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new domains for public sentiment and debate—domains that cut across longstanding community barriers, yet stratified citizenship among Muslims.
“Marginal Muslims”: Politics and the Perceptual Bounds of Islamic Authenticity in Northern Nigeria Conerly Casey
In 1999 and 2000, twelve states in northern Nigeria declared Islamic law (Shari’ah) the state criminal law for all Muslims, redefining the boundaries of identity, civility, and criminality. In the city of Kano, the implementation of Shari’ah criminal codes appealed to Muslims from all sectors of society, as a democratic alternative to, and strong critique of, colonialism and the elitism and corruption of federal and state politicians. Urban ward gang members ( ‘yan daba) agitated alongside other Muslim youths for the implementation of Shari’ah codes, yet with others deemed “marginal Muslims,” became the immediate objects of preaching and surveillance by Hisbah (Shari’ah enforcers). Perceptual experiences in everyday life—whether one wore the beard of Muslim orthodoxy, or the baggy jeans and chains of Los Angeles rappers, or prayed at the tombs of Sufi saints—began to redefine and frame identity in terms of ethnic, Islamic “authenticity,” morality, and neighborhood and state security. In this article, I describe the changing relations of Hisbah and ‘yan daba during the 2000 implementation of Shari’ah codes in Kano, providing an analysis of the impact of the implementation itself on nonreformist residents. I show that reformist Hisbah vigilantly scrutinized Muslims living in ethnically plural spaces, Muslim ethnic minorities, and people who, by virtue of their region of origin, religion, or ethnicity, were deemed to be “marginal Muslims” or polytheists, and thus, “out of place.” Reformist Hisbah considered Muslim ‘yan daba, ‘yan Bori (followers of Bori), nonreformist Sufis (with pro-Shari’ah Sufi critics of Hisbah), and non-Hausa Muslims, particularly Muslim Yoruba, to be political–spiritual saboteurs who disallowed the reenchantment of orthodoxy and its ability to function as Islamic political unity and collective memory. For ‘yan daba and Hisbah, Islamic state-building became a work of ethnic, religious, and regional conflation, which through
unlawful displays of masculine power conflicted with the political aspirations of moderate Muslim Hausa, and superseded personal and non-Muslim Hausa expressions of Islamic authenticity, morality, and security.
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In 1999 and 2000, twelve states in northern Nigeria declared Islamic law (Shari’ah) the state criminal law for all Muslims, redefining the boundaries of identity, civility, and criminality.1 In the city of Kano, the Independent Shari’ah Implementation Committee, similar to Islamic state-forming coalitions in Algeria and in the Sudan, galvanized the political will to move beyond the rhetoric of Shari’ah as a democratic alternative to, and strong critique of, colonialism and the elitism and corruption of federal and state politicians. The committee appealed to Muslims from all sectors of society who desired concrete political, economic changes.2 Urban ward gang members (‘yan daba) agitated alongside other Muslim youths for the implementation of Shari’ah criminal codes, yet with others deemed “marginal Muslims,” became the immediate objects of preaching and surveillance by Hisbah (Shari’ah law enforcers). Perceptual experiences in everyday life— whether one wore the beard of Muslim orthodoxy, or the baggy jeans and chains of Los Angeles rappers, or prayed at the tombs of Sufi saints—began to redefine and frame identity in terms of ethnic and regional forms of Islamic “authenticity,” morality, and neighborhood and state security. What was visible, in the form of dress or comportment, was inseparable from what was not seen, or the world of spirits, which, as Mbembe (2001) points out, strengthens the visual image and the power of the visible. Hisbah extracted scriptural verses from the Qur’an to preach and project visual stereotypes of the “enemies of Islam” into popular consciousness. Hisbah who identified themselves as “Nigerian Orthodox Muslims,” an uneasy alliance of reformist Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, many of whom were reformist Sufi, vigilantly scrutinized Muslims living in ethnically plural spaces, Muslim ethnic minorities, and people who, by virtue of their region of origin, religion, or ethnicity, were deemed to be “marginal Muslims” or polytheists, and thus, “out of place.”3 Hisbah considered Muslim ‘yan daba, ‘yan Bori (followers of Bori),4 nonreformist Sufis (with pro-Shari’ah Sufi critics of Hisbah), and non-Hausa Muslims, particularly Muslim Yoruba, to be political–spiritual saboteurs who disallowed the reenchantment of orthodoxy and its ability to function as an Islamic collective memory, a history of perception that would unify Nigeria’s Muslims, and draw them more fully into world networks of politically active Muslims.5 Citing the Prophet Mohammed’s prediction that the Islamic umma (community) would split into seventy-three sects after his death, only one of which would bring salvation, Hisbah declared a jihad, “a struggle against a visible enemy, the devil and against self (nafs),” enemies of Islam, visible and unseen (Abdul 1988:241).6
There is growing documentation of the contributions of Islamic reform movements in Nigeria and in Niger, particularly of Wahhabi/Salafioriented‘yan Izala, to open debate over reigning political and moral orthodoxies and the legacies of colonialism (Loimeier 1997; Masquelier 1999; Umar 1993; Westerlund 1997). Such movements, as they seize on the signs, objects, and practices they seek to reform, create a “precarious oscillation of democracy and despotism” (Comaroff and Comaroff 1999:29). In Kano, reformist Muslims advocated the “democratic” implementation of Shari’ah criminal law, insisted on government accountability, and opened new domains for public sentiment and debate—domains that cut across longstanding community barriers, yet stratified citizenship among Muslims. They offered new opportunities for Islamic identification and participation, but, through the paradox of the democratization of religious knowledge and self- and community censorship, reform movements increased anxiety about salvation, about practicing the “true” form of Islam, and the potential for evil to enter oneself and one’s community through a lack of religious commitment. The Hisbah jihad, at the time of Shari’ah implementation, expressed the tensions of democratization and censorship, and provides an ongoing perceptual framework for ethnic and regional significations of Islamic authenticity, the identification of “bad” Muslims as kafirai (nonbelievers) and ba’ki (strangers), a shift in the policing of “un-Islamic practices” to the identification of “un-Islamic people,” and for routine violence against such people as “enemies of the state.”7 Among northern Nigerians, the relations of political–religious antagonism, forged during the nineteenth-century Islamic jihad, British colonization, and the Nigerian civil war, intersect with media portrayals of violence against Muslims within and outside of Nigeria’s national borders. Such antagonisms are rooted in, reproduce, and transform the ideologies and feelings of “affective citizenship,” which I define as displays of feeling about belonging to, and having agency within, the state. In Nigeria, “affective citizenship” is a fusion of personal, ethnic, religious, and regional citizenship, based on ethnic customary law, religious law, and the historical perceptions of enclosure and exclusion that underpin memories of belonging, backed by law, but a law that, historically, has been arbitrary and violent in its application. Hisbah, along with recruits among ‘yan daba and almajirai (Qur’anic students), use violence as a means of establishing themselves as dutiful Muslims—as “affective citizens,” who passionately display their feelings of belonging to, and having agency within the reforming government of Kano State. Muslim identities in northern Nigeria have historical dependence on evil others, who through the interpretation of Islamic symbols and ethnic descent may be routinely vilified, yet in newly relevant ways (Ado-Kurawa 2000; Gumi with Tsiga 1992; Kumo 1993; Paden 1986; Sanusi 2006a; Umar 2001). Shehu Usman ‘dan Fodio (1754–1817), founder of the Sokoto caliphate in northern Nigeria, sought to purify Islam, distilling the teachings of the Prophet as the basis for a unified spiritual umma (community). He was
