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The History of the Almajiri System


“Almajiri” is a system of Islamic education
practiced in northern Nigeria.The word “Almajiri” is derives
from an Arabic word, rendered “al-Muhajirun” in the
English translation, it means a person who
leaves his home in search of Islamic Knowledge.


The term “Almajiri” is a Hausa word
for pupil or student and emanates
from the Arabic word ‘AlMuhajir’
which means a seeker of Islamic
knowledge. Its origin can be traced
from the migration of Prophet
Mohammed from Mecca to Medina.
Those who migrated with the
prophet to Medina were called ‘Al-
Muhajirrun’, meaning migrants.However In Nigeria, the word “Almajiri” means
those who left their villages or town,
parents, relations, and friends in
search of Islamic religious
knowledge and scholarshipThe Almajiri system in Northern
Nigeria started around the 11th
century in Kanem-Borno and was
later replicated in the Sokoto
Caliphate after the triumph of the
Jihad led by Sheikh Uthman Dan
Fodio.Both empires not only
promoted the scheme but also
supported it with public finances.
Asides the authorities’ recognition and promotion, the scheme also
enjoyed the support of other major
stakeholders, such as the community,
the parents and the pupils
themselves. Later on, the products of
the system, were to form the group
of elites that controlled various
government organs and parastatals
in the pre and post-colonial
Northern Nigeria

Classification of the history of the Almajiri system

The history of yhe classification of the almajiri system can be classified into 3 stages,

These are

1.precolonial era

2.Colonial era

3.present day

Precolonial era

This system of education started in Nigeria in a
town named Kanem-Borno, which had a majority
of its rulers widely involved in Quranic literacy.More than 700 years later, the Sokoto caliphate
was founded by a revolution based on the
teachings of the Qur’an. Sokoto caliphate and
Borno caliphate started running the Almajiri
system together. During this precolonial era,
students used to stay with their parents for
proper moral upbringing. All the schools
available then were in a close proximity with the
immediate environment of the students.
Inspectors were introduced to go round the
schools and after inspection they report to the
Emir of the province all the matters regarding the
affairs of the school. The schools were funded
by the community, parents, zakkah, sadaqqah(“voluntary charity”).
and sometimes through the farm output of the

Colonial era

In 1904, when the British invaded
and colonized Northern Nigeria, they
manned the treasury and abolished
state funding of Almajiri school
system, which they saw as mere
religious schools. “Boko”, meaning
western education, was introduced
and funded instead. This
development made Islamic scholars
unqualified for employment and
participation in politics. This further
increased the poverty situation, as
Mallams (Teachers) lost their jobs
because of lack of western education
(the only criteria for white-collar
jobs) which was only available for
educated individuals. With the loss
of support from the government, the
helpless Emirs and increasing
number of students to cater for, the
care of the Almajiri became
overwhelmingly burdensome for
Mallams who were left with no
choice but to send these young
pupils out to beg for alms

(Watch out for the history of book haram)

Present day

A report by the National Council for the Welfare
of the Destitute (NCWD) approximated the
number of current almajiri to 7 million. The
system now lacks things like good teachers and
basic amenities like proper clothing and shelter.
Most of the almajiri do not graduate and are left
with the option to do menial jobs.The present day Almajiri, who are
victims of neglect and exploitation
are seen everywhere singing and
begging for food and money, being
vulnerable to abuse, drugs,
trafficking and various forms of
exploitation. Their conditions of
living is below average as shown in
their torn, dirty looking cloth,
hungry stomach, and unkempt body.

These Almajiri are mostly found far
away from their places of abode in
search of Islamic knowledge, which
means they do not reside with their
biological parents, who for religious
permissiveness, marry as many
wives as possible and produce scores
of children without any sense of
responsibility. These children are
dumped in Almajiri schools because
Islamic education is free; and in most
cases, some of the parents never
show up again, let alone cater for
their children.

Copyright claim

Ahbeg no just try steal our contents, eventhough we never upgrade, we are upcoming, if you wanna play smart we will catch you and your frivolity, we won’t hesitate to take action against your personality!!!!,,

Kindly contact the author, if you wanna use some his works.

By Victor Aluede G.y

Aluede G.y Victory is a history
enthusiast an a mediapreneur living in Aboru,
Lagos. He studied arts at skills click foundation, he is an alumni of Rehoboth college Aboru, Lagos.

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