A prominent Catholic layman was once talking about the threat of Islam to the Church in Nigeria. After a while he looked at me and said: "But you don't regard it as a threat." He was implying that, as a scholar of Islam, I take a friendly, sympathetic approach and don't give proper attention to the danger of Islam. I was trying to answer in some nuanced way, showing that we have to try to be as positive as we can about Islam while at the same time be completely aware of in what ways it is contrary to Christian faith and ideals.

Afterwards I thought of a better answer: Is the devil a stronger enemy to the Church than Islam? Of course! Is the devil a threat? Not at all! -if we remain united with Jesus who overcame the "Prince of this world" (Jn 12:31; 16:11,33) and prayed the Father to protect us from the "Evil One" (Jn 17:15). Then how can Islam be a threat, even if it pitches all its forces against us? With faith in the Lord our own success is guaranteed, and we have no justification for panicking.

The Second Vatican Council listed many admirable aspects of Islam and appealed to Christians and Muslims to forget the quarrels of the past and try to work together for understanding, peace and a better world. (1) The Popes have developed the same idea since in many talks. (2)

Nevertheless, in several countries, including Nigeria, some hostility continues. The Pope has called attention to violations of the human right of religious freedom in some Muslim countries, having Sudan particularly in mind.

The particular challenges that Islam poses to the Church in Nigeria are discussed in the second part of this article. First we should make an assessement of the relative strong and weak points of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria that form the background to any challenge that the Church finds in Islam.


Muslim political structures

West Africa knew a number of medieval states or empires claiming to be Islamic, notably Mali and Songhay. None of these states were purely Islamic, but combined many traditional customs with Islamic ceremony at the court of the ruler. The economic foundation of these states was trade with North Africa. When the Turks conquered most of North Africa in the early 16th century, leaving this trade to dwindle, it only remained for a few musqueteers to end the independent existence of Songhay in 1592.

Thereafter Islamic organization reverted to the form of a basic community known as jamâ`a, (3) which precedes the existence of an Islamic state, underlies its structure, and survives its demise. Usually with sûfic inspiration, it has a leader known variously as imâm, shaykh, mallam, alfa or marabout. It is a centre of religious practice and education, a self-sufficient economic unit, a political party and a miniature state, with all the military means it needs for its defence and eventually to set up a proper Islamic state.

As the Atlantic slave trade expanded along the West African coast under the Dutch and the British in the 17th and 18th centuries, various coastal empires emerged to take advantage of this trade. From the coastal markets trade routes went far inland, bringing down the slaves captured in wars among the Hausa states and elsewhere. (4) It did not take long for empires to take shape in the interior, organized to take advantage of this trade. Long distance trade had switched from the trans-Saharan route to North Africa to the routes leading to the coast.

When the colonial powers began to take over West Africa, they met Muslim communities organized both as jamâ`as and as Islamic states. Generally the French dismantled the Islamic states and neutralized the jamâ`as so that they would cooperate with the colonial government. (5) The British ignored the jamâ`as, except when they were afraid they might foment Mahdist unrest, but revamped the conquered Islamic states and made use of them in the system of indirect rule.

Under the British the the emirs and district heads gained a great deal of power, especially over unassimilated non-Muslim subjects. Nevertheless, the parallel institution of provincial authorities under a regional and eventually a federal government set up a rivalry which eventually would mean the surrender of all power on the part of the erstwhile Islamic state. During the early period of independence the emirs lost control of the police, the courts, prisons and taxes, winding up as ceremonial figureheads.

Real power was held for a time by the megalomanic Sardauna of Sokoto who ruled the Northern Region until 1966. After the break-up of the nation into states and the end of the civil war a new set of politicians emerged. Their power base were the commercial magantes of the north and the popular support they could gain among the sectional interests of each area. The new leadership was essentially secular, but it used religious sentiments (Muslim or Christian according to the area) to serve political aims. (6) Since Islam has long been a social definition, even more demarkating than tribe in the far north, its political value was not just a matter of religious rights and privileges, but meant the aspirations of a particular constituency for their share in the "national cake". Christianity never had the same political value, but it became a rallying point in reaction to Islamic politics.

