n Journal for Islamic Studies - The role of traditional rulers in the Islamization of Osun State (Nigeria)




Since its arrival in Yorubaland, Islam has spread like burning fire during harmattan. Many factors were considered and one that has not been given much attention is the role the traditional rulers played. Many kings were (and are still now) believed to be the chief priests of their domains and custodians of their traditional local culture. This is not in line with the teaching of Islam which preaches absolute tawhid (monotheism), hence this factor has been neglected by some Muslim historians. Some of these royal fathers, whether they embraced Islam or not, have impacted the spread of the religion within their domains. This paper thus examines the roles played by these traditional rulers in the spread of Islam in Yorubaland with particular reference to Osun State. It explores the relationship between the rulers and their respective Muslim communities, and the impact they had on Islam and traditional society.


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