Ways of promoting christian muslim relationship in nigeria the yoruba

Religious Education in Nigeria – A Case Study

ways of promoting christian muslim relationship in nigeria the yoruba

Nigeria, the Yorùbá are found in Benin and Togo Republics. All these the Yorùbá. The association of Christianity with this education caused it to be viewed with seeks to address therefore is how to determine the Yorùbá Muslim cultural identity. . and Islamic traditions associated with the institution of marriage. Marriage. The Yoruba religion comprises the traditional religious and spiritual concepts and practice of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in present-day Southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts Relationship and influence on Voodoo In this way the teachings transcends religious doctrine, advising as it does that a. 5The binary representation (dialogue/duelogue) in the relationship between two But what is even more significant is the way the narrative of the Christian video There are, of course, several Yoruba Christian video films in Nigeria, but my .. in enhancing its capacity to recreate and disseminate the Word of salvation.

There are already numerous published information on Yoruba spiritual life, so I would not be attempting any detailed exploration here. One of these is that the Yorubas have a strong sense of the past.

The past has a way of exerting influence on the present. Thus some persons may use voodoo for protective purposes, even though some may want to do harm with it. Another informant drew my attention to the fact that there is a difference between a babalawo father of the cult who is committed to healing or saving life, and the Onisegun the master of medicinewho could use voodoo to do harm or to do whatever the client wishes.

Many Yoruba Christians do not doubt the power of either the babalawo or onisegun, or that Esumare the Yoruba prankster-god re-interpreted by Christians as the devil and other evil spirits exist and carry on their traditional tasks of confusing and misleading people. Hence, many Yoruba Christians find it difficult to deny the roles of these forces in a world where good and evil are perpetually in conflict. They believe that incantations of the Ifa are very powerful. One Yoruba Christian informant narrated to me the experiences of some individuals with respect to the uses of Oro in harming or healing people.

Indeed, there is much validity in the claim made by Mbiti What forms of these indigenous imaginations gain entry into the Christian video film narratives? How are they utilized in the narratives? Are there specific ways in which the indigenous frames transform, and are transformed in, the semiotic space of self and other-word? Old Yoruba Wines in New Christian Bottles 37Indigenous imaginations, as explained earlier, reveal local invention and explanations about occurrences in human situations.

They are therefore frameworks of knowledge that condition behaviour. In the video films under study, these indigenous imaginations are played out in the sites of verbal production or the word orovoodoo significations and causality, dream semiotics, theology of illness and death, as well as the agency of evil forces in human affairs. As Ayo Opefeyintinmi One relates to the fact of its divine origin. It is believed that the power of oro began with the Almighty God Himself.

ways of promoting christian muslim relationship in nigeria the yoruba

It is with words oro that he created the universe. There is also an emerging binary structure in which the Christian ized word is placed at the positive pole. In Agbara Oro, produced by Ipile Rere Evangelical Ministry, Akure, we are shown the disasters that befall Mr Oloojegi, a banker, because of a curse placed on him by his own father.

His father, who is non-literate, visits him at his place of work from the village. While waiting to be received by his son, the man sees Oloojegi paying out money to customers but does not understand that the money belongs to these customers.

He thinks that his son has become very wealthy and so is giving out money out of charity.

ways of promoting christian muslim relationship in nigeria the yoruba

He therefore gets annoyed when his son later gives him only two hundred naira which is quite below what he had seen Oloojegi give out. He interprets this as a demonstration of irresponsibility and lack of love for parents. So, back home, he narrates his experience to a woman who happens to be a witch and is encouraged to hate his son.

On initiation, he is made Kolaanu somebody without compassion. First, Akoba leads him into killing a goat with his car but the goat is transformed into a young girl and he is charged with murder.

He is again picked up by the police for this offence. The spell on Oloojegi as later broken when he is prayed for by a Christian group.

The evil spirits are expelled from his being and he becomes normal again, but his father, who has gone ahead with evil deeds against his son, is struck with paralysis by the angel of God, and he dies. The daughter-in-law then begins to have problems with conception.

Yoruba religion

A Christian prayer group later brings the daughter-in-law to apologize. The mother-in-law then revokes the curse, using water to perform the ritual as Yoruba custom demands. The curse lifted, her daughter-in-law is able to conceive and bear a child later. Indeed, in many indigenous cultures in Nigeria, thought is perceived as not just the origin of verbal expression but also as potent communication itself. As demonstrated in the speech acts of cursing and blessing in Agbara Oro and Oro Ahon the spoken word sets into motion a series of spiritual actions—especially as it is believed in the traditional Nigerian context mostly that human interactions are attended to by spirits—both the good and the bad.

These spirits would therefore try to execute and actualize our utterances. Thus individuals are culturally admonished to be careful with their utterances.