Religion in the politics of 1970 onwards was basically a tool which the politicians used for secular interests. This is the phenomenon of "state Islam", observed in many other countries. (7) Very few Muslim rulers enjoy moral respect. One such was the former Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar. Over 50 years on the throne, he died in 1988?. The political authority of the Sultan is now virtually nil, but the office is one of great prestige and influence. One of his sons was announced on the radio as successor, but the government canceled that and appointed Ibrahim Dassuki, a very wealthy business man who had held many high government posts as well. The people of Sokoto rioted, chanting "Ba mu so" ("We do not want him"). But force prevailed, and people now respect the power, wealth and majesty of the man, who has a great deal of influence in the nation.

The military president, Ibrahim Babangida, is said to have become a Muslim only in the army. He married his wife in the Catholic Church in Asaba, but the two of them are now alhajis. Always suspected by the Muslims, he has had to make generous gestures to placate them, but has not managed to satisfy any constituency.

Muslim rulers generally go out of their way to show that what they do is Islamic, but few are impressed. Unlike other Muslim countries, in Nigeria where freedom of expression is so high, state Islam cannot prevent people from turning to Muslim organizations that do inspire them. In this situation Islamic jamâ`as of every tendency flourish, expressing, channeling or exploiting the real religious feelings of the people. (8)

Sûfic brotherhoods, particularly the Tijâniyya, have a strong appeal to the people because they are well atuned to the traditional religious sense of the people, having respect for the divine mystery that certain initiates can approach and whose power (baraka) they transmit through various sacraments and rituals. (9)

Another form of jamâ`a, inspired by the Saudi Wahhâbî movement, is the jamâ`a izâlat al-bid`a wa-iqâmat as-sunna, popularly known simply as the Izala movement. This group iconoclastically condemns sûfic respect for sacred persons, amulets etc. and has frequently engaged in violent action against other Muslims and sometimes against Christians. (10) There is a similar extremist jamâ`a known by the name of Shî`ites, formed by Nigerians who once studied in Iran. Although they have tremendous admiration for the Ayatollah and Iranian defiance of the "West", it seems doubtful that they have adopted the fundamental tenets of Shî`ism. They, like the Izala, have engaged in violent demonstrations to establish a real Islamic state based on Sharî`a.

Another type of jamâ`a is the Maitatsine movement, (11) representing the uneducated casual laborers during the oil boom of the 1970s who found themselves marginalized and poor when austerity set in. To judge by their actions, they were Khârijite in principle. (12) For them, both the traditional authorities and the new politicians had betrayed Islam and deserved death. The violent eruptions of this movement in Kano in 1980, in Bauchi in 1982 and Yola in 1984 were crushed by the army, and the movement is now underground if it survives at all. Very little is known directly about this movement; Maitatsine members were never given a chance to speak for themselves. Most of the assertions made about them were unfounded propaganda to discredit them as representing true Islam.

Pride in a winning movement

Islam very often takes root in a society along the pattern of its first implantation in Mecca and Medina. A small group of people are convinced of its religious and social message and they try to convince others. Once they get the upper hand, Islam becomes the ideology of that society, outlawing the public expression of any contrary viewpoint. One generation of such a policy results in the Qur'ânic world view becoming second nature to a people. (13)

An Islamic order may be imposed by force and social upheaval (as in Southern Sudan today), but once "peace" is imposed and people realize that resistance is futile they tend to go along with the new order. This is to take advantage of the opportunities for survival and prosperity in the better economic conditions that the end of war brings. Such an Islamic order has prevailed in the heartlands of the Sokoto Caliphate, but its position is very precarious with all the social and political changes that have been taking place.

The Qur'ân tells Muslims that they are "the best people raised up on earth, commanding the good and forbidding the evil" (3:110). This pride is reinforced by success and victory. A problem arises if Muslims are not on top. For long the educational backwardness of Muslims, especially in the north, was disregarded, since all that is worth knowing is in the Qur'ân, and the Qur'ân contains all modern science. (14) Later in the Independent period northern Muslims have tried hard to catch up, while the sad state of Islam was attributed to the infidelity of Muslims to true Islam. In any case, a Muslim is always proud of his Islam and, like a Calvinist, normally expects from it the best of this life and the best of the next.