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considered revolutionary because he called for jihad against Muslims he considered nonorthodox. Further complicating the spiritual, political unity that he sought was the existence of several anti-Caliphate, antijihad states, including Argungu (Kebbi), Gobir (Tsibiri), Maradi, Damagaram, Gumel, Borno, Ningi, Abuja, and Daura (Baure).8 In 1898, Flora Shaw suggested the name Nigeria for the British colonial project of uniting “politically neighboring but formerly autonomous states and peoples under imperial rule in one colonial state” (Levin 1997:135). British administrators arbitrarily established specific territorial units within the colonial state as autonomous, in what Mamdani (1996) calls “decentralized despotism,” exacerbating ethnic, religious, and regional political tensions. The British takeover of the Royal Niger Company in 1900, indirect rule as the British governing principle in northern Nigeria, and the consolidation of British colonial power under the Sokoto caliphate framed the regional motif of British colonial policy (Last 1967; Levin 1997; Paden 1986). Fractions emerged between the majority Muslim Hausa in the north, Christian Igbo in the southeast, and Christian and Muslim Yoruba in the southwest, and the ethnic, religious minorities within these regions, most notably the Ogoni in the oil-rich southeast (Crowder 1978; Falola 1998; Okpu 1977; Paden 1973; Saro-Wiwa 1992). The colonial transfer of state power to northern Muslims in 1960 at Nigeria’s independence brought with it a renewed interest in world Islamic affairs, grassroots Muslim brotherhoods and efforts to reimpose Shari’ah codes that had been excised at independence. The Nigerian civil war in the late 1960s generated thousands of internally displaced persons, requiring state governments to manage disputes about the constitutional and pragmatic rights and protections of displaced people. Under General Murtala Mohammed and General Olusegun Obasanjo, political attempts to establish a Federal Shari’ah Court of Appeal failed, but Shari’ah courts gained statelevel appellate status, which was incorporated into the 1979 constitution (Williams 1997). These events, coinciding with the 1979 Iranian Revolution, emboldened reformist Muslims who considered the implementation of Shari’ah law a way to confront Nigeria’s political economic and social ills. Nigeria’s oil boom, in the 1970s, and the state’s “petro-capitalism” and “spoils politics,” further deepened political antagonisms, based on ethnic, religious, and regional interests in the control of Nigeria’s land and resources (Falola 1998; Saro-Wiwa 1992Watts 2001). In the 1980s and 1990s, the creation of new states (Levin 1997), the convergence of religious and state politics (Falola 1998; Williams 1997), and development projects (Ocheje 1997) again displaced large numbers of Nigerians, reviving constitutional disputes over state jurisdictions and the ethnic, religious, and regional dimensions of national and state rights and protections. In northern Nigeria, conflicts over historical Islamic reform, Mahdism and millenarian militancy, colonial legacies and Western influences, and local ethnic, religious and regional perceptions of Islamic authenticity occur in dynamic relation to Nigeria’s political economic crises (Falola 1998;
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Watts 1996). Historical doctrinal disputes between Saudi Arabian Sunni and Iranian Shia enter contemporary northern Nigerian conflicts over the “role of the imam, umma, the importance of devotion, and legal matters” (Falola 1998:231). Interpretations of nineteenth-century disciplinary regimes, reformed in the Islamic scholarship and military-minded force of Shehu Usman ‘dan Fodio, provide ongoing scripts for identifying and punishing ethnic, religious, and regional others, in Kano State, once they are considered a threat to the moral order. Muslim Hausa youths such as ‘yan daba and Hisbah come to understand these scripts as they are revived through Friday prayer sermons, in religious media and pamphlets, by routine media depictions of political violence against Muslims (Ado-Kurawa 2000), and as part of ongoing political battles to implement Shari’ah codes in Nigeria (Kumo 1993; Okunola 1993; Yadudu 1993). With heavy media coverage of Israeli violence against Palestinians (and now Lebanese and Hezbollah) and the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” and war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Muslim reformists increasingly draw upon nineteenth-century jihadi disciplinary regimes, as well as those of contemporary resistance movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas, for guidance in what they perceive as a war on Muslims and the talakawa (commoners, poor). Media, as Feldman (1994:405) suggests, separately or combined with state and legal rationalities “can erect a cordon sanitaire around ‘acceptable’ or ‘reasonable’ chronic violence to the same extent that they successfully infiltrate social perception to neuter collective trauma, subtract or silence victims, and install public zones of perceptual amnesia that privatize and incarcerate historical memory.” Reformist movements gain momentum by extensive uses of, and responses to, media and telecommunications, embedded in the profiling stratifications of state violence, violence sanctioned by the governments of the United States, the Nigerian nation-state, and Kano’s Shari’ah state, and state, legal, and media legitimizations of violence toward “enemies of the state” under “wars” and “states of emergency.” Whether in the United States, where profiling has substantially increased after 11 September 2001, or in Kano State, where the assessment of Islamic authenticity intensified with the reimplementation of Shari’ah criminal codes, the “wars of orthodoxy” require “truth-telling” to recruit for, to justify, and to hide, ongoing colonial, imperial, and state violence against the “enemies of the state,” typically ethnic and religious minorities, and the poor.
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Kano and the geopolitics of research
In July of 2000, I returned to Kano, an ancient city of northern Nigeria, with a population of several million. Located in the north of Nigeria toward the border with Niger, it is the commercial and religious center of the north, serving a vast area from Burkina Faso to the West, to Chad and Cameroon in the East. Kaduna is the next largest city to the south, followed by Abuja, the Nigerian capital, then Lagos on the coast.
