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The Kano ‘Mosque-Tower’ or ḥaṣūmiyā: The creation of a myth.

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image of Islamic Africa

The paper concerns a widely held belief that the ‘great’ Kano ‘mosque-tower’ was of considerable age when demolished in 1938 and that it dated probably from the nineteenth century, or even earlier. Apart from brief references in the Kano Chronicle (KC), (and in another Kano ‘king-list’ published by Hunwick), to the building of a ḥaṣūmiyā and mosque,during the reign of the Kano ruler, Muḥammad Runfā, (1463–1499), post-Runfā references to mosque building in the KC do not mention a ‘great’ tower, nor do nineteenth-century European travellers’ accounts. It was not remarked on at the time of Lugard’s conquest of Kano in 1903.Evidential sources are presented showing that the ‘Mosque-Tower’ was built under colonial influence around 1911/12. It was anathema to the ‘ulamā’, in the light of the recorded views of the Shēhu Uthmān ɗan Fodio, hence its ultimate demolition.

Affiliations: 1: University of Birmingham,


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