Imitation and creativity in the establishment of Islam in Oyo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores the establishment of Islam in the towns of the former Oyo Empire in southwest Nigeria. Through a focus on imitation and creativity in community-making, it illustrates that Islam was socially entrenched at different levels. Muslims created hierarchies and communities at the town level, but many of them also lived in separate compounds, which participated in town politics as distinctly Islamic corporate identities. By emphasizing the importance of Islam in adapting existing models of community-making both at and below the town level, this chapter builds on Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias’ suggestion that in many West African societies, Muslims and non-Muslims were able to live alongside each other not because of a syncretisation or ‘mixing’ of religions but because they shared a common grammar in which differences between Muslims and non-Muslims were made socially productive.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLandscapes, Sources, and Intellectual Projects in African History
EditorsToby Green, Benedetta Rossi
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-38018-9
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2018

Publication series

NameAfrican History


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