Osman dan Fodio was an Islamic Fulani scholar who led a successful jihad against the Hausa kingdoms in what is now northern Nigeria in 1804. The state he founded as a result, the Sokoto Caliphate, lasted for a century and was led by the dan Fodio dynasty, the Sultans of Sokoto. Even today, the 20th successor of Osman dan Fodios, Sa’ad Abubakar, represents the most important Islamic authority in Nigeria.

Boko Haram, on the other hand, is a terrorist organization founded by Muhammad Yusuf in the early 2000s and radicalized around 2009. Boko Haram is responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and kidnappings in Nigeria. Boko Haram’s second leader, Abubakar Shekau, died in 2021.

But what do Osman dan Fodio, Boko Haram and Sa’ad Abubakar have to do in one podcast?

Osman dan Fodio is an identification figure for many. His jihad and the fact that he founded a state based on Sharia law make him a role model for today’s Islamists like Boko Haram. For his successor Sa’ad Abubakar, it is above all dan Fodio’s extensive writing and legislative activity that can be seen as a role model for the thirst for knowledge in today’s world. Many Fulani, in turn, emphasize dan Fodio’s Fulani identity.

I have analyzed several speeches by the two Boko Haram leaders and the Sultan of Sokoto. I was helped in this by Dell Hymnes’ SPEAKING Model. One or two questions were also answered by my friend (and Islamic scholar) Halil Alegöz, whom I interviewed for this project.

But you’ll learn all about that in the podcast!



So, how is the podcast structured?

Introduction Boko Haram & Osman dan Fodio.

Explanation SPEAKING model (Dell Hymes)

History & Ideology of Boko Haram

Muhammad Yusuf Speech 1

Muhammad Yusuf Speech 2

Abubakar Shekau Speech 1

Abubakar Shekau Speech 2

Answer to Research Question I

Introduction Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar

Sultan of Sokoto Speech / Answer to Research Question 2 / Final Remarks



  • Gray, Simon and Adeakin, Ibikunle: The Evolution of Boko Haram, in: African Security Vol. 8, 3 (July 2015), pp. 185-211.
  • Hymes, Dell: Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach, Philadelphia 1974.
  • Kassim, Abdulbasit and Nwankpa, Michael (Ed.): The Boko Haram Reader. From Nigerian Preachers to the Islamic State, London 2018.
  • Nmah, Patrick Enoch and Amanambu, Uchenna Ebony: 1804 USMAN DAN FODIO’S JIHAD ON INTER-GROUP RELATIONS IN THE CONTEMPORARY NIGERIAN STATE, in: International Journal of Religion & Human Relations Vol. 9, 1 (June 2017), pp. 47-71.