In the traditional understanding, therefore, one who claims to be unfortunate remains unfortunate. We are, as it would appear, re created by our words, a situation that reminds us of the belief that it was with words that God created the world and the entire universe and the things that are in them. With words, we also exercise the divine power, especially when it is understood that we are not just flesh and blood, but also spirit.

As elders are believed to be representatives of ancestors, or nearer to the ancestors, their performances of certain speech acts such as cursing and blessing are perceived as very serious deployments of the power in the word. A person drenched by this drizzle of rain, as in the case of Oloojegi, has tasted suffering in full measure.

Many Christian preachers in Nigeria have emphasized the potency of speech, and the need for positive talking in Christian discourses. It is also a way of showing that from the nature of verbal behaviour we would be able to identify as well as to combat evil presences. But it should be noted that the reconstructive project which Christian video narratives are carrying out on oro is not new; there have always been, in the Nigeria context of cultures, a recognition that cursing and other negative uses of oro, especially in interactions between parents and their children, could have psychological and spiritual repercussions.

So, one could say that the reinvention of oro in these video films has been informed by the double consciousness of the Nigerian Christian. It is necessarily a setting aside of the traditional African practice of speaking as being diabolical or being susceptible to satanic influences. It is not necessarily a situation of presence versus absence of both forms of consciousness, but that of the undecidability of absence-presence.

But his privileging of the Christian Word is challenged in the video narratives by cases of revocations of curses. It is obvious that this indigenous semiotic presents a more meaningful and telling idea of restoration to health than the normal stereotyped use of prayers in Christian imagination. The use of the revocation ritual appears to be a way of suggesting that indigenous practices are not entirely evil as supposed in puritan circles.

As I have stated, this implied meaning of the revocation ritual challenges the dominant voice of the Christian Word, and is eloquent.

The understanding of health as being multidimensional —physical, psychological and spiritual—is already a given in many indigenous African cultures, as also noted by C. Ejizu and Godwin Sogolosuch that even some Nigerians who have acquired Western education and Christian religion may still believe that some illnesses have spiritual and mystical causes Erinosho This explains the representation of the voodoo practices carried out by even highly educated Nigerians in the films as being, beyond doubt, mysterious but actual causes of death and illness.

All the Pentecostal and orthodox Christians I interviewed believed that voodoo power is not just a joke as might be supposed, but is a satanic force that must be destroyed, but they also claim that, if one is genuinely in Christ, one becomes invulnerable to voodoo attacks. It is precisely this incessant doubleness, this unwillingness to live through and inability to shake the ambiguity of reference and influence which makes the African postcolony postmodern. I should think that there are stronger aesthetic and conceptual imperatives that necessitate the incorporation of indigenous non-Christian imaginations.

Thus a critique of the video narrative essentially demands a strong reference to context—to the people who are the main consumers of the video narratives for whom these beliefs are a cultural given.

Apart from using the frames the consumers are familiar with to explain and teach what they are unfamiliar with, the video narratives tend to reinforce the indigenous frames of knowledge.

But more importantly as in Oro Ahon, dream revelations, which enhance the rhetoric of the potent Oro, internally function as means of persuasion, first as in the relationship of the video narrative to the Nigerian audience, an appeal is made to a suspension of disbelief of the Christian Word.

Very prominent in contemporary Christian video films in Nigeria are such evil spiritual forces as marine spirits or water spirits. Such spirits feature, regularly in Christian soap opera, for instance in Omoge Omi Daughters of the River.

As I have observed elsewhere, the feminization of these spirits may reflect insensitivity to gender politics Oha a: In Agba woli, the operation of these marine spirits have been associated with Aladura groups—which, incidentally, perform some of their rituals in rivers, lakes, streams, and at seasides, as one can easily notice at the Barbeach in Lagos. Making the spirit black woman appears to further racialize the latter, but then it satisfies the reconstructive and localization project which is important to the Nigerian Christian video maker.

In a sense, the localization of the spirit is a familiarization strategy; just as religious beings—even God himself—are imagined from familiar frames. God in The Holy Bible, for instance, is anthropormorphized and masculinized and in Christian visual art further imagined as an old man with long heard.

Films in Nigeria are, unfortunately, still kept outside the school curriculum except in departments of theatre arts where they are strange newcomerseven when they dialogue with social and written discourses.

ways of promoting christian muslim relationship in nigeria the yoruba

There were three regions northern, eastern, and western and the Federal Capital Territory. The northern region particularly championed a policy of regionalism, which was essentially aimed at weakening the centre and strengthening the regions, the objective of which was to promote peculiar regional tendencies, particularly adherence to Islamic law. In spite of the relative regional autonomy, the legal system was unified and cast in a constitutional framework which gave pre-eminence to the secular legal order, while subjecting all other laws to the unified control of the secular federal Supreme Court and, ultimately, the Crown.

