Mohammed Yusuf (Boko Haram)
Mohammed Yusuf (29 January 1970 – 30 July 2009), also known as Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, was a Muslim sect leader. He was born in Girgir village, in Jakusko, present day Yobe State, Nigeria. He founded the militant Islamist group Boko Haram in 2002 and was its spiritual leader until he was killed in the 2009 Nigerian sectarian violence. The group's official name is "Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad", which in Arabic means "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad".
Yusuf had four wives and 12 children.
Yusuf was killed by Nigerian security forces. The Nigerian Security Force eventually found him in the house of his parents-in-law. He was arrested but he tried to escape from the police station. However, the Nigerian army caught him and handed him over to the Nigerian police force who summarily executed him in public view. The day before his death, about 186 people were killed in severe fighting between the Nigerian army and Boko Haram.
Dr. Ahmad Murtada of the Islamic Studies Department, University of Bayero, Kano has noted in his research into Mohammed Yusuf and Boko Haram that when the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Nigeria arose, known as "Yan Brothers" and under the leadership of Ibrahim Zakzaky, Yusuf joined the Muslim Brotherhood. When the "Yan Brothers" movement split, an organisation emphasising the Prophetic Sunnah emerged known as "Izala ul-Bida wa Iqamat us-Sunnah" [Removing Religious Innovation and Establishing the Prophetic Sunnah] and Yusuf was part of this movement for a while. A split then occurred among three mosques which served as the administrative centres of the movement, and Yusuf and his students and followers then set up their own movement known as "Jama'at Ahl us-Sunnah li'd-Da'wah wa'l-Jihad" [The Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad], which would lay the basis for the formation of Boko Haram. The movement is therefore repudiated by adherents of the Salafi tradition in Nigeria.
According to the University of California at Santa Cruz's Paul Lubeck, Yusuf received instruction in Salafism and was strongly influenced by Ibn Taymiyyah. In a 2009 BBC interview, Yusuf stated his belief that the concept of a spherical Earth is contrary to Islamic teaching and should be rejected, along with Darwinian evolution, and the concept of rain originating from water evaporated by the sun.
- "West African Militancy and Violence", page 74
- Boko Haram: The Emerging Jihadist Threat in West Africa - Background, Anti-Defamation League, December 12, 2011.
- "Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists?". BBC News. 26 August 2011.
- "Nigeria sect head dies in custody". BBC News. BBC. 2009-07-31. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
- "Nigeria's 'Taliban' enigma". BBC News. 28 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
- Murtada, Dr Ahmad. "Boko Haram: Its Beginnings, Principles and Activities in Nigeria". April 2012 (al-Qira'at Journal [for African and Islamic Studies], no.12, pp.12-25, trans. SalafiManhaj.com 2013). Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- Johnson, Toni (2011-12-27). "Backgrounder - Boko Haram". www.cfr.org. Council of Foreign Relations. Retrieved March 12, 2012.