Muslim Women Education and Izālah Movement in Kaduna State of Nigeria


This paper aims to examine Islamic education classes for Muslim married women founded by the reformist Islamic movement, Jamā'tul Izālatil bid' ah Wa Ikāmatis Sunnah (the Society for Removing Islamic Innovation and Restoring Practices of Prophet Muhammad SAW), known as Izālah in the Zaria town of Kaduna state Nigeria, as expanding Islamic education is one of its key goals. Many western scholars cannot differentiate between Islamiyyah schools and traditional Qur'anic school's whose syllabus is solely restricted to the routine learning of the Glorious Qur'an. This phenomenon has led to some problems. This paper aims to describe the impact of Islamiyyah schools on Muslim women's lives, especially in Kaduna State Zaria, and to address Izālah's role in establishing Islamiyyah classes for married women. The paper uses a qualitative research method design. Interviews were conducted with those schools headmaster and married women; qualitative data were provided. This paper reveals that Islamiyyah schools for women are very vital to the understanding and performance of Islamic ritual practices. Yes, Islamiyyah schools teach Muslim women on how to worship Allah and have played a significant role not only in Kaduna State education but also in the country at large.

Keywords: MuslimwomeneducationIzālahmovementkaduna


Kaduna State is in north-central Nigeria, where the traditional emirates of Zaria and Jama'a towns are located. The state was created as one of the 12 states that replaced the then existing four regions of Nigeria by the Yakubu Gowan regime in 1967. Kaduna was considerably reduced in size when its northern half became Katsina state in 1987.

Springing out of this Islamic awareness at a much later time, was the introduction of an Islamic movement called Jamā’tul Izālatil bid' ah Wa Ikāmatis sunnah . Meaning, Eradication of Innovations and Establishing the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in 1979 in Jos (Kane, 2013). This movement rapidly spread all over the country more, especially in the North. In Kaduna State and many other states in Nigeria, the Izālah movement massively transformed Qur’anic Islamiyyah schools into widespread involvement of women in running and attending Islamiyyah schools (Umar, 2001). Before the introduction of the Izālah movement, girl child education used to begin and end at the Qur'anic school level, where they only underwent routine learning of the Glorious Qur'an. Sound Islamic education was only restricted to the boys (Baba, 2013).

Establishing Islāmiyyah school in Metropolis of Zaria

Owing toward the early agitation of Izālah movements in metropolis of Zaria In the early 80's, many married women's schools started in the entrances (Zaure) or private garages where teachers were permitted to use the space to teach them (Loimeier, 2013).

Therefore, some of these young children's classes developed out of informal classrooms. This form of Islamic school, called allo (wooden slates) used by students to recite and memorise parts of the Qur'an, Serving all boys and girls to be seen all across the old town on compound entrances (Loimeier, 2013).

The initial resistance to the idea that women go to Islamic education classes outside their homes consists mainly of Islâmiyyah teachers ' families (Launay, 2007).

The assistant headmaster of this school described Some of the issues these teachers and female students face:

"There had been a lot of issues. Not only here but in many areas. Others, their husbands had declined to let them attend the school, other women got separated from their husbands instead their husbands didn't educate them and refused to let them go to this kind of school”.

Despite these obstacles, between 1980 and 1985 in Zaria Metropolis, nine Islāmiyyah schools started to hold classes for married Women (see Table 1 ). Members founded those first schools of the community that included neighborhood residents as clarified as indicated below:

"Due to the the fact that the children will grow up and remember the school, they will enter and also respect the school founder And even if they have not prayed for you, Almighty Allah will see that you have done something good for mankind in life "(Interview: Magajin Gari and Alhaji Nuhu Bamalli).

Groups of people who supported Izālah's goals and Wanted to enhance Islamic education for women also joined in establishing Islāmiyyah schools, as was the Makarantar Fada scenario, as defined by the head teacher of the school:

"I was one of the first people to start this school in 1981. After praying, we were in the mosque and I felt it was necessary for married women to come out and learn to be vast in Islamic religion. So, we took the matter to Ulama Izālah. We accepted the idea and almost immediately started the school, first with the teachers' spouses who taught in the classroom."

