Origin of Hausa Kingdom

The Hausa trace their origin to such movement in the famous Bayagida legend. The original Hausa state were seven in number namely, Kano, Daura, Zaria, Gobir, Katsina, Rano, Biran. The Hausa kingdom was established in the 7th century and in about 10th to 13th century it has already taken a good shape.

The traditional religion of Hausa people came into severe conflict with the religion of Islam. Apart from the religious conflicts, the Hausa Kingdom under the Emir was autocratic and harsh to the Fulani’s and to the entire people.

As the Hausa administrative system was becoming intolerable to the Fulani’s the leader of Fulani, Uthman Dan Fodio got himself set to carry out jihad (holy war) against the Hausa kingdom. In 1804 Uthman Dan Fodio carried out a revolution, conquered the Hausa kingdom and installed an emirate system of administration in the conquered areas.

He made Islam the main religion of the Hausa kingdom and dethroned the emirs of the Hausa Kingdom. He divided the empire among his sons and assigned them with the responsibility of appointing emirs.

The situation changed the criteria for becoming an emir. This time, under the leadership of Uthman Dan Fodio complete adherence was unquestionable qualification for becoming an emir. The emirs as a way of life must accept the Islamic religion.

The Fulani’s plans for the advancement of Islamic region into the southern province of Nigeria were halted by people of Bornu who had seriously rejected the autocratic rules of the Hausa or fulani. Again the Fulani attempt to penetrate into the southern province of Nigeria was halted by the Yoruba’s.

However it must be remarked that even though the Yoruba’s resisted the attempt to be Islamized, some places where Islamized. Places like Ilorin and Kaba where greatly affected by Islam.


The emirate rule was indisputably theocratic. This implies that the rule involves the fusion of political and religious authority. Secondly, the rule was dynastic, meaning that the emir was chosen by traditional electors subject to the conditions which where peculiar with emirate kingdom.

At the apex of emirate administration was the Sultan of Sokoto. The Emirs must pay tribute to the Sultan of Sokoto twice a year with a gift. The Emirs exercise legislative, executive and judicial functions in the emirate.


The emirs had power to issue local orders and levy taxes.

The day to day administration of the emirate was based on body of Muslim law.

It was the prime responsibility of the emir to ensure that all Muslim laws were obeyed in the emirate.

The emirs where assisted in their works by body of officials who holds different post in the emirate. These officials were subordinate and can also be called agents of the emir; these agents carry out the instructions of the emir.

The Hausa society is a highly stratified one, they believe in hierarchy. The emir confers both traditional and non-traditional title on his people surrounding him.

The recipients of this title are called major titleholders. These people in turn create and a lot subordinate title to deserving personalities in their various clans, villages or district. Each emirate has a number of officers performing various functions and these officers were appointed by the emir himself. They include;

Madawaki – the Calvary commander

The Waziri – the head of officials

Galadima – administrator of the capital

Sarkin fada- head of palace officers

Maaji – treasurer of the emir

Sarikinruwa – officer in charge of fishing

Sarikin pawa – officer in charge of butchers

The emir is expected to consult his senior chiefs before taking major decisions. For the purpose of territorial administration, the emirate was divided into district and was manned by Hakimi who resides in the emirate headquarters.

 The function of Hakimi includes collection of taxes such as cattle tax and land tax, maintenance of law and order in the district.

Administration of Muslim laws is carried out by alkali; Alkali is an Islamic lawyer that interprets the sharia law.

Although the emir makes law and levy taxes, but he’s restricted from making laws that contradict with Islamic laws.

 The emirs perform religious functions; he’s regarded as the spiritual head of his people. Notably, the emirate system reflect the feature of a centralized system in which power are hierarchically organized.

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2 thoughts on “Origin of Hausa Kingdom”

  1. Abosede Daramola

    Can we have all these in a disk for teaching and learning in classroom situations?

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