By Shaykh Jamal al-Din Zarabozo
After staying one year in the Hijaz, he returned to his homeland and earnestly started his reform movement. He gave lectures, wrote books and became very popular. He fought against common heresies within his tribe. He struggled to remove the final remnants of polytheism, animism and ancestor worship from his area. He spread the correct teachings of the faith. He began his movement with polite admonitions, reminders, ordering good and eradicating evil. As his followers increased in number, he, like ibn Abdul-Wahhaab before him, turned to one of the local authorities to gain political strength. He went to King Nafta, the strongest of the Hausah rulers, and explained to him Islam and the principles upon which he wished to work. The two entered into an alliance, although there existed those who opposed Uthmaan. He eventually was able to unite his people under his political authority. He took part in a number of jihads to spread the faith, starting in 1802 A.H. By 1804, he had established the Sultanate of Sokono, a relatively large Islamic empire, that continued after Uthmaan Dan Fodio’s death.
Of all the movements that are ascribed as having been influenced by ibn Abdul-Wahhaab, Uthmaan Dan Fodio was definitely the closest to ibn Abdul-Wahhaab in his teachings and approach, leaving very little doubt that the influence was quite strong. In fact, Uthmaan’s brother Abdullah ibn Muhammad explicitly stated that Uthmaan started his movement after returning from the Hajj and leaving the practices of his people that contradicted the Shareeah.2
1. There are those who deny that Uthmaan visited Hijaz. In any case, though, it is clear that he studied under Shaikh Jibreel who was a follower of ibn Abdul-Wahhaab’s teachings.
2. He is quoted in Jumuah, p. 114. For more details concerning Uthmaan Dan Fodio and ibn Abdul-Wahhaab’s influence upon him, see Abdul-Fattaah al-Ghunaimi, “Athar Dawah al-Shaikh Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhaab fi Gharb Afreeqiya” in Buhooth Nadwah Dawah al-Shaikh Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhaab (Riyadh: Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University, 1991), vol. 2, pp. 343-368. Mustafa Masad, “Athar Dawah al-Shaikh Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhaab fi Harakah Uthmaan ibn Faudi al-Islaahiyyah fi Gharb Ifreeqiyaa” in Buhooth Nadwah Dawah al-Shaikh Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhaab (Riyadh: Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University, 1991), vol. 2, pp. 423-444; Jumuah, pp. 103-116.
Zarabozo, J (2005). The Life, Teachings, and Influence of Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhaab . Riyadh: Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Dawah, and Guidance. 176-7.