The early resistance of husbands and non- Izālah followers of the community diminished in many areas of the Zaria metropolis due to the continued commitment of women to seek Islamic knowledge then other people Started seeing this information so important, as Madarasatul Minhajul Islam Dan Da'da (for Anguwar Kwarbai) head teacher noted as saying:

“a lot of difficulties were faced in the earlier stages of establishing the school, the problem subsided after a lot of people saw the benefits associated with implementation of the school. The men sent their spouses and children to school” (Interview: Jibril Abdul- Karim, 17th April 2019, Zaria metropolitan).

As for the educational background of these new schools ' head teachers and students, many of them had diplomas in Islamic and Arabic studies; one had a National Education Certificate (NCE) in Arabic; another had a Business Diploma (computer science courses); and several others had secondary school certificates.

Islāmiyyah for married women: Classes, Syllabuses, Pedagogics, and Tools

Each head teacher of the schools in question specified the micro-practices meant for managing their schools, including courses for teaching, by what means to attend class, collect school fees and advance students between grades. Such schools did not have regular curricula, as depicted in Table 1 . The focus across the seventeen schools is solely on knowledge of the Qur'an and Islam. Nine schools, established after 1995, offered Western education classes, including mathematics, English, social studies, Hausa. In addition, 2 schools offered vocational training (Table 3 ). The student will Learn to write as well as to read alphabet letters in Arabic in grade 1. In grades 2 to 4, however, they got to at least learn how to write and read.

"We use teaching materials such as blackboards, erasers, textbooks, and books for lessons. If we read a passage to them three times, then we demand that they read it after us and recommend the individual read it in this way. Then we will need them to copy it into their books too. The student goes through an assessment into the next class, which is like an interview. We plan the questions that we put to them. (Interview: Suraj Hassan Ahmad, May 2019, Zaria Metropolis)

Present Islamic School in Zaria Metropolis

When asked why Islamic education was formed for married women in Metropolis of Zaria, schoolteachers unanimously believed that they were founded to Eliminate literacy and show them how to bring up their children properly. Most schools offered classes both for children and married women; some have men's groups too. Although most teachers are men, some schools have female teachers, for example Al-Abass Madarasatul Islāmiyyah and Makaran Ta'limil Islāmiyyah.

Some head teachers stated that the schools of Islāmiyyah began at the entrances (Zaure), or a home garage residence for married women, whose owners allowed teachers to use the room to teach women. Some schools like Madarasatul ni Sadul Islam Makaranta Kuttu in Anguwar Alkali continued in this way, as reported by its head teacher:

"Reason behind forming of this school is simply because our women-only sit at home They didn't know their religion. Some do not even know how to pray, so we set up the school so that we can support them. We continuously began the school with four to six students, but now about eighty come from different places, not just this town. When they started coming to this school, nothing happened because this house's owner was welcoming, and they attended." (Interview with Muhammad Bello Dewan, 25th April 2019, town of Zaria).

Students attending classes in this type of School sat down on the floor using booklets provided by teachers who slowly communicated with the students, repeated passages and recited to them to make sure they were understood.

Islāmiyyah for married women: Their Feedback

Women who attend lectures in Islāmiyyah also say that going to the school has changed them, that "now we thank God.” Not all women hold this viewIn their compounds, some married students called women who tried to discourage them from going to school or mocked them about wearing the hijab associated with going to school Islāmiyyah (Kane, 2013).

This may include hatred of the Izālah movement, particularly by adherents to the commands of Qadiriyyah or Tijāniyyah; the belief that married women should not be close to men other than their husbands (they should not see their faces) for fear of possible sexual impropriety; and the expectation that women might be taught by their husbands in their own homes as well. The Qur'an's advice to Muslims pursuing education was rejected by both the students and their teachers (Mahdi, 2009), including all Muslims, including men and women, and classes, as Best source to learn regarding married women faith (Mudiare, 2013).

The reason some people do not want their spouses go to Islāmiyyah because they don't have Islamic education and they don't go to Islamiyyah, and so they refuse to let their wife go to school. "(Interview: 2019 Married woman, Metropolis Zaria).

This process seems to take on a role. One of the latest schools, Al-Abass Madarasatul Islāmiyyah, established in 1993 in Anguwar Kwarbai, has four teachers teaching Arabic studies to married women: "Teachers are all women, there are no men teaching married women," while one man was hired to teach boko (Csapo, 1981).

