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Islamic heritage in Nigeria

Nigeria is the country with the largest Muslim population in West Africa. The Pew Research Center estimates that in 2010 there were 48.5 percent of Muslims in Nigeria of the total population. This number has decreased from 2009 which amounted to 50.4 percent. Muslims in Nigeria are dominated by Sunni.

Islam first arrived in Nigeria in the 9th century. Religious archives show that Islam has been adopted as the religion of the majority of prominent figures in the Bornu Empire during the reign of Mai (King) Idris Alooma who served 1571-1603. Although at that time most of the Nigerians still adhered to the traditional religion. Here are three architectures of Islamic heritage in Nigeria.

Gobarau Minaret


Gobarau Minaret is a 15 meter tall tower located in the center of Katsina City, Northern Nigeria. The tower that has become the symbol of Katsina City is the earliest evidence of Islamic architecture in the city known as the theological center.

Gobarau became the first multistory building in West Africa. Building construction is believed to have been completed during the reign of Sarkin Katsina (King) of Muhammadu Korau (1398-1408 AD) who was the first Muslim king of Katsina.

Shekh Alimi Mosque

Shekh Alimi Mosque is located in Ilorin City, Nigeria. The city is widely known as a city of scholars and the center of Islamic knowledge. This nickname was obtained through hard work for many years from the founders of the Kingdom of Ilorin to spread the religion of Islam. Sheikh Alimi is recognized as the founder of the Kingdom of Ilorin.

Although, other scholars argue that Islam had existed in Ilorin before the arrival of Sheikh Alimi who had the original name as-Salih. However, since the arrival of Sheikh Alimi in Ilorin, it can be said to have changed the history of Ilorin and helped in the establishment of an Islamic city.

One of Sheikh Alimi's contributions to Ilorin was establishing Shekh Alimi mosque in 1810. The mosque was built as a medium to help spread Islam. This mosque is the first and oldest mas jid. Not only in Ilorin, but also throughout Kwara, Nigeria.

Hubbaren Shehu

Hubbaren Shehu or known as the home of Sheikh Usman Danfodio is an extraordinary example of typical traditional Sudanese-Islamic architecture that has remained unchanged for over 200 years.

This place became as one of the famous centers of Islam despite being in the 19th and 20th centuries which is the period of missionary activity and colonialism in Africa.
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