Itakogun Mosque, and the History & Growth of Islam in Ile-Ife

I was out today on a Community Charity work around Ife compounds with some of my brothers, and I took time to take this picture of the first modern mosque in Ile-Ife, the Itakogun Mosque, believed to be first Mosque for everyone to come and pray in the ancient town of Ile-Ife. It was built in 1903 but has since been renovated to a modern Mosjid.

Itakogun Mosque, Ile-Ife. Photo: Lateef Eluyemi.

It is on record that Islam entered Ile-Ife between 1835-1839, during the reign of Ooni Wunmonije through an Ife itinerant trader called Awotinde Arobi from Jaojo’s compound, Ile-Ife.

Awotinde was a great Merchant who often travel as far as Dahomey to get goods to buy and sell. It was during one of these visits that he met an Ilorin mallam called Danialu.

The mallam had told Awotinde that while he was praying he saw that Awotinde in few months will be made a Chief by his people in Ile-Ife and he must not reject it, because it is for the betterment of the town as he has contribution to make among his people.

True to this premonition, Chief Awotinde was honored as Chief Orunto of Ife on arrival from that journey. Awotinde was surprised by this divine revelation as such, he went back to Danialu that he wants to convert to Islam and he embraced Islam, making him the first Ile-Ife man to embrace Islam.

Awotinde brought Danialu to Ife and lodged him in his compound at Anikin near Jaojo Compound, and these two sister compounds became the seed of Islam in our ancient town.

Alfa Danialu soon found a new congregation, as many people later converted to Islam in Ife because of Awotinde’s interest and conversion, especially in his family and Islam soon spread to many parts of Ife, with special interests in Islam encouragements of polygamy as practiced by the traditionalists.

The first few Alfas of Ife origin grew from Mallam Lawal Adeyefa to Alfa Ibrahim Akoro to Imam Kasumu Adeosun Olowosokedile who took over from Danialu on return to Ife.

Imam Danialu died in 1922, and Kasumu Adeosun, a victim of Slave trade during the 2nd half of the 19th Century had stepped in.

Itakogun Mosque, Ile-Ife. Photo: Lateef Eluyemi.

Imam Kasumu was taken into captivity but soon find his way back to Lagos where he learnt Arabic and practiced Islam with his master. He started the business of Rubber sales and soon became wealthy through this. He returns to Ife and together with Danialu built the first Mosque at Itakogun.

Imam Kasumu Adeosun who by history is the first Imam and Islam Cleric of Ife Origin, used his wealth, prestige and Islamic erudition with Ife culture to propagate Islam in Ile-Ife.

In 1928, Adeosun met Ooni Ademiluyi for approval of a location to erect today’s Ife Central mosque at Enuwa, very close to Ooni’s Palace. Imam Adeosun died in 1935, after which young Imam Raji Ayinde took over from him.

Raji was popular around Moore Quarters and converted many influential and young Ife men to Islam some of which include; Ali Awoyera, Salau Adeyefa, Salami Omisakin, Obajio Aromolaran, Mallam Anifowose, Salawu Adefioye, Jinadu Adewole and many others.

Other Imams that have reigned are; Iman Oseni Odukuru, Imam Yusuf Adeosun, Imam Hassan Bello, Imam Yusuf Balogun, Imam Yusuf Adedayo, Sheikh Idris Gbadebo Opeloye and present Chief Imam Raji Abdul Semiu.

Between 1903 to 1949 when Imam Raji Ayinde died, every part of Ife have had standard mosques and these old Mosques are still in Ife till today. They include, Mọsalasi Itakogun, Mọsalasi Igbodo, Mọsalasi Okesokun, Mọsalasi Akui Iremo, Mọsalasi Ìlara, Mọsalasi Itaaagbon, Mọsalasi Ogbondo, Mọsalasi Okesoda, Mọsalasi Akeran, Mọsalasi Idiomo, Mọsalasi Oja-Ife and Mọsalasi Iya-sunna.

Today these old Mosques have gave birth to many others and there are not less than 80 mosques as Mọsalasi Ratibi (local mosques) in Ile-Ife scattered around Communities with not less than 15-20, for observing Weekly Friday Jumat service.

These Jumat prayer mosques include; Ife Central Mosque Enuwa, Ahmadiyah Central Mosque Atiba, Obafemi Awolowo University Central Mosque, OAUTHC Central Mosque, Ansarudeen Central Mosque Igbotapa/Oke-Atan, Osun State School of Science Ondo road, Oluorogbo Central Mosque, Igboya Central Mosque, Opa Central Mosque, Iloro Central Mosque Alore Central Mosque Parakin Obalufe among many others that have built in the last 10yrs.

The Growth of Islam in Ife has been an interesting one and it is nostalgic to look back to the contributions of some of these forefathers from the source.

Special thanks to Prof. Muheeb Opeloye – First Prof of Islamic Studies from Ife who is the son of Late Imam Gbadebo Opeloye for this profound history and account that is well documented which I read from. We pray Allah would continue to be with him & increase his knowledge .

This is our story as Muslims from Ife. Ife ni baje ooo.

This piece is put together by Lateef Eluyemi.


Chief Imaam Mustafaa Kasumu Ekemode’s Biography, 1898–1972

Editors’ Picks
Remembering The Imam Of The People : Chief Imam Alaaya

Remembering Ustadh Abdul Lateef Adebowale


For Advert Inquiries
Tele/+234 7036309859

For News/Article

Have any Question or Comment?

2 comments on “Itakogun Mosque, and the History & Growth of Islam in Ile-Ife

Idris Olabode Badiru

This story brings back a lot of memories. My great grandfather, Pa Makinde, from Baba Ìgbìmò’s compound in Igbo tapa, Moore accepted Islam around 1890s or thereabout and had to migrate to Igbore in Abeokuta afterwards.
His reason for migrating was that as the only son of a prominent priest, there was bound to be a serious crisis at the home front which he wasn’t ready to confront.
He later moved to one of the Igbore farm settlements at Afojupa-Igbore in Obafemi Owode LGA of Ogun State where he lived as an Islamic cleric teaching people Arabic and earning a living as a ferry/fisherman.
On converting to Islam, he adopted the name Badaru which we bear till today in different versions.


[…] Itakogun Mosque, and the History & Growth of Islam in Ile-Ife […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!
Chat With Our Agent!