Imamship In Ikotun-Ile Oyun Local Government Area, Kwara State

Project and Seminar Material Under Islamic and Arabic Studies

Imamship In Ikotun-Ile Oyun Local Government Area, Kwara State


Islam is a religion and a way of life for the Muslims, it consist of worship of the creator and goodness to others to ensure a just society for all. Salat is a very important duty in Islam as it distinguishes Muslims from others. It is an institution of the Muslim congregation in a locality with the Imam as the head and Mosque as his office. Nonetheless, it is on this background therefore that this research aims at discussing the institution of Imamship in Ikotun-Ile Town Central Mosque with a view to (i) Examine the concept of Imamship in Islam (ii) Document the historical origin of Ikotun-Ile (iii) Identify the pattern adopted in Ikotun-Ile to appoint leaders. (iv) Assess the contributions of earlier Muslim to the spread of Islam in Ikotun-Ile (v) Give the historical account of Imamship in Ikotun-Ile town Central Mosque (vi) Highlight the problems encountered by earlier Muslims in Ikotun-Ile. The study has adopted historical and descriptive methods of research. The historical method has assisted in rendering the historical account of Ikotun-Ile town as well as the contribution of the earlier Muslim in Ikotun to the spread of Islam. While the descriptive method has helped in describing the past and present activities such as the methods of appointing Imam in Ikotun Central Mosque as well as the duties and functional roles of Imams in Ikotun Central Mosque. The major findings of the study were: (i) Most of our present day Imams are easily brought over when it comes to monitory matter owing to the fact that they are not placed on regular salaries. (ii) People seek for the position of Imamship using all means possible because of its attractiveness and respect. (iii) In some places, the position of Imamship is based on blood relationship or hereditary. (iv) Some people have inordinate ambitions that lead then to resort to evil ways in their bid to actualize their dreams of being an Imam. The study therefore concluded by recommending that our present day Imams should emulate the deeds and good character of the Prophet and most of the scholars should join hand in condemning the in ordinate ambition of those people who resort to evil ways in their bids to actualize their dreams of being an Imam.

Table of Contents

  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Contents

Chapter One:


  • 1.0 Introduction
  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Aim and Objective of the Study
  • 1.3 Scope of the Study
  • 1.4 Justification of the Study
  • 1.5 Research Methodology
  • 1.6 Definition of Terms
  • Notes and References

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 Concept of Imamship in Islam
  • 2.2 Imamship among the Salafs
  • 2.3 Qualities of an Imam
  • 2.4 Roles of Imam in Islam
  • Notes and References

Chapter Three:

Origin of Ikotun

  • 3.1 History of Ikotun
  • 3.1.1 Geographical Location of Ikotun
  • 3.2 Islam in Ikotun
  • 3.3 Muslims of Ikotun and Other Faith
  • 3.4 Challenges of Islam in Ikotun
  • Notes and References

Chapter Four:

Imamship in Ikotun-Ile

  • 4.1 Imamship in Ikotun-Ile
  • 4.2 Contributions of Past Imams in Ikotun-Ile Town
  • 4.3 The Central Mosque of Ikotun-Ile
  • 4.3.1 Socio-Religious Function
  • 4.3.2 Administrative Function
  • 4.3.3 Centre of Economic Activities
  • 4.3.4 Centre of Learning
  • 4.4 Methods of Appointing Imams in Ikotun-Ile
  • 4.5 Functions of the Imam of Ikotun-Ile
  • Notes and References

Chapter Five:


  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Suggestion and Recommendation
  • Notes and References
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix

Chapter One


The compatibility of Islam to humanity covers every aspect of human endeavors, political, social, economical and spiritual life. Islam is a universal religion followed by over one and half billion people living in different areas of the world.1 The teachings of Islam seek to protect people from harm and mischief and serve their interest through the effective use of given resources.

These objectives must be achieved within the framework of justice dignity, and benevolence. The teaching of Islam provide a philosophy and a plane for people to live by. This research work intends to affirm the fact that Imamship is inevitable in any given situation where ritual prayer (Salat) is observed between two or more believers. In this sense, the institution of Imamship in Ikotun-Ile Town Kwara State forms the basis of this research. This is because the institution of Imamship in Ikotun-Ile town among others is worthy of emulation for any society which intends to discuss this reputation of the faithfuls.