Economic solidarity

Traditional Muslim society is not noted so much for its productivity (though it is strong among the Yoruba), as for its commerce. Muslim Hausa traders are helped by government patronage for importing and exporting. This offsets superior Igbo competition. Nevertheless, their trading networks are well developed, with an infrastructure of agents and settlements all the way to Lagos, creating a satellite economy that draws local people into Islam as well.

As for contracts, government patronage favours Muslims. Muslim entrepeneurs then often sublet contracts to Christians who do the actual work, but with much less remuneration.

Social and cultural advantages

Islam is a high profile religion. Mosques are sited on the main roads or other places where they can be seen. Loudspeakers allow no one to be out of earshot. For Friday prayers in many places the roads are blocked. Muslims put on gorgeous religious attire for feast days. Beggars proudly recite Islamic phrases to ask for their due. Everywhere the message is the same: "I am proud to be a Muslim."

Islam is lenient in its marriage regulations, allowing polygamy and divorce. Forgiveness is encouraged, but revenge allowed; indignation can be particularly strong when a challenge from non-Muslims is perceived.

Islam can intitially be very tolerant of traditional religious practices and syncretism, although purifying movements usually later arise to flush these out.

Community solidarity going far beyond a mere religious association gives Muslims a sense of belonging and a security which an unstable society and governments cannot provide. When a Muslim is far from home, Muslim colonies and particularly Sûfic brotherhoods provide a "home away from home". (15)

Although Islam has a Scripture, the Qur'ân is above all a document that is meant to be heard, not read. Its story-telling and exhortative style were originally addressed to an illiterate audience for whom oral culture was paramount. Such a style, as explained in public tafsîr sessions during Ramadân, suits the taste of Africans who still hear more than they read.

Likewise, the Qur'ân is addressed to people of an animist background, and takes the existence, power and activity of spirits seriously, warning against them and attempting to provide protection against them. This is something that appeals to an important concern of Africans. (16)

Besides these points of strength, Islam has a number of weaknesses which we do not take up here. What we have shown are the reasons why Islam is in a position to challenge Christianity.


Islam is a challenge to the Church on several fronts:

  1. First there is religious persecution or discrimination.
  2. Then there are inducements to change, such as promotions, contracts, marriage. These
  3. two challenges go together like the stick and the carrot, or trials and temptations.
  4. Thirdly there are intellectual challenges in the form of attacks on Christian beliefs.
  5. Fourthly there is the seduction of supernatural power seemingly hidden in certain Islamic prayers or amulets.
  6. Fifthly there is the important attraction of the good lives of many Muslims who are honest, respectful and dedicated to prayer and fasting.
  7. Lastly there is the challenge of dialogue and mission among Muslims, and how to reconcile these two approaches.

Let us discuss these challenges one by one.

Persecution and discrimination

Countless deaths and untold suffering has been inflicted on Christians in Sudan by fanatics who insist on imposing Sharî`a law on the whole country. Muslims who push for Sharî`a in Nigeria insist that it is only for themselves, but most Christians do not believe them, and see the Sharî`a drive as part of a plan to make Nigeria an Islamic state, with Christians in a second-class position. If the Qur'ân is ambiguous about the position of Christians in an Islamic society, (17) some important medieval treatises on constitutional theory are very plain: (18) Christians are not free to manifest their faith publicly or to evangelize. Any Muslim who becomes a Christian would be put to death etc. The utterances of fanatical Nigerian Muslims like Abubakar Gummi substantiate these Christian apprehensions.

Christians are rightly cautious about any surreptitious encroachment of Islamic institutions in public life. Many Muslims claim that O.I.C. is not something to serve just Muslims, but the whole nation. However innocent the charter of O.I.C. may seem in this regard (but looked at closely, it does promote Islam), Muslims complain of any scrapping of O.I.C. as discrimination and cheating them of their rights. This reaction indicates their real view of O.I.C., as something advantageous particularly to Muslims and not equally to all in the nation. (19)

So Christians have to be on guard against any whittling down of their rights in society, and attempt to change the situation where they are discriminated against. But the manner is important. It should be made very clear that Christians are not trying to put down Muslims, but only get equal rights for all. Even where Christians are suffering discrimination, strident statements are not usually helpful. They can alarm the Muslim community and galvanize them for action against Christians. It is better to protest softly and act quietly.

