Like many of his contemporaries, late Shaykh Abdullahi Jibril Imam Sahaban neither had the privilege of obtaining western education nor modern Arabic and Islamic education at the early stage of his life. He,nevertheless, through determination became an authority in the field who also succeeded in raising hundreds of outstanding scholars of the twin subjects and other disciplines.
Shaykh Sahban started his journey in life as a pupil of his father as he started the study of the Holy Qur’an from his father. The demise of his father when he was just twelve years old resulted for his return to Ilorin at the beginning of his teenage. He eventually completed the training under the watchful eyes of his uncle, Imam Salahud-Din Abdulbaki, in 1955.As he was learning the Holy Qur’an he was also being exposed to other aspects of Arabic and Islamic sciences.
In 1956,Shaykh Sahban became a student of Shaykh Muhammad Raji,who was popularly known as Alfa Ita-Egba. He studied many books under the watchful eyes of this great teacher along with some of his contemporaries.
In 1965,he proceeded to the school of Shaykh Abubakar Omo Hiya,the father of Shaykh Suleiman Dan Borno,the Grand Mukaddam of Ilorin,at Isale Kannike Quarters, Ilorin. He extensively studied various aspects of Arabic and Islamic Studies from Shaykh Omo Hiya between 1965 and 1972.
More than any other thing,Shaykh Sahban was a self-made man. He improved himself through constant learning by exposing himself to modern trends in the field of Arabic and Islamic Studies and interactions with authorities on the field both locally and in foreign lands.
He had earlier established Muhyi-Deen Association of Nigeria in 1962. It was around the same period that the nucleus of Muhyi-Deen College of Arabic and Islamic Studies was laid in Ilorin by this same personality. The school was initially named as Ar-Rahmat Islamiyyah School. He consequently introduced what he called balanced education at the school on April 4,1974 at his ancestral home.
Shaykh Sahban moved the school from its old site at Idi Orombo to its permanent site at Kulende,which was then in the outskirts of Ilorin, in May,1980. He also established a branch of the school at Kunmi,which is situated near his place of birth. Around 2000,the name of the Idi-Orombo Branch of the school was changed to Al-Imam Shaban College of Arabic and Islamic Studies to become a full-fledged Islamiyyah School.
His school,Muhyi-Deen College of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Kulende,Ilorin, was the first Diploma awarding Arabic and Islamic training institution in Ilorin. The College has been affiliated to the Ahmdau Bello University, Zaria,since 1993.
This outstanding teacher also established Muhyideen College of Education, Kulende,Ilorin in 2007.The College was equally the first privately owned NCE awarding institution in Ilorin.
Shaykh Sahban’s contributions to the development of Islamic scholarship and general human development of Ilorin Emirate are enormous. These can be seen not just in the number of schools established by him but also from the high calibre of products of his institutions who are impacting significantly on the society. Many products of his school enjoyed tremendous advanced trainings in various fields of learning in the Arab world and later returned to Nigeria to help the cause of Islam and human development. Many others who were trained within Nigeria also became very successful professionals to the credit of this outstanding teacher.
Shaykh Sahban was happily married. He is also blessed with many children. The eldest of his children is Shaykh Mas’ud Jibril Sahban,who teaches at the Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin. Others include Dr Aishat Jibril Sahban Eleyinla, Dr Mustapha Jibril Sahban,Shaykh Ibrahim Jibril Shaban and Mrs Nafisa Jibril Shaban, among several others.