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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The popular phase of Islam in Ebiraland, Nigeria: the roles of Sheikh Ahmad Rufai and Al-Hajj Abdulmalik
Author:Rufai Mohammed, Ahmed
Periodical:Islam et sociétés au Sud du Sahara
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:Islamic history
Muslim brotherhoods
Abstract:Round 1900 Islam was introduced in Ebiraland, situated south-west of the Niger-Benue confluence (Nigeria), through a peaceful proselytizing approach mostly by Yoruba from Ilorin. This paper discusses the roles of Sheikh Ahmad Rufai and al-Hajj Abdulmalik in the popularization of Islam in Ebiraland from the 1930s onwards. The author sketches the early life and educational history of both men. Ahmad Rufai emerged as the first prominent Ebira Muslim scholar; al-Hajj Abdulmalik was a high-ranked civil servant who politically and morally supported the Sheikh. Sheikh Ahmad Rufai directed his proselytizing activities especially to the youth who were less attached to the traditional religion. One of the attractions of becoming a Muslim was that the converts acquired a new social status. In 1936 the Sheikh founded a Koranic school. He held public 'tafs¯ir' (Koranic exegesis) during the month of Ramadan, during which the Koran was translated into the local language. Both Sheikh Ahmad Rufai and al-Hajj Abdulmalik contributed to the spread of the order of the Tijaniyya, which originally came from the North. The introduction of the annual celebration of the birth and naming days of the Prophet ('maulud' festival), which characterized the Niassan branch of the Tijaniyya, greatly contributed to the spread of Islam among the Ebira. In opposition to the mission schools, the Sheikh founded Islamiyya schools and a Muslim college. All these activities have greatly contributed to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Ebira are now Muslims. Notes, ref.