Constructing Cultural Pluralism as a Universal Medium: Islam and the Influence of Western Civilisation in Nigeria

Authors Muhtar Etudaiye, Mohammed Enesi Etudaiye

ISSN: 2521-2613
Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Ilorin; Senior Lecturer, Department of Public and International Law, University of Abuja
Source: Africa Nazarene University Law Journal, 2017, Issue 1, p. 167 – 198


As a result of better education and access to new information and communications technology, there is an increasing awareness amongst Muslims of their obligations as Muslims and the need to model themselves along the lines of and implement the injunctions in the Qur’an and the practices of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).[fn1], [fn2] This evolution has resulted in a new outlook that appears to have confounded the West as a result of its sharp contrast with western culture. The situation has been exacerbated by the violence of groups, nationally and internationally, proclaiming to embark on violent actions in the name of Islam. The world, it appears, stands at a crossroads with regard to Islam. The trajectory of this historic crossroads is the cultural interface between Islam and the West. While the former struggles to insulate its pristine values and identity from secular interference, the latter relentlessly expands the frontiers of its influence through major advantages in mass media capability, economic fortitude, political diplomacy and information and communications technology. The abiding focus of this article is to strengthen the position of Islamic culture vis-\xc3\xa0-vis freedom of conscience and to put constitutional safeguards into place to protect this right in an era where the Islamic civilisation has been continuously criticised, restoring the balance of Nigeria’s multicultural setting. This article concludes that there are freedoms and laws that are entrenched in the systems of cultures of most nations and that these require protection. The Shari’a is both a legal system as well as a cultural system and it is essential for the Nigerian State to ensure that it takes full advantage of legal safeguards to protect against concerns that may be largely ethnocentric in nature. footnote 1: The Arabic phrase sallallahu alahyi was-salam (SAW) translates to ‘peace be upon Him’ and is a requirement of the Muslim faith that is attached to the mention of the name of the prophet Muhammad (SAW). This practice is followed throughout this article. footnote 2: The prophet Muhammad (SAW) is regarded by Muslims as the last messenger sent by Allah to guide humanity.