The people of Kano have identified as Muslim Hausa for several centuries, aligned with one of two Sufi orders, the Quadiriyya and the Tijaniyya, but Kano has incorporated large communities of Yoruba (about half of whom are Christian and half Muslim) and Igbo (predominately Christian). It includes well-established communities of Muslim Lebanese, and smaller communities of people from other parts of Nigeria and Africa, and from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Kano has an emir (traditional Islamic political leader), whose ancient palace, and the central mosque attached to it, stands in the Gari, the old city. Surrounding the Gari, remnants of twenty-feet-high walls built during the twelfth century create weathered hills that are crossed by indented walkways. Most ‘yan daba hangouts and Hisbah positions of surveillance are around the gates and walkways of their wards, points of visual power, security, and escape. Beyond the predominately Muslim Gari is the congested sprawl of greater Kano, more cosmopolitan by far, a maze of commercial and industrial sections interspersed between newly developed residential quarters for the rich. Two miles from the old walls is the tree-lined Government Residential Area (GRA), its colonial, stone houses a contrast to newer, Arab-style residences. Unlike the Gari, there is a level of ethnic, religious, and regional diversity within this quarter, for it is mainly populated by the Kano middle and upper classes who work in the professions, small business and manufacturing, and government service. There are tensions between Muslims who live in the single-family compounds of the GRA and their extended-family relatives in the Gari, who complain that the Westernization and elitism associated with life in the GRA results in an unruly selfishness that separates Muslim Hausa families. No ‘yan daba have historically congregated in the GRA, though in the years 1999 through 2002 the GRA became one of the main sites of political–religious protest and violence, especially violence associated with the profiling and “states of emergency” implemented to regulate “prostitution” and the consumption of alcohol, the other areas being neighborhoods on the outskirts of the Gari, such as Doraye and Tudun Wada, whose populations are also culturally mixed, but tend to be poor, and Sabon Gari ‘the new city’, comprised of a large market and residences of mainly southern Christians. In the mid 1990s, the convergence of ‘yan daba and Islamic militant sectarian violence toward ethnic, religious others formed the basis of my interest in youth groups and the ways that Muslim Hausa youths transmute aggression into ideologies of ethnic, religious authenticity and martyrdom, and use them to justify witchcraft, social banditry, ethnic, religious violence, and fighting for and against the state (Casey 1998). Between 2000 and 2002, I used a combination of methods—participant observations, semi-structured and person-centered interviews, archival and library research, and media collecting—to focus on formations of youth groups that through communal ideologies and acts suffer and mete out physical and metaphysical forms of violence. I interviewed a hundred ‘yan daba and their family members,
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Hisbah, ‘yan banga (vanguards, bodyguards), ‘yan farauta (hunters), ‘yan tauri, (former warrior class, now ritual fighters protected by herbal magic from the effects of weapons), drug-enforcement agents and police officers, judges, and health professionals who treat youths wounded in battle. I sought to understand youths’ ideologies of ethnic, religious authenticity and martyrdom, forms of personal and shared suffering, and whom they blame for their suffering. In locations ‘yan daba deemed comfortable and safe—hotel rooms and joints where they frequently congregated, the rooms of friends, abandoned buildings, their parent’s homes, my car, or on the street—I asked youths about changing notions of personhood, respect, civility, social justice, and revenge, and how and why youth groups solidify around common identities and the identification of enemies. I inquired about traditional and transnational influences on youths’ integrations into youth groups and political–religious communities. From these perspectives, I assessed groups of youths as the objects and perpetrators of violent acts, documenting incidents of interpersonal, intergroup fighting with fists, clubs, sticks, spears, or guns, and indirect, intergroup fighting through the use of spirits and witches. Through violent acts, I explored temporal and spatial convergences of violence with other ongoing events, ritual–religious calendars, the fetishization of certain forms of violence, and narrations of violence that had wider social, religious consequences than the acts of violence themselves.
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Northern Nigerian youth groups
In northern Nigeria, traditional Muslim Hausa youth groups such as ‘yan farauta and ‘yan tauri emphasize bravery and skill with weaponry and forms of magical protection sanctioned by most Muslims. During colonial occupation, joining these groups was banned, but they continued illicitly as forms of youth disciplinary development, entertainment and for political, economic survival (‘dan Asabe 1991). Their roles changed during the 1950s with the emergence of partisan politics in northern Nigeria. The Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), a party led by Malam Aminu Kano, which championed the rights of the poor (talakawa), put up strong opposition to the Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC), which had the support of the Fulani elite, traditional rulers, and British colonial administrators (‘dan Asabe 1991). The leaders of NEPU, faced with harassment and arbitrary arrests by the Native Authority policemen, recruited ‘yan farauta as ‘yan banga.9 Other parties followed suit, and clashes between ‘yan banga of different parties became routine. In 1966, the army took over, and General Aguiyi-Ironsi, military head of state, banned all partisan politics, eliminating most ‘yan banga activities. In 1978, General Olusegun Obasanjo as head of state lifted the ban, and the emerging parties in Kano, the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), dominated by wealthy businessmen and bureaucrats, and the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), predominately talakawa, once again recruited ‘yan banga (‘dan Asabe 1991). On 17 January 1995, General Sani
Abacha lifted the ban he had placed on party politics early in his regime, ushering in a new phase of ‘yan banga violence in Kano. In the early 1990s, ‘dan Asabe (1991) considered ‘yan daba to be ‘yan banga who were recruited from ‘yan farauta and ‘yan tauri, implying an evolution in youth gangs from traditional hunters and ritual fighters to modern gang members. Contemporary ‘yan daba, ‘yan banga, and most recently Hisbah, are part of a larger phenomenon—the emergence of ethnic, religious vigilantes across Nigeria after the 1999 democratic transition and demilitarization, most notably the Yoruba O’odua Peoples Congress in the southwest (Akinyele 2001; Nolte 2004), and the Igbo Bakassi Boys of the southeast (Baker 2002; Harnischfeger 2003; Smith 2004).10 Vanguards in the politics of identity and citizenship, these ethnic and religious vigilantes represent divergent political imaginings of Nigeria, and the use of power to enforce certain ethnic, religious, and regional interests. With demilitarization, deregulation and the primacy of the market, Nigerian vigilantes use violence to “control the means of coercion,” gaining advantage in conflicts over state sovereignty and the appropriation of resources (Mbembe 2001:78).11 Violence occurs in the struggle for national and state codification of new rights and privileges, extrajudicial challenges to the international judiciary, the Nigerian nation state, Nigerian state governments, and corporate elites, whom vigilantes claim turn a deaf ear to the needs of the poor.12 Contemporary ‘yan daba align themselves with the ‘yan farauta and ‘yan tauri of two villages forty minutes to the south of Kano, Kura and ‘Yadda ‘Kwari, which they call the white team and the black team, respectively creating an East–West divide within Kano city. The white and black teams are essentially parallel black market economies whose members compete, often violently, for political and economic control over Kano markets. While ‘yan daba serve as ‘yan banga for political and religious leaders, many of whom have interests in lucrative black markets for petrol, Indian hemp, and pharmaceuticals, they generally support the leaders who pay the most for their services, and if they are caught with illegal items, will bail them out of jail. ‘Yan daba speak with pride about the ‘yan farauta from ‘Yadda ‘Kwari and Kura, expert hunters, and tauri ritual fighters who, in 1980, battled the ‘yan tauri of the Maitatsine sect,13 and in 2000 fought Christians in Kaduna who protested the implementation of Shari’ah law, yet this relationship is tenuous, and in some cases another source of ‘yan daba marginalization. For instance, a mafarauci ‘hunter’ from ‘Yadda ‘Kwari described daba as:
