The Status of Hausa Muslim Women in Northern Nigeria Today: A Three-Dimensional Perspective


  • Hannatu Hussaini Maina Aramil Salvation Foundation,No13b Khartoum Street Wuse Zone 5, Abuja, Nigeria, Tel: +234-803-314-5313


Culture, Religion, Education, Modernization, Urbanization


Religion is a powerful tool often misused by men in Muslim Hausa communities of Northern Nigeria to ensure compliance and adherence to patriarchal cultural norms and practices which subjugate and exploit women. However, it has been observed that this practice is more prevalent in the rural communities than in urban areas. This paper therefore is an attempt to seek answers to the following questions: Why do Muslim Hausa women in rural communities of Northern Nigeria accept harmful patriarchal practices as a norm? Why do they remain oppressed and averse to the opportunities for self-development prevalent in modern age? Why is the situation different with women of the same religion and culture living in urban areas?  Thus, the study examined deeply the status of women in rural and urban Muslim Hausa communities of Kaduna State in north-western Nigeria from three perspectives: the Islamic stance, Hausa culture and modernization. The study gave credence to the biological theories of gender as the basic determinants of the position of women in Islam. The paper also reviewed in relevance some sociological theories of gender role development and how these assigned roles determine the status of  women in the societies under study. The research was qualitative and employed document review, in-depth and key informant interview as tools. Keeping religion and culture as constant factors and modernization as a variable, thirty (30) male and females respondents in selected rural and urban areas of Kaduna State were involved in the study. The study confirmed that the continued subjugation of  women in the rural communities is associated with harmful practices developed and preserved by patriarchal values associated with the misconception of Islamic injunctions. However, in the urban areas, the influence of modernization especially education and urbanization played a vital role in the understanding of the diverging point between religion and culture and thus, in the appropriate application of Islamic rulings on the roles, rights, duties and responsibilities of both women and men and their coexistence in general. Consequently, women in the latter category have been found to be more enlightened on the teachings of the Religion and thus more liberated and empowered. It is envisaged that the findings of this study would be beneficial to Development Agencies, the Government and non-Governmental Organizations in the formulation and implementation of policies targeted towards women liberation and empowerment, especially in the rural areas. To avoid any backlash and to ensure inclusion, the study recommends gender mainstreaming and active involvement of  women and men in both rural and urban areas in the planning and implementation of socio-economic advancement programs especially those centred around education.


. A. A. Yusuf (1938). The Holy Qur'än: Arabic Text with an English Translation and Commentary. (3rd edition). [0n-line] 8 (1). Available: [Mar 20, 2019]*

. K. Werthman. Magazine for Development and Cooperation (April, 2005). Sec. Society. Muslim Women in Northern Nigeria the Example of Nana Asma'u. Available: [Mar 21, 2019].

. A.M. Sani. (2017, Jun). “Between Religion and Culture: The Status of Muslim Woman in Pre-Jihad Period (1500–1804) in Katsina State, North-West, Nigeria”. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences” [on-line] 22 (6) pp. 73-75. Available: [Aug 12, 2019].

. M. Hill. The Spread of Islam in West Africa: Containment, Mixing, and Reform from the Eighth to the Twentieth Century. Stanford: Stanford University, 2009.

. A. Adeleke. (2005, Aug).“Islam and Hausa Culture”. Lagos Historical Review. [On-line] 5 (1), pp. 99-110. Available: [Aug 12, 2019].

. U. Al-Nagar. (2002). “The Asānīd of Shehu Dan Fodio: How far are they a contribution to his Biography?” Sudanic Africa [on-line] 13 pp. 101–110. Available: [Nov 7, 2020].

. A. H. Quick. “Aspects of Islamic Social Intellectual History in Hausaland: 'Uthman Ibn Fudi, 17 74-1804 C.E”., PhD. Thesis, Department of History, University of Toronto, Canada, 1995.

