Islamizing Women’s Education: Sharia Commissions and Women’s Religious Education in Northern Nigeria

By Chikas Danfulani.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The re-introduction of Sharia in northern Nigeria since 1999 has occasioned an intensification of Islamic religious education. The establishment of Sharia Commissions in the Sharia states to monitor Islamic institutions has also provided the opportunity to found new Islamic schools as well as reinvigorate existing ones. Previous studies reveal that such schools received high patronage from women because they combined both religious education and western type education. Based on research conducted in 2007 and 2008 in Kano and Zamfara states in northern Nigeria, this paper describes how new programs on education are increasingly leaning towards the Islamization of knowledge in general and women’s education in particular. Combining data from ethnographic interviews and written documents from Sharia Commissions in Kano and Zamfara states, the paper argues that since 1999, innovative educational programs in the states under study have privileged Islamic education above western education for Muslim women. More women attend these schools now than in the past because of the underlying perception that Islamic education (or knowledge) is the ideal form of education for women who are considered custodians of religious knowledge by virtue of their status as mothers and home managers.

Keywords: Islamization, Education, Women

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.171-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 719.797KB).

Chikas Danfulani

Student, Religious Studies, Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany/Jos, Nigeria