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{Op-Ed} : THE CONCEPT OF AL-MAJIRI – Aisha Yahya Ibrahim

5 min read

AL-MAJIRI is a word deduced from an arabic word “Almuhajir” which means, Emigrants. AL-MAJIRI is a Nigerianised arabic word.

AL-MAJIRI which means Emigrant. Meaning AL-muhajir is from the root word called “Hijra”
which means migration from one place to another for the sake of ‘Allah’. This concept of migration means that one could relocate from where he does find conducive for worshipping his creator (Allah) to where he could find a conducive environment for worshipping Allah. It is in the height of this that Nigerians correlated this particular concept with the relocation of children from one place to another in search of the knowledge of Islam generally or Quran in particular. This is why they refer to movement of such children as migrants and the person who migrates for the sake of Allah is called “AL-MUHAJIR” which is Nigerianised or Hausanised as “AL-MAJIRI”. From the concept of ‘Hijra’ with which AL-MAJIRI was correlated, there is a misapplication in the concept. The reason could be traced to the followings:

  1. We have now observed the misconception and misapplication because the children are now relocating to place where there is no proper care and sponsorship and at the end of the day, they’ve become nuisance to the society.
  2. The reason for the migration is where is not conducive due to oppression, either where one is either oppressed or violence against people that seek for Islamic knowledge can not be equated to such oppression or violence.
  3. Children are moved from were the knowledge is available without care or sponsorship e.g moving children from Kano to Kaduna instead of remaining with their parent in kano where they can have proper care and sponsorship. This results to the children begging on the street for sustainance.
  4. There are instances where the children are even moved from where the knowledge is available and the environment is conducive to where the knowledge is not available as much e.g children that are being moved from Kano to Abuja.


The following are some of the obvious implications of AL-Majiri system in Nigeria.

  1. The children become vulnerable to health hazards in terms of the food they eat, the clothes they wear and most cases some of these children walk barefooted.
  • The food they eat: most cases these foods are remnant which the actual eaters are unknown, how the food was cooked and how it was kept.
  • The clothes they wear: On many occasions, we see these children wearing the same cloth for up to a week or more, without washing them.

This can lead them to develop skin problem as a result of accumulated germs.

  • Walking barefooted: Some of these children walk on barefoot, as a result, lead to them contracting fungal infections on the nails (Onychomycosis) or the skin of the feet (Tinea pedis) better known as athlete’s foot.
  1. They tend to be influence negatively in terms of behavior e.g They become exposed to drugs i.e taking of drugs.
    There’s a high level of theft which is mostly carried out by these children e.g snatching of people’s items on the road when they get the chance and so on.

3.These children will grow into adulthood as lazy citizens who would depend solely on what people give to them or what they forcefully take away from people for survival.

In today’s society, mostly in the Northern Nigeria, children livnig with their parents sometimes come out to disguise as AL-Majiris just to get free money and food from people. These children have become so lazy that they don’t want to work, they rather prefer to go out and beg.

It’s important to note that, this is as a result of some parents not taking responsibility of their children.


For a better society, it is high time the government at all levels came in and make sure that these children are taken off the street towards ensuring that these children don’t become a threat to the society and its people.


In ensuring that these children are taken off the streets, the government can not do that alone.
A collaboration between Government at all levels, Non-governmental organization, Islamic religious leaders and Traditional Rulers.

Religious leaders: Religious leaders here have the capacity of ensuring the actual concept of the word is properly explained to their followers as well as the need for these children to be taken off the streets through the enlightening the general public about the negative consequences and act of sins that are incurred as a result of the misapplication and the need to bring lasting solutions to it, hereby working together to ensure that the real thing is established and the actual aim achieved.

It is the responsibility of the religious leaders to enlighten the Quranic teachers of these Almajiris on the danger of allowing the children to flood the streets begging for food.

The religious leaders also have to mediate between the Quranic teachers and wealthy muslim so as to educate the wealthy muslim on the need for charitable work for feeding these AL-Majiris. They also have the responsibility of alerting the government through the ministry of youths and development on the need to aid these AL-Majiri institutions and their Quranic teachers because that’s the part of the social responsibility of the government instead of letting them to become menace to the society.

Traditional Rulers: Traditional rulers here are the closest people to these institution. They can physically mediate between the AL-Majiri institution and the government. They can ensure that no child is found roaming about through their local security outfit. They can easily investigate to know where the children came from, who the parents are, and so on, since we now have parents who no longer take responsibility for their children.

Non-governmental organization: The Non governmental organization here can assist through some of their charitable work. i.e distribution of food, and other relevant materials.

Government: The role of the federal government in combating this menace can not be overemphasized. The government here can put laws in place to ensure that no child is roaming the street as an AL-Majiri. The government can help in providing these children with shelter i.e just the way we have government orphanages, we can adopt the same method and other assistance through collaboration with religious leaders, Traditional rulers and Non governmental organization.

Above all, agitation for a complete eradication of AL-Majiri institution won’t be right, but a reformation.

And I hope these gets to the appropriate authority!

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