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, particularly in the northern states of Kano and Sokoto.[1][2][3] However, there are no actual statistics that reflect a Shia population in Nigeria,[4] and a figure of even 5% of the total Nigerian Muslim population is thought to be too high “because of the routine conflation of Shi’a with Sunnis who express solidarity with the Iranian revolutionary program, such as those of Zakzaki’s Ikhwani.”[5]

Introduction of Shi'ism in Nigeria[edit]

Shia Islam was "almost unknown" in Nigeria until the 1980s[citation needed], when Ibraheem Zakzaky introduced Shia Islam.[citation needed] Zakzaky's gained a following among those disenchanted with the political and religious establishment.


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.[6] Cleric Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is a primary figure in the movement.[7]

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.[8][9] Furthermore, clashes between Sunni and Shia residents followed the assassination of Imam Umaru Danmaishiyya, who was known for his fiery anti-Shia preaching.[10][11]

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. ^ Kathryn M. Coughlin (1 Jan 2006). Muslim Cultures Today: A Reference Guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 119. ISBN 9780313323867. 
  5. ^ Barry M. Rubin (2010). Guide to Islamist Movements, Volume 2. M.E. Sharpe. p. 10. ISBN 9780765641380. 
  6. ^ Alert: Nigerian security forces crackdown on Islamic Movement in Sokoto Islamic Human Rights Commission, 20 August 2007.
  7. ^ Nigeria's firebrand Muslim leaders BBC News, 1 October 2001.
  8. ^ Nigerian Shia base knocked down BBC News, 1 August 2007
  9. ^ Shia Centre demolished in Nigeria AhlulBayt Islamic Mission, 02 August 2007
  10. ^ Statement: Nigerian Shia Muslims under Attack
  11. ^ "Nigeria: Sunni-Shia clashes" WorldWide Religious News