International Relations Project Topics

A Historical Study of the Doctrine of Diganci and Digawa Religious Group of Danzomo in Gumel Emirate, 1979-2010

A Historical Study of the Doctrine of Diganci and Digawa Religious Group of Danzomo in Gumel Emirate, 1979-2010

A Historical Study of the Doctrine of Diganci and Digawa Religious Group of Danzomo in Gumel Emirate, 1979-2010

Chapter One

 Aim and Objectives

As stated earlier the Digawa community under study is lacking in any published historical source, as a result of which not much is known about them. Thus, the aim and objectives of this case study are:

  1. To document the historical
  2. To study the religious, social and political institutions of the Digawa.
  3. To study the religious affiliation of the Digawa in the light of the Sufi order which they
  4. To contribute to the literature on the study of religion with reference to Sufism in Northern




This chapter, map out the area known as Gumel Emirate, which comprises four Local Government Areas viz: Gumel, Maigatari, Gagarawa, and Sule Tankarkar Local Governments of Jigawa State, Nigeria. The history of the area vis-à-vis its polity was also discussed in some details. Also, the chapter mirrored the composition of the people in the area, which comprises the Mangawa being the original people of the area, the Pullos – a nomadic population who settled in the area, the Daurawa i. e. migrants from Daura in Katsina State, the Agurawa who were of Barebari stock, and the Digawa who were not an ethnic or tribal group, but a religious group that constituted the subject of this research work. So, the chapter concluded with the historical origin of these people being our subject matter.

Geographical Location

The land of Gumel (Gumel Emirate) in present day Jigawa State comprises four Local Government Areas of Gumel, Maigatari, Gagarawa and Sule-Tankarkar. The Emirate of Gumel is bounded on the north by the former French territory of Niger Republic, on the north-west by Babura Local Government Area, on the west and south by Garki, Ringim and Taura Local Government Areas of Jigawa State. Also, Kaugama Local Government Area of Jigawa State bounded the Emirate on the east

while, on the north-east by the Machina Local Government Area of Yobe State.30 So,

geographically, Gumel Emirate is located at latitude 120 35 north and longitude 90 24 east, and its altitude is approximately 1,200ft (370m) above the sea level.31

In the Emirate of Gumel, high temperature prevails in the months of February to June, while the months of July to January tend to be slightly cooler. That is to say, the month of July marks a break, after which the temperature drops a little. This is explained from the changes in the weather, as the period from July marks the rainy season. The rains in the area last from June to October with the heaviest falls in the months of July and August. The month of November to probably February or March depicts a different weather condition in the area all through. This is in response to the dry North-East trade wind blowing from the Sahara desert. This wind carries with it a lot of dust and extends inland with deposits of sand covering the surface. This wind, often called the desiccating harmattan wind, reduces visibility very greatly and deposits a layer of fine sand, silt and clay which much affect the soil content.32 Thus, the Gumel Emirate is having two broad seasons viz: the wet or rainy season and the dry season. This shapes the daily life of the people in the area, and also plays a determining effect on the vegetation and the soil types of the area.33

Despite the disadvantage weather condition, the people of Gumel Emirate mostly, engages in Agriculture as their dominant occupation. Some subsidiary occupations like weaving, carving and other craft works were practiced during the dry season. This shows that the practice of Agriculture solely depends on the rainfall available

during the rainy season. The dominant practice of Agriculture by the people in the area, is explained by the general need for food. This implies that the general response to Agriculture was for subsistence. That was why the crops produced in the area were mostly food crops such as beans, millet and guinea-corn, a reflection also, of the meager amount of rainfall in the area.34





A segment of people gives the Digawa the regard of Sufis, simply because to a great extent their doctrines and general dispositions resembles those of the people of the Bench (Suffah), who lived in the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).63 Many scholars tried to trace the origin and meaning of Ahlal-Suffah by means of shading light on its derivation from Suf (wool). Although, there are a number of opinions proposed but, I intend to support scholars who are of the opinion that the concept was derived from woolen garment (Suf) due to available evidence. For example, most literature reveals that the apparels of the past Sufi leaders are made of wool as it keeps one obscure and it is nearer to modesty as well as abstention from worldly pleasure. Moreover, it is the common wear of the Prophets (PBUT).64

Thus, in consideration of the importance attached to the woolen garment by the Prophets and other pious men due to its roughness, we may say that previously, woolen garments were used to display that someone was leading an ascetic life by mortifying his bodily appetites. An Ahlal-Suffah does not stop at physical self-denial but, also avoid all the forbidden things, while performing all religious duties and renunciation the world and its passions.





The necessity of the establishment of leadership in Islam generally has its origin in the Qur’an and sunnah.107 A society cannot live in peace and order without a person or group of persons leading its affairs. Thus, in any given Digawa settlement, there exists such a leadership that is responsible for the running of the day to day affairs of the community generally. This function rests, in the hands of two offices titled holders in the Digawa community viz: the Mai-jama’ah or Mai-gari (literally meaning the owner of the populace or town respectively) and the Imam. Of course, before one qualifies to occupy any of these offices among the Digawa, one must be a person of outstanding knowledge and excellent virtues which is accepted to the community. Thus, leadership among the Digawa is not in any way hereditary.108




This chapter attempted to look at the history of how Izalah gained ground in the area of the study right from the seventieth. It also surveyed the challenges that the new movement of Izalah posed to the Digawa people and their responses to these challenges. Along the line the relations of the Digawa with other religious groups was discussed. The chapter also mirrored the reaction of the Digawa towards western oriented services and their attitude towards the Government policies generally.

