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Almajiri is a system of Islamic education practiced in northern Nigeria. Almajiri derives from an Arabic word, rendered "al-Muhajirun" in English transliteration, meaning a person who leaves his home in search of Islamic knowledge.[1]


Precolonial era[edit]

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 and sometimes through the farm output of the students.[2]

Colonial era[edit]

The year 1904 brought a new twist to the almajiri system of education, as the British invaded the northern part of Nigeria. During the invasion most Emirs were killed and others were deposed. The remaining emirs lost controls of their territories, this resulted also in the loss of fundamental control of the almajiri. Boko was introduced, boko meaning western education. The British abolished the state funding of almajiri schools. With no support from the community, Emirs and government, the system collapsed. The teachers and students had no financial support, so, they turned to alms begging and menial jobs for survival.[3]

Present day[edit]

A report by the National Council for the Welfare of the Destitute (NCWD) approximated the number of current almajiri to 7 million.[4] 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. [3][5][6][7]


  1. ^ "ZEISS Industrial Metrology Homepage".
  2. ^ Okonkwo, Oge Samuel (18 July 2017). "THE ALMAJIRI SYSTEM AND VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN NORTHERN NIGERIA: Finding the Nexus by Oge Samuel…".
  3. ^ a b "The Almajiri System of Education in Nigeria Today By Professor Idris A".
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ Abuh, Adamu (6 January 2015). "Nigeria: Fresh Onslaught Against Almajiri Scourge" – via AllAfrica.
  7. ^ Shittu, A.B. and Olaofe, M.a(2015). Situations of the Almajiri System of Education in Contemporary Nigeria: Matters Arising. ilorin journal of religious studies(IJOURELS)vol,no2,pages 37-46