«A Dissertation Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Dr. phil.) at BIGSAS by Ramzi Ben Amara ...»
The Izala Movement in Nigeria: Its Split,
Relationship to Sufis and Perception of Sharīʿa ReImplementation
A Dissertation Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy (Dr. phil.) at BIGSAS
Ramzi Ben Amara
Research Area (A): Uncertainty, Innovation and the Quest for Order in Africa
Supervisor: Dr. Franz Kogelmann
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Introduction
1 The Study
2 Scope of literature
4 Theoretical framework
4.1 Bourdieu applied to Izala
4.2 “Modes of Religiosity” theory
4.3 Religious Market Theory & Religious Movements
Chapter Two: Religious Landscape in Nigeria
1 Christianity in Nigeria
2 History of Islam in Nigeria
2.1 Sufi Brotherhoods
2.1.1 The Qādiriyya
2.1.2 The Tijāniyya
2.2 The Indirect Rule
2.3 English Law or Islamic Law
2.4 Islam in Nigeria during the postcolonial era
2.5 The conflict between the Sufi Brotherhoods
2.6 Sheikh Abubakar Gumi and his struggle against Sufism
2.6.1 Sheikh A. Gumi: his early life until 1972
2.6.2 Sheikh A. Gumi: from al-ʿaqīda al-ṣaḥīḥa (1972) to the establishment of Izala (1978)
Chapter Three: Reform Islam versus Sufism
1 What is reform in “Nigerian” Islam?
2 Shiʿites in Nigeria
3 The JTI in Nigeria
4 From Maitatsine to Boko Haram - a coincidence or a continuation?
5 Salafiyya oriented groups
Chapter Four: The Izala movement between success and failure
1 Sheikh Ismaila Idris and the Izala Question
2 The J.I.B.W.I.S.: Formation of Izala Organization in 1978
2.1 One constitution and two factions or many constitutions of the same organization?
2.2 Structure of the Organization
2.2.1 The Council of ʿulamā'
2.2.2 The Administration Council
2.2.3 First Aid Group (FAG)
2.2.4 Other Committees
2.3 Current leadership in Izala
2.3.1 The Jos branch of Izala
2.3.2 The Kaduna branch of Izala
3 Izala and Innovation
3.1 Definition(s) of bidʿa
3.2 The Discourse of Izala on bidʿa
4 Izala and Wahhabism
5 The Division of the Movement: One organization and two doctrines or two organizations and one doctrine?
5.1 Time of the division
5.2 Reasons of the Division
5.3 The Izala “War of words” between Kaduna and Jos: “Two open letters to Sheikh Jingir vs. answers from Jos”
5.4 Attempts at reconciliation
Chapter Five: Sharīʿa Debate of 1999
1 Who implemented Sharīʿa?
2 Proponents and opponents of the Sharīʿa-project
2.1 Proponents of Sharīʿa
2.2 Opponents of the re-implementation of Islamic Law
2.3 The Federal Government, the States, the ʿulamā', and grassroots’ positions on sharī‛a re-implementation
3 Izala’s contribution to the re-implementation: initiators?
4 Izala, Sufis, and Sharī‛a-law: a chance for reconciliation?
Foreword I want to express my gratitude to all people who assisted me in my project at different stages and apologize to all those I did not mention here by name.
First of all, I am very thankful to Prof. Dr. Ulrich Berner who encouraged me during my undergraduate, graduate and during the process of writing my PhD-Thesis. In the field of Religious Studies I learnt a lot from Prof. Berner and I am really lucky and happy for studying under him and working under his supervision.
Without the assistance and unlimited patience of my supervisor Dr. Franz Kogelmann, this dissertation would not have been accomplished. I thank him for his kind support, critical readings and for sharing his knowledge about sharīʿa and Islam in Africa.
Prof. Dr. Roman Loimeier’s lecture at Bayreuth University about Islam in Africa linked my attention to Nigeria and Izala. I am grateful to him for providing me with contacts and networks during my field research. I thank him for the discussions and valuable information he provided me on Izala at different stages of my PhD-project.
Through Prof. Dr. Kurt Beck I knew how to deal with Islam from an anthropological perspective. I enjoyed his seminars, lectures and discussions. I am thankful to him for his kind assistance in all directions.
