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Report: Islam in Nigeria

Report: Islam in Nigeria


IINA - 07

Abuja, Muharram 7/Apr 1 ,2001(IINA) - Islam found its way to Nigeria about two centuries ago, starting from the north of the country, and was brought by Arab and Muslim merchants who came not only for business purposes, but also for spreading the word of Allah.

Islam was the first religion to penetrate Nigeria, in that when Christianity was brought to the country by the British colonizers, Islam was already being practiced in the country.

From the north, Islam then spread to the south of the country, and now it is spreading to all the other parts. It was from the south that Christianity found its way into Nigeria.

Nigeria’s population is now in the region of 120 million, as per the 1996 census, with Muslims accounting for 80,000,000 (70 percent of the population), with Christianity and animism followers making up the rest of the population.

There are 333 tribes in Nigeria, the most prominent being the Hausa, said to be the largest tribe in Africa, and they are mainly concentrated in the northern part of the country and some of the neighboring countries of the north. The Hausa are followed by the Yorubas, who are mainly concentrated in the south of the country, and the Ibos in the east. Each of the tribes has its own customs and traditions, just like tribes in the rest of the world.

Christian missionaries have intensified their efforts in trying to Christianize the Muslims, taking advantage of the economic weakness of the Muslims and helping them improve their conditions by extending a helping hand to them. The result is that many Muslims now are only Muslims nominally, and they no longer see the difference between the two religious faiths.

However, the Muslim activists are trying to counter the Christianization efforts by the missionaries by educating the Muslims on the various aspects of Islam. By the Grace of Allah, their efforts are paying off, despite the paucity of their resources.