an acquired habit, not a profession or tradition. . . . Stealing, drinking, smoking hemp, and general antisocial behavior is not the culture or subculture of hunters. . . . What is paining us is that these groups of ‘yan tauri and ‘yan daba, even in the eyes of the law and the emir, they see them as hunters, which is not so. To us, ‘yan daba are hooligans.14
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‘Yan daba who participate in violence are typically the leaders of a daba and the inner core of members who have heart (zuciya) for their dabas and for particular political–religious leaders. This inner core differentiates itself from the majority of ‘yan daba, who restrict their daba involvement to business. During the 1990s, skyrocketing inflation and unemployment, resulting from the Structural Adjustment Program implemented in the 1980s by General Ibrahim Babangida as head of state, ushered in greater poverty among the talakawa and economic hardships in new sectors of the Nigerian population (Ya’u 2000). The ranks of ‘yan daba grew from between fourteen per Kano city ward in 1991 (‘dan Asabe 1991) to between fifty and two hundred in the year 2000. These economic hardships widened the pool of potential recruits into daba activities, and changed the perceptions ‘yan daba have of themselves and of Nigerian leaders whom they increasingly view with cynicism and hostility (Ya’u 2000). ‘Yan daba recruits speak about getting even with people who had “downgraded” or “underrated” them. Insults and injuries are taken as reenactments of earlier acts, variably related to personal experience and to cultural, religious, or political abstractions, but that nonetheless, excuse violence. Forceful acts of domination are accompanied by outbursts of ribaldry and derision that seem to mock and mimic officialdom, while creating new forms of officialdom altogether (Mbembe 2001:102). A ‘dan daba, dressed lavishly in a Muslim-style dress (riga), smoking a joint reminiscent of Cheech and Chong, slaps an almajiri to the ground for forgetting to say his prayers, and the crowd cheers and laughs. Using an arbitrary application of pain and caretaking, ‘yan daba produce a combination of fear and respect that “reinforces certain moral values within society” (‘dan Asabe (1991:99). The felt and expressed qualities of fear and respect emerge as an entanglement with what Mbembe calls the “banality of power,” part of which is a “distinctive style of political improvisation, by a tendency to excess and lack of proportion, as well as by distinctive ways identities are multiplied, transformed and put into circulation” (2001:102). ‘Yan daba are the main caretakers of younger male siblings and almajirai whose moral aesthetics and behaviors develop through ambiguous attachments to social rituals and daily life in Qur’anic school and to those of the daba street economy. Younger siblings and almajirai form the main pool of youths from which ‘yan daba recruit.15 ‘Yan daba self-identify with wards, hanging out in particular joints, but they shift among modes of violent opposition to other wards, tolerant of separation and eclecticism. They take non-Hausa street names, like Scorpion or Pusher, or words combining Hausa with references to people elsewhere, such as Kayaman ‘reggae man’ or Takur Sahab (person who has a leader in India). ‘Yan daba have adopted a style of dress they associate with “Westside niggers” (or Los Angeles–based rappers). In their sunglasses, chains, and baggy jeans, ‘yan daba show a broad interest in world youth cultures, questioning me, through whirls of Indian hemp, about the political impact of
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rappers like Tupac Shakur and the revolutionary politics of his Black Panther mother. ‘Yan daba use ideas from the Black Panthers and other revolutionary groups in their plans to violently force politicians to make good on their political promises to the poor. Until the emergence of Kano government-sponsored ward vigilantes in 1999, and the Hisbah in 2000, ‘yan daba were the main protectors of their wards, safeguarding them from armed robberies, police brutality, communal violence, and crimes committed by ‘yan daba of other wards. Ward vigilantes and Hisbah, agemates and neighbors of ‘yan daba, brought an intimate challenge to the authority of ‘yan daba in the realm of ward “policing.”
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Media, authentic citizenship, and the emergence of Hisbah
In the late 1970s, a burgeoning media industry and increased access to media coincided with a powerful reformist Sunni movement, Jama’at Izalatil Bid’a wa Iqamatus Sunnah (Movement Against Negative Innovations and for Orthodoxy),16 led by Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, former Grand Kadi (Paramount Islamic Judge), and Mallam Isma’il Idris, a former military imam. Popularly known as Izala, this movement’s stated purpose is reform and rejuvenation (tajdid), inspired by Shehu Usman ‘dan Fodio’s achievements and Wahhabi– Salafi revival, yet realized through the day-to-day struggle against what they consider the unlawful innovation (bid’a) of Bori and the Sufi orders (Falola 1998; Hunwick 1997; Ibrahim 1991; Loimeier 1997; Umar 1993, 2001; Williams 1997). After Friday mosque, or in response to new publications or audiocassettes, violent conflicts are largely over doctrinal and legal disputes, accusations that imams are partial to the wealthy, and for control of mosques and public space (Falola 1998:228). ‘Yan Izala state unequivocally that Islamic authenticity is best realized through compliance with Shari’ah law, based on the laws of belief and conduct spelled out in the Qur’an and the Hadith (reports of the words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammed). Gumi writes, “Indeed, they [the Qur’an and the Hadith] should form the yardstick by which to measure the authenticity or otherwise of any new writings concerning the religion” (Gumi with Tsiga 1992:165). Umar suggests the Wahhabi–Salafi “espousal of this overwhelming emphasis on the centrality of Shari’ah in Islamic beliefs and practices is comparable to the legal positivism that pervades modernity” (Umar 2001:133). Stressing other aspects of modern life—the promotion of social justice and equality, a preference for bureaucratic rules over charismatic authority, universal education, including the education of women, and the provision of social services and amenities—‘yan Izala have converted thousands of Nigerian Muslims to their form of Islamic orthodoxy. The intellectualism of the Izala leadership, with vast funding from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, contributed to a rapid explosion of Izala publications, radio and television programs, and cassettes, which compete with media from other parts of Nigeria and the world.
During the 1990s, an increase in the speed and density of media and telecommunications, and thus, amplification in the intercultural accountings of Nigeria’s worsening “realities,” conjoined a split within the Muslim Students’ Society’s anti-Sufi-order reformers, many of whom had previous Izala affiliations, into the pro-Saudi, Wahhabi-inspired missionary movement (da’wa), and the pro-Iranian umma (Ibrahim 1991), which took a firm stance on the implementation of Shari’ah and the establishment of an Islamic state. The umma split again into the Hodabiya, which favored some accommodation with a secular state, and ‘yan Shia, who, inspired by the mujahidin struggle in Afghanistan and Islamic state-formation in Iran, preached no compromise with the secular state (Hunwick 1997:39). Western-educated Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, whose members are sometimes called ‘yan Shia, was an early opponent of the idea to reimplement Shari’ah criminal codes in Kano. With increased international criticism of the implementation of those codes, he appeared frequently in the media decrying the U.S. Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” as a war against Muslims. ‘Yan Shia refer to Yoruba President Olusegun Obasanjo as “the U.S.’s boy,” implying Yoruba ethnic support for U.S. government policies. Though El-Zakzaky insists that he and his followers are not Shi’ite, they wear the garments of Iranian clerics, distribute Shi’a literature, and echo Shi’a doctrine in their own publications.17 El-Zakzaky and his followers have been routinely imprisoned on charges of posing a threat to state security by denouncing the Nigerian State as a system of nonbelievers (kafirai). Before the implementation of Shari’ah law in Kano, Hisbah of diverse religious sects and factions drew together as “Nigerian Orthodox Muslims,” following the model of such Nigerian reformists as Shehu Usman ‘dan Fodio, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, Mallam Isma’il Idris, and Sheikh Ibrahim ElZakzaky, and such scholars as Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, from eighteenth-century Arabia, and Ibn Taymiyya, of the fourteenth century, Sudan’s Hasan al-Turabi, and Iranians such as Ayatollah Murtadha Mutahhari, protégé of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who sought “to establish the rule of the oppressed” (Sanusi 2006a, b). Through bitter political struggles with Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano State Governor), the emir (Alhaji Ado Bayero) and the Sufi establishment, members of reformist sects united in the struggle for Shari’ah and violently forced the implementation of Shari’ah law as Kano State criminal law, claiming the governor, the emir and certain religious leaders were not “good Muslims.”18 Beyond local level politics, much Hisbah anger and political momentum came from identification with the talakawa in relation to failures of the international judicial system and global inequities:
