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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The concept of 'al-muwalat' in the Sokoto Caliphate and the resulting dilemma at the time of British conquest
Author:Quick, Abdullah Hakim
Periodical:Islam et socits au Sud du Sahara
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
Sokoto polity
Abstract:This paper focuses on the concept of 'al-muwalat' (allegiance, clientage) in Islam and its implications for the response of Islamic scholars of the Sokoto Caliphate (present-day northern Nigeria) to the British conquest at the turn of this century. In the definition of the mainstream scholars of Islam the concept of 'al-muwalat' stipulates for every Muslim that his allegiance should be first to Allah, his messenger and the believers, and makes it unacceptable that unbelievers should rule believers. If necessary, believers are commanded to practice 'hijra' (migration) and go to an area that allows them to live under the rules of Islam. When the British on January 1, 1900, formally turned the territories of the Sokoto Caliphate into a protectorate, thereby disregarding the authority of the Caliph, a debate arose among the scholars of the Caliphate concerning the valid Islamic alternatives facing the Muslims. This article traces the main positions in the debate, headed by al-Qa.di 'Abdullah b. 'Ali and al-Qa.di Ahmad b. Sad. On March 15, 1903, Sokoto was captured by the British and the idea of 'hijra' took spontaneous expression. The Caliph fled eastwards with thousands of followers. His defeat ended the most serious resistance to the British hegemony. Notes, ref.