 The onslaught of Izalah sect in Gumel Emirate

The advent of Izalah movement in Gumel emirate was a residual coup d’état to Malaman Gargajiya or ‘Yan-tsibbu and their activities.122 So, to rose against the excesses of these Mallams in the area, the youth organized the Kungiyar Addinin Musulunci in 1977, with the assistance of some ilm Mallams123 like late  Mallam Musa  Hashim Gumel who  studied in Islamic

University Niamey, Niger Republic. Under the leadership of its first Care-taker Chairman, Alh. Aliyu Usman Sani Gumel, the movement registered itself with the Jama’atu Nasril Islam in Kano. Following this development, Islamic

scholars like sheikh Jazuli Nuhu became the spiritual fathers of the movement and rendered a helping hand to it in all its activities. From the initial stage, the activities of the movement includes organizing preaching tours, looking after the sanity of mosques, as well as organizing evening and night Qur’an classes for children, house wives, divorcees and widows.

With the emergence of Izalah movement in 1978 the top ranking officials of Kungiyar Addinin Musulunci in Gumel, under the auspices of Sheikh Jazuli Nuhu began to have close door meetings with the officials of the Da’wah Izalah in Kano which was headed by Sheikh Aminuddeen Abubakar. It was through the chains of these meetings that the Kungiyar Addinin Musulunci Gumel, came to realized that it had the same target with Da’wah Izalah hence, they were birds of the same feather and ought to fly together. This marked a turning-point for the Kungiyar Addinin Musulunci Gumel, to be came a full pledged Islamic movement in the area.124

The activities of the organization under the umbrella of Da’wah Izalah became intensified as it now assumed a full pledge status with national and international recognition. For example, series of fortnight preaching tours were embarked upon. These were besides the day- to- day preaching in towns and villages, in the mosques after the five daily prayers especially between the Maghrib and Ishai prayers (this is known as fadakarwa). Preaching tours to other local government areas were also organized. Likewise, extra-mural evening and night classes for children in towns and villages as well as classes

for house wives, divorcees and widows were conducted all over. The primary school that the Kungiyar Addinin Musulunci Gumel, built in Dantanoma quarters was up-graded to Junior secondary school and is operating two sessions-morning and after-noon for primary and Junior secondary students respectively. The Izalah movement also was able to open a number of Juma’at mosques in the area. For example, four of such mosques were opened in Gumel township, same number at Maigatari, one each at Sule Tankarkar and Gagarawa Local Government headquarters respectively.125

Therefore, from its inception in the late 1978 in the area, the Izalah movement proved to be a frontier Islam, for it continually fights against decadence in Islam. Its fighting was directed to all practices that do not have bases in the Qur’an and sunnah. These include shirk (polytheism), Bid’ah (innovations), worship of saints and other “heretical” innovations by the Tariqah. So, he adherents of Izalah call themselves Ahl al sunnah as against

Ahl al Bid’ah alias Yan Gargajiya.

 Izalah as a Challenge to the Digawa

The Izalah movement really posed great challenges to the Digawa as it did to the Tariqah in the area. These challenges were on so many grounds and among which are:

Digawa’s extremism (Al-Tatarruf)


  • Alh. Babandi Garkuwan Gumel, Age 50 yrs. old, at Gumel, on 18/04/11. Alh. Barko, Sarkin Dogarai-Gumel, Age 70 yrs. old, at Gumel, on 20/04/11.
  • Mal. Mohd Babarbare, Age 65 yrs. old, Dantanoma Qrts. Gumel, on 22/04/11. Bulaman Katika, Age 40 yrs. old, at Maigatari, on 25/04/11.
  • Mal. Habu Ubaida, Age 60 yrs. at Maigatari, on 25/04/11.
  • Mal. Musali Mainama, Age 47yrs. at Rairayingamafada-Gumel, on 25/04/11. Alh. Garba Sa’idu, Age 70 yrs. old, at Nasarawa Qrts. Kano, on 26/04/11.
  • Mal. Musa Maigoro, Age 46 yrs. old, at Babbansara Village, on 27/04.11. Mal. Habibi, Age 40 yrs. at Digawar Jikai, on 28/04/11.
  • Mal. Zakari Dan Alaramma, Age 35 yrs. old, at Digawar Jikai, on 28/04/11. Mal. Saleh Badige, Age 60 yrs. old, at Danzomo, on 30/04/11.
  • Alh. Mu’azu Abdullahi H/M, Age 45 yrs. old, at Danzomo, on 30/04/11. Alh. Alassan Tela, Age 69 yrs. old, at Bakin Kasuwa Gumel, on 08/08/11. Mal. Saminu Abubakar, Age 45 yrs. old, at K/Arewa Gumel, on 10/08/11.
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