Abu Bakr Mahmoud Gumi was born in 1924 in Gumi village in the Sukoto District of Nigeria. He received elementary lessons in Quran, Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and Arabic at home, then joined regular schools and became a certified teacher. He continued his education at the School of Arabic Studies in Kano, specializing in Arabic Language and Islamic Studies, then traveled to Bakht Al-Ruda Institute in the Sudan, where he obtained a high diploma in Sharia law.
Shaikh Gumi had a long history of struggle against colonialism in his country and was closely associated with the Nigerian leader Ahmadu Bello. The two men formed the Organization for Support of Islam, which played a significant role in fighting superstition and ignorance and in promulgating Islamic values among Nigerian Muslims.
Following Nigeria’s independence, Shaikh Gumi organized and headed the Shari’a judiciary system of northern Nigeria for several years and became Nigeria’s Grand Mufti in 1976. He participated in major national, regional and international Islamic organizations such as the World Muslim League, the Islamic Research Academy in Cairo, the Council of Senior Islamic Scholars in Nigeria and the Council of the Islamic University in al-Madinat al-Munawwarah (Saudi Arabia).
He authored several books dealing with different Islamic topics. He also translated interpretations of the Holy Qur’an as well as several books on Islam written in Arabic by Nigerian scholars, into the Hausa language. This was one of his most important accomplishments since it benefited millions of Muslims in Hausa speaking communities in Niger, Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast and Chad, in addition to Nigeria. In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam, Gumi received other international prizes and honorary degrees, as well as several national accolades from Nigeria.
He died in 1992.