Shia Islam in Nigeria

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Though the majority of the Nigerian Muslim population is Sunni (60 million), there is a significant Shia minority (4-10 million), particularly in the northern states of Kano and Sokoto.[1][2][3]

Introduction of Shi'ism in Nigeria[edit]

Shia Islam was "almost unknown" in Nigeria until the 1980s, when Ibraheem Zakzaky introduced a syncretic blend of Shia and Sunni Islam. Zakzaky's gained a following among those disenchanted with the political and religious establishment, and were commonly identified as Shi'a (due to similarities with Khomeni's traditions).[4]


Members of the Nigerian Shia community have been persecuted in some cases, but in other cases have united with Nigerian Sunni in the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.[5] Cleric Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is a primary figure in the movement.[6]

The state government of Sokoto has reacted to the rise of Shia Islam in the state by taking such measures as demolishing the Islamic Center in 2007.[7][8] Furthermore, clashes between Sunni and Shia residents followed the assassination of Imam Umaru Danmaishiyya, who was known for his fiery anti-Shia preaching.[9][10]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population". Pew Research Center. October 7, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  2. ^ Miller, Tracy, ed. (October 2009). Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population (PDF). Pew Research Center. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  3. ^ Nigeria: 'No Settlement With Iran Yet', Paul Ohia, allAfrica - This Day, 16 November 2010
  4. ^ Farouk Umar, Estelle Shirbon Sunni-Shi'ite tensions in ancient Nigerian city Thomson Reuters, 20 March 2008.
  5. ^ Alert: Nigerian security forces crackdown on Islamic Movement in Sokoto Islamic Human Rights Commission, 20 August 2007.
  6. ^ Nigeria's firebrand Muslim leaders BBC News, 1 October 2001.
  7. ^ Nigerian Shia base knocked down BBC News, 1 August 2007
  8. ^ Shia Centre demolished in Nigeria AhlulBayt Islamic Mission, 02 August 2007
  9. ^ Statement: Nigerian Shia Muslims under Attack
  10. ^ "Nigeria: Sunni-Shia clashes" WorldWide Religious News