We have to confront the evildoers. The Hisbah exist and have 100% support from God. Most of the vices committed by poor people . . . are because of the poor leadership in America, England, and Switzerland. Why did they allow our leaders to go and take our money there?19
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Increased religious proselytizing, surveillance, and political–religious conflicts, framed and legitimated by state, legal, and media rationalities and unprecedented poverty, compromised the abilities of young Muslim Hausa, whether Sufi or recently converted to reformist Sunni or Shi’a sects, to maintain lafiya (balance in all areas of life—social, spiritual, psychical, physical). Young Muslim Hausa men living in the Gari began avoiding nonMuslim media, vigilantly reading the litany of prayers (Hausa, wuridi) that Sufis recite, until they lost a sense of time, place, and identity, and disturbed their relatives with shouting and bizarre behavior. Spirits from far away places such as India, the United States, and the Sudan possessed women and men with greater frequency, causing new symptoms such as spontaneous “dancing like they do in Indian film” and “American break dancing,” interspersed with paralyses (Casey 1998, forthcoming).20 Debates within various healing communities about the prevalence and signification of rashin lafiya ‘imbalance in all areas of life’ led to a focus on the excessive consumption of non-Muslim media among Kano youths, and to mistrust and xenophobia, culminating with increased “orthodox” spirit exorcisms. During these exorcisms, Hausa malams, funded by Wahhabi Muslims in Saudi Arabia and wealthy Nigerian reformist Muslims, forcefully read the Qur’an into the ears of possessed persons, “heating up” the spirits, while placing pressure on them to convert to Islam before expulsion. Malams, trained by Wahhabi Muslims who had come to Kano to teach an orthodox form of exorcism, converted humans and spirits to orthodoxy. They suggested that through these conversions, Muslims might gain respect for the boundaries Allah established between humans and spirits, distinguishing pious Muslims from those who interacted with spirits. Young Muslim Hausa appeared to be under pressure from two paradoxical notions of being authentic (na gaske), framed and underpinned by conflicts between Muslims of different sects and factions. One was the experience of cultural and religious identity as more and more open to choice, whereas lived experience was increasingly one of the impossibility of “authentic” identity. Young people experienced high levels of anxiety and self-consciousness about intersubjective religious identifications, alongside a striving for independence in thinking and behavior. Second, they expressed a concern about Western education (boko) and tendencies to dwell in imagination and fantasy, all of which conflicted with an idealized Islamic selfidentity and the ability to be “for real” spiritually. Musa, a young Muslim Hausa, wrote in his personal diary:21
I have suppressed some of my favorite habits in the course of my “Muslim Brotherhood,” not because I came to hate them, no, but because they are “bad,” without actually assimilating their badness. Some vital habits which are actually the source of refreshing my mind, my source of apparent happiness. The result is that my life became flat, dead, without any enjoyment. No doubt, some of the habits are not good spiritually,
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but then unless I have developed spiritually enough to leave these things naturally, convincingly, all apparent stoppage of these habits are just detrimental to my self. It makes me lose the essence of life. The habits are burning in the inner self and the false self is suppressing them. Yes, when I develop spiritually with the true self, I shall leave some of these things, i.e., music, movies. In sha Allah.
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The paradoxes Musa experienced took on additional significance in relation to Sufi and reformist Sunni teachings about how one attains religious knowledge, whether for instance, “authentic” knowledge is embodied and practiced or scriptural and learned, and whether global forms of related knowledge and self-expression are sources of knowledge or paths to hell. Idealisms associated with forming an Islamic state that would rectify Nigeria’s worsening realities by restoring Islamic “authenticity,” and the sensorial memories associated with taqwa ‘fear of God’, and tahara ‘ritual purity’, reflected and constituted conflations of Islamic authenticity, morality and security, a jihad against self and others, censorship and self-censorship. Among Muslims, persistent conflicts about whether to sanction religious history and mystical traditions that predate the nineteenth-century Islamic jihad led by reformist Shehu Usman ‘dan Fodio have become the norm, with Qadiriyya and reformist Sunnis claiming him as a member of their sects.22 Litigation between ‘yan Bori has become increasingly common, focusing on the “genuineness” and “originality” of ‘yan Bori, and their capacity to represent Hausa “traditional culture.” There are complex patterns of conflict, for Bori, as traditional culture, is tolerated and protected by the Sufi emirate, yet condemned by reformist Muslims who lay claim to orthodoxy, sharply differentiating themselves against the heterodoxy of Bori and the “un-Islamic practices” of the Sufi brotherhoods (Ibrahim 1991; Loimeier 1997). Well-funded at a time when the Nigerian national government was in a fiscal “state of emergency” and neither willing to provide regular salaries for government employees, nor social services and amenities for the poor, members of reformist movements became rapidly absorbed with the needs of Muslims, converting hundreds of Sufis, through education and free spirit exorcisms, to Shi’a and Sunni forms of orthodoxy. Conflicts between reformist Sunni Muslims and nonreformist Sufis and ‘yan Bori emerged in response to the sensory structures associated with Sufi and Bori ritual uses of music, dance, perfumes, and amulets, visiting the tombs of Sufi saints, and excessive feasting and celebrations—practices that draw spirits to humans. Reformist Sunnis considered all of these practices forms of shirk (polytheism, or the forbidden association of partners such as humans, the jinn or witches with Allah),23 bid’a, and blasphemy (sab’o), and to be economically excessive, with reformist Shi’a concurring that many of these practices were emblematic of, or infused with, animism and Western capitalism, yet what constituted shirk, bid’a, or sab’o, or the conspicuous consumption of Western
capitalism, was always a matter of interpretation and debate. For instance, in times of political conflict, most notably the 1999 violence in Kaduna, over the implementation of Shari’ah law, many reformist Sunnis and Shi’as relied on the use of “traditional” ritual forms of medicinal protection, heightening enmity between reformist Sunnis, Shi’as, and nonreformist Sufis. Umar, a Sufi ‘dan tauri (people who make and use ritual herbal medicines to prevent injury from weapons), said:
Now, mafarauta [hunters], ‘yan Izala, and a businessman will all seek to find tauri medicine. Before, ‘yan Izala condemned these practices, but now it is a lie. During the Kaduna crisis, there was one ‘dan Izala who really fought. He sent a car asking for tauri medicine, but nobody sent it to them. They used to condemn the practices of wearing amulets and drinking rubutu.24 They said these are all blasphemy. But Allah says stand up and I will help you.25
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The struggle to implement Shari’ah law in Kano drew together reformist Sunnis and Shi’as and nonreformist Sufis, against protesting Christians, yet exacerbated conflicts over historical perceptions of Nigerian ethnic and Islamic authenticity and belonging. Sufi critics of Hisbah complained that the insults, intimidations, and violence of Hisbah were outside of Shari’ah law, insisting that most of the “troublemakers” were not Nigerians, but Nigerien or Chadian, perhaps ‘yan Tatsine.26 Addressing the charges of Hisbah abuses of power, Yusuf, a member of Hisbah, told me:
The government said some Hisbah are not Nigerian, some are not Muslim, and some are not from Kano. The governor thought some ‘yan daba had found their way into Hisbah.27
National, regional and ethnic dimensions of religious ideology and practice became central discourses in a shift from the policing of “un-Islamic practices” to the profiling of “un-Islamic people”—a conflation of ethnicity with Islamic authenticity that sharply differentiated ethnic Muslims who supported the implementation of Shari’ah law from those who sabotaged it. Hisbah focused on non-Hausa Muslims, particularly Muslim Yoruba, the second-largest ethnic group of Nigerian Muslims, as a powerful stumbling block to Islamic unity and reform.
