Ibadan was founded as a battle or refugee camp by Ile-Ife, Ijebu, and Oyo Empire warlords and forces. Due to the lack of a documented memo, it is difficult to ascertain the precise time or day the city was founded, and historians’ opinions on the subject disagree. After the old Oyo kingdom fell apart, numerous refugees sought safety in Ibadan, which served as a war camp for those fleeing their homelands.
Historians say the entrance of Islam in Ibadan, like the city’s history, is still a mystery. However, it can be argued that Islam has been present in Ibadan since its founding, despite some historians claiming that the people of Ibadan began to embrace Islam after 1829 AD. However, according to some scholars, this religion existed with its Da’wa Movements years before the stated date, even if at an individual level, as numerous reputable documents show that Muslims were among the initial settlers who came from Oyo-Ile to construct the city in 1788 AD. Then, late in the year 1829 AD, the religion evolved, spread, and prospered at the same time as Ibadan flourished and became well-known in the region.
Abdullahi Gunnugun was one of the first Muslims to appear in Ibadan (Igun-Olorun). This revered Imam was the first to lead a group of Muslims daring enough to pray in congregation in front of his house, in what may be considered Ibadan’s first mosque.
The Oyo-Yoruba, Ife and Egba, Hausa, Bornu, and Nupe clans were among the prominent groups in Ibadan by 1830. Fearing Islamic control, the Oyo Yoruba clan in Ibadan fought against the establishment of Islam in their dominion between 1830 and 1850. This anti-Islam sentiment became so widespread that the town’s first central mosque was demolished during the reign of Ibadan’s monarch, Bashorun Oluyole (1836-1850). This early antagonism to Islam harmed Islam’s legitimacy in the town, and no prominent members of the society converted to Islam.
In 1850, an Islamic believer named Osundina, who is also an Ibadan Chief, asked from Baale Ope Agbe a huge plot of land near the current Oja Oba (King’s Market) for the construction of a new mosque, which was given by the old city’s monarch. A mosque was built with mud material and a stubbled roof at that spot. The stubbled rooftop was rebuilt with a corrugated iron roof later about 1900.
The mosque was demolished in 1921 and replaced with a new one, which was used for 33 years, due to the ever-growing population of the Ibadan Muslim community. The Ibadan Muslim community formed a committee in 1955 to raise funds for a modern mosque, which was completed in 1982 under the leadership of Sheik Muhalli Abdullah Basunu III, the Chief Imam of Ibadan (1940-1982).
Ibadan’s central mosque has its own administration and leadership system. The Imam-in-Council and the General Assembly form the administration and leadership structure. The Imam-in-Council is an eleven-man body that is the top and highest in the rank of decision-making in the Central Mosque in Ibadan territory.
In addition, the council’s membership includes the top five members from the Mogaji and Alfa Lines, as well as the city’s Chief Imam, who is the council’s head and the supreme leader of all Imams in Ibadan area. The Mogaji line’s highest rank is Mogaji Agba (Chief Heir), whereas the Alfa line’s highest rank is Alfa Agba (Chief Scholar), who also serves as the city’s Grand Mufti and Chief Mufassir. When the position of Chief Imam of the city becomes vacant, both Mogaji and Alfa Agba are the apparent heirs apparent on a rotational basis.
- The Ojaba Central Mosque, Ibadan
Year of Opening:
- Islamic faithfuls, Scholars, Artists, Architects
- Very Safe
- Oja Oba, Ibadan