These were religious brotherhoods also called fraternities. These Tariqas came as a result of the teachings and influence of Suffism put in traditional Islam Al Gazar, Ibin Khardan. In Arabic the Suffi orders are called Tariqas which means the way that lead to God.
The great teachers of these orders became the founders and the settlements where may taught from and worshipped from were referred to as Zawiyah or Monasteries. The brotherhood showed up in West Africa. In the 15th Century and made great extension of Islam in 19th century in order to revive Islam which had declined.
The Suffi orders trained several followers propagate pure Islam which was got from the teachings of their founders. These brotherhood included Shadiriya, Tijaniyya, Qadiriyya, Sunu Ssiyya etc.
Qadiriyya brotherhood. This brotherhood was founded by Sheikh Abdul in Bagdad and reached West Africa in the 15th century. It first spread among the town dwellers as well as traders that participated in the Trans Haran Trade.
This brotherhood introduced several schools which helped in the propagation of Islam e.g.. it built schools like Hausa land present day Nigeria, Masinain Pokolo. He established several scholars aimed this brotherhood included Uthuman Dafodio, Ahmed Sekeo etc.
Tijaniyyah Brotherhood. This was started by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Muhammad in Tijjan. It began by use of force thereby get converts. However, at a later stage, it adopted peaceful propagation of Islam which enabled it to get more converts. It operated in areas like Hausa land, Kenembeous etc.
This Brotherhood brought bright political success in Futa region where it replaced pagan rulers with Muslim Imams. The teachings of this Brotherhood highly appealed to the common man especially the Youths. The prominent men from this brotherhood were Al Hadjj Umar Suunin who abandoned it at a later stage.