Amirul Mu’minin Sultan Muhammadu Sa’adu Abubakar III

Sultan of Sokoto

Amirul Mu’minin Sheikh as Sultan Muhammadu Sa’adu Abubakar III is the 20th Sultan of Sokoto. As Sultan of Sokoto, he is considered the spiritual leader of Nigeria’s 85.5 million Muslims, who account for roughly 50 percent of the nation’s population. Although the position of Sultan of Sokoto has become largely ceremonial, the holder is still a central figure for Nigerian Muslims.

Lineage Back to Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio: The Sultan of Sokoto is the spiritual leader of Nigeria’s enormous Muslim community. He gains this position by lineage. Abubakar is the 20th heir to the two-century-old throne founded by his ancestor, Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio (1754-1817 CE). Dan Fodio was a scholar, leader of the Maliki school of Islam and the Qadiri branch of Sufism, and an Islamic reformer of the nineteenth century. Dan Fodio believed that Islam should have a more central role in the life of the people of West Africa and led an uprising to institute the changes he sought. His figure and his writings are a very important chapter in the history of Islam in West Africa, and Abubakar, by lineage, holds a key place in West African Islam, and particularly for the Fulani and Hausa people who followed Dan Fodio.


An Illustrious Family: The position currently does carry with it some weight–though largely ceremonial since British colonial rule diminished its political significance. Much of this clout is derived from the respect that was earned by Siddiq Abu Bakar Dan Usman–17th Sultan and father of Abubakar–who held the Sultanate for over fifty years. The rule of Abubakar’s father from 1938 to 1988 earned the position significant social capital and popularity with ordinary Muslims.


Administrative Power: Abubakar holds important administrative influence in Nigerian religious life. Abubakar is the titular ruler of Sokoto in northern Nigeria and is also the head of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. Leadership of this council means that the Sultan of Sokoto remains the only figure that can legitimately claim to speak on behalf of all Nigerian Muslims. This role has become increasingly influential over the years with a rise in interreligious tensions between Nigeria’s Muslim-majority north and Christian-majority south.


Boko Haram: The Sultan has started many initiatives to counter and reduce the influence of Boko Haram, including inviting an international joint Muslim-Christian Delegation to visit Nigeria.

206 The number of years since the Sokoto Empire was first established in 1809 by Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio
52 The number of years that his father, Alhaji Sir Abubakar III, led the Muslims of Nigeria, the longest ruling of the 20 Sokoto sultans.
Sultan of Sokoto Blames Elites for Nigeria's Problems - Nigerian Bulletin
2013-11-04 16:27:32

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar on Monday blamed the elite for most of the challenges facing the country when members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the proposed National Dialogue paid him a courtesy visit in Sokoto. "The elite ...

ASUU Strike: Sultan of Sokoto Intervenes -
2013-10-16 06:09:38

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar III, has urged striking lecturers and workers to call off their strikes and return to the negotiating table. Among the group on strike are Academic Staff Union of Universities, Academic Staff Union of ...

Bill Gates helps Nigeria fight polio - eNCA
2013-11-12 06:26:13

Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, attended the forum, as did President Goodluck Jonathan and other dignatories and religious leaders including the supreme head of Muslims in Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'Ad Abubakar. I have decided to be in ...

Grand Hijrah - Sultan Urges Peace Among Muslims -
2013-11-08 10:25:24

Sokoto — Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III yesterday urged Muslims to desist from doing anything that would portray Islam in bad light. He was speaking at the 1435 AH Grand Hijrah celebration organised by joint Islamic organisations ...

Polio - Gates Bags Nigerian Honour As Jonathan Warns Against Setback -
2013-11-12 10:51:28

Also, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa'ad III, said traditional rulers would continue to support the fight against polio because of their concern about the welfare of their people. "No father will sit down and watch his child crippled permanently ...

Kidnapped Sokoto businessman recounts ordeal - DailyPost Nigeria
2013-11-13 19:30:52

“I was blindfolded since I was kidnapped last Wednesday up to the time they dropped me opposite the Sultan Abubakar III Juma'at Mosque, Sokoto, yesterday night. “They, however, allowed me to pray, ease myself and sleep. They also never starved me.

Akin Ajose-Adeogun: The curse of the broken vessel - Nigeria at the crossroads - DailyPost Nigeria
2013-11-12 06:01:55

Sultan of Sokoto (Hassan, 1931-38, or his predecessor, Abubakar) in the 1930s. (2) “If the British quit Nigeria now, at this stage, the Northern people would continue their uninterrupted conquest to the sea.” – Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, budget debates in ...

Sultan Wants Public Holiday For Islamic New Year - Leadership Newspapers
2013-11-09 02:26:41

In a statement by NSCIA acting Director of Publicity, Muhammad kabir Qasim, the eminent monarch said that the governors' gesture enabled Muslims in the states to have equal opportunity like their Christian counterparts to mark the new Islamic year.

Islam Abhors Killing of Innocent Persons - Sultan -
2013-10-30 06:10:21

The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'ad Abubakar III, on Tuesday dissociated himself and other Muslims from the killing of Christians in the name of Islam. "The Sokoto Sultanate Council, all traditional rulers and the generality of the Muslims, have dissociated ...and more »

Sultan felicitates with Nigerian Muslims on New Year - Premium Times
2013-11-07 15:24:07

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, hereby felicitates with Nigerian Muslim Ummah and congratulates them for witnessing ...

Talking is very important and is critical to finding an amicable solution to the violence.

Birth: 24 August 1956 (Age: 61)

Source of Influence: , ,

Influence: Central figure for 85.5 million Nigerian Muslims

School of Thought: , ,

Status: Not featured in current year

Talking is very important and is critical to finding an amicable solution to the violence.
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206 The number of years since the Sokoto Empire was first established in 1809 by Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio
52 The number of years that his father, Alhaji Sir Abubakar III, led the Muslims of Nigeria, the longest ruling of the 20 Sokoto sultans.
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