Dr. Philip Ostien assisted me in Nigeria and there are no words to thank him enough for his kind support and assistance. Na Gode!
I am thankful to: Prof. Dr. Umar Danfulani (Jos) who assisted me in many directions: He did not only host me in his department, but linked me to many Nigerian scholars of religions.
I learnt a lot from Dr. Azonzeh Ukah and appreciated his comments, corrections and critical readings. I am very grateful to him for his kind assistance.
I thank Prof. Dr. Christoph Bochinger and Prof. Dr. Gabriele Cappai for their support and for
discussing my work in their excellent methodology course:
Prof. Dr. Sani Umar, Prof. Dr. Abdukader Tayob, Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Seeseman shared their knowledge with me and provided me with ideas and theoretical orientation. I am thankful to all them for taking time to discuss my project with them.
Many thanks to Cathlene Dollar for her corrections, critical reading, and recommendations.
I thank all my interviewees in Nigeria for giving me time and sharing their ideas and for being patient to the many questions I raised.
In Nigeria, I am grateful to Prof. M. Yahya (Jos), Prof: Musa Gaiya (Jos), Dr. Gwamna (Jos), Dr. Yilpet (Jos), Ustaz Sani Modibbo (Jos), Ustaz Abdurrahman Lawal Adam (Jos), Mallam Kabiru (Jos), Ahmad Garba (Jos); Mallam Sani Abdurrazaq (Jos), Mallam Dawood Abubakar (Jos/Berlin), Rahina Muhd (Jos), Chikas Danfulani (Jos/Bayreuth), Yusuf Abdullahi Yusuf (Jos/Katsina), Dr. Afe Adogame (Edinbrough/Lagos), Dr. Selome Kopunu (Lagos), Dr. Remi Brito (Lagos), Dr. Umar Adam (Kaduna), Babangida (Katsina), Mallam Bala (Zaria), Sheikh Mujahid (Zaria), Mallam Amino Kano (Kaduna/ Kano), Dr. Maren Milligen (USA), Mallam Khidr (Kano), Mallam Uthman (Kano), Saleh Ibrahim (Jos), Prof. Dr. Aljunnar (Sokoto), Dr.
Kamal Babakr (Sokoto), Mallam Salisu Bala (Kaduna), Mallam Musa (Arewa House, Kaduna), Dr. Gwadebe (Arewa House, Kaduna), Dr. Haruna Wakili (Mambayya House, Kano), Prof. Dr. Muhammad Munkaila (Maiduguri), Dr. Balarbe Zulyadaiyni (Maiduguri) for their kind assistance.
My family in Tunisia and my friends in Germany (Aissa, Amr, Kamel, Abdou, Ronny, Oliver, Marcus, Eva, Silke, Tobi, Ahmad, Valerie, Salma and many others) helped me a lot during the last years and I am very grateful to all of them.
Meron Zeleke and Halkano Abdi corrected parts of this dissertation and provided me with critical remarks and corrections. Many thanks to both of them!
This study was financed by different institutions at different steps. I am grateful to the Tunisian Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur, The Volkswagen Foundation, The International Office (University of Bayreuth), The International Club (University of Bayreuth), and to BIGSAS for the financial support throughout my doctoral thesis.
I am thankful to all members and staff of the Zentralbibliothek (University of Bayreuth), Permanent Site Library (University of Jos), Mambayaa House Library (Kano), Arewa House Library (Kaduna), Library of the Department of Islamic Studies (Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto).
Non-English words are italicised; the transliteration of Arabic words follows that used in the International Journal of Middle East Studies. The meanings of non-English
words are given in parentheses following their first appearance, e.g. ribā (in Arabic:
All dates are cited according to the “Common Era” (c.e.), numerically equivalent to the Christian a.d.
To protect the identity of my interview partners, I have decided not to add a detailed list of interviewees as well as the different locations of the interviews. If for academic reasons more details are necessary please contact the author directly.
Chapter One: Introduction Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa. According to the 2006 census more than 140 Million inhabitants live in this West African country. Nigeria is ethnically, linguistically and religiously heterogeneous. Approximately over 500 languages 1 are spoken in the country. Hausa in the north, Ibo in the south east and Yoruba in the south west are considered to be among the most important languages and dominant ethnic groups. Nigeria borders Cameroon and Chad in the east, the Republic of Niger to the north, the Republic of Benin in the west and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.
