Brotherhoods. Even today in Nigeria, they rarely work together, viewing each other more as rivals than part- ners.19
And in some ways they are, since both Brother- hoods draw their members from the same pool of peo- ple. Without doubt, this competition is an unnecessary distraction, as it prevents greater cooperation between them to the detriment of the outreach programs they offer. These would surely be enhanced through the sharing of resources, know-how, ideas, and person- nel. Moreover, by working together, the Brotherhoods would better protect themselves from the vitriol and machinations of the Islamists. For the Qadiriyya and Tijaniyya remain, along with the secular authorities, prime targets of Islamist hatred and anger. Indeed, the Jama’atul Izalatul Bid’ah Wa’ikhamatul Sunnah (or Izala for short)—one of the most important Islamist groups currently operating in northern Nigeria—was estab- lished in “reaction to the Sufi brotherhoods.”20
In fact, the very name confirms the group’s hostil- ity toward Sufism, as it means the “society for the re- moval of innovation and reinstatement of tradition.”21 It is a salafist organization that embraces a legalist and scripture centered understanding of Islam. Its goal, like that of other such groups, is to strip the religion of all impurities, of all foreign (and in particular West- ern) ideas and practices. It seeks to do so by encourag- ing the faithful to live by its quite literal interpretation of the Qur’an, sunnah, and hadith; to emulate the salafs. Its fervent belief in a true Islam means that it stresses uniformity across the umma, and is therefore very con- cerned with its members’ social roles and interactions.
Much of this stands in complete opposition to what Sufis both believe and practice. For them innovation is extremely important, as it provides the means by