This study is about the Digawa Muslims of Danzomo town in Sule Tankarkar Local Government of Jigawa State, Nigeria. The Digawa Muslims are also found in other areas of the State such as ‘Yandamo, Jikai, Umarni, Babbansara, Digawar-Tudu, Saidawa, Dorai, Galma, Buduma and Zai. Data for this study were collected through primary and secondary sources. Primary data was collected using random oral interviews both individual and groups. The Digawa are not ethnic group, but a religious group that follow Sufi teaching ofshunning away from all that is evil and the glitters of the world. The concept of Al-uzlah(isolation) enables them to keep away from all that is evil. Thiswarrant their establishment of Zawaya(Digawa enclosures). So, their attitude of withdrawing from other peoples’ religious, social, and political activities made most people to be ignorant about them. In essence, this study is an attempt to provide a concise history of these people.
In the history of Islam, doctrinal divisions, which led to the emergence of sects are inevitable phenomena as are believed to have been prophesized by the Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W).1Also, the concept of renewal (Tajdeed) is based on another tradition of the Prophet (PBUH).2 The tradition implies that a renewer (Mujaddid) of Islam would be sent at the beginning of each century to restore true Islamic practices, and thus regenerate a community that tends, over time, to deviate from the straight path. In essence, from its earliest days, Islam possessed a tradition of revivalism and reform. With this development, it became people’s right to practice Ijtihad to interpret the source of Islam.
This and of course, other prevailing circumstances like rampant materialism, which ensures the worships of the ‘gods’ of wealth, the influence of neo-Platonism and the philosophies of other climes as Persia, Syria, and India3 paved the way for the emergence of different Islamic movements, groups, sects and sub-sects. Almost all the movements claim to purge religion of the contaminations in rituals and traditions, which had been accumulating since the time of the Prophet and Sahaba. It should be noted that most of these religious groupings were attached to the names of their founders or whose names had somehow become linked with them. Some examples include the Qadiriyya founded by Abdal-Qadir Al-Jilani, Tijjaniyya by Ahmad Al-Tijani, Rufa’iyya by Ahmad Al-Rifa’i, Khalwatiyya by Umar Al-Khalwati, etc.4 In the same vein, theDigawa religious group who claim to be the contemporary Sufis were attached to the name of the founder of the movement i. e. Malam Diga as we are going to see later.
The origin of the term ‘Sufi’ is derived from Tasawwuf, which probably goes back to the termSuf, which simply refers to woolen attires that the Sufis wear as a mark of piety and renunciation of the world at about the beginning of the 9th century.5 Thus, the original Sufis were basically mystics i.e. people who followed a pious form of Islam and who believed that a direct personal experience of God could be achieved. To this end, the mystics school of thought claim that the knowledge of ultimate reality can be attained through divine enlightenment and intuition, which themselves are illumination of the self and development of a particular faculty, which can perceive spiritual and metaphysical realities in the same way as our eyes see the material objects.6
In essence, Sufism is a particular method of approach to Reality making use of intuitive and emotional spiritual faculties, which are dormant and latent unless called into play through training under guidance.