Peter said: "Always behave honourably among gentiles so that they can see for themselves what moral lives you lead (1 Pet 2:12)... Have respect for everyone and love for your fellow believers; fear God and honour the emperor" (2:17).


Christians in some states of the country see their Muslim mates advanced to high positions in civil service, while they themselves, often with better qualifications, are left behind. Major contracts are awarded to Muslims, while Christians can only get subcontracts to do the real work but not get the returns. The invitation is sometimes bluntly made: Become a Muslim and all this wealth and position will be yours.

A fair number succumb. They are here and there in government or the private sector and often retain benevolent feelings toward the Church, but do not dare come very close again.

Many women marry prominent Muslim men who can sometimes be reasonable husbands. There is no Sharî`a requirement that a Christian wife must become a Muslim, only that the children follow the father, but very commonly these women do become Muslim. Very often the marriage is because of love, but sometimes Christian girls are attracted by flashy cars and the promise of a a high life style.

"Lead us not into temptation", we pray. A Christian can legitimately aspire for wealth, but not at the price of dishonest deals or of falling down before Satan to "deny the Son" (1 Jn 2:23), who is "the way, the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6).

Someone who succumbs to trials and temptations and becomes a Muslim denies his Christian faith. To justify himself he comes to terms with some Muslim apologetic arguments in favour of Islam and against Christianity.

Intellectual challenges

There are some stock arguments that Muslims use to attack Christian beliefs and establish their position. (20)

Against the Trinity, they accuse us of polytheism. A Christian should know how to answer that the Trinity is one substance, one knowledge, one power and will, and one action in making and sustaining creation. We should, nevertheless, not fall into modalism, making the Father, Son and Holy Spirit just different aspects or manifestations of the same person, so that if Jesus died on the cross the Father did too (Patropassionism). (21) We must affirm the real distinction of relations in God between the Speaker and the spoken Word (Father-Son), and between the Breather (Father & Son) and the Breath or Spirit. These distinctions are much less than Muslims of the Ash`arite school place in God, saying that his Essence, life, knowledge, power, will, sight, hearing and speech are attributes all really distinct from one another within God. Christians hold that all these attributes are all really identical in God: He is justice; he is love. Only our limited human intelligence needs many concepts to understand the simple perfection of God.

Against the divinity of Jesus Muslims point with delight to the abundant evidence that he was really human. One Muslim placard read: "Allah never dies, not even for three days". A Christian should realize that all the evidence that Jesus was human merely confirms Christian teaching: Jesus is true man (against Monophysitism). But he is also true God. For Muslims it is a case of either or; for Christians it is both. Some Scripture passages showing Jesus as less than the Father point to his real humanity; others showing that he is one with the Father, the I AM (Yahweh) before Abraham was (Jn 8:58), point to his real divinity. The crucial statement "The Word became flesh" excludes hypotheses of a mere humanity (Arianism), or a humanity over which the Word and the Spirit hovered while remaining distinct (Nestorianism). The unity of Jesus' person justifies the statements that God died on the cross and that Mary is the Mother of God. If we deny these statements we are denying that the Word really became flesh.

To support their claim that Muhammad was a prophet, Muslims normally should point to the Qur'ân as a self-evident miracle, in fact, the only miracle (mu`jiza) of Islam. In our day and culture, however, the singular literary excellence of the Qur'ân does not make much impression on people. There are many works of art in the world (architecture, painting, music, drama) which overwhelm us with their beauty, and each of them is unique. So Muslims turn to other arguments.

One is the success of Islam. It has spread so far and wide that nearly one seventh of the world's population is Muslim. Moreover, they point to the intellectual and cultural achievements of the Muslim world, which some claim to be the source of modern civilization. That could not take place, they argue, without God's approval. We know the words of Gamaliel: "If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will be unable to destroy them. Take care not to find yourselves fighting against God" (Acts 5:38-39). If a movement is from God men cannot stop it; but the success of a movement does not prove it is from God; it will eventually break up, but may take a long time doing so. God has works out his own purposes in every human movement, even when these movements are opposed to him.