. J. S. Cherekar. (2016, Aug ) “In The Prison House of Marriage: an Exploration of Theme of Polygamy in Miriam Bar’s So Long a Letter”. Journal of Humanities and Social Science [on-line] 21 (8) pp 24-33. Available: [Aug 15, 2020]

. P. K. Tibenderana. (1983) “The Emirs and the Spread of Western Education in Northern Nigeria, 1910-1946”. The Journal of African History [on-line] 24(4) pp. 517-534. Available: [Aug 15, 2020]

. I. O. Uthman. (2005, Dec) “Feminism in postmodern society: an Islamic perspective”. Journal of Islam in Asia [on-line] 2 (2) pp 131-150. Available: [Aug 17, 2020]

. M. C. Bassiouni “The Sharia and Islamic Law: An introduction. Jan 24, 2012. [Nov 10, 2020]

. L. Z. Munir. “The Koran’s Spirit of Gender Equality” Internet: Sept 15, 2009 [Nov, 5, 2019]

. C. H. Singleton. “Biological and Social Explanations of Sex-Role Stereotyping” in The Psychology of Sex Roles 7th ed. D. J. Hargreaves and A. N. Colley, Eds. Cambridge, New York. Hemisphere Pub. Corp. 1987, pp. 3-26.

. R. H. Nasab. “Some Questions Related to Women's Rights in Islam”. Internet: May 12, 2018 [Sep, 4, 2020]

. A. Azizah. Women and Islam. Oxford, New York. Pergamon Press. 1982, pp. 218.

. The United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI, 2006) Retrieved July 20, 2019 from

. Q. Wodon. (2015, Oct ).“Islamic Law, Women's Rights, and State Law: The Cases of Female Genital Cutting and Child Marriage”. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 13 [On-line] 13 (3) pp. 81-91. Available: [Nov 11, 2020]

. P. Kozieł. “Hausa Women's Rights and Changing Perception of Gender in Northern Nigeria”, in Hausa and Chadic Studies in Honour of Professor Stanisław Piłaszewicz. N. Pawlak, I. Will & E. Siwierska, Eds. Warsaw: Dom Wydawniczy Elipsa , 2014, pp 215-229

. A. Walker. “The Islamic Institution of Shura (Mutual Consultation)”. Internet: Mar, 15 2019 [Sep, 20, 2020]

. Y. T. Al-Jibouri “Khadija Daughter of Khuwaylid Wife of Prophet Muhammad” 2016 [Aug, 20, 2020]

. N. S. Ibrahim., F. L. Adamu and A. Ahmad . Promoting Women’s Rights through Sharia in Northern Nigeria. Zaria, Nigeria. Centre for Islamic Legal Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria 2004, pp. 7-33.

. F. Kelleher. “Women's voices in northern Nigeria: hearing the broader narratives”. Internet: June, 2 2014 [Jul 10, 2019]

. J. A. Badawi. “Gender Equity in Islam. World Assembly of Muslim Youth”. Internet: Nov, 2014 [Nov 18, 2019]

. [L. M. Omar. Fresher Courses for Judges and Kadis. Topic: “Custody and Guardianship of Children: Shari’a Perspective”. The National Judicial Institute, Abuja, Nigeria, Mar 11-15, 2019.

. S. M. S. AlMunajjid. “Islam Questions & Answers”. Nov 7, 2019 [Aug 10, 2019]

. Al-Hibri, Azizah Y. "Family Planning and Islamic Jurisprudence. Religious and Ethical Perspectives on Population Issues” in Proc The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics, 1993, pp 2-11

. M. A. Folorunsho. Tanzim „Al – „Usrah : A Reconsideration of Islamic Viewpoint on Family Planning, Religion and Modernity. Ijebu-Ode: Alamsek Press Ltd, 2007.

. S. T. Ajani. (2013, Jan.) “Islamic Perspectives on Birth Control”. American International Journal of Contemporary Research [On-line] 3 (1), pp 117-127. Available: [Jun 10, 2019]

. B. E. Sawe. “Who are the Hausa People? Internet: May 21, 2019 [July, 10, 2020].

. H. Usman. (1997). Reproductive Health and Rights: The Case of Northern Nigerian Hausa Women. Africa Development/Afrique Et Développement [On-line] 22 (1), pp 79-94. Available: [July, 12, 2020].

. O. I. Aina. “Women, Culture and Society” in Nigerian Women in Society and Development. Amadu Sesay and Adetanwa Odebiyi, Eds. Ibadan: Dokun Publishing House, 1998, pp. 332

. B. Callaway. (1984, Sep). “Ambiguous Consequences of the Socialization and Seclusion of Hausa Women”. The Journal of Modern African Studies [On-line], 22 (3), pp. 429-450. Available: [Jul 2, 2020]

. C. M. Sibani. (2014). Fundamentals of Religion and Culture in African Society. Enugu, Nigeria: Frankpana.

