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Educating Muslim Women and the Izala Movement in Zaria City, Nigeria

Publication Abstract

Renne, Elisha. 2012. "Educating Muslim Women and the Izala Movement in Zaria City, Nigeria." Islamic Africa, 3(1): 55-86.

Expanding Islamic education has been a primary objective of the reformist Islamic movement, Jama(c)atu Izalat al-Bid(c)a wa Iqamat al-Sunna (the Society for the Removal of Innovation and the Reinstatement of Tradition), also known as Izala. In the early 1980s, Izala leaders established classes for married women focusing on primary Islamic texts, particularly the Qur. an and hadith, which were taught in several quarters in Zaria City, in northern Nigeria. Although Izala teachers and students initially faced considerable resistance, many married women insisted on attending classes and eventually, these classes came to be widely accepted. By 2002, over twenty-six Islamiyya schools with classes for married women had opened in Zaria City, which reflects both the widespread approval of married women's education and a broader acceptance of the Izala movement there. Women's attendance at these classes not only contributed to the introduction of the Izala's underlying concepts but it also relates to theoretical debates concerning women's autonomy and authority within Islam. While some may question the extent to which these classes have increased Muslim women's agency, married women attending Izala classes in Zaria City have their own views about the position of women in their community and have sought to address this situation on their own terms.

DOI:10.5192/21540993030155 (Full Text)

Country of focus: Nigeria.

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