Today, Nigeria is a federation of 36 states with Abuja, as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In 1999 the Fourth Republic was declared after a democratic http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=NG speaks of 527 “individual languages” in Nigeria among which 512 are “living languages” and 11 have “no known speakers” (4/10/2010).
election. This was the fourth attempt by a civilian government in Nigeria after three failed attempts and a long experience with military dictatorship.2 Nigerians are considered to be among the happiest people in the world. This is based on an outcome of a study from the year 2003 comparing more than 65 countries.3 Another study entitled “What the World thinks about God” dating from 2004 regards Nigerians as the most religious people worldwide.4 A Global Corruption Report from 2009 published by Transparency International places Nigeria 121 among 180 countries.5 In the media, Nigeria is often known for oil, ethnic, and religious crises. In the Niger Delta area where many international oil companies operate, explosions related to leaking pipelines as well as kidnappings of Nigerians and foreign residents and workers of oil companies happen intermittently.6 The situation in this area of Nigeria is a result of unequal distribution of oil income. Nigeria has been a member of the Oil Nigeria gained its independence from Britain in Oktober 1960. The country was then ruled by the Military with attempts of a civilian government. The First Republic was between 1963 and 1966; The Second Republic was between 1979 and 1983; the Third Republic took place in 1993 when democratic elections were organized and annulled by the Military.
According to the www.bbc.co.uk/news of 02/10/2003 the study was published by the New Scientist magazine in the UK. It is based on a survey conducted between 1999 and 2001. The study dealt with the level of happiness and satisfaction of people with their lives in the country they come from.
Transparency International (2009): Global Corruption Report 2009. Corruption and Private Sector.
Cambridge: University Press, pp. 200-203; In July 2010 the Nigerian Minister of Finances declares his dissatisfaction with the actual situation and stresses that one of the greatest concerns of the actual administration is fighting corruption, see www.allafrica.com (15/07/2010).
During the 1st October independence celebrations in 2010, a car bomb explosion in Abuja killed eight people and injured three. Rebels from the Niger Delta area seemed to be behind this action; see http://english.aljazeera.net for more details (2/10/2010).
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) since 1971 and yet it is considered by the World Bank as among the poorest countries in the world. The report of 1996 summarizes the situation of the country in the following: “Nigeria presents a paradox.
The country is rich but the people are poor.”7 Indeed this paradox is confirmed by many Nigerians who see themselves as excluded from the wealth of their own federation.8 Muslims and Christians are the two major religious groups in the country.
Adherents of African Traditional Religion (ATR) are a minority. There are no reliable statistics at hand. Most Muslims live in the northern part of the country whereas the majority of Christians live in the south, however, in Nigeria, there are no clear cut religious borders. The three religions can be found everywhere in the country and they frequently coexist side by side. Ethnic conflicts in Nigeria are often misunderstood in other countries and largely interpreted as purely religious ones. In fact, it is not easy to separate ethnicity from politics, religion, and economy in Nigeria.
All these aspects are tied together in a complex way. Events documented by the media as “religious” conflicts between Muslims and Christians in many cases go deeper than this simplistic and often superficial explanation. The last events in Jos in 2001, 2004, 2009, and 2010 were in many cases interpreted as a religious struggle World Bank (1996): Report No. 14733-UNI Nigeria Poverty in the Midst of Plenty. The Challenge of Growth with Inclusion. A World Bank Poverty Assessment, May 31, p. 1.
Informal communications with Nigerians during my field research 2006/2007 and 2008.
between Muslims and Christians. The issue is much more complex than it appears to be.9 Of course there are many other examples of religious coloured conflicts.10 Nigeria has been a member of the British Commonwealth since 1960. In 1986, the then president of Nigeria, Ibrahim B. Babangida, registered his country with the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). These two examples show that Nigerian politics is oriented more towards economic benefits rather than according to religion.
The postcolonial era in Nigeria is characterised by political, social and religious instability. Since its independence from Britain in 1960 the country has passed through a tumultuous political experience. The civil war between 1967 and 1970 revealed that the country was far from being stable. This fact is confirmed by almost thirty years of military dictatorship and four attempts at democratic rule in the last fifty years of independent Nigeria.