Poised between its Emirate heritage and the mixed-religious culture of fellow Yoruba-speakers, the city of Ilorin has long served as a centre of Islamic learning in Yorubaland. In the colonial period Yoruba Muslims became strongly aware of the need to compete educationally with Christians who had access to Western education, Ilorin also became a location for the modernisation of Islamic schooling. This article explores two pedagogical models that were successfully established in Ilorin during the colonial and post-colonial period, the Adabiyya and Markaziyya. While the emergence of these madrasa-type educational systems reflects some epistemological changes away from embodied learning, the variation between different models illustrates that there are many different ways in which Islamic education can be modernised. The article also highlights that practices of embodiment continue to play an important role in Ilorin, which demonstrates the ongoing importance of Sufi values in modern Islamic education.