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rian public from many of the burdens they now have to bear. As a result, it has made them targets of those Islamist groups seeking to enact revolutionary change. Such organizations—which include Ahl al-Sunnah wal- Jama’ah, Ja’amutu Tajidmul Islami (Movement for the Islamic Revival [MIR]), and Boko Haram (or the Nige- rian Taliban)—are driven by both religious and politi- cal considerations. Or rather, their political opposition to the Qadiriyya and Tijaniyya is less a consequence of their theological grievances than it arguably is for the Izala.

Indeed, the Islamist movement in Nigeria is made up of an assortment of groups that rarely, if at all ever, coordinate their actions. Their reluctance to do so hints at the profound differences that exist between both their respective agendas and approaches to pursuing them. This divergence is at its most stark between the two oldest and best established organizations—the Iza- la and Malam Ibrahim al-Zakzaky’s Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The Izala first emerged in the early 1960s out of an informal scholastic movement centred on the promi- nent writer, jurisprudent, and preacher, Sheikh Abu- bakar Gummi. Born in the early 1920s, he first made a name for himself as a critic of British colonial rule. But once Nigeria achieved its independence, he focused his wrath on the Sultan and Emirs for allowing what he argued to be the creeping westernization of northern Nigerian society. His views reflected the traditional education he received in Sokoto, Kano, and the Sudan. Indeed, it was in Sokoto that he first befriended Ah- madu Bello, Usman dan Fodio’s grandson and the first Premier of Northern Nigeria, and Yahaya Gusau, his fellow founder of the Izala.

In 1955, Gummi made his first hajj to Mecca. Trav-


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