Grass to Grace: The Story of an Ace Islamic Star, Al-Zakir Yanda Jipan

The melodious and hearty songs by Al-Zakir Yanda Jipan, an ace Islamic and Nupe artist were not only being mimed by Muslim folks but including non-Muslims who find them soothing.

Popularly known as ‘Attapawwy’ by his Lagos-based fans, the artist hails from a hamlet called Jipan in Lavun local council, Niger State. Birthed on April 19, 1982, he was named after a prolific Islamic scholar, Yanda, who lives in a neighbouring village Rugachibo, where he taught Quranic education and Islamic science.

The artist who is a mixed blood [a Yoruba mother and Nupe father] would learn Quranic study in Rugachibo, rightly from his namesake’s children. He attended Rugachibo primary school and thereafter, he moved to Lagos where his parents lived, for western education.

He holds Diploma in Islamic Education from Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Ejigbo, Lagos State. His journey into Islamic musical world began when he would sing praises of the Prophet at his father’s annual Maulud Nabiyy.

In this interview with WikkiTimes’ Adamu Sule, Yanda Jipan shared a story of ‘Grass to Grace’.

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When did you start this musical career?

My journey began from the classroom as a student, there’s a subject particularly on Islamic songs and anytime we have this class I don’t joke with it because it’s a thing I have passion for and even at the time the same subject is been taught in other classes I would attend and participate.

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Also, there’s a man from Dabban [a village in Niger State]. He is a proprietor of Ridwanillah School in Idi-Araba, Lagos State. Anytime h was about to organize Maulud Nabiyy, he would invite me to teach his students ‘Qasida’, Islamic inspirational songs and poems. Even though I was not around, he would ensure I composed the songs for his students.

In spite of all these years of singing ‘zikr’, I have no confidence in performing before the crowd. In fact anytime I was called to do so, I ran away. The fame started at my father’s annual Maulud Nabbiy.

Since then, how far have you gone?

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Honestly, if I say I know the total tracks I have sang so far, I would be telling lies, because on a number of time, I came across some tracks which I don’t even have or remember until I saw people playing them.

I have recorded five albums — Neemal Khalifa, MTN (1) Annabi À Gan Gan in Nupe, MTN (2) and Mauludi Wasagi. What do you mean by MTN? Yes, it’s a self-coined acronym for Muhammad, Tijjani and Niasse (MTN).

There was a controversy over the right spelling of Niasse. Some people said Niasse ought to be spelt as Inyass, so I went on research and found that Niasse is the appropriate. On the course of my research, I got access to Sheikh Ibrahim personal identify card where it was clearly written.

How has ths career impacted your life?

Alhamdullilah, firstly it has given me fame because even places you least expected you could find fans and friends. Once I go to those places you would see fans and friends hovering and cheering me.

Secondly, today I am not boasting, but I can say I have a high number of Islamic scholars and preachers as my fans not because I am better than others.

Thirdly, my people are proud of me because today, my village’s name Jipan in well known in Nupe land. You mind to speak about your achievement? Praise be to Allah because today by his grace and mercy I have the dual knowledge of Islam and western education. Through this path, I have been able to sustain my needs, obtain my wants, and I am raising a family by Allah’s Grace and Mercy. So, I can’t say much about what I want or want to achieve because people are counting your blessings for you. Some will say I ought to have got a car, built houses and all that. Above all, Allah is the Master planner and His plans must prevail.

How do you want to be remembered?

Let me put it in same way of Sheikh Aliyu Harazimi Kano. He said, he wants to be remembered as Alzakir and that is how I intend to be remembered. If you are on this path and you run your affairs for Allah’s sake, it’s enough for you to be remembered. Also, I have taught people and I am still teaching some how to sing and praise the Almighty and His beloved Prophet. This, I believe, is a a noble way every parent will want his or her child to go.


  1. That’s great news, but you did not ask if he have other works is doing to sustain is family.
    Thank you for the update


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