A FOREIGN FAITH IN A CHRISTIAN DOMAIN: THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ISLAM AMONG THE IGBOS OF SOUTHEASTERN NIGERIA (Wujudnya Kepercayaan Asing Di Kalangan Golongan Kristian: Pembangunan Sejarah Islam Di Kalangan Kaum Igbo Di Tenggara Nigeria)

Saheed Ahmad Rufai

Abstract


ABSTRACT

Igboland, which is geographically located in the Southeastern part of Nigeria, was  the  last  part  of  the  country  to  witness  the  advent  of  Islam.  This  was owing to the fact that the people are predominantly Christian and adherents of African traditional religions. Notwithstanding, Islam spread to the region in the 19th  century and has since been earning itself new adherents among the local people. However, there has not been a systematic study of the spread, growth and development so far of the religion among the Igbo people whose adherents are a minority and to whom the religion is alien. The purpose of this article is to trace the historical development of the religion in the region by identifying the factors instrumental to its spread as well as the initiatives of the early Muslims. The significance of such a historical analysis lies in its potential to provide some new insight into how a minority survives with their religions persuasion in the face of majority adherents of dominant faiths. The article employs a combination of the historical and the analytical methods and concludes that with appropriate da’wah    machineries in place, Islam stands a good chance of becoming the religion of the majority of the Igbo people.

ABSTRAK

Tanah tempat kediaman kaum Igbo yang terletak di bahagian Tenggara Nigeria adalah bahagian yang terakhir menyaksikan ketibaan agama Islam. Ini disebabkan sebahagian besar penduduknya terdiri daripada penganut berketurunan Kristian, iaitu  agama  turun  temurun  nenek  moyang  mereka.  Sungguhpun  demikian, agama Islam telah berkembang ke daerah tersebut pada kurun ke-19 dan telah mendapat sambutan yang menggalakkan daripada penganut-penganut baru daripada penduduk tempatan. Bagaimanapun sehingga kini tiada kajian sistematik dilakukan berkaitan perkembangan, pertumbuhan dan pembangunan Islam di kalangan kaum Igbo yang terdiri daripada golongan minoriti di mana Islam merupakan sesuatu yang baru dan asing bagi mereka. Tujuan artikel ini adalah untuk menyusuri  perkembangan sejarah agama Islam di rantau itu dengan mengenal pasti faktor-faktor yang secara langsung melibatkan perkembangan dan usaha peringkat awal masyarakat Islam di kawasan itu. Kepentingan analisa sejarah ini terkandung dalam keupayaannya untuk memberi suatu pandangan yang mendalam bagaimana kaum minoriti ini dapat melangsungkan hidup mereka tanpa ragu-ragu dan dipengaruhi masyarakat Kristian yang lebih besar jumlahnya. Artikel ini menggunakan gabungan metode analisis dan metode persejarahan. Artikel ini juga merumuskan usaha dakwah perlu menggunakan pendekatan yang sesuai dengan situasi semasa dan keadaan setempat supaya Islam berupaya menjadi agama yang dianuti oleh majoriti masyarakat Igbo.


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