19th Century Jihads and social justice, security and prosperity. By Walubo Jude Tadeo Makerere University - Kampala Uganda e-mail : jwalubo@yahoo.com

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The Jihads in the 19th century West Africa were a series of revolutions or holy wars that characterized the history of the region sweeping from 1804 in Hausa land, 1818 in Masina and 1815 in Futa Jallon area under the leadership of Uthman Dan Fodio, Seku Ahmadu and Al-Hajj Umar respectively because of the un fair conditions in society. These wars were intended to open a period of social justice, security and prosperity in trade for all me who accepted Islam as seen below;

Official corruption, heavy taxation, confiscation of subject's properties, oppression of the poor in general and slavery which instilled perpetual fear, was as much a source of discontent to the Muslim as to the non-Muslim subjects. This state of affairs led to tension and frustration especially to the Muslim subjects, as Smith quite rightly observed:

"The position was frustrating for Muslims were generally conscious of being culturally far superior to the pagans.

Their religion, of course, left them in no doubt about this, and on the practical level they were likely to be superior citizens, knowing much more about the world than did the pagans, and conserving a vital monopoly of literacy."

( C. Smith, p.169)

Another evidence comes from the fact that the Jihads were intended to purify Islamic norms, which were to bring honesty to society. After the decline of Mali and Songhai empires, there was decline in Islamic faith in Western Sudan. Islam religion was mixed with pegan practices like over drinking and marrying non-Moslems, a situation that could compromise the honesty and evenhandedness in society. Historians A. Ajayi and Michael Tidy contend that " most of the ruling dynasties especially among the Hausa state, Islam sat lightly on them and all sorts of un-Islamic practices such as illegal taxation, enslavement of Moslems...



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