Founded by Tela Tella in the 1970s, the sect predominantly exists in Lagos, Nigeria. Its followers recognise both the Bible and the Qur'an as holy texts, and practice "running deliverance," a distinctive practice of spiritual running which members liken to Joshua's army circling Jericho, or the Muslim practice of circumambulating the Kaaba.
The religion has about 1,500 adherents.
There are two different religious movements of Chrislam in Nigeria, one called Ifeoluwa and founded by Tela Tella in the 1980s and another called Oke-Tude founded by Samson Saka in 1999. Tela Tella claims that an angel of God came to him and told him that he gave him the mission and the name "Ifeoluwa: The Will of God Mission".
Belief and worship
Chrislam uses both the Bible and Qur'an and sees them both as holy texts. During the worship service, verses are read from both the Bible and the Qur'an. The Chrislamic people believe that Muhammad, Moses and Jesus were all great prophets and we need to love them all. Worship services include singing of Christian and Islamic hymns to praise God and attract his presence. The people of the congregation are also free to shout out the name of Allah or God in worship. Christmas, Easter, Ramadan and other Christian and Islamic religions celebrations are accepted and celebrated without judgment or hostility. Inside their place of worship there is an altar similar to those built by Abraham where the worshipers pray and seek the face of God. There are prayers going on here most of the day. Like a number of other proselytizing religions, they believe in evangelism and try to convert new members every day.
Ifeoluwa has very strict regulations that Tella calls commandments. These commandments deal with behavior, morality, discipline, how to dress, what not to eat and how to eat it, and hygiene and purity. Tella says that these commandments were given to him when he was on the Mount of Authority.
In the Oke Tude organization there are three different sessions or services that take place on Sunday. The first is a Muslim session, then a Christian session, and finally there is a joint session that Saka leads. During this he stresses the similarities between Christianity and Islamic beliefs. In Ifeoluwa, they worship on Saturday because when they worshipped on Sunday the congregation claimed that Tela Tella was showing favoritism, since Christians worship on Sundays and Muslims worship on Fridays. The worship sessions on Saturday are held three times a day. Tela Tella believes in both the Qur'an and the Bible but says they are incomplete, and that is why he is writing his own book called the “Ifeoluwa Book”. In Ifeoluwa there is an annual pilgrimage to The Mount of Authority, where the people pray for three days, and other annual festivals put on by Tela Tella. Tella also leads the singing of hymns during the Saturday service. Tella claims that these hymns were revealed to him by the angels Gabriel and Michael.
Some have criticized Chrislam, citing irreconcilable differences between its two component religions. According to Stephen Ellis, who together with Ineke Van Kessel edited the book, Movers and Shakers: Social Movements in Africa, the religion is "rather exceptional and increasingly so." According to Sidney M. Greenfield, who wrote the book, Reinventing Religions: Syncretism and Transformation in Africa and the Americas, Chrislam is a logical product of the Yoruba people because they want to be able to work out their own destiny. Because the people of Nigeria are struggling in all areas of life and Chrislam offers miracles and deliverance they see this as a good spiritual way to help them get through every day living. Others disagree with the religion because Christianity and Islam are such different religions with different beliefs.
The people who practice Chrislam see no fault with mixing the two religions, because they say that God loves all people and wants us to love all people. Saka says that when people criticize Chrislam he takes solace in what Jesus says about loving others in all religions.
- Christian Science Monitor
- Marloes, Janson. Chrislam’s Healing School in Lagos. p. 3, footnote 4.
- Chrislam: Forging Ties in a Multi-Religious Society
- Rousseau, Richard. Christianity and Islam: The Struggling Dialogue. University of Scranton Press. 2005. ISBN 978-0-940866-03-4. p. xvi.