…To Southern Muslims
Most Northern Nigerian Muslims, were quick to assert that the North was the bringer of Islam to the Southern part of the country, especially the South-West area, the Yoruba enclave. To those who believe in this falsity, the jihadists led by Usman Danfodio, who had succeeded in capturing the seven Hausa Kingdoms, were the authentic sources who brought Islam to Yorubaland. They buttressed their claim, citing the exploit of Mallam Alimi, the flagbearer of Sokoto Sultanate, who took the expansion of Islamised area on Nigeria to Ilorin in the 19th century.
The superiority claim of the Northern-Muslims over their Southern counterparts could be said to stem from the intra-palace struggle between the Aare Ona-Kankanfo of Yoruba army, Afonja and his marabout, Alimi, that end in a disasterous death of Afonja. The sad incident made Fulani in Ilorin claim that they brought Islam to Ilorin and by extension Yorubaland. In their rabid quest to ram in their mischievious claim that has no root or aiota of truth, in reality, they equated Ilorin to Oyo empire and, of course, the whole Yorubaland.
If the Fulani were the bringers of Islam and Quran to the largest area of the Northern Nigeria, they were never the people who first brought Islam to Yorubaland. The Fulani jihad came in early 19 century, it started in Gobir in 1804 and swept Hausa kingdoms into oblivion. That was why kings in the vast area of Hausa kingdoms had been replaced by emirs. From that perspective, the Hausa could never claim that they know Islam or Quran more than the Fulani who introduced the religion and its holy book to them. Not the Yoruba.
Such a claim is hollow without substance as the Malians traders were the first people who brought Islam to Yorubaland. Islam was brought to Ile-Ife, the source of Yorubaland, in the 12th century by Malians who came to Ile-Ife on commerce mission. A reknowned Sheikh Alialori Ilori, who was the founder of Moriccas, a popular Islamic School at Agege, in Lagos, in one of his lectures run on Radio Lagos every Friday which was recorded while he was alive, said that Malians brought Islam to Ile-Ife in 12th century. That was more than nine centuries before the Fulani came with their land-conquering agenda cloaked under the cover of religious evangelism came to the country called Nigeria today.
The Malians traders, so the lecture went, used to spread mats when they wanted to observe their hour of prayer. The Sheikh said, facing the direction where the sun rises, the Malians would first bend down, rise and stand straight before going down on their knees and put their foreheads on the ground. This strange practice was shocking to the Yoruba. The norm in Yorubaland was to put an object of worship in their front and bow to it with their foreheads on ground. In their obeisance, they would chant Ifa or Ogun this is my head, I pay homage to you. That the Malians were not putting the object of their worship in their was strange to the Yoruba who watched the Malians praying.
That was why the Yoruba asked themselves what were the Malian traders worshipping. Those among the Yoruba, who believed they knew more than the others said the Malians were worshipping the sky or the owner of the sky. It was from this practice and observation that the Yoruba people came up with Kirun or ki orun, Olorun, greet or greeting the sky or the owner of the sky.
The Yoruba first came in contact with Islam through Malian traders in Ile-Ife.
Today, the oddity of the Muslim prayers attracted the first set of Yoruba who embraced the religion. The air of superiority that the Fulani or any Northern Nigerian Muslim used to wear at time for prayer as that they claim they could not pray in row behind a Yoruba Imam is spiritually and intectually pompous that borders on emply adulation.
They falsely believe that they are superior to any Yoruba and by implication all Southern Muslims spiritually, intellectually and in every other aspect of Islam that could stand a faithful to lay claim to be a true Muslim. The Northern Muslim claim of superiority against the Southern Muslims is pronounced in the North. Their insistence on superiority is open and flaunted in the North, stepped in ‘I don’t care attitude’.
In the South, observation revealed that Northern Muslims would rather form their praying group, than pray behind a Southern Imam.
Southern Muslims, however, laughed at the folly driving the Northern Muslims whinisical claim of superiority.
The Northern Muslims were told to their face that Fulani are not Malian and both are not related in any way, which could shore up their claim to superiority. The Fulani are from the Futajalon valley in Senegal. If any group of people or ethnic group is claiming bringing Islam to Yorubaland or the Southern Nigeria, it could never be the Fulani or a Northern ethnic group. Only the Malians are qualified and entitled to such a claim.
– Tajudeen Adigun
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