Nevertheless, as Kane pointed out, "There are limits to the Izālah campaign for women's liberation, and Izālah In promoting equality, preachers definitely don’t goes as far as many Western-education of Muslim women, who indicate the value of engaging in Quran (Raji, 2007). Though Qur'an 2:151 notes the significance of all Muslims gaining understanding of their faith, Q 3:34 defines husband's influence on their spouses and Qur'an 24:30 rejects women's necessary to safeguard their modesty all through their body veilings (Kane, 2013). Such Status has examples in previous Reform campaigns, namely the jihad of 1804 led by ibn Uthman. Fodiye has strongly supported the education and veiling of married women in his writings (Coles & Mack, 2013). Shaykh ibn Fodiye's daughter, Nana Asma'u, developed Islamic education program for women for the duration of the Sokoto Caliphate, which persisted into the 20th century. Remarkably, several Zaria women stated that attending Islāmiyyah changed their behaviors in their house, and let them learn to become better wives:

" Occasionally your spouse's going to tell you something that's going to offend you, if you're not careful enough you're going to answer him with frustration. But if you go to school, then you will be managing your frustration and using the hadith that says if you want to speak, say what is right or stay silent. (Interview: married woman, Zaria metropolis 2019)

Likewise, some women addressed another hadith in which a wife is asked to wait for permission from her husband before leaving the house seeing her dying parent. Therefore, whilst married women were helping students joining the public realm to attend Islāmiyyah lessons did not dispute the seclusion system and almost all of them saw seclusion marriage They wanted it as the form of marriage for their children. Although many wanted their daughters to be educated both in Islam and the Western type, they also wanted them to stay at home and bring up their kids in the authority of the husbands:

"I want to see my female children Staying at home and raise their children. The husband should take care of her needs and she should stay at home so that their children can be brought up with good behaviour; they can benefit from the education she has received”

From the point of view of some Western-educated Muslim women, this position promotes the continuous subjection of women in Northern Nigerian society, as well as the emphasis on public wearing of the hijab (Mahdi, 2009).

Table 1 -
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The above table shows Islāmiyyah schools in the Metropolis of Zaria with grades for married women. Ironically enough, eight of these first nine schools were set up in industrial old-town ward and were populated by people who were merchants, civil servants, Or just the teachers Anguwar Kwarbai, where three of the first nine schools were situated, occupy the city's central area close to the emir's palace, while Fada's school (established in 1984) is adjacent to the emir's palace, and Babban Dodo's school is located on the main road to the palace. Two of the other early schools were built in the field beside the main entrance. Another school, Ma'ahad Ulimiddinil Islāmiyyah, was built in 1984, at Anguwar Kaura, by the Kwarbai-born Alhaji Muhammad Tukur. These very schools are the story of Izalah's early supporters, who tended to be more affluent, more urban and more educated in Islamic and Western traditions (Coles & Mack, 2013).

Problem Statement

Over the decades, dissemination of proper Islamic teachings, thorough research, and unbiased analysis of the contribution of Islamiyyah schools to the development of education among Muslim women in Zaria of Kaduna State have not been fully exploited. This is because the traditional Qur'anic school system could not satisfy the needs of the present fast-changing society (Abubakar & Abdullah, 2017).

It is incredible, therefore, to see some non-Muslims or ignorant Muslims who undermine or relegate Islamiyyah schools is where only devotional practices are taught and reward obtained in the hereafter (Maccido, 2011). These incredible misconceptions are due to a lack of proper knowledge of Islamic education and the lack of dissemination of research findings on Islam. Prejudice in analysing the actual outcomes of researches that favor Islam and the inferiority complex on the side of some Islamiyyah schoolteachers is another cause of the problems.

Research Questions

The research of this paper includes:

  • What are the subjects of the Islamiyyah schools’ syllabus?

  • What the relevance of women Islamiyyah schools to the Muslim community in Zaria, Kaduna State?

  • What are the differences between Islamiyyah and Qur’anic school?

  • Do Islamiyyah schools enable Muslim women to fully understand the ritual aspects of their religion (Islam)?

