this we gain self-respect.

We invoke blessings on the companions of the prophet

Who are now sanctified.


My aim in this poem is to tell you about Sufis

To the great ones I bow in reverence.

I am mindful of them while I am still alive

So that they will remember me on the day of Resurrection.

The ascetic women are all sanctified

For their piety they have been exalted.

They prayed ceaselessly to be delivered from the fires of hell

Take this to heart, my friends.

I have written this poem to assuage my heart:

I remind you how they yearn for God(dess)

I swear by Goddess that I love them all

In the name of the prophet, the messenger of God(dess).

The scent of their yearning engulfs me

Its intensity exceeds the perform of musk.

To the prophet’s disciples who draw close to God

I bring al muslims to Aisha

Aisha, the noble daughta of Al-Siddiq

The believer, an honest man, Abubakar the esteemed.


To Muslim women I speak of Zainabu Jahshi

I cherish them, Lord of the world.

You made her to exceed, according to Aisha,

She was held in esteem by the Prophet.

I speak of all the mothers

Who were the wives of the Prophet

And Fadima Zahra’u, or Batulu

Gracious lady, close follower of the Prophet.

She was peerless, she who shunned the world,

The Prophet’s daughta, who was betta than any other child


I speak of Aminatu Ramliyya

And Ummu Hassanu, both of Kufa.

As was Ummu Sufyanu of Suriyyi

And the relative of Fudailu, a most kind person.


The mother of the Prophet was pious

A reformer, and upright.

I speak of the wives of the Prophet

For his wives were ascetics.

She was very generous and kind

Daily she gave away gifts: she never ceased.

She gave alms most generously

Undoubtedly she wept day and night.

She used to say “I have no tongue”

She had no wish to speak.

She bought horses for the jihad of the Lord

And to follow the way of the prophet of God.

I speak of Al’umatus Salliyatu

For her asceticism and also Umayyatu.


Umma Haruma had radiance

And Habibatu Adawiyyatu recited the Divine Names

I speak of Rabi’atul Adawiyya

Who was  more pious than anyone else

Adawiyyatu Kaisiyyatu of Basra

Exalted, able to see the unseen, radiant.

She had a mastery of over learning and exceeded all women

She was the outstandingly pious person of her time.

And so to Ummu Ayyuba of Lansariyyatu

And Ummu Darda’u and Mu’azatu

Her prayer was a thousand prostrations

Rabi was cognizant by day and by night

In order to please the Prophet’s heart.

On the day of Judgement you will understand her zeal.

Rabi’atu the daughta of Ismailu

Zealously praying to God(dess).

She could see male and female jinns

Because of her sainthood and praying to God(dess)…..

I speak of Fadimatu Nisaburi

Who was zealous even to those who understand enthusiasm

And so to the daughta of Hassan, Nafisatu

…..born at mecca, she was a descendant of the prophet

She grew up in medina where she was honoured

Anyone visiting her grave

And praying there would receive blessings.


The blessings and compassion of God(dess)

Fell upon Egypt on account of Nafisatu


I speak of Fadima, daughter of Abbas Saihatu

Who taught and was a preacher.

She used to mount the steps outside the mosque

And preach to wom(b)en…..

She set aside considerations of family and possessions

Choosing instead God(dess) and Hir religion. (…)


The rest is about the wom(b)en members of the community of

Shehu dan Fodiyo, for whom I pray.


I speak of those who are still alive

And those who have died.

I mention first of all Shehu Degel, our father

Dan Fodiyo, he is our leader….

Then Inna Garka who was very pious

Good-natured and generous to her kinfolk.

I speak of the other wives of the Shehu.

For they were all pious.

The teacher of wom(b)en, Habiba

She was most revered and had great presence.

I speak of Aisha, a saint

On account of her asceticism and determination.

And Joda Kowuuri, a Qu’ranic scholar

Who used her scholarship everywhere.


I speak also of Biada who was diligent

For her attribute was in reclusion.

And ‘Yar Hindu, daughter of the Imam

Who was diligent at solving disputes.

There were others who were upright

In the community of the Shehu, I have not listed them.

Very many of them have learned the Qu’ran by heart

And were exceedingly pious and zealous.

They never tired of preaching the righteous faith

Those of the Shehu reached as many as a hundred.

The song which has listed them is now finished

And now you know of their fine reputations.

May God(dess) reunite us with them in the Next World

And through them may we achieve salvation.


Together with my mother and father and all Muslims

May we be delivered, our Lord of gifts.

For the sake of the glory of him who was exalted

Above all other mortals. My song is finished.

I thank God(dess) almighty

To whom all prayers are addressed.

May he bless Ahmadu and all his family

And all those who followed them.

And his companions, all of whom were exalted

And the faithful who are enshrined in light.

The chronogram of the year of the Prophet’s hijra is Nabshiru.

It is ended, let us say Nabshiru.


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