The word Almajiri is an Arabic “Almuhajir”, meaning an emigrant. It refers to a person who migrates from the luxury of his home to other places or to a popular teacher in the quest for Islamic knowledge. In Nigeria today, the Almajiri is termed as an illiterate person who is worthless, homeless and living in an abject poverty. Is a person who is jobless and vulnerable roaming the streets or going to house by house usually in a dirty worn-out dress and openly begging for alms or food.
I myself came from the Almajiri family from both sides but I am against exposing children to begging. It is very unbecoming to see an under-aged children some of which cannot tell you more about their lives or the area/towns they came from, but roaming the streets for begging under the sun or in the rain.
Today, “Almajirai” (plural of Almajiri) are the maidservants of independent women in their local restaurants. They are the assistants of snake or monkey and hyena charmers. They are the sachet water vendors, traditional charm sellers and football fields. They are the companions of the heap of garbage as they are picking discarded rubbers, plastic and metals in order to sell it for their survival. They sometimes goto the bar in search for food remains. They sometimes join a group of gangs, pick-pocketting and if they are unlucky they fall into the hands of rituals or some unwanted people who rape teenagers. Few of them can become reasonable members of the community.
Based on my observations, I noticed that the main problem behind the deterioration of those “Almajirai is attached to high birth rate among the less privilege family. As such they see no other alternative but to send those poor children to far and away in the name of “Almajiranci”. This is because the family cannot take good care of them. They can’t afford to pay their school fees, they can’t even feed them talkess of other social welfare. Such children will at last become political thugs, “Sara-Suka and other related crimes. It is hardly to see a son of a well to do family in the circle of Almajiranci which is characterised full of street begging, hard labour in the farms of their Mallams, living in dirty etc.
Although, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.(male or female). Also, in one of his traditions he continued saying Seek for knowledge even be it in Sin (China). This is an emphasis from the prophet in order to show us the importance of knowledge. But he discouraged us from begging as it was narrated by the Imam Muslim from Hamza. son of ‘Abdullah, reported on the authority of his father that the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When a man is always begging from people. he would meet Allah (in a state) that there would be no flesh on his face. (Sahih Muslim 2263)
Meanwhile, It is related by Abu Maalik Al-Ash’ari (Radiya Allahu Anhu) that the Messenger of Allah said: “Cleanliness is a part of Faith”. Cleanliness and purity has been emphasized by various means in hundreds of Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad Peace be Upon Him. So, if one will see how the nowadays “Almajirai” are living in dirty with rashes all over their bodies, he will really sympathise with them. May Allah shield us from poverty.
MUHAMMAD BABABA MUJTABA, AZARE