Accordingly, the judicial structure that was adopted during the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates in was retained with modification. There was a Federal Supreme Court, which was presided over by a Chief Justice of the Federation, while each region then northern, eastern, and western regions had a high court presided over by a Chief Justice.

Appeals from each of the high courts of the regions went to the Federal Supreme Court, while appeals from Magistrate Courts, Customary or Native Courts Grade A went to the regional high courts. Although customary law was still applicable in secular courts, its legitimacy was contingent upon the validity test established by the Native Courts Proclamation of Similarly, although a Sharia Court of Appeal was established for the northern region, by Section of the Constitution, appeals from the Sharia Court of Appeal lay before the Federal Supreme Court—which was a secular court, established under Section of the Constitution.

In terms of the sources of Nigerian law, the common law of England, the doctrines of equity, and the statutes of general application, applicable to Nigeria beforewere to be administered in the courts in so far as local circumstances permitted.

ways of promoting christian muslim relationship in nigeria the yoruba

Thus three sources of law were applicable in Nigeria courts—English law, customary law, and sharia law—although sharia law was considered by the British as part of customary law. On the other hand, the contradictions inherent in the very nature of Islamic law and political theory 36 predictably generated serious resistance from northern Muslims, who saw secularity and secular institutions as atheistic and against the very foundation of Islam.

Although the conflict between Islamic legal and political values and the Western colonial principles was tolerated by the northern establishment under colonialism, these contradictions became relevant shortly after independence.

The conflict between Islamic and secular law in northern Nigeria was in place before independence. The colonial native courts in the region, which were in most cases presided over by Alkalis local judges who applied Islamic lawhad their decisions sometimes quashed on appeal to the regional high courts on the basis of repugnancy. Before the West Africa Court of Appeal, the conviction was quashed and the sentence set aside. In the opinion of the court, whenever a native court tries any person for any offence defined in the Criminal Code, it is bound to follow the Code to the exclusion of Islamic law or native law and custom.

Similarly, in Maizabo v Sokoto Native Authority 41 it was held that though a native court had power to try a case under native law and custom—Islamic law then considered as native law, it could not impose a sentence higher than what the accused would have received had his case been tried under the provisions of the criminal code. Thus the British bequeathed to a unified Nigeria a seemingly secular system of government, albeit with deeply segmented religious cleavages, reflected in its institutional configuration.

Several factors underlie the resistance of northern Muslims to secularism after independence. As noted earlier, the British colonialists themselves sought to protect this political and legal order for reasons of imperial convenience, until it became obvious that an Islamic legal order would not serve the commercial interest of Western merchants, particularly after independence. Unfortunately for Britain, its change of mind at the twilight of colonialism was too little too late, as the sudden introduction of Western secularism introduced a contradiction that would challenge the Islamic way of life and, therefore sow a seed of instability in the new state.

This is because Islam under sharia is conceived by Muslims as an amalgam of political, religious, social, and economic life of Muslims, and even more. An emergent secular regime that sought to separate religion from state affairs was therefore problematic to the northern oligarchs, who were accustomed to the fusion of political, economic, and spiritual roles under an Islamic regime.

As demonstrated below, this contradiction is clearly and consistently asserted by Nigerian Muslims in their quest for an Islamic political and legal order. Islam does not admit a narrow view of religion by restricting it within the limits of worship, specific rituals and spiritual beliefs.

In its precise meaning, Islam is not only a religion; it is also a way of life that regulates all the aspects of life on the scale of the individual and the nation. Islam is a social order, philosophy of life, a system of economic rules and government. A Christian for instance may be prepared, in the notion of giving to Caesar and God what respectively belong to them, to limit his right to religious freedom to matters of faith and worship only. A person from the West may also be contented with the western compartmentalization of life into religious and temporal.

This is because his spiritual and moral worth is tested against his daily interaction with others at the congregational prayers, in marital union, in the pursuit of his legitimate livelihood and in the holding of public responsibilities, amongst others. Second, northern Muslims have had an obstinate adherence to the traditional philosophy of power and leadership that existed in pre-independence caliphate, a philosophy that associated governance with rulership in the traditional mould of the caliphatorial oligarchy.

Accordingly, the transition from an Anglo-Fulani colonial northern government to a modern democratic Nigeria based on egalitarianism came to the northern oligarchy as a rude shock. This political jolt was essentially based on a previous perception of power as an exclusive preserve of the emirs and the nobles, as well as the reality of a new nation that sought to create a distinction between political and religious authority.

Consequently, when the new class of northern oligarchs engaged in political activities, it did so within the limits of the concept of power in Hausa society, a concept guided by a hierarchically stratified society, with the emir at the top. Given that the social organization of the caliphate recognized the fusion of political and religious authority, the post-colonial Hausa-Fulani political elite continued, albeit informally, to associate religion with politics in the new political order, thereby creating an unhealthy tradition of politicizing religion and instrumentalizing it for political mobilization.