Excluding Minorities: democracy as “Majority Rules”
Hisbah and ‘yan daba considered Shari’ah law to be a democratic form of governance, but they differed in the emotional attachments they had to democratic values. Hisbah tended to equate Shari’ah law with a democracy
of majority rules, while ‘yan daba emphasized social justice and individual human rights. For instance, a member of Hisbah said:
We are a democracy. We are the majority. And, the Islamic injunction is superior to any other injunction. So they say it’s a government of the people, for the people, by the people— Abraham Lincoln, American President. . . . Since this is a democracy, we can use it (Shari’ah) as a political weapon, to make sure that someone who is conscious of Shari’ah is elected.28
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By contrast, a response I commonly heard among ‘yan daba is reflected by the statement:
We are all Muslims. Shari’ah will help us to know each other better. In this way, crimes will be reduced and the rich and poor will be the same under the law.29
‘Yan daba described their hopes for jobs and schooling, healthcare, and personal reforms in behaviors such as their use of alcohol, forms of idealism reflected in wider discourses of support for Shari’ah law. However, alongside these public narratives of support for Shari’ah law, ‘yan daba activities revealed mistrust, anger, and feelings of betrayal. ‘Yan daba developed ward “lookouts,” who monitored their neighborhoods for Hisbah. Some said discretion was their best protection from Hisbah because “Shari’ah works with eye-witnessing a crime.” Others said they would allow Hisbah to preach to them, but would not change. A member of daba smoking Indian hemp on the side of a major road joked with Hisbah:
These Hisbah are hypocrites. They do these things, but they hide in their houses. We do it in the open because we only fear God. We fear God, while they fear other people. We are the only true Muslims.30
‘Yan daba and Hisbah were concerned with masculine power and the moral authority to secure an area. A member of Hisbah said, “We are over a hundred and we are ready to lose our lives to defend this town.”31 A ‘dan daba who was a strong supporter of Shari’ah said:
‘Daba actions and mode of life do not conform with what society wants, so people like the Hisbah are the ones who abuse them. If they come and meet ‘yan daba committing an offense, they will try to arrest them; thus there is this kind of indirect abuse or small talk between them. . . . But ‘yan daba will not stop because they would be labeled as cowards.32
Another ‘dan daba said:
We can stop our activities perhaps, . . . but you should remember that if a person is just killed without committing any offense, do you think if the Shari’ah doesn’t do anything about it that we will let the matter rest? To me, you cannot give advice to ‘yan daba after such a thing. . . . The Shari’ah says if you kill a man, you should be killed too. So why should you kill and not be killed?33
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‘Yan daba, who were on intimate, joking terms with Hisbah from their wards, responded to the personal character (hali) of Hisbah in face-to-face confrontations. They most respected Hisbah whom they perceived to be generous, fair, and sincere about their social roles, people they considered to be Islamically “real.” Hisbah and ‘yan daba claimed “affective citizenship”— the feeling of belonging to, and having agency within the reforming government of Kano State, through daily challenges of masculine power and Islamic authenticity, in tension with the democratic notions of majority rule and the protection of individual human rights.
Profiling and the Jihad against Visible Enemies and the devil
With the November 2000 formal implementation of Shari’ah law as Kano State criminal law, a struggle emerged between reformist Muslims over sectarian control of the government, marked by accusations of kafirai (nonbelievers), and debate about the qualities of political leadership and visibly lived examples that were important for public reform. A split within the Kano State Shari’ah Implementation Committee emerged between Muslims who insisted on the enforcement of Shari’ah law before the establishment of jobs, social services, and provisions, for people like ‘yan daba, and those who believed that it was impossible for the poor, marginalized or otherwise disadvantaged to obey Shari’ah law in its entirety without these amenities. This division deepened through the politically motivated enforcement of Shari’ah criminal codes, which were applied to particular groups of people at times integral to the implementation of Shari’ah law: Muslim Hausa and Muslim Yoruba women, Muslim Yoruba and Christian Igbo owners of businesses that served alcohol, ‘yan daba and ‘yan Bori. Ironically, Hisbah did not enforce the distribution of zakat (obligatory alms, one of the five pillars of Islam) or regulations prohibiting usury (interest on loans), which might have aided the talakawa, but focused on the crimes of theft, zina (adultery or fornication, depending on one’s marital status), and the use of alcohol (Iman  2006:3). A conjoined aesthetics of dress and bodily practice, emblematic of orthodoxy—beards, austere riguna ‘robes, gowns’, as opposed to ones elaborately embroidered and colorful, and stockings for women—became highly visible markers of Hausa Islamic reform. Hisbah, who wore a green tunic
uniform with the word Hisbah written across the front in white, considered Kano State an Islamic democracy, based on the concept of majority rule, whereby through control of the population, the law, and government coffers, reformist Muslims would provide for the basic needs of all Muslim Hausa. Yusuf said:
We know we are a democracy where the majority are Muslims. We believe in Islam under Islamic law, and we believe one hundred percent that Islamic injunctions are superior to all other injunctions, and that the Qur’anic constitution is superior to any other constitution. . . . Hisbah is the organization to take care of the law. We are going ahead. The governor is not ready and is going to withdraw all support, so the Hisbah are using the truth to stop what we can stop.34
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In the early stages of Shari’ah implementation, there was little money for the creation of jobs, social services, or education, other than reformist Islamic education, funded by Saudis, Kuwaitis, Iraqis, and wealthy Nigerians. Instead, the Kano State Shari’ah Implementation Committee started campaigns against the sale and consumption of alcohol and prostitution, and for marriages of all unmarried Muslim Hausa women. Sanusi, a member of Hisbah, told me:
Women are the people to bring all moral conduct. It is for them to teach children. They are our mothers, so we like them to be in front. They are the figureheads of everything moral.35
Hisbah complained that Muslim Yoruba and Christian women, not practicing the partial seclusion (kulle) of Muslim Hausa women, were “too independent,” available attractions for Muslim men. Among Muslim Hausa, failing to maintain what is considered proper control of one’s love, including marital and familial relations, erotic desires, and sexual behavior, is a religious lapse, a falling into non-Muslim patterns of indulgence and romanticism (Callaway and Creevey 1994; Wall 1988). Because erotic desire and sexual urges are considered natural and inevitable, moral virtue is relative to one’s behavior within the family, the guardian and container of eros and sex. Unmarried women and women who live alone are commonly called karuwai (prostitutes), bound to men only through sex and money, potential sources of communal betrayal. There is a widespread sentiment among Muslim Hausa that ethnic others, spirit and human, and members of the opposite sex, men and women, are “uncontrollable”—that, without volition, their erotic desires and sexual activities inevitably overflow the boundaries of marriage.36 During the implementation itself, ‘yan daba received silent encouragement (or thought they did) and condemnation from reformist Muslims to frighten and attack Muslim women, married and unmarried, who ventured out of their homes unaccompanied.
