Original Research

Reflection on the theory of the Arab origin of the Yoruba people

Jock M. Agai
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 45, No 1 | a77 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v45i1.77 | © 2021 Jock M. Agai | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2020 | Published: 22 February 2021

About the author(s)

Jock M. Agai, School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


The theory of the Arab origin of the Yoruba people is seemingly the oldest amongst other theories of their origins. This is because the original Yoruba oral tradition pertaining to their origin subscribes to the ‘East’ as the location of their origin. The East is believed to be Arabia or Mecca. There are many reasons why scholars from the 19th to the 21st centuries dissociated themselves from the Arab theory of the Yoruba origin, yet some scholars uphold the theory in high esteem. The religions of Christianity and Islam might have influenced the interpretation of the Arab theory of the Yoruba origin. This research elucidates the Arab theory of the Yoruba origin pointing at the historical circumstances that might have led to the acceptance and the non-acceptance of the theory by various people who are interested in the writing of the Yoruba history. The aim of the research was to highlight the discrepancies or the weaknesses of the theory to initiate further research on the subject.


Arabia; Christians; coptic; east; Egypt; Islam; Mecca; Oduduwa; Yorubaland


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