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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Good and Bad Muslims: Islam and Indirect Rule in Northern Nigeria
Author:Reynolds, Jonathan T.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
Great Britain
indirect rule
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3097556
Abstract:From the time of the colonial conquest of Northern Nigeria in the early years of the 20th century up to 1960, the British governed this predominantly Muslim region through a system known as Indirect Rule. This system maintained and utilized the region's existing forms of administration. The present article shows that while the British sought to legitimize their rule by maintaining a public image of neutrality towards the various Islamic groups in Nigeria, their investment in the system of Indirect Rule required them to be supportive of those in power and to repress those who were perceived to threaten the status quo. Far from their official policy of impartiality, the British colonial administration took active steps to categorize the region's Muslims as either 'good' or 'bad'. To do so, the British evaluated the various Islamic groups in Northern Nigeria against a set of criteria that included perceived levels of Islamic education and piety; whether they were 'outsiders' to the region; and whether they were a threat to the religious authority of the ruling class, the Masu Sarauta, generally descendants of the founders of Sokoto, and like them, Sufi Muslims who belonged to the Qadiriyya brotherhood. The article focuses on the period up to the early 1930s. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]