Conceptions of reformist interventions in moral, social order are widely associated with conservative ideologies of gender and family, yet ‘yan Shi’a and ‘yan Izala simultaneously developed strong educational programs for women and persuaded women to participate in politics. Muslim Hausa women, marrying and having babies, were a major front in the domestic politics of democracy as majority rule, but they also participated in protests and other public displays of reformist political affiliation. In December of 2000, thousands of Hausa women protested in front of the Kano State Government House to ask the governor, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, for a stricter implementation of Shari’ah—that the bans on alcohol and prostitution were not strong enough to prevent Muslim Hausa husbands and sons from enjoying these pleasures. Referring to the women’s protest, a member of Hisbah said:
Politics is there for the religion. All of the questions raised by women were supposed to be raised by men, but when men start raising an alarm, it won’t be looked on with gentle eyes: people would be dead.37
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To avoid arrest, reformist Muslims who ventured out to consume alcohol changed from Muslim Hausa riguna into Western cut shirts tucked into pants, a style Muslim Hausa jokingly referred to as wasp (zanzaro)—an indication of the immodesty of Christians and Muslim Yoruba who show their bodily contours. Concerned with the “visibility of immorality,” Hisbah arrested their agemates and the poor more often than their elders for consumption of alcohol and for wearing clothes, such as short skirts, associated with “prostitution,”—strata of society less able to hide in cars or guesthouses. In northern Nigeria, Hausa ethnicity and the Muslim religion are conflated because of the predominance of Muslim Hausa. By contrast, about half of all Yoruba are Muslim, so that the categories of ethnicity and religion function more readily as independent sources of identification. In 1999, ‘yan daba attacked Muslim Yoruba living in Kano as “retribution” for the Yoruba attacks on Muslim Hausa in Sagamu, a town in the southwestern Ogun State. Following this attack, the lead story in the Weekly Trust (Hausas massacred in Sagamu 1999:1–2), one of the most widely read newspapers in northern Nigeria, described ‘yan daba as a future ethnic army:
The ‘Yan daba, a reserve army of unemployed youths, have acted in ways that suggest that they can metamorphose into a tribal army some day. In 1999, when Hausa residents of Sagamu town in Ogun State had a clash with their Yoruba hosts, it was the ‘Yan daba group that organized a reprisal attack against Yoruba residents in Kano.
In an interview about Muslim Yoruba killing Muslim Hausa in Lagos (Weekly Trust, 4–10 August 2000), the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs said:
We have too many nominal Muslims in the south who are ignorant of their religion. . . . THEY CAN BE used by some other people who think that Shari’ah is a monster which they must attack.
Media depictions of Muslim Yoruba “marginality” and their potential betrayal of reformist Muslims converged with Hisbah discussions of Yoruba influence on Kano State and Nigerian national government officials. Muslim scholar Ado-Kurawa (2000:273) describes the denigration of southern Muslims as a ploy by Christian Yoruba to separate the north and the south:
For several years the fanatical Christian Yoruba tribalists have led a propaganda campaign against northern Muslims. The idea being to isolate and demonize northern Muslims thereby making them ready targets for extermination by all other Nigerians.
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According to Ado-Kurawa (2000:324), Christian Yoruba controlled media, backed by Christian imperialists, are the main force behind the anti-Shari’ah propaganda:
All the tools acquired from the “psychological job” done on Africans by the imperialists have now been deployed against this adversary (Islam). The use of the tools perfected by their European Christian patrons has been very easy for the Yoruba Christian dominated Nigerian media. They portray the Shari’ah as barbaric and uncivilized.
Hisbah used profiling techniques to identify the ideologies, practices and people who might undermine Kano’s Shari’ah State. They ethnicized religious knowledge (ilimi) and the “Islamic authenticity” of signs, people, and practices, and nafs, control over biopsychological processes, such as sexual desires, accusing Muslim Yoruba of directly or indirectly patronizing alcoholic, mixed-gendered celebrations of the worship of false gods, namely Oro, Egungun, Sango, Oshun, and Ogun. Because of the closeness of these gods to the Yoruba institution of kingship, Hisbah claimed that Yoruba political leaders promoted polytheism, alcoholic inebriation, and womanizing under the guise of culture.
“States of Emergency”
In March of 2001, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, the reformist Sunni Deputy Governor of Kano State, announced an Islamic “state of emergency,” referring to the inability of Shari’ah law, as it was being practiced in Kano State, to stop “prostitution” and the sale and consumption of alcohol. In conflict with the
governor, Dr. Ganduje led Hisbah on a series of raids to local hotels, restaurants, and “cool spots,” where Hisbah verbally abused patrons and destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of alcohol. Because Christian Igbo and Muslim Yoruba owned most of these businesses, these raids bankrupted some, and scared others into a mass exodus. Establishments stayed indefinitely closed or operated at odd hours or with armed guards patrolling the gates. Jokes about “dying for a drink” became a permanent fixture, as humor rose to meet increased levels of anxiety. Rumors about the arming of Muslims and Christians came more frequently. In response, President Olusegun Obasanjo called Dr. Ganduje to Abuja, stating in public that the deputy governor had endangered Nigerian state security, thus reframing Kano’s Islamic “state of emergency” as a national one.
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The Kano State reformist jihad, resulting in the implementation of Shari’ah criminal codes expressed the tensions of democratization and censorship, and ongoing historical perceptions of “bad” Muslims as kafirai (non-believers) and ba’ki (strangers), derived from ethnic, regional, and Islamic sectarian concepts of Islamic authenticity. While social justice, through the concept of Muslim unity and reform, was a common goal for ‘yan daba and Hisbah, it was based on the paradoxical notion of an Islamic nation-state, founded by and through the violence that affectively placed ‘yan daba and Hisbah outside of Shari’ah law. Youths with different visions of Shari’ah law as democracy, and of “affective citizenships” under Shari’ah law, ‘yan daba and Hisbah, along with the reformist leaders who targeted or supported them, recreated and reenacted collective Islamic identities, legitimating state violence against “marginal Muslims,” whom they considered “enemies of the state.” Ultimately, Islamic state-building drew on political antagonisms, fusions of personal, ethnic, religious, and regional citizenship, based on ethnic customary law, religious law, and the historical perceptions of enclosure and exclusion, all of which underpin memories of belonging and access to Kano State resources. Islamic state-building became a work of ethnic, religious, and regional conflation, which conflicted with, and superseded, personal and non-Muslim Hausa expressions of Islamic authenticity, morality, and security. By profiling “marginal Muslims,” censoring them, and enacting violence to expel them, ‘yan daba, Hisbah and the reformist leaders who recruited them into violent struggle, used state, legal and media rationalities to permeate social perception, to establish self and community censorship as a means of hiding state violence, and to silence the memories and agencies of “marginal Muslims.” Nigerian reformist Muslims, failing to fully convert, expel, or silence the “marginalized,” used ‘yan daba and state law to physically enforce certain historical perceptions while censoring others, sacrificing other Muslims and the bodies of youths to the “Wars of Orthodoxy”—a microcosm of world conflict at home.
aCKnoWleDgeMenTs i am grateful to aminu sharif Bappa, abdulkarim ‘dan asabe, and show Boy for introducing me to ‘yan daba and Hisbah, and to the ‘yan daba, Hisbah, and families who allowed me into their lives. For reasons of confidentiality, they shall remain unnamed, but i greatly appreciate my experiences with them. i thank abdulkarim ‘dan asabe, salisu abdullahi, Phillip shea, Murray last, istvan Patkai, aminu Taura abdullahi, aminu inuwa, and umar sanda for their important contributions to my thinking about this project. i thank faculty in the Departments of Psychiatry and sociology at Bayero university in Kano for research affiliations and a sense of home base. i am greatly indebted to robert edgerton, Douglas Hollan, allen Feldman, uli linke, and alexander Hinton for their mentoring, and to Benjamin F. soares and Marie nathalie leBlanc for inviting me to participate in this volume. The project would have been impossible without the generous support of a Harry Frank guggenheim Foundation award (2000–2002), the skillful guidance of Karen Colvard, and a Fulbright iie lecturing/research award (2004).
