Islam in Nigeria
Nigeria has one of the largest Muslim populations in West Africa, with the Pew Research Center estimating that it is between 48.5% (2010) and 50.4% (2009). The CIA estimates 50% while the BBC estimates slightly over 50% (2007). Muslims in Nigeria are predominantly Sunni in the
Maliki school, which is also the governing Sharia law.[ citation needed ] However, there is a significant
Shia minority, primarily in Kaduna , Kano , Katsina and Sokoto State ; (see Shia in Nigeria). A smaller minority follow the Ahmadiyya , a reformatory sect originating in 19th century India. In particular Pew Forum on religious diversity identifies 3% as Ahmadi Muslims and 12 percent as Shia Muslims.
Islam was first documented in Nigeria in the 9th century. Religious archives showed Islam had been adopted as the religion of the majority of the leading figures in the Borno Empire during the reign of Mai (king) Idris Alooma (1571–1603), although a large part of that country still adhered to traditional religions. Alooma furthered the cause of Islam in the country by introducing Islamic courts, establishing mosques, and setting up a hostel in Makkah , the Islamic pilgrimage destination, for Kanuris . It had spread to the major cities of the northern part of the country by the 16th century, later moving into the countryside and towards the Middle Belt uplands. However, there are some claims for an earlier arrival. The Nigeria-born Muslim scholar Sheikh Dr. Abu-Abdullah Abdul-Fattah Adelabu has argued that Islam had reached Sub-Sahara Africa, including Nigeria, as early as the 1st century of Hijrah through Muslim traders and expeditions during the reign of the Arab conqueror, Uqba ibn al Nafia (622–683) whose Islamic conquests under the
Umayyad dynasty, in Amir Muavia and Yazid periods, spread all Northern Africa or the Maghrib Al-Arabi , including present-day Algeria , Tunisia,
Libya and Morocco .