Boko Haram’s Radical Ideology and Islamic Jurisprudence

  • Muyiwa Adigun


Boko Haram is one of the deadliest terrorist organisations in the world with an average of close to eight deaths per terrorist attack. Its killings have been justified by the group in the name of Islam. Because of the magnitude of its killings, people have regarded the group as radical. This study therefore examined the alleged radicalism of Boko Haram in the light of Islamic jurisprudence. The study found that Boko Haram’s ideology is essentially divided into two. The first is its intolerance of Western/secular institution, which manifests in its condemnation of democracy and Western education, while the second one is insurgency. The study argued that Boko Haram’s condemnation of democracy is contrary to the use of Shūrā and ijmā and the Qur’anic injunction making ummah the vicegerent of Allah on earth and that its condemnation of Western education is contrary to the prophetic injunction that knowledge must be sought even in China, which was known as one of the farthest places from the Arabian Peninsula at the time where idolatry could be said to obtain. The study further argued that Boko Haram’s insurgency is contrary to the principles of Islamic jus ad bellum that non-state actors cannot have recourse to the use of force and where Muslim community has recourse to the use of force, it must be in self-defence and the situation must be absolutely necessary and that while Islamic jus in bello recognises the principle of military necessity, distinction, humanity, proportionality and accepting an offer of peace during armed conflict, the insurgent activities of the group violate all these principles. The study therefore concluded that Boko Haram’s ideology is radical to the extent that it deviates from what is usual and traditional in the Qur’an and found in the Sunnah. The study also concluded that Boko Haram insurgency is also radical to the extent that it deviates from what is usual and traditional in Islamic jus ad bellum and Islamic jus in bello, as laid down in the Qur’an and found in the Sunnah.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Muyiwa Adigun
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Law, Faculty of LawUniversity of IbadanIbadanNigeria

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