DHIMMAH Contract in Sokoto Caliphate of Nigeria and Contemporary Challenges
The Dhimmah contract as a Sharī‘ah provision for the rights of non-Muslims residing in an Islamic state has become controversial in the contemporary period as a result of misconception that an Islamic state is monolithic from religious perspective and therefore, intolerable of non-Islamic faith and belief in her geographical boundary. The objective of this study is to look into the legal rights of non-Muslims in the contemporary period showcasing Sokoto caliphate for contextualization and the colonial and postindependence challenges. To achieve this objective, the paper cast a glance at the emergence of Sokoto caliphate and her religio-political power in nineteenth century, it examines Dhimmah contract in the Islamic legal system and different types of non-Muslims (Ahl Adh-Dhimmah) on which Dhimmah contract are applicable. It moves on to appraise the Dhimmah contract under Sokoto Caliphate during pre-colonial and periods and contemporary challenges. The research methods used in this study are analytical, descriptive and expository. The study concludes that Sokoto caliphate had been running perfect religio-political system and law guiding the rights of her non-Muslim minorities through Dhimmah contract before the advent of British colonial overnment, religio-political authority of Sokoto Caliphate has been weakened and reduced to mere spiritual and religions affairs in the face of contemporary and modern challenges from the government of the day. Sokoto Caliphate which was initially an Islamic State has now assumed the status of Muslim State due to the contemporary challenges from the Nigerian political system. At last, study recommends that the present Sokoto Caliphate should widen her horizon to cover more rights of Muslims in Nigeria and their relationship with non-Muslims on religious ground in Nigeria. Sokoto Caliphate should set up a jurisprudential and legal body through which the rights of the Muslims and non-Muslim minorities could be decided within the stipulation of constitutional provision in Nigeria.