The institution of shariah in Oyo and Osun States, Nigeria, 1890 - 2005

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Doctor of Philosophy
Title The institution of shariah in Oyo and Osun States, Nigeria, 1890 - 2005
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
The spread of Islam to Yorubaland was accompanied by the institution of Shari
(the Islamic law), and Muslims in the area applied it, alongside the Customary and
Common Laws during the pre-colonial period before its abolition by the colonial
government. However, very little research has been done in this area. Therefore, this study
examined the institution of Shari
ah in Oyo and Osun States of Nigeria with reference to
Yoruba Customary Law which had been in existence and the Common Law.
The research employed historical and survey methods using archival materials,
interview schedules and a questionnaire. 10 Muslim and Christian leaders from each state
were randomly selected. The respondents to the questionnaire were selected using random
sampling technique. They consisted of 240 people, 50 each of Muslim and Christian
leaders in each state and 20 randomly sampled members for each of the Houses of
Assembly in the states because of their constitutional power to pass Bills to Laws.
Descriptive statistics was employed in analyzing the data.
The study revealed that the British colonialists, during the colonial era, used their
authority to replace Shari
ah with Common Law through Indirect Rule. It identified that
ah issue is contentious because of general misunderstanding and misconceptions of
its origin, tenets and practices. It also discovered that the agitation of the Muslims in the
selected states for Shari
ah was based on the premise that both Yoruba Customary and
Common Laws did not cover certain provisions under Shari
ah, such as ‘iddah‘ waiting
period for a widow’, al-hadanah ‘custody of children’ and mirath ‘inheritance’. The study
revealed that Muslims found psychological relief in the Shari
ah application in
Yorubaland. Despite its official replacement, some Muslims had firm conviction in using
ah; hence, it is applied at individual, private and non-governmental levels as
evidenced in the activities of Faya Group in Ikirun, Bamidele Movement in Ibadan and
Islahuddin Association in Iwo, as well as the Independent Shari
ah Arbitration Panels in
Ibadan and Osogbo. It was discovered that while 93.0% of the Muslim respondents of both
states were agitating for the establishment of Shari
ah Courts, 53.0% of the Christian
respondents showed negative attitude to the resuscitation. 60.0% of the respondents of
Oyo State House of Assembly supported the agitation, but 75.0% of those in Osun State
did not.

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