Muslims also argue that the Bible foretold Muhammad. In using the Bible, Muslims point out that the Qur'ân recognizes the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel, but they say the originals have been lost and only corrupted versions circulate today. So whatever in the Bible agrees with the Qur'ân they accept as authentic; whatever contradicts the Qur'ân they reject as a corruption. The Bible, of course, nowhere mentions Muhammad, but Muslims like to bend some passages in this sense because the Qur'ân proclaims that the Torah and the Gospel told of Muhammad. Either the passages have subsequently been removed, or existing passages should be interpreted as referring to Muhammad. The most commonly cited passage is the promise of the Paraclete in John 14 & 16, whom they take to be Muhammad. Any Christian with a little familiarity with the Bible will find this claim preposterous, but it should be pointed out to ordinary Christians that Muslims misinterpret this passage, and the proper interpretation should be supplied.

Another common passage is Moses' promise of a coming prophet, in Deuteronomy 18:17-19: "From their own brothers I shall raise up a prophet like yourself..." Muslims take this to be Muhammad, since the Arabs are the brothers of the Jews through Abraham. The passage gave rise to the Jewish expectation of a prophet; so the people asked John the Baptist if he were "the Prophet" (Jn 1:21). Jesus claimed the title of prophet only indirectly (Mt 13:57 par; Lk 13:33), but the crowds gave it to him clearly (Mt 16:14 par, 21:11,46; Mk 6:15 par; Lk 7:16,39, 24:19; Jn 4:19, 9:17). Jesus warned against false prophets (Mt 24:11,24 par). People expected "the prophet" foretold by Moses (Dt 18:15). John the Baptist denied that he was this prophet (Jn 1:21); Christian faith recognizes that Jesus alone was this prophet (Jn 6:14, 7:40; Ac 3:22-26).

All in all, Muslim intellectual arguments against Christianity and for their own case are rather weak and unconvincing. But they do like to debate, and a Christian who is disillusioned with the Church or has some ulterior motive might accept the arguments, especially if he has been poorly instructed in the faith (as, maybe, are most of our Catholics) and doesn't regard Jesus as anything more than a moral teacher and exemplar.

The seduction of supernatural power

We are very familiar with members of our churches who shop around prophetic mushroom churches, evangelical revivalists and even babalawos for healing or various other favours. The unifying factor in all this is the search for power, agbara, to be well, to succeed, to resist enemies etc. It is not surprising that such people should patronize Muslims as well if they have any reputation for supernatural power.

In fact, there is very little in Islam to warrant a healing ministry or pentecostal movement. There are a few instances in the life of Muhammad where divine intervention is supposed to have preserved him from danger or enlightened him about his enemies' machinations. Muslim power is basically military power supported by the angels, as at the battle of Badr.

Nevertheless, in North and West Africa a tradition has grown up over the centuries of religious medicine. Charms are made from Qur'ânic verses or from various other words that amount to "writing in tongues"; the ink of Qur'ânic writing is washed off an made into a drink; certain men are reputed to have come very close to God and therefore have access to divine power or blessing (baraka). So people come to them for prayers and instructions about certain rituals they must carry out (including offerings) to get what they want.

The latter practice has been going on for centuries, even though some reformist Muslims (like the Izala) disapprove of it. But in contemporary Yorubaland we have a phenomenon that is totally new and unique in the Muslim world; that is religious rallies modeled after Christian ones, with hand-clapping, choruses, drumming and dance, and advertisements for all to come and get their miracle. Prayers and rituals are prescribed or carried out with all the expectation of results that characterizes Christian assemblies. Examples of these are the Mashad Power Station on the Ibadan express road, and Allah De Adura centre on the Ife road. (22)

Muslim involvement in healing ministry will reach those Christians who are making the rounds to get what they want, but it has an empty and flat echo in the contemporary competitive world of spiritual power. In my view it is a reality, but not a serious challenge.

The attraction of good lives

We are familiar with Muslims who create the impression that Islam is a mock religion. In many places the word "alhaji" is equivalent to a rich crook. On the other side we meet honest Muslims who are so committed to their religion that they have no respect for others and their beliefs. Their fanaticism alienates non-Muslims.

Nevertheless, we meet a good many Muslims who are very attractive personalities, honest family men, respectful of others, competent in their professions, and devoted to prayer and fasting. It is sometimes embarrassing for Christians to be with such people, because their goodness puts the Christians to shame. (23)

If Islam is a challenge in this way we can thank God. Many lapsed Christians have rediscovered their Christian faith by living in a Muslim environment. I have heard of so many cases of this in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Syria etc. Nigeria is a very religious country. But it may take Islam to wake up other peoples who have lost their sense of religion. Even here many Christians can benefit from contact with Muslims.