In the same vein, this research emphasizes the significance of Imamship in Islam because on the Day of Accountability, every individual will be summoned with their Imams. Allah says:
يَوۡمَ نَدۡعُواْ كُلَّ أُنَاسِۢ بِإِمَٰمِهِمۡۖ فَمَنۡ أُوتِيَ كِتَٰبَهُۥ بِيَمِينِهِۦ فَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ يَقۡرَءُونَ كِتَٰبَهُمۡ وَلَا يُظۡلَمُونَ فَتِيلٗا ٧١ (And remember) the Day when we shall call together all human beings with their Imams so: wherever is given his record in his right hand, such will unjustly in the least.2 (Qur’an, 17:71).

The above injunction reveals that we are all going to be accountable for all our deeds, behind our leaders.

1.1 Background To The Study

The people of Ikotun-Ile before the advent of Islam were reportedly said to be idol worshipers until the era of Oba Tijuku who was the first person to accept and practice Islam in Ikotun-Ile alongside his wife Aminat Iyamole.3
Furthermore, “Iyamole” enaged herself in luring the children to Tafsin and Qur’an lesions at Alfa Garuba’s House Imam Alfa Garuba did propagated the religion of Islam by preaching, teaching youngster and librating the elders from superstition beliefs and thus was given the mantle of Imamship.

It is on this foundation that the Oba Tijuku ordered people to built a demarcation or a spot which was presently known as Ikotun-Ile Central Mosque today.4

1.2 Aims And Objectives Of The Study

Motivated by the nature of the present society where the institution of Imamship has been abused as a result of the system of appointing them and their qualification which look un-Islamic in almost all its spheres. And the fact that I strongly believe that we can during our time i.e. (the present generation), produce youths who can advance in faithful leadership after studying the times and modes with system of Imamship in Ikotun-Ile Town of Kwara State.
This research therefore, intends to show the lessons or teachings that can be derived from the precedence of the noble Prophet (S.A.W) in the appointment of leader or Imam of the believers.

The aims and objectives of this research are as follow:

  1. To show the moral standard or good quality which existed from Imam in Islam.
  2. To discusses the virtue of good and qualified Imam to the present and future generation especially among the youth to enhance the righteous leaders in Islam by looking into the discipline, concept and principles.
  3. To propose the pattern to be adopted in Ikotun-Ile Town of Kwara State to the leader(s) as in conformity with the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W).
  4. To show a brief history of Imamship in the Ikotun Town Central Mosque.
  5. To draw the attention of future generation to some fainted and lossed about the modes of appointing Imams in Islam.

The above highlighted are the aims and objectives of this great research work on the Imamship in Kwara State a case study of Ikorun-Ile Town.

1.3 Scope Of The Study

This project covers the Imamship of Ikotun-Ile Town of Kwara State between 1939 – 2017.

With little notation to the other mosque present in Ikotun-Ile, this research work also discusses in details the status of Ikotun town as well as the Ikotun-Ile Central Mosque, the qualities of Imam in Islam, the duties and the privileges of the Chief Imam of Ikotun-Ile, etc. Also in this research work, effort is made in listing names of the reigning and the successive Imam in Ikotun-Ile Town in Kwara State.

1.4 Justification Of The Study

Significantly this research work serves as a form of codified record and documentation of Imamship in Ikotun-Ile. Hence, there are numbers of works written on Ikotun-Ile Community, Oyun Local Government of Kwara State. But to the best of our knowledge, available records show that there is no single research work yet on the Imamship in Ikotun-Ile Community in Kwara State. This is where the study stands out to bridge the gap.

1.5 Research Methodology

The method adopted for this research is historical. The sources used includes books, articles and the internet cites that are relevant to the topic.

Other sources include Qur’an, Book of Hadith; among which are Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Muslim, 40 traditions of an-Nawawi’s Journals of Islamic Studies, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Islam, textbooks, pamphlet and other relevant publications.

1.6 Definition Of Terms

1. Imam:

A religious man who leads the prayers in a mosque or the spiritual leader in Islam, a leader of congregational prayer in a mosque.5

2. Mu’athin (Aperun):

The caller of prayers and Jumat prayer.

3. Pagan:

A person not adhering to any major or recognized religion, especially a heathen or non abrahmist, followers of a pantheistic or nature worshiping religion, neopagan.6

4. Tafsir:

The word ‘tafsir’ comes from ‘fassara’ which means to explain to expound, to elucidate, to interpret.7

5. Ikotun-Ile:

A town in which its people had tribal marks in the right side of checks but non on the left side. It is located in Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State.

