Sharia Reforms, Hisbah, and the Economy of Moral Policing in Nigeria

  • Musa Ibrahim University of Cape Town
Keywords: Sharia reform, Hisbah, moral policing, moral economy, Nigeria


This article examines the ambiguous values that guide and sustain livelihood practices and everyday struggles of different classes of people in the context of contemporary Sharia reforms, introduced in Nigeria at the turn of the 21st century. It specifically analyzes the economic impact of the Yan Hisbah (moral police) in Kano in Nigeria, who enforce Islamic moral values in the economy. While the Sharia reformers promise economic prosperity in the face of allegedly failed secular government and economic systems, their interventions come under sustained criticism. Muslim subjects argue that the activities of the Yan Hisbah are limiting economic opportunities and development. They also criticize the Yan Hisba Sharia moral project as an economy thriving in an ‘immoral’ economy that it seeks to correct. The essay shows that moral economies in the context of state, religious reform, and capitalism are not easy to implement.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1011-7601