IINA - 07
Abuja, Muharram 7/Apr 1 ,2001(IINA) - Islam found its way to Nigeria
about two centuries ago, starting from the north of the country, and was
brought by Arab and Muslim merchants who came not only for business
purposes, but also for spreading the word of Allah.
Islam was the first religion to penetrate Nigeria, in that when
Christianity was brought to the country by the British colonizers, Islam
was already being practiced in the country.
From the north, Islam then spread to the south of the country, and
now it is spreading to all the other parts. It was from the south that
Christianity found its way into Nigeria.
Nigeria’s population is now in the region of
120 million, as per the 1996 census, with Muslims accounting for
80,000,000 (70 percent of the population), with Christianity and animism
followers making up the rest of the population.
There are 333 tribes in Nigeria, the most prominent being the Hausa,
said to be the largest tribe in Africa, and they are mainly concentrated
in the northern part of the country and some of the neighboring
countries of the north. The Hausa are followed by the Yorubas, who are
mainly concentrated in the south of the country, and the Ibos in the
east. Each of the tribes has its own customs and traditions, just like
tribes in the rest of the world.
Christian missionaries have intensified their efforts in trying to
Christianize the Muslims, taking advantage of the economic weakness of
the Muslims and helping them improve their conditions by extending a
helping hand to them. The result is that many Muslims now are only
Muslims nominally, and they no longer see the difference between the two
However, the Muslim activists are trying to counter the
Christianization efforts by the missionaries by educating the Muslims on
the various aspects of Islam. By the Grace of Allah, their efforts are
paying off, despite the paucity of their resources.