Jihad is an Arabic word which literally means striving or struggling with a praise worthy aim.Though it is most frequently associated with war,in classical Islamic law(Sharia)the term refers to armed struggle against unbelievers.
Muhammad Bello,the son of usman dan fodio, transformed the semi permanent camp of sokoto into a city in 1809,during the fulani war. Dan fodio ruled from sokoto as the religious leader of the fulani jihad states from that point until 1815, when he retired from administrative duties.the calaiphate appointed various emirs to govern various state of the empire. These men were often veterans of the fulani wars. The sokoto caliphate became the most powerful economic and political system of region during the 19th century, and contributed profoundly the islamization of northern nigeria.
The fulani jihad ( 1804-1810) has its heart and beginning in gobir. It is noted that the very essence of the jihad against established Hausa dynasty was in itself revolution in a relationship between the hausa and the fulani’s. it is informative to note that Islam was introduce into hausa land about 14th century by forieng mallams and merchants such as waqara arabs and the fulani’s it is intresting to note that the whole episode of the fulani jihad revolves around the life and teachings of shehu usman dan fodio, who was believed to have been born in 1754.

The basic causes of the fulani jihad of 1810 – 1840 have continued to generate controversies among scholars while some have advanced religious reasons for the outbreak of the holy war, others have identified political,social economic causes as well as the influence o islamic reforms else where in west Africa. However, there were numerous reasons that led to the spread of the jihad of sokoto caliphate.

POLITICAL REASON The outbreak of the jihad have also been emphasized adeleye, argues that politically, the fulani’s had remained aliens in Hausa land and borno despite the fact that they had lived there for centuries without any regard to the substantial number of learned men among the fulani’s. they suffered the disabilities of second rate citizens among the Hausa, though some fulani’s were observed to have served in government of many states in very high places. The distribution of power after the jihad lends credence to the political under tone of the jihad as the caliphate was largely ruled by the fulani’s.
However the kings of gobir like other monarchies were at least normally Muslims and for a time, Usman had been employed as their court.He used the influence he gained to develop a Muslim community of his own some miles away from the capital governed according to the strict principle of law preached by the qadiriyyah. The king of gobir gradually came to the conclusion that they could not afford to tolerate this independent jurisdiction within their unsettled kingdom and began to take steps against the Muslim community.By 1804 the situation became such that usman felt he had no alternatives but to declare a jihad and to adopt the role of an independent Muslim ruler ( Amir Al-muminin or in Hausa Sarkin Muslim).Both sides appealed for wider support while the Hausa kings proved in capable concerted action against the movement of Islamic rebellion,discontented fulani and oppressed Hausa peasant throughout Hausa land welcome the opportunity to rid themselves of vexatious overlords and arbitrary taxation.
ECONOMIC REASON The sokoto caliphate under the control of muhammed bello and wazir gidado on agriculture and artisan goods. This economic growth allowed them to fund political, educational and military development within the caliphate which lead to it invading and conquering surrounding areas, increasing the number of people under its administration and so achieving the secondary aim of spreading the word of Islam. During his conflict he struggled to establish a strong economy due to his lack of resources to safely guard the roaming cattle herds and as such large part of the military and economic resource
Other differences included a system of islamic slavery which encouraged emancipation a close connection with slave raiding and distribution and a system of land tenure which often resulted in fragmented holding.

SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS REASON The continuing warfare in hausa land greatly affected the people,lives and property were destroyed. In order to equip their armies the rulers had to increase taxes, peasant had their properties confiscated. Many were force to fight in the armeis, others were caught and sold into slavery. Businessmen were forced to pay very high taxes. The fulbe nomads often had their cattle confiscated.
However, the jihad of the sokoto caliphate brought about some positive and negative impact to central Nigeria area

The coming of the jihadist in central nigeria area changed alot of cultural beliefs and customs

The penetration of the jihadist brought in choice of dressing and languages

The non-muslims were as well under constant attacks
Desire to make islam suppress every other religions in central nigeria area

The people of central nigeria area made contact with other cultures outside the region

The jihad also brought a defined system of operations

It also led to intermarriage between different cultures and religious in central nigeria area

It lead to large settlement pattern among many people from different place as CNA called the
melting point of culture


The history of West Africa in the nineteenth century is chequered with jihads – Islamic holy wars. While differing in place, timing and execution, all show religious and political similarities, and all brought about important changes in the societies in which they occurred.

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