6. Olukotun:

This is the title of the king of Ikotun-Ile land.

7. Oyo-Ile:

Old Oyo Empire which collapsed.

8. Bale:

The local chief in charge of the community welfare.

9. Central Mosque:

A building use for public worship by Muslim.

10. Islam:

Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a religious text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Allah) and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah, composed of accounts called Hadith) of Muhammad (C. 570 – 8 – June 32 CE).8

11. Egungun (Masquerade):

A social gathering of person wearing masks and often fantastic customs.9

12. Khalifa:

The leader of Muslim community or particular nation.

Chapter Five


5.1 Summary

It is significant to note that in this kind of research work one must give an outline summary conclusion on how the research hard been thoroughly examined. The work begins with an introduction into the research work. In it, it also consists of background to the study, aims of the study, problem of the study, justification of the study, methodology adopted, literature review as well as definition of terms with the notes and references.

This work also examines the Literature Review, Concept of Imamship in Islam, and Qualities of an Imam, The Roles of an Imam in Islam as well as the Imamship of the Salaf. It also Centres of the Historical Origin of Ikotun town, geographical location of Ikotun, Islam in Ikotun, Muslims of Ikotun and other faith as well as challenges of Islam in Ikotun.

Further discussed in this work is the Institution of Imamship in Ikotun-Ile, Contribution of Past Imams in Ikotun-Ile town, The Central Mosque of Ikotun-Ile, (Socio-Reigious Function, Administrative Function, Centre of Economic Activities, Centre of Leaning) and function of the Imam of Ikotun-Ile.

Finally, the research works ends with conclusion, summary, research findings, recommendations, as well as contribution to knowledge.

5.2 Conclusion

The researcher has x-rayed the institution of Imamship in Ikotun-Ile Central Mosque; this chapter therefore presents a summary of all chapter, principle finding, recommendation and suggestion.

The institution of Imamship in Kwara State, a case study of Ikotun town central mosque is a great research work of our contemporary time. Having examined the institution of Imamship in Ikotun town central mosque, we discovered the fact that this institution has a very special uniqueness compared to other towns in Nigeria and even in Africa at large. It is observed that this days, the institution of Imamship is surrounded by many problems ranging from religious, economic, social and political aspect.

The requirement of religion for the appointment of Imamah are now necessary for the Muslim communities or the council of Imam generally in different part of the country. Scholars of the prestine era of Islam valued acquisition of knowledge coupled with piety and left behind a vaccum which was unable to be filled by the present day Islamic scholars who are somehow versed in terms of knowledge without piety. There seems to be disagreement between intellectualism and morality. The effect of this is that the majority of the present day Imams, saints and scholars lack dignity and reverence in some parts of the nation.

Furthermore, social charisma of many Imams in our contemporary world has been taken over because when a Muslim has certain chieftaincy to grab from them, they will be lobbying the Imam materially. Today, hardly will one see such title holders continue to accord them the type of respect they deserve for they have lavished on them some material items prior to the conferment of their titles. It is our belief that if our Imam and their principal officers are placed on regular salaries, they would be contented with the little they have and they would not be easily brought over when it comes to monitory matters. This issue makes many of them discontented with what they have and become a toy in the hands of the wealthy one; instead of emulating the deeds, saying and action of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) while they are upholding the position of Imamship in Islam.

More so, political factors also has its own share in the multidimensional problems. In the institution of Imamship in our present day whatever good steps taken by the Imam many outlines is prevented from frosting by the power that be.

Research findings also shows that with the expansion of Islam in the region, and the availability of more scholars, Imamship become more attractive and respectable. People seek for it using all means possible. Unlike the institution of Imamship in some places, Imam is selected form a single family. In some other areas, the king is the selecting and approving authority and in most cases, he appoints his loyalists without consideration for qualification, and quality.

In addition, it is also observed that some people have inordinate ambitions that lead them to resort to evil ways in their bids to actualize their dream. Their action is totally condemnable and scholars should join hands in preventing these undesirable elements from being appointed as Imams.

Also, further observed is that unlike the Ikotun Central Mosque, some desperate people resorts to bribing those who matter in order to get them appointed to occupy this religious position. This is totally condemnable as this action violates the religious proofs. This Prophet (SAW) was reported to have said:

Accursed by Allah are both the briber and the bribed. In another narration, it is added: And the intermediary1.

