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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The spread of Islam in Nigeria
Author:Umejesi, I.O.ISNI
Periodical:Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies
Geographic term:Nigeria
Abstract:As a monotheistic religion, Islam tends to monopolize rather than accommodate. After outlining the philosophy behind Islamic expansion, the author analyses the strategies peculiar to each of the periods of its spread in Nigeria. Islam first entered Nigeria through Borno in the northeast in the 11th century. Its dissemination was essentially a peaceful process, mediated by Muslim clerics and traders, until the Fulani jihad of 1804, organized by Usman dan Fodio. The subsequent defeat of the jihadists at the hands of the British did not stop the spread of Islam. On the contrary, the British used the administrative structures of Islam in implementing their policy of indirect rule and recognized Islam as the State religion wherever Muslims were in power. Islam had a firm hold in the North and under the pax Britannica and the activities of Muslim traders and Sufi brotherhoods its movement southward was both sure and steady. The personal attraction of Islam also played a role in its diffusion. After independence, a new impetus to the spread of Islam was given by Ahmadu Bello, the premier of the Northern Region. Although his plan for the total Islamization of Nigeria was brought to an abrupt end by the military coup of 1966, the 1970s have seen a continuing government policy favouring the dominance of Islam. Ref.