The challenge of mission and dialogue

Regarding Muslims living good lives, we can say with Vatican II: (Gaudium et spes, n.22):

Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery. (24)

And John Paul II added in Redemptor hominis:

We are dealing with each man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united himself for ever through this mystery. All participate in this mystery from the moment they are conceived in their mother's womb. (n.13)
Man - every man without exception - is in some way united with Christ, even if he is not aware of it. (n.14) (25)

In spite of the respect we should have for so many good things about Islam, and in spite of the fact that Muslims in a state of invincible ignorance of the Church can be saved while remaining Muslims, Paul VI, in Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 Dec. 1975) insists on the duty of evangelizing them:

Neither respect and esteem for these religions nor the complexity of the questions raised is an invitation to the Church to withhold from these non-Christians the proclamation of Jesus Christ. On the contrary the Church holds that these multitudes have the right to know the riches of the mystery of Christ... This is why the Church keeps her missionary spirit alive, and even wishes to intensify it in the moment of history in which we are living. She feels responsible before entire peoples. She has no rest so long as she has not done her best to proclaim the Good News of Jesus the Saviour. (n.53) (26)

Along with evangelizing, we also have the duty of engaging in dialogue with Muslims. The inaugural encyclical of John Paul II, Redemptor hominis (4-3-1979), reaffirms the necessity of dialogue (colloquium), first with separated Christians, and then with non-Christians. We should reach out to them:

through dialogue, contacts, prayer in common, investigation of the treasures of human spirituality, in which, as we know well, the members of these religions also are not lacking. (27)

The Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Relations, headed by Cardinal Arinze, since 1964 has been promoting dialogue with Muslims and members of other non-Christian religions, but for years met with continual frustration in Nigeria. Only in recent years has the Church taken relations with Muslims and inter-religious dialogue seriously.


The challenge of Islam is multi-faceted. As simple as doves and as wise as serpents, we have to ward off dangers, calm fears and alarm, and reach out to Muslims in dialogical evangelization and cooperation for peace, justice and development.


1. Nostra aetate, n.3.

2. Cf. T. Michel, "Pope John Paul II's teaching about Islam in his addresses to Muslims", Bulletin of the Secretariat for non-Christians, n.62 (1986), pp.182-191, and the cumulative index of this Bulletin, n.63 (1987). Subsequent issues update the list.

3. On the use of this term in this context, see Murray Last, The Sokoto Caliphate (London: Longmans, 1967).

4. See the remark of Muhammad Bello in his history of the jihad, Infâq al-maysûr (written in 1812, ed. Cairo, 1964), p. 48.

5. Cf. Donal Cruise O'Brien, The Mourides of Senegal (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), Saints and politicians (Cambridge U.P., 1975), "Le talibé mouride: la soumission dans une confrérie religieuse sénégalaise", Cahiers d'Etudes Africains, 10, n. 40 (1970), pp. 562-578; Lucy Behrman, Muslim brotherhoods and politics in Senegal (Harvard U.P., 1970).

6. Cf. Yusuf Bala Usman, The manipulation of religion in Nigeria, 1977-1987 (Kaduna: Vanguard, 1987).

7. Cf. "Religious resistance and state power in Algeria", in Coudsi and Dessouki, pp. 119-157; William C. Chittick, "The Islamic concept of human perfection", Currents in modern thought, Feb. 1991, pp. 499-513.

8. On the reasons for the continuing attraction of Islam for the people see J. Kenny, "L'Eglise et l'Islam en Afrique de l'Ouest au XXe siècle (avec une référence particulière au Nigeria)" in G. Ruggieri, Eglise et histoire de l'Eglise en Afrique. Actes du colloque de Bologne 22-25 Octobre 1988 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1989).

9. Cf. Y.A. Quadri, "Qadariyya and Tijâniyya relations inNigeria in the 20th century", Orita, 16:1 (June 1984), pp. 15-30.

10. Cf. Y.A. Quadri, "A study of the Izala, a contemporary anti-sûfî organisation in Nigeria", Orita, 17:2 (December 1983), pp. 32-45.

