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Muhammed Bello: Wikis


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Muhammed Bello
Sultan of Sokoto
Reign 1815-1837
Died 1837
Place of death Sokoto?
Predecessor Usuman dan Fodio
Successor Abu Bakr Atiku, a brother
Father Usuman dan Fodio

Muhammed Bello (reigned 1815 - 1837) (Arabic: محمد بيلو‎) was the son and aide of Usman dan Fodio. He became the second Sultan of Sokoto following his father's 1815 retirement from the throne. Bello faced early challenges from dissident leaders such as 'Abd al-Salam, and rivalries between the key families of his father's jihad. Bello soon consolidated his rule by granting land and power to these leading Fulani families. He is also the brain behind the city of Sokoto. After the success of the Fulani jihad, Muhammed Bello wanted to build a new city to mirror the Islamic faith and to present a stable instead of pastoral image of Fulani's. In 1809, the building of Sokoto started, mosques were strategically placed in different corners of the city for easy accessibility and some houses where constructed with Islamic architectural patterns. He also facilitated and encouraged the building of new towns, especially in the western region of the caliphate.

One of Bello's daughters married future Toucouleur jihadist El Hadj Umar Tall.

Principles on leadership

“The contract with Muslim leaders (a’ima) is only annulled when the objectives of leadership has been rendered null and void, like apostasy, recognized madness, or when the leader has been made a war captive or imprisoned and there is no hope of him being freed, likewise by a sickness which causes the leader to forget knowledge, by blindness, deafness or muteness, or when he removes himself due to his inability to establish the welfare of the Muslims…” [1].


  • Davidson, Basil. Africa in History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.


  • Richard W. Hull, African Cities and Towns before the European Conquest
Preceded by
Usman dan Fodio
2nd Sokoto Caliph
Succeeded by
Abu Bakr Atiku


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