While little or no attention is given to religious doctrine, custom and tradition in every social event, a community in Ilorin the Kwara State capital stands out to be a difference, with unique political and cultural heritage. Agbaji is a very small community; predominantly Muslim in the heartbeat of Ilorin-West local government of the state, known for its uniqueness – politically and traditionally.
Although, it is a predominantly Muslim environment where the learning and teaching of the science and art of Islamic doctrines shape the mind of the young and old, it is also the home base of the Sarakis.
The close-knit ancient town displays a typical communal co-existence common to a Muslim set-up. Agbaji strictly observes the tradition of young ones bowing to their elders in greeting as a show of respect. But a very unique feature about the people of Agbaji community is the fact that nobody plays drums there, dogs are prohibited from the area and no one dares sing songs with musical equipment of any kind therein.
Friday Magazine reliably gathered that, the origin of the belief was derived from the Islamic law of Shariah and the Holy Quran which made any one that violates the rule to become a culprit in the community and in the sight of God.
The belief which later became the community’s trademark, it was gathered, transferred from one generation to another and had become a source of pride to them.
Speaking with the most senior Mallam in the community, Alhaji Abdulraheem Adaara, it was revealed that the prohibition of drumming in the community dates back to the period of their forefathers. He said it had connection with the religious devotion of the indigenes of Agbaji as the community serves the people of Ilorin and its environs as seat of knowledge hosting people from different states of the federation, most especially from the south-western part owing to its sacredness from all sought of social vices.
According to Alhaji Adaara, “Our major occupation in this community is the recitation of the Quran with strict adherence to Islamic lifestyle.
“The prohibition was meant to ensure that the attention of Muslim worshippers and clerics were not diverted by drumming.
Being the ancestral home of the Saraki political dynasty, Adaara said even the patriarch of the family, Late Olusola Saraki, had never violated the tradition by bringing in musicians during any celebration.
“As prominent as he was during his lifetime, Saraki never acted against this tradition. Any time he was celebrating his birthday, we usually offered prayers for him here and he went elsewhere to organize his party.
“It has become a law and nobody has ever violated this law. So, I cannot say or even imagine the consequence of violating the law”, he said.
Interestingly, the non-drumming culture of the community is that young people have not only accepted it but they seem to be proud of it.
The community’s mosque, the cleric said was formerly a market but converted to mosque to avoid distraction as envisaged by the pioneer citizens of the community.
Adaara said whenever residents of the community had celebrations that would involve hiring of musicians or playing of music, such celebrations are moved away from the community.
He said dogs too were prohibited from coming into the community because they were seen as defiling animals.
Adaara said, “During the reign of Sheik Musa Al-Waishu, he instructed people not to divert his attention while observing spiritual duties such as supplications, and teaching of the Quran. Also, dogs are not allowed to pass in through the community. Any dog caught is killed.
A member of the community, Mr. Ayo Abdullahi, said he is proud of the tradition and would instill it in his children.
According to him, “We were born into the tradition. I am absolutely comfortable with it and I believe it is a prestige. This cultural or institutional view differs from what is seen in other areas. We have the duty to protect it.
“Even our friends who are non-indigenes know that they cannot beat drums here. So, they organize their events in other places, away from here. If I have any festivity that I want people to drum, I can go to another place and organize it. I also want my children to adopt the same tradition.”
Also, a young woman, Mrs. Idowu Nasiru, said the traditions had become their lifestyle and they do not see it as unusual.
“We kill dogs that pass through the community. We also do not beat drum. Any drummer seen here is immediately sent away. That is how our forefathers used to live. It is our culture and we have adapted to it,” she said.

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