11. Cf. Allan Christelow, "The 'Yan Tatsine disturbances in Kano, a serch for prospective", Muslim World, 75 (1985), pp. 69-84; see likewise the daily newspapers for the period.

12. For a similar movement in Egypt, see G. Anawati, "Une résurgence du kharijisme au XXe siècle: l'olbigation absent", MIDEO, 16 (1983), pp. 191-228.

13. For such an analysis of early Islam see W.M. Watt, The majesty that was Islam (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1974), pp. 58-61.

14. These arguments, rejected by Muhammad `Abduh, but popularised in Egypt by Tantâwî Jawharî, have been popularized in Nigerian newspaper articles on Islam. Cf. J. Jomier, Le Commentaire coranique du Manar (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1954), especially chapter 4, and Introduction à l'Islam actuel (Paris: Cerf, 1964), p. 113.

15. Cf. René-Luc Morreau, Africains musulmans (Paris: Présence Africaine, 1982), pp. 211 ff.

16. Cf. ibid., p. 214.

17. Muhammad Talbi, in "Religious liberty: a Muslim perspective", Islamochristiana, 11 (1985), pp. 99-113), argues, against traditional Muslim interpretation, that the Qur'ân really respects equal civil rights and does not support the death penalty for apostates.

18. Noteworthy are al-Mâwardî (d.1058), al-Ahkâm as-sultâniyya, and at-Turtûshî (d. 1126), Sirâj al-mulûk, standard reference works up to today.

19. Cf. J. Kenny, "The O.I.C.: the press debate", Shalom 4:3 (1986), pp. 130-150.

20. Muslim arguments against the Trinity and the Incarnation are discussed more fully in my article, "Islam and Christology", The Nigerian journal of theology, 1:6 (May, 1991), pp. 28-49.

21. Commonly found in pamphlets by non-Catholic groups, for example Followers of Isa believe in one God (Minneapolis: Fellowship of Isa (Jesus), 1981).

22. Cf. Bisi Tolulope Elegbede, The Muslim "Aladura", long essay for B.A. degree in Religious Studies, University of Ibadan, 1991.

23. John Paul II expresses the same idea in Redemptor hominis, n.6.

24. Ipse enim, Filius Dei, incarnatione sua cum omni homine quodammodo se univit... Quod non tantum pro Christifidelibus valet, sed et pro omnibus hominibus bonae voluntatis in quorum corde gratia invisibili modo operatur. Cum enim pro omnibus mortuus sit Christus cumque vocatio hominis ultima revera una sit, scilicet divina, tenere debemus Spiritum Sanctum cunctis possibilitatem offerre ut, modo Deo cognito, huic paschali mysterio consocientur. - A.A.S. 58 (1966), 1042-3. Other important texts are Lumen Gentium, n.16, Ad Gentes, n.11 and Nostra aetate.

25. De quolibet homine agitur, cum quivis comprehendatur mysterio Redemptionis et huius mysterii gratia in omne tempus cum eo Christus se coniunxerit... Quod quidem mysterium singuli homines... participant ex quo sub corde matris concipiuntur (n.13). Homo - omnis homo, nullo excepto - a Christo redemptus est; quia cum omni homine, nullo excepto - Christus aliquo modo iunctus est, licet homo huius rei non sit conscius (n.14). - A.A.S., 72 (1979), 283-5.

26. Neque reverentia et egregia aestimatio huiusmodi religionum neque implicatum genus quaestionum propositarum Ecclesiam inducunt, ut silentio tegat, ad non christianos quod attinent, nuntium Iesu Christi. Contra, ea opinatur hasce multitudines hominum ius habere cognoscendi Christi mysterii divitias... Hac de causa, Ecclesia ardorem missionalem suum alit ac fovet, quin immo augere studet hac, qua nos vitam degimus aetate; necnon officio se teneri persentit erga universos popolos; nullique parcit labori, ut pro suis viribus nitatur Bonum Iesu Salvatoris Nuntium edere. - A.A.S., 68 1976, 5-76, p.42.

27. colloquia habendo, communicando, simul orando, humanae religiositatis divitias exquirendo, quae, et bene novimus, ne harum quidem religionum sectatoribus desunt. - n.6, A.A.S., 71 (1979), 257-324, p. 267.