Under the new political dispensation, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, a caliphatorial prince, became the premier of the northern region, the de jure political leader of northern Nigeria, while the Sultan of Sokoto remained the de facto leader of the Muslim community in the north.

This unorthodox arrangement, by caliphatorial standards, created a gulf between the two personalities, as Islam hitherto provided political legitimacy to the political leader in the caliphate. This motivation led him into an ambitious Islamization campaign in the region and beyond, he allied with the Arab Islamic world in the process, attracting praise from that region as a champion of Islam and drawing millions of dollars from there in support of the faith in Nigeria.

In addition, the Islamic faith became a source of political patronage. For northern Nigerians, therefore, attainment of political power as well as advancement in the Public Service and the Military were intricately tied to Islam and association with the faith. Thus de jure, religion was separated from politics, but de facto, it remained a veritable source of political legitimacy in the north before the end of the first republic.

Between Secularity and Spirituality: Situating the Nigerian State A. The terms secularity and secularism have undergone intense scrutiny by various scholars, institutions, or groups seeking to conceptualize distinctions and impose definitions on the terms. Although scholars have established a distinction between secularity and secularism, these concepts are commonly regarded as meaning the same thing: The words derive from the Latin, saeculum, which means both this age and this world, and combines a spatial sense and a temporal sense.

In the Middle Ages, secular referred to priests who worked out in the world of local parishes, as opposed to priests who took vows of poverty and secluded themselves in monastic communities. In all of these instances, the secular indicates a distancing from the sacred, the eternal, and the otherworldly. In the centuries that followed the secular began to separate itself from religious authority.

Yoruba religion - Wikipedia

In terms of typologies, the soft and hard correspondingly moderate and strict variants of secularity and secularism have been identified. Kosmin used the historical divergence between the French and American revolutions to construct the theoretical divergence between soft and hard secularism. According to him, the French revolution, which was anchored on a joint struggle against despotism, religion, the monarchy, and the Roman Catholic Church ie the French Jacobin traditionwas unreservedly antagonistic to religion and therefore promoted atheism.

In fact, the majority are liberal religionists. For the soft secularist, religion is properly a private lifestyle option, which must not threaten liberty and social harmony in a differentiated and pluralistic society. On the other hand, soft secularism safeguards guarantee the right to freedom of worship and religion to all persons, both leaders and the led, thereby protecting the rights of religious minorities.

Such a soft secularism, therefore, seeks to significantly reduce religious influence in public life, while at the same time guaranteeing freedom of religion and conscience to individuals and groups in the private realm. A nation state could therefore adopt the hard strict variant of secularism or the soft moderate form. Nevertheless, in such systems religious symbols and connotations are commonly used in public institutions, while religious beliefs are widely considered a relevant part of the political discourse in many of these countries.

This is true of the United States, for instance, where religious sentiments are brought to bear on issues of abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, etc. Thus even the soft or moderate conception of secularism is vehemently opposed by religious organizations as a threat to spirituality and a gradual recession to atheism. Accordingly, a middle-of-the-road approach which seeks the limited integration of religion into the public realm what I refer to as moderate or concessional secularism 63 is hereby suggested as the most appropriate strategy.

Is Nigeria a Secular State? Anyone saying Nigeria is a secular nation does not understand the meaning of the word secular. There is nothing secular about the Nigerian nation since whatever we do will always put Islam and Christianity in the fore front. On the one hand, the Nigerian Christian community, particularly its leadership, has consistently held the view that the divine state has universally given way to the secular state, where the temporal secular ruler enjoys full autonomy as ruler with no control from religious or spiritual authorities.

If you want to bring religion in, let it be after office hours. It seeks to undermine Islamic values, supplant the Islamic laws with those of its own and deface the sanctity of the Muslim society. Afterwards, an evaluation of these laws is made against the de facto relationship between religion and the state.

This analysis attempts to isolate what ought to be from what is the actual relationship between religion and the Nigerian state. The starting point, therefore, is to identify the characteristics of secularism in a constitutional democracy.

Wing and Varol exhaustively circumscribed the attributes of secularism in the following passage: First, in secular regimes, sovereignty belongs to the nation and not to a divine body …. Second, religion is separate from the State in a secular government. Third, a secular government is neutral towards all religions.

As such, the regime cannot have an official religion and does not protect one religion over another. Likewise, all individuals, irrespective of their religion, are equal before the law. Fourth, a secular regime requires the education and the legal systems to be secular. The legal system does not contain laws based on religion, and the education system is based on logic and science, not religion or dogmas. Fifth, a secular government requires freedom of religion and conscience.