. A. J. M. Alewo and M. A. Olong. (2012, Oct.) “Cultural Practices and Traditional Beliefs as Impediments to the enjoyment of Women’s Rights in Nigeria”. International Law Research [On-line] 1 (1), pp 134. Available [Jun 3, 2020]

. E. Schildkrout. “Dependence and Autonomy: The Economic Activities of Secluded Hausa Women in Kano”, in Female and Male in West Africa, edition and vol. C. Oppong, Ed. London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd, 1983, pp.107-127.

. R. Uchem. (2010, Oct). Gender Roles of Men and Women in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom. Jan, 2011. [Mar 10, 2020]

. J. M. Ejukonemu. (2018, Mar). Gender Role in Contemporary Nigerian Society. International. Journal of Social Science and Economic Research. [On-line] 3 (3), pp. 1087-1098. Available: .

. A. S. Erulkar and M. Bello. “The Experience of Married Adolescent Girls in Northern Nigeria” Internet: 2007 [Aug 20, 2019].

. L. M. Solivetti. (1994). “Family, Marriage and Divorce in a Hausa Community: A Sociological Model”. Journal of the International African Institute. [On-line] 64 (2), pp. 253-271. Available:

. J.O. D. Akande. 1979. “Law and the Status of Women in Nigeria,” Report prepared for the African Training and Research Centre for Women. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, United Economic Commission for Africa

. A. A. Al Naim. (1988 ) “The Rights of Women and International Law in the Muslim Context”. Whittier Law Review 9 [On-line] pp. 491-516. Available: [Mar12, 2020].

. G. V. Kyari,. and J. Ayodele. (2014, Jul). “The Socio-Economic Effect of Early Marriage in North Western Nigeria”. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences [On-line] 5 (14) pp. 285–96. Available: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n14p582

. Q. Wodon (2015, Oct). “Islamic Law, Women's Rights, and State Law: The Cases of Female Genital Cutting and Child Marriage”. The Review of Faith & International Affairs [On-line] 13 (3), pp. 81-91,

. Z. Abdulhamid., U. S. Lawal., A. M. Tahir., M. M., Harande., H. Usman, and A. Nuhu. (2017, Feb). “Perceptions of Hausa and Fulani Tribes on Traditional Birth Attendants in Zaria Local Government Area, Kaduna State”, Nigeria Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medical Research 2 (2), pp. 1-7. Available:

. E. E. Ekong. Rural Sociology. Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria. Dove Educational Publishers, 2010.

. B. Berge. “Why Education is the Key to Development”. World Economic Forum, [On-line] Available: July 7, 2015 [10 Aug, 2020

. R. O. Sarumi., O. T. Faluyi and O. E. Okeke-Uzodike. (2019 Jan) “Transcending Ethnic and Religious Barriers in Decision-Making: A Case of a Muslim Women Civil Organisations in Nigeria”. Front Psychol.[On-line] 9(2693). Available:

. Human Rights Library. “Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties–Nigeria”. Internet: 2017 [Aug, 2019]

. C. M. Coles & B. Mack. Hausa Women in the Twentieth Century. Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.

. L. Y. Malumfashi. (2016, Apr). “The Spread and Development of Islamic Civilisation in Northern Nigeria: Case Study of Katsina State” International Journal of Business, Economics and Law [On-line] 9(5), pp.173-179 Available: [Jul 18, 2019]

. Nwabara S. N. (1963). “The Fulani Conquest and Rule of the Hausa Kingdom of Northern Nigeria (1804- 1900)”. Journal de la Société des Africanistes [On-line] 33 (2), pp. 231-242.

. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopedia. "Zaria". Encyclopedia Britannica. Internet: 17 Jun. 2011 [10 Feb 2020].

. K. Ali. “Understanding a Difficult Verse, Qur'an 4:34”. The Feminist Sexual Ethics Project Internet: Feb , 2003 [Nov, 1, 2019]

. C. Nagarajan. (2018, Nov ). “Culture/Religion/Tradition vs Modern/Secular/Foreign: Implications of Binary Framing for Women’s Rights in Nigeria”. Feminist Dissent [On-line] 3, pp. 114-146. Available: [Sep 12, 2019]

. G. Nmadu., S. Avidime., O. Oguntunde., V. Dashe., B. Abdulkarim., & M. Mandara. (2010, Oct). “Girl Child Education: Rising to the Challenge”. African Journal of Reproductive Health [On-line] 14(3). Pp. 107. Available: [Sep 2, 2020]




How to Cite

Maina, H. H. . (2021). The Status of Hausa Muslim Women in Northern Nigeria Today: A Three-Dimensional Perspective. International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR), 56(1), 386–409. Retrieved from