The Role of Almajiri School System in Enhancing Security in Zamfara State: A View from the Teaching of Mu’amalah’s Entrepreneurial Skills

This article is published by the Zamfara International Journal of Humanities.

Bello Muhammad1 (PhD) & Isah Danmalik2

1,2Centre for Research, Innovation and Development,
Federal University Gusau,
Zamfara -Nigeria.


The paper examines the Almajiri school system as a form of discipleship or religious training whereby a young child, usually less than 15 years old, is sent to another part of the village, town or country to learn about Islamic education and its impression on the society, The system is aimed at integrating traditional Qur’anic Schools and western education under Universal Basic Education Commission. The establishment of Almajiri integrated education is one of the current issues that require special intervention from the governments at all levels to take measures to curtail the menace of street begging, drug abuse, abuse of local skills, child trafficking and youth redundancy in the name of pursuing Qur’anic Education. The Almajiri constitutes the largest group of out-of-school children in Nigeria numbering over nine (9) million children (Universal Basic Education Commission UBEC, 2010). This segment of Nigerian population poses tremendous challenges to the attainment of Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The study examines three Almajiri schools within Maradun local government whose contributions to Enhance Security in the State cannot be over emphasized. The study adopts both qualitative and quantitative approach of data collection in order to be able to gather more reliable information. It also uses both formal and informal education sources for information gathering. The Research also identified the major challenges facing the citizens in the state Some of the challenges are dealing with unlawful transactions, selling of Alcohol and Ignorant followers and sitting as redundant without practicing neither small business nor traditional business, all these, are the major courses of insecurity in the state.


All over the northern Nigeria, the system of learning was the traditional Almajiri or Zaure method whereby students were taught to learn Qur’an or other Islamic aspects of knowledge. However, in 1903 after the fall of Sokoto Caliphate, the colonial masters introduced a new system of learning whereby students were taught in a class-room with desks and black-board. Prominent scholars at that time such as Alhaji Muhammad Marafa Dan Baba and others used the same method to establish Nizzamiyyah, Islamiyyah and Islamiyya Schools in the state. Arabic and Islamic studies were taught in those schools’ side by side with some western education subjects such as English Language, Mathematics and Social studies, etc. Through this system of learning, Arabic and Islamic studies was disseminated to every nook and cranny of the state including Maradun Local Government Area. Furthermore, many students who graduated from those schools further their education to relevant colleges to obtain junior Islamic studies (JISC) and senior Islamic Studies certificate (SISC) while many were chanced for proceedings to tertiary institutions. Therefore, one could say without fear of contradiction that the contributions of Almajiri schools to the development and enhancement of Security in Maradun local government cannot be overemphasized

Overview of the Tsangaya Curriculum

Since colonial period down to amalgamation up to independence in 1960 and even beyond, northern Nigeria remains skeptical about western education, most especially because at the initial stage it was taught in the Christian Churches. Because of the relationship which then existed between Christianity and western education, many people in the region preferred Islamic to western education. This is also because; Islamic religion came to the region during the Trans-Saharan trade between North and West Africa and subsequently the contacts with the Wangarawa traders from Mali who were said to have been responsible for the spread of Islam into the Nigerian area.

However, after independence, northern leaders such as Ahmad Bello Sardaunan Sokoto had made so much effort in integrating the Islamic and western education together in order to ensure that children from Northern Nigeria benefitted from western education bit by bit with Islamic education. Many influential personalities particularly in the former Sokoto were influenced by this idea of integration and they tried to adopt same at their own level. Among them were Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Marafa Dan-Baba who established the first Nizamiyah and Islamiyyah School at Yar’Akija in Sokoto in the early 1960s. It is pertinent to note that, today many prominent people in Sokoto and Zamfara States who excelled in the areas of Arabic and Islamic Studies were beneficiaries of this system. At the same time, the Jama’atu Nasarul Islam (JNI) also contributed to the establishment of some Nizamiyya and Islamiyyah schools in then former Sokoto State. Some of these Schools were established at Zamfara, Gwandu, Argungu and Yauri respectively. It was from this system of Almajiri School that the Nizamiyya and Islamiyyah schools emerged in Maradun Local government, Zamfara state.

Almajiri system was added to the Tsangