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An Alternative Vision of Sharia Application in Northern Nigeria: Ibrahim Salih’s Hadd Offences in the Sharia

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image of Journal of Religion in Africa

After Islamic criminal law was introduced in northern Nigeria in 1999/2000, sentences of amputation and stoning to death were handed down by Sharia courts. Within a short period of time, however, spectacular judgments became rare. Given the importance of religion in northern Nigerian politics, this development must have been supported by influential Muslim scholars. This article analyses an alternative vision of Sharia implementation proposed by influential Tijaniyya Sufi shaykh Ibrahim Salih. He calls for a thorough Islamisation of northern Nigerian society, relegating the enforcement of Islamic criminal law to the almost utopian state of an ideal Muslim community. In this way he not only seeks to accommodate the application of Islamic law with the realities of the multireligious Nigerian state but also tries to conserve the unity of Muslims in the face of a perceived threat for Nigeria’s Muslims of being dominated by non-Muslims in the country.

Affiliations: 1: Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam Spuistraat 134, 1012 VB Amsterdam the Netherlands, Email:


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