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1. The civil code of shari’ah law, which guides matters such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance, has been continuously in place since the nineteenth century (gumi with Tsiga 1992:50). The change in 1999 and 2000 involved a reimposition of the criminal code of shari’ah that had been in place during the colonial period (under the control of the British, who had outlawed hadd punishments, which they found “repugnant”), but had been excised at independence (Kumo 1993:7–8). 2. While many Muslims considered shari’ah law as an alternative to, or critique of, colonial and postcolonial elitism and corruption, the independent shari’ah implementation Committee was the first group to implement it as a legal structure, with Hisbah (shari’ah law enforcers), sirhul (committee of community elders), and shura (shari’ah court judges). 3. scholarly debate about the impact of shi’a Muslims on the politics of religion in northern nigeria is based on the notion of “authentic” shi’a identity and a preference for doctrinal, rather than communal, identification (gumi with Tsiga 1992; umar 2001). 4. Bori is widely regarded as animism or a spirit-possession cult, which predated islam (Besmer 1983; greenberg 1946; Masquelier 1993; onwuegeogwu 1969; Palmer 1914; Tremearne 1914). scholars describe the Bori spirit-possession rituals, practiced in Kano state, as religious opposition to islam (Besmer 1983; onwuegeogwu 1969) and as alternative or oppositional gender experience and expression (Callaway 1987; Wall 1988). ‘Yan Bori consider themselves Muslims, while Kano reformist Muslims variably refer to them as “fallen Muslims,” “marginal Muslims,” or “pagans.” 5. after the implementation of shari’ah law, in november of 2000, members of the independent shari’ah implementation Committee sirhul (community of elders) and shura (islamic judges) condemned Hisbah violence as “un-islamic.” The Kano state government formed the Kano state shari’a implementation Committee to address charges that Hisbah were “abusing their powers.” The government retained most Hisbah from the Kano independent shari’a implementation Committee, but provided increased supervision and a written code of conduct.
6. 7. 8. 9.
Nafs refer to the biopsychological powers of humans, such as feelings, emotions, sexual desires, and carnal appetites. see Casey (2007) for an analysis of the Kano ‘yan daba violence that occurred on 11 May 2004 against kafirai, Kiristoci, and ba’ki. Personal communication, Professor Phillip shea, Department of History, Bayero university, Kano, nigeria, 19 July 2004. During the 1950s, Fulani elite used the al’kali (islamic judge) courts for “political ends, to suppress dissent, especially by adherents of the northern elements Progressive union” (Christelow 2002:195).
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Pratten (2005:2) suggests annang vigilantes come to terms with nigerian state disorder “by means of brokerage, by inserting themselves within political and economic niches,” arrived at through monitoring and surveillance, and ambiguous notions of accountability. gore and Pratten (2003:213) find “popular responses to disorder contribute to an ‘insurgent’ construction of the public realm in which groups marginalized and excluded challenge the logic, locations, patterns of discourse[,] and constructions of the public good.”
Demilitarization led to a security vacuum, with retrenched military personnel and underpaid nigerian police officers increasingly involved in armed robberies and other forms of extrajudicial violence.
saro-Wiwa (1992) documents routine pleas to the united nations and to the nigerian nationstate for public safety and a fair claim to oil revenues and jobs. according to the report of Tribunal of inquiry on Kano Disturbances, Maitatsine ‘The one Who Curses’ (a nickname given to him by Kano residents) came to Kano from Damaturu in Borno state. He claimed that Kano Muslims had no direction (kibla), and he repeatedly shouted at them, “May allah separate you from all of His blessings!” He considered himself a prophet, whose followers were “original” Muslims, uncorrupted by unlawful innovation (bid’a) and shirk.
interview with a hunter, ‘yadda ‘Kwari, nigeria, 26 october 2000. ya’u (2000) describes the social services ‘yan daba have historically provided for their wards, including labor for community projects, protection, sporting and cultural events for community entertainment, and enforcing the community discipline.
While there have been a number of slightly different names and translations given to this movement, this is the name gumi gave to it at its inception, 8 February 1978, in Jos, nigeria (gumi with Tsiga 1992:155–156).
el-Zakzaky, former leader of the Muslim Brothers, a sunni sect, developed close relations with iranian scholars and frequently traveled to iran. Many of his followers, funded by scholarships from the iranian government, claim to be shi’a.
18. 19. 20. 21. 22.
‘Yan daba threatened to use their black-market petrol to burn down the city of Kano if the Kano state governor refused to sign shari’ah criminal codes into Kano state law. interview with a member of Hisbah, Kano, nigeria, 3 august 2001. indian masala film is the most popular genre watched in Kano, followed by Chinese Kung Fu, and nigerian magical and american crime films (larkin 1998). Musa, and all subsequent names that i use to ease the narratives of Kano Muslims, are pseudonyms, meant to protect their identities. Please see Paden (1986:43) for scholarship that supports both positions. During the transition to independence, the sardauna of sokoto, ahmadu Bello, revived the works of shehu usman ‘Dan Fodio to unify northern Muslims, regardless of brotherhood or legal school.
‘Yan Shi’a and ‘yan Izala consider secular human legislation one of the most egregious forms of shirk because it places humans on par with allah (Westerlund 1997:309). Rubutu is a Muslim Hausa treatment for rashin lafiya (imbalance in all areas of life—psychical, spiritual, social, physical). To take rubutu, the afflicted person writes Qur’anic verses on a board or bowl, washes it with water, and drinks the solution, to, literally, internalize the medicinal verses.
interview with a hunter, ‘yadda ‘Kwari, nigeria, 9 september 2000. This sentiment, that violence in Kano is a manifestation of aggressive intrusions from the “outside,” is widespread, and cuts across historical perceptions of violence from colonization to the most recent massacres of Christians in 2004 (Casey 1998, 2007).
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27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.
interview with a member of Hisbah, Kano, nigeria, 15 January 2001. interview with a member of Hisbah, Kano, nigeria, 12 august 2001. interview with a ‘dan daba, Kano, nigeria, 13 october 2001. interview with a ‘dan daba, Kano, nigeria, 12 september 2001. interview with a member of Hisbah, Kano, nigeria, 3 august 2001. interview with a ‘dan daba, Kano, nigeria, 29 January 2001. interview with a ‘dan daba, Kano, nigeria, 23 February 2000. interview with a member of Hisbah, Kano, nigeria, 3 august 2001. interview with a member of Hisbah, Kano, nigeria, 15 January 2001. Before the implementation of shari’ah law, i witnessed the exorcism of a Muslim yoruba spirit who had possessed a Muslim Hausa woman because “he loved her.” The malams performing the exorcism challenged him to recite from the Qur’an—to prove, in other words, his islamic authenticity—before firmly establishing his possession as “oppression.”
interview with a member of Hisbah, Kano, nigeria, 3 august 2001.
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t Di p r
ARCHAEOLOGY OF ATLANTIC AFRICA AND THE AFRICAN DIASPORA
Edited by Akinwumi Ogundiran and Toyin Falola The rst book devoted to the archaeology of African life on both sides of the Atlantic, highlighting the importance of historical archaeology in completing the historical records of the Atlantic world’s Africans.
THE ATLANTIC WORLD 1450–2000
Edited by Toyin Falola and Kevin D. Roberts A comprehensive survey of the Atlantic region from the fteenth century to the present, the aim of this ambitious work is to provide an overview of the Atlantic World by exploring the major themes that de ne the study of this region.
INDIANA University Press
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