  • Do Muslim husbands allow their wives to attend Islamiyyah schools?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research is to identify the contributions of women Islamiyyah schools to the life of Muslim women in Kaduna State, particularly in Zaria.

Research Methods

Research design is a schematic of activities or specification of the method and methods to be followed in order to obtain the most valid answer to the research question or to achieve the study objectives with optimum control of variance and the composition of a clearly formulated collection of suggested guidelines for the study's efficacy (Goddard & Melville, 1996). 

This research was conducted to carry out the focus ‘Muslim women Education and Izālah movement in Kaduna state of Nigeria” therefore, a qualitative research design is used.

Sources and Method of Data Collection

This paper explicitly used primary and secondary data collection methods. The primary data consist of the information gathered from the data collected from the interviewee. In contrast, secondary data included the use of online databases, pertinent journals, archives, and textbooks for the study.

Population, Sample and Sampling Technics

The population of this paper focused on the Islāmiyyah for married women in the Zaria Metropolis area of. The sample is the subset of the population, for this study, only nineteen Islāmiyyah for married women were interviewed out of thousand schools, married women, and school Headmasters were involved in the investigation for the population study.

Sampling Technics

The selection of the Zaria local government area (L.G.A) was based on the highest concentration of Islamiyyah schools and the number of Muslim populations in Kaduna state. For emphasis, 19 Islamiyyah schools were randomly selected out of many schools and because of convenience. Random sampling implies that every individual member of the population has a definite probability of been selected (Marshall, 1996).

Research Instrument

The instruments for data collection for this study includes an unstructured interview. Although this interview was conducted and used for the representative of boards of trustee members, every one of them was interviewed separately. The main aim of this interview was to collect information on the role of Management boards in the teaching process of Islamiyyah schools.

Method of Data Analysis

The data of the unstructured interview collected from the subjects was summarily analysed.


As mentioned under the sampling of this study in 19 Islāmiyyah schools considered for interview within Zaria Local Government Areas of Kaduna State. Below table is the summary of the interview:

Table 2 -
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Table 2 above describes and analyses the respondent's answers from the field interviews.

Table 3 -
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The school continues to hold Classes for married women. Six new facilities for Islāmiyyah were developed between 1990 and 1995 either in the communities nearby to Anguwar Kwarbai, or alongside the major road as well as Kofar Doka and Kwarbai. Nonetheless, 11 schools were opened (or reopened) from 1996 to 2002, mostly in more pastoral areas such as Anguwar Kusfa, Anguwar Albarakawa and Anguwar Bishar, Anguwar Amaru and Kofar, more remote from the city centre. The figure also includes two schools that opened but were closed in the 1980s in the metropolis of Zaria (see Table 3 ) due to issues within the community or within the school itself and Izālah. Subsequently, acceptance of the school explanation is that by 2010 all married women's schools established in 2002 continued education for girls and married women by 2010.


Most of the data were collected from well-experienced teachers who have taught for over ten years. Many Islāmiyyah schoolteachers engage themselves in acquiring the Western system of education, which is necessary for our survival in this world. This is evidence of the fact that Islam is a complete way of life which Islamiyyah schools do try to uphold. Islamic education.

There is harmony between Islāmiyyah and the western types of schooling. Just as Islāmiyyah , teachers do not limit their search for knowledge to ritual or religious aspects of Islam; so also, their students. Muslim prayers are based on the good things of this world to prepare for the hereafter.

The curriculum of Islāmiyyah schools is not limited to Qur'an alone. It includes other supporting subjects required for the understanding of the Qur'an and Islam, in general, studying the Qur'an. In contrast, the latter is broader in scope, including the Qur'an, hadith, fiqh, tawhid, Arabic among others.

The Islāmiyyah schools also have excellent bearings on women's social interactions with their husbands, parents, children, neighbors and society.


We greatly acknowledged the school of Humanities (PPIK) Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) for the postgraduate international conference fund.


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Cite this article as:

Abdullatif, B., & Sharif, M. F. M. (2020). Muslim Women Education and Izālah Movement in Kaduna State of Nigeria. In N. Samat, J. Sulong, M. Pourya Asl, P. Keikhosrokiani, Y. Azam, & S. T. K. Leng (Eds.), Innovation and Transformation in Humanities for a Sustainable Tomorrow, vol 89. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 14-23). European Publisher.