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Usman Dan Fodio was born in 1754, a son of Muhammad ibn Salih and Hawwa binti Muhammad. He was from Fulani ethnic in the Hausa state and grew up in Degel. Syeikh Usman was the founder of the Sokoto caliphate in 1809 by reformation that break away from the corrupted ruler at that time. To better understand how he started the idea of reformist movement, we should look at his early education in which many of his teachers managed to whisper the idea of jihad in him. One of them was Sheikh Jibril who gave his students the intellectual, moral, spiritual and also ideological of the jihad. There was also scholar named Sidi Ahmad Baba, who taught Sheikh Usman the role of the scholar in the society. The scholar first responsibility is to acquaint himself with the basic knowledge of the sources, then of the law, then of different sciences that support the life of society, and then of history and so on. Second responsibility is to stand up boldly as the guardian of the conscience of society, preventing any assault or outrage against the values of society or against the sacredness of its beliefs and institutions. The scholar third responsibility is to stand up for the poor and the oppressed, to defend their rights and to strive for the truth. Next is to stand up for the defence of the nation and enhance its integrity as a nation faithful to Allah and submissive to His laws. Finally, it is his responsibility to raises the generation of men and women capable of taking social responsibility and changes it in a positive direction when it started to change in the wrong path. We can say that to follow all this responsibility as a scholar, Sheikh Usman will eventually start the jihad movement to uphold the societys right. In other to transform the society, Sheikh Usman realize that he have to mould his ideas and share his aspirations to bring about an ummah dedicated to Islam. He established his own school creating his own community of scholars and teachers. Through these students that he

spread his message of jihad and carried it to a successful end. The most serious challenge faced by Sheikh to transform Hausaland came from the corrupted scholars. Unlike kings who challenged was basically political, this ulama challenged the Sheikh intellectually where if he failed to face up to them, his movement would have lost the moral and intellectual battle. The theme of his teaching is that people should follow the Quran, sunnah and ijma and abandon the bida. He also tried to change the condition of women in terms of their status and treatment. It should be start with the improvement of women education. For him, women should never sacrifice her rights to maintain and to seek her own source of livelihood if she not satisfied with her economic condition. Society should come to her aid when she is oppressed and not continue to deny the women rights like what the rulers do at that time. Sheikh started his work by travels to both east and west calling people to Islam, instructing them to basis of religion and discouraging them from following customs that against Islamic teaching. He avoided the political authorities at the early stages but when the community talk much about him and he become well known to the kings, he saw that he must go to them and he travelled to the Amir of Gobir, Bawa and explained to him the true Islam and ask the king to do justice in his lands. Usman's preaching received the support of the leadership of Gobir; however, as his influence increased and as he began to advocate for self-defense arming by his followers, his favor with the leadership decreased. . In 1801, Sarkin Gobir Yunfa, a former pupil of dan Sheikh Usman Dan Usman, replaced Nafata as king of Gobir. In year 1803, Yunfa invite Sheikh Usman to the palace with Abdullahi and Umaru Alkamu, his trusted companion. Usman demanded the release of prisoners and the abolition of all unjust taxes. Yunfa tried to kill sheikh but fail and that was the last personal contac between Sheikh and the ruler of Gobir. Sheikh did not seek to make a sensation about killing attempt by Yunfa. He kept it secret and concentrated on safeguarding

the Jamaas well-being and survival. He was aware that strength was not all that was required for success. Sheikh continued his teaching until the enemy attacked first. After the threat on sheikhs life by Yunfa, there were many events happen. Some of the sheikhs followers including scholars and reciters of the Quran, who had fled to Gimbana were murdered by Yunfas soldiers. Women and children were captured and sold as slaves, books were destroyed and the property was taken. Yunfa sent a message to sheikh ordering him to move out of Degel with his family and disperse his community; otherwise they too would be destroyed. Thus the hijra started to Gudu, just outside the territory of Gobir. The mass emigration towards Gudu alarmed the ruler of Gobir and he takes effort to stop it by intimidation, plunder and slaughter which were unsuccessful. He then wrote a letter to sheikh asking him to return to Degel. Sheikh reply stating the conditions under which he would call of the hijra: the sultan should repent and purity his religion; he should abandon corrupted ruling, become true Muslims, release the prisoner and restore all property he had looted from Muslims. The ulama at the court distorted the content of the Sultans message and urged Yunfa to reject it. The hoist of flag of Islam at Gudu signalled the beginning of the jihad. Teachers, scholars, soldiers joined by peasants, slaves and the oppressed men and women who had pledged their lives for the defence of Islam now clustered around Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio. The jihad started with several battles between Muslims and the forces of Gobir which successfully liberated Matankari and Kwonni. The sheikh prepared an army to fight Yunfa with his brother Abdullahi as its commander. It was poor, ill- equipped and inexperienced, comprised mainly of people driven from their homes for their beliefs, people inspired by loved for Allah and His religion. The two armies met at Gurdam on a lake of Tabkin Kwatto on June 1804 which the sheikh army win the battle.Shortly after the this battle, sheikh moved from Gudu to Magabci. After two months there, sheikh moved to Sokoto with the intention of

sending force against the Sultan of Gobir. During this period, there was a peace attempt and the message was sent by Sultan of Gummi. Seikh accepted the proposal and decided that Yunfa himself should come to Sokoto for the negotiations. The Gobir ruler would have come but his council advised otherwise and this peace effort failed. After the collapse of the peace effort, most important battle was attempt to liberate Gobirs capital, Alkalawa but also failed with great lost for the fifth year of hijrah, Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio decided to combined physical attack on Alkalawa by sending messaged to all liberated countries of Hausaland to join the march against the final stronghold of Gobir power. Ultimately, Yunfa and his followers were slain and this marked the end of Hausa power and the beginning of the Sokoto Caliphate under sheikhs son, Muhammad Bello in 1809. This new In conclusion, Usman Dan Fodio did not set out early in his life to organise a jihad and to establish an Islamic state and society. He did not realise that his modest effort will lead to big political change in the state of Gobir. When he traveled out of Gobir to the neighbouring states to increase his knowledge, he clearly did not imagine much coming out of his efforts. But because of his writings which educate many people and his courageous efforts to bring justice for the people turn out to be a spark of this jihad. He acted wisely by not rushing to fight the ruler until the people fully prepared in physical and truly follow the teaching of Islam. Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio can be recognized as the reformist that contributed to cultivate the teaching and spreading of Islam in Sudanic-Belt in early 19th century.


Ibraheem Sulaiman.(1986). A Revolution in History:The Jihad of Usman Dan Fodio. London and New York: Mansell Publishing Limited. Usman Bugaje.(September 2, 2010). The Jihad oF Shaykh Usman Dan Fodio and Its Impact Beyond The Sokoto Caliphate. Madani Timbukti TraditionsBlog:A traditional approach to the study of Islam.Retrieved from