EXPLAIN THE PENETRATION OF ISLAM IN PORTHARCOURT
Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a religious text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Allāh), and, for the vast majority of adherents, by the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE), considered by most of them to be the last prophet of God. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim (sometimes spelled “Moslem”).
Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and that the purpose of existence is to worship God. Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Muslims maintain that the previous messages and revelations have been partially misinterpreted over time, they are nevertheless all obliged, according to the Qur’an, to treat the older scriptures with the utmost respect. As for the Qur’an, Muslims consider it to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God. Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from topics ranging from banking and welfare, to family life and the environment.
After the destruction of the North African and Black Christian kingdoms, Islam swept further south, firmly establishing itself in Kano in the second half of the 15th century and spreading to other parts of the north. . However, it was not until 1802, when the major Islamization of Northern Nigeria, then part of the Sudan, began with the jihad of the Fulani leader Uthman dan Fodio. Under the pretext of reform, he conquered the Hausa states, which he claimed were practicing a corrupt form of Islam, installed the Sokoto Caliphate, and consolidated the religion in the presently core Moslem parts of the north. Fulani emirs were also forced on the conquered lands, a situation that prevails even to this day. Borno, which has reportedly an ancient Christian presence, had fallen to Islam as early as the 8th century. However, attempts to impose Islam on other national groups – the Tivs, Idomas, Biroms etc.- met with stiff resistance.
With the Islamic victories in the north, the jihad warriors almost fulfilled their oath to dip the Koran into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean by carrying the Halfmoon deep into Yoruba South, and incorporating into their empire, the Caliphate of Sokoto, and the northern part of the Yoruba kingdom centered on Old Oyo. The Muslims were also able to penetrate other parts of the former Western Nigeria by intermarriage and trade. And although Nigerian population figures are unreliable, some estimates place the Moslems at 33% in 1960 and about 50% presently.
The extent and depth of Islamic penetration of the Yoruba nation is evident from developments since the introduction of a more violent brand of sharia in Zamfara state in 2000 and its rapid enactment by 12 other northern states. During a courtesy visit to the Niger state governor, Abdulkadir Kure, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, president of the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria, said that “the council’s immediate target is to work for the implementation of Sharia legal system in Kwara and Oyo states. 60 It was, therefore, not surprising that Oyo has embraced sharia within four months. Under the aegis of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), Lagos inaugurated an Independent Sharia Panel on December 11, 2002; 61 there are calls to extend the barbaric practice to other states in Oduduwaland. Christian-Muslim tensions have also risen in the region as fanatical Yoruba Moslems attempt to force their religion down the throat of non-Moslems.
Muslim community in Rivers State has calls for more serious measures that will put an end to incessant kidnappings
PENETRATION OF ISLAM INTO PORTHARCOURT
Port Harcourt is the capital of Rivers State, Nigeria. It lies along the Bonny River and is located in the Niger Delta. According to the 2006 census, the Port Harcourt urban area has a population of 1,382,592.
The area that became Port Harcourt in 1912 was before that part of the farmlands of the Diobu village group of the Ikwerre, an Igbo sub-group. The colonial administration of Nigeria created the port to export coal from the collieries of Enugu located 243 kilometres (151 mi) north of Port Harcourt, to which it was linked by a railway called the Eastern Line, also built by the British. Like every other city in the country’s south, religion in Port Harcourt is predominantly Christianity. The Roman Catholics make up a significant portion of the Christian population. There are scores of churches, parishes and priests within the Port Harcourt Catholic diocese. The central church is the Corpus Christi Cathedral Parish in D-line. The city is also home to other Christian denominations such as Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and members of Evangelical and Pentecostal groups. Just a small number of residents adhere to the Islamic faith
Islam was first documented in Nigeria in the 9th century. Religious archives showed Islam had been adopted as the religion of the majority of the leading figures in the Bornu Empire during the reign of Mai (king) Idris Alooma (1571–1603), although a large part of that country still adhered to traditional religions. Alooma furthered the cause of Islam in the country by introducing Islamic courts, establishing mosques, and setting up a hostel in Mecca, the Islamic pilgrimage destination, for Kanuris. It had spread to the major cities of the northern part of the country by the 16th century, later moving into the countryside and towards the Middle Belt uplands. However, there are some claims for an earlier arrival. The Nigeria-born Muslim scholar Sheikh Dr. Abu-Abdullah Abdul-Fattah Adelabu has argued that Islam had reached Sub-Sahara Africa, including Nigeria, as early as the 1st century of Hijrah through Muslim traders and expeditions during the reign of the Arab conquror, Uqba ibn al Nafia (622–683) whose Islamic conquests under the Umayyad dynasty, in Amir Muavia and Yazid periods, spread all Northern Africa or the Maghrib Al-Arabi, including present-day Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco.
Two features of Islam essentially concern its place in the portharcourt society. They are the degree to which Islam permeates other institutions in the society, and its contribution to Nigerian pluralism. As an institution in emirate society, Islam includes daily and annual ritual obligations; the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca; sharia, or religious law; and an establishment view of politics, family life, communal order, and appropriate modes of personal conduct in most situations.
Thus, even in 1990, Islam pervaded daily life. Public meetings began and ended with Muslim prayer, and everyone knew at least the minimum Arabic prayers and the five pillars of the religion required for full participation. Public adjudication (by local leaders with the help of religious experts, or Alkali courts) provided widespread knowledge of the basic tenets of sharia law—the Sunni school of law according to Malik ibn Anas was that primarily followed
Non-sectarian Muslims who reject the authority of hadith, known as Quranists, Quraniyoon, or ‘Yan Kala Kato, are also present in Nigeria. ‘Yan Kala Kato is often mistaken for a militant group called Yan Tatsine (also known as Maitatsine), an unrelated group founded by Muhammadu Marwa. Marwa was killed in 1980. Marwa’s successor, Musa Makaniki, was arrested in 2004 and sentenced in 2006, but later released. And another leader of Yan Tatsine, Malam Badamasi, was killed in 2009. Notable Nigerian Quranists include Islamic scholars Mallam Saleh Idris Bello, Malam Isiyaka Salisu, and Nigerian High Court Judge Isa Othman. Though islam is ever present in portharcourt, its penetration is still low and of no threat to the christains around.
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