Ilorin, Kwara State

“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” Acts 17:26, ESV

Ilorin was established in 1450 by the Yoruba, one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups. Initially serving as a provincial military headquarters for the ancient Oyo Empire, it later fell under the control of Shehu Alimi, an itinerant Islamic preacher, leading to its incorporation into the Northern Nigeria protectorate through the spread of Islam. The city witnessed numerous conflicts involving Muslims, Yoruba, and the British before officially joining West Central, known today as Kwara state, in 1967.

Ilorin Central Mosque which is currently the biggest mosque in Nigeria welcomes Muslims from various backgrounds and serves as a unifying space for the diverse Muslim population in Ilorin. It reflects the inclusive nature of Islam, bringing together people of different ethnicities and cultures. This new 20,000-capacity ultra-modern Juma’at Central Mosque is also a tourist site in the ancient city of Ilorin. It is well established that the Ilorin the Central Mosque wasn’t the first to be built as there was an existing mosque but it couldn’t contain the growing population of Muslims, hence the need to build a bigger mosque.

The construction of the Ilorin central mosque began by Emir Alhaji Zulkarnaini Gambari in 1977. The plan according to the then Emir in building the new Islamic prayer center was to provide a larger space where it would be comfortable to worship Allah. The mosque host religious events, educational programs, and charitable initiatives aimed at uplifting the well-being of the local community.

Ilorin’s soul is unarguably intertwined with faith. This intriguing blend of faiths adds a layer of complexity and beauty to Ilorin’s cultural identity. Despite commitment to harmony, Ilorin faces challenges. Ensuring understanding and mutual respect between different faith communities requires ongoing efforts.

Please pray:

  • For wisdom and discernment for religious leaders and community members as they navigate Ilorin’s diverse religious landscape, fostering interfaith understanding and cooperation.
  • That there will be a spiritual awakening in the city leading many to know Christ as the Saviour and Lord.
  • Pray that churches will flourish and mission organisations labouring in the city will succeed. Ask for divine intervention and open doors for every mission effort.

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