gious conviction. At the very least, its reintroduction is a condemnation of the efficacy of the courts and ability of the state to provide judgment and justice in a fair and timely fashion.
Yet, arguably, this is not the sum of the rebuke be- ing given. Neither is widespread support for sharia the only way in which Nigerian Muslims are looking to their religion to express and, they hope, address their political, economic, and social grievances. A number of them continue to turn to groups whose ideas and rec- ommendations are rooted in more radical interpreta- tions of Islam. Such organizations, as they are current- ly recognized,4 have been present in northern Nigeria since independence. During that time their individual and collective fortunes have fluctuated wildly. Yet sig- nificantly, some have endured and are presently flour- ishing. Indeed, they are drawing strength from the inability and unwillingness of the federal, state, and local governments to either improve ordinary Nigeri- ans’ standards of living, or fully respect their political and civil rights.
In actual fact, based on the experiences of other countries with large Muslim populations in North Africa and the Middle East, the current political, eco- nomic, and social conditions in northern Nigeria sug- gest that the region is ripe for infiltration by radical Islamic groups. But support is also growing, for much the same reasons, for Sufism. Represented in northern Nigeria mainly by two brotherhoods—the Qadariyya and Tijaniyya—it encompasses a rich array of tradi- tions, practices, and beliefs that form a distinct stream of thought and actions within Sunni Islam. At times over the past century, this difference has cost those who practice Sufism (Sufis) dearly. Indeed, both intel- lectually and, on occasion literally, they have found