Islamic Groups and the Contestation for the Control of Mosques in Kano, Nigeria,1978 to 2015


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of History


There is a growing trend of conflict and contestation over the ownership and possession of mosques in Kano. Mosque is, arguably, one of the most important material institutions in Islam, for it symbolizes the presence of Islam, the existence of Muslim ummah (community) in a place where it is located, and serves as a centre of unity where Muslims congregate to worship a monotheistic God. According to Islamic tradition, a mosque belongs to Muslim community and every Muslim has access to it regardless of ideological/doctrinal inclination, class, race or creed. From the 14th century, when Islam was introduced to Kano, to the first half of the 20th century, the Muslims in Kano prayed in the same mosques without any form of doctrinal discrimination. The three dominant Islamic groups in Kano, namely: Qadiriyya, Tijaniyya and Izala/Salafiyya locked themselves in a recurring conflict from the 1980s onwards over the control and possession of mosques in different parts of Kano.