This means the one who serves as a link between them2. The intent aim quoting the Hadith is that bribery to be given a right unjustly necessitates, and makes the briber, the bribed and the intermediary deserve Allah’s curse.

Also, it was narrated by Abu Musa Al-Ash’ariy where he said thus: Two men from among my Kinsfolk and I went to the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) one day and one of the two men demanded that we should be appointed to the position of leadership and the other said the same. The Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) then replied:

By Allah it is not in our habit to appoint those who lobby for or desire positions3.

Nonetheless, all the above quoted texts point vividly to the fact that it is totally disallowed to seek or scheme for any form of leadership position as the general rule stipulates the verdicts emanating from religious injunctions are to be generalized irrespective of their causes.

Therefore base in this findings the following conclusions were drawn:

  1. The present day Imam should emulate the good character of the Prophet (SAW) in relating with the people as contained in Qur’an 33:21 which reads thus:

لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِي رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٞ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأٓخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرٗا ٢١

  1. Also, the Imam should be conscious of their duties and strictly adhere to the injunction of Qur’an 5:1 which states thus:

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَوۡفُواْ بِٱلۡعُقُودِۚ أُحِلَّتۡ لَكُم بَهِيمَةُ ٱلۡأَنۡعَٰمِ إِلَّا مَا يُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡكُمۡ غَيۡرَ مُحِلِّي ٱلصَّيۡدِ وَأَنتُمۡ حُرُمٌۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَحۡكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ ١

5.3 Suggestion and Recommendation

It is pertinent to not and state that few things has been discussed about the Imamship in Ikotun-Ile town. It is therefore necessary to come out with some recommendations and suggestions. The Imamship in Ikotun-Ile is very unique in nature and this unique are thereby strictly adherence to the injunction of Allah and the Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) by observing the duties of Imamship as obligation therefore its is recommended to call the attention of Imam in all are to strictly adherence to the injunction of Qur’an 5 verse 1 which says thus;

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَوۡفُواْ بِٱلۡعُقُودِۚ أُحِلَّتۡ لَكُم بَهِيمَةُ ٱلۡأَنۡعَٰمِ إِلَّا مَا يُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡكُمۡ غَيۡرَ مُحِلِّي ٱلصَّيۡدِ وَأَنتُمۡ حُرُمٌۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَحۡكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ ١

O you who believe will all your obligation…

The above injunction called the attention of all the elected or selected Imams to fulfill all their promises in carryout their duties as an Imam of any particular society or community. It was also discovered as well that the Imam post in some other Mosque are been appointed due to the lineage or blood relationship which we hereby recommending that it should be based on the knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence, Qur’an and Hadith as well as Tafsir even though it would be for the heir (i.e. hereditary cases).

Secondly, it is observed that some Imams constituted themselves as “terror” that nobody either naib or any scholars of Islam dare to lead the prayer in his absent. That Imam would either deal with them physically or spiritually. At this juncture we recommend that our present day Imam should emulate the deeds and good character of Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) in relating with the people as contained in Qur’an 33 Verse 21 which read thus;

لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِي رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٞ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأٓخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرٗا ٢١

Indeed in the messenger of Allah you have good example to follow for him who hopes in Allah and the last day and remember Allah much (Qur’an; 33:21).

Thirdly, we notice that Jum’at sermon (Khutbah) is mostly delivered in Arabic and Yoruba Languages and the worshipers are listened. We hereby given recommendation and suggestion that it should be also translated in Hausa or English because of the Bororos, Fulanis and Hausa people who used to attend to the Khutbah.

Fourthly, it is recommended and suggested to every Imam to shun running after of any materialistic things of life who can debar and disturb them in carryout their responsibility as an Imam and as well to also work hard in enlighten their people with teachings of the Qur’an and the injunction of Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) as well to strive upbringing young Muslim who are willing to become future scholars, saints and pious Muslim and they should stand firmly against oppressor, unjust and corrupt rulers.

Lastly, here we are suggesting and recommending that Imams should not be politicize by the religious politician and should not be machinery for the Nigerian stubborn and cruel politician in order not to affect the unity and love been maintained by his predecessor within the Muslim among the community.

In addition, he should be paid or given salary by those who Allah has bestowed His blessing upon or by the government of the state so that their charisma would be chased away in lobbying with the wealthy and the royal people in telling them the truthful aspect of Islam and the teaching of Islam.

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