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Izala Society, formally Jama’at Izalat al Bid’a Wa Iqamat as Sunna (Society of Removal of Innovation and Re-establishment of the Sunna), also called JIBWIS, is a Salafi movement originally established in Northern Nigeria to fight what it sees as the bid’a (innovation) practiced by the Sufi brotherhoods. It is one of the largest Salafi societies in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.[1]

Jama'at al Izalat al Bid'a Wa Iqamat as Sunnah
Ƙungiyar Izala
FounderShaykh Isma'ila Idris
HeadquartersAbuja Nigeria
  • Has 36 state headquarters including the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja)
West Africa
ServicesIslamic Propagation, Charity and Teaching
AffiliationsSunni Islam



Izala was established in 1978 Jos, Nigeria by a group of Islamic scholars lead by Sheikh Ismaila Idris,Sheik Abubakar Gumi and Alhaji Habibu Gado da Masu (1930-2001),[1] "in reaction to the Sufi brotherhoods",[2] specifically the Qadiri and Tijan Sufi orders.[3]

According to Ramzi Amara,

Today the Izala is one of the largest Salafi societies not only in Northern Nigeria, but also in the South and even in the neighboring countries (Chad, Niger, and Cameroon). It is very active in Da‘wa (propagation of the faith) and especially in education. The Izala has many institutions all over the country and is influential at the local, state, and even federal levels.[1]

The group has been called a salafist organization "that embraces a legalist and scripture centered understanding of Islam".[3] David Commins has described it as the fruit of missionary work by the Saudi Arabian funded and led World Muslim League.[4][5] "Essential texts" for members of the Izala Society are "Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab's treatise of God's unity and commentaries by his grandsons". Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was the founder of the Wahhabi mission, the official Islamic interpretation of Saudi Arabia. He saw Sufism as rife with idolatry (shirk).[6] The Izala Society has been labeled as infidels by Islamist group Boko Haram, due to their willingness to work with the Nigerian government.[7] Researchers have identified Izala as a fundamentalist group which shares many theological views with the deadly Boko Haram.[3] It has been accused of being responsible for violent protests. The rise of Izala in the 1980s heralded the radicalization of Northern Nigerian society.[3] The organisation is generously sponsored by Saudi Arabia, and is responsible for stirring sectarian hate against Shia and Sufi Muslims in Nigeria.[8]

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  1. ^ a b c Ben Amara, Ramzi (c. 2007). "Sharia Debates in Africa". Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  2. ^ Paden, John N. (2008). Faith and Politics in Nigeria. US Institute of Peace Press. p. 28.
  3. ^ a b c d Hill, Jonathan N. C. (May 2010). SUFISM IN NORTHERN NIGERIA: FORCE FOR COUNTER-RADICALIZATION? (PDF). Strategic Studies Institute. p. 18.
  4. ^ Commins, David (2009). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris. p. 153. The League also sent missionaries to West Africa, where it funded schools, distributed religious literature and gave scholarships to attend Saudi religious universities. These efforts bore fruit in Nigeria's Muslim northern region with the creation of a movement (the Izala Society) dedicated to wiping out ritual innovations. Essential texts for members of the Izala Society are Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab's treatise of God's unity and commentaries by his grandsons.
  5. ^ emblem of Saudi Arabia and emblem of Izala (upper left corner)
  6. ^ Commins, David (2009). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris. p. 153. Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab ... argued that the criterion for one's standing as either a Muslim or an unbeliever was correct worship as an expression of belief in one God. ... any act or statement that indicates devotion to a being other than God is to associate another creature with God's power, and that is tantamount to idolatry (shirk). Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included in the category of such acts popular religious practices that made holy men into intercessors with God. That was the core of the controversy between him and his adversaries ...
  7. ^ Ogunlesi, Tolu (23 March 2015). "Opinion - Nigeria's Internal Struggles". Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  8. ^ "In Nigeria 'being Shiite is being persecuted'".

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