Historical Development of Mosques in Ilorin Emirate, 1823–1992
The word, mosque or Masjid, occupies a significant place in the spiritual minds of the generality of Muslims. It has been stated that prayers are uniquely and strongly recommended to be offered in a Mosque as part of Ibadah for the Muslims. Mosques are places where Muslims congregate to know each other better and to form a solid community through religious interaction. In addition, praying at mosques in congregation promotes and teaches unity among the people as well as serves as meeting places where various problems are identified with a view to finding solutions to them. It is against this background that this paper chronicles the historical evolution of mosques in Ilorin, investigates their structural developments and examines their functions and challenges within the context of socio-economic, political and religious perspectives. The paper finds, among others, that appointment of imam has become hereditary rather than eligibility on the basis of merit. In view of this, the paper suggests consideration of merit in the appointment of Imam of mosques. This will ensure Islamic activities in the Ilorin Emirate are commensurate with modern Islamic trends.