Journal for Islamic Studies

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The politics of inter-Ṭarīqa relations in Katsina Emirate from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century

Zaharaddeen Sulaiman


The introduction and spread of Islam in the areas we call northern Nigeria today, can be largely credited to individuals belonging to different Sufi organizations. The success of the 1804 Jihad of Usman Ɗan Fodio, however, not only created a political unity out of the different polities under Sokoto sovereignty, but also popularised and almost institutionalised the supremacy of the Qadiriyya order. The gradual and consistent spread of the Tijaniyya within the territories of the Sokoto Caliphate did not initially pose any direct threat to the political establishment, but it did influence political developments and dictate relations among the ruling class in the Emirate of Katsina throughout the nineteenth century – without disrupting the sovereign status of the Qadiriyya in the Caliphate. However, the Kano Civil War (1893) shook the political loyalties and created a cleavage wherein some Emirates could gradually clamour for autonomy. By the turn of the century, the rapid spread of the Tijaniyya, which in Kano, Katsina and Zaria was indirectly favoured by the colonial context, proved portentous. The affirmation of the Tijaniyya in Katsina in the twentieth century, which still influences the religious and political life of the Emirate today, needs to be understood in the context of the longer history of the politics of religious affiliation in the Katsina Emirate.

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