Emir of Kano, Muhammad Lamido Sanusi II leads the Eid al-Fitr prayers at Kofa Mata praying ground, to mark the end of holy month of Ramadan, in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, July 6, 2016. Reuters

Nigeria's most senior Muslim cleric called on Nigerian lawmakers to shun any legislation that contradicts the teachings of the Quran. The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’adu Abubakar, called on the National Assembly to protect against a religious crisis by upholding Islamic law.

“Our religion is our total way of life; therefore, we will not accept any move to change what Allah permitted us to do," he said. “Islam is a peaceful religion; we have been living peacefully with Christians and followers of other religions in this country. Therefore, we should be allowed to perform our religion effectively.’’

His remarks came during a Quranic recitation competition organized by the northwestern state Zamfara. He said Muslims would not accept any legislation that would stroke religious controversy.

His warning coincided with a debate in Nigeria's Senate over a gender equity bill that would have allowed women to share in their family's inheritance and ensure a widow could retain custody of her children even if she remarried. He said the proposal was banned under the Quran and urged Muslims lawmakers to oppose the bill. Christian lawmakers had advocated for the change to end discrimination against women.

Nigeria has over 270 ethnic groups and is roughly half Muslim and half Christian, with northern states generally referred to as the nation's Muslim region and Christians living in the south.

Nigeria's Senate previously rejected an earlier version of the bill in March because it was not consistent with Nigerian culture. But human rights activist Bukky Shonibare said opponents of the bill showed "how backward we are," BBC News reported.

Zamfara Governor Abdul’aziz Yari Abubakar praised the sultan for his remarks and for being a strong leader for Nigerian Muslims. He said the state would work with religious leaders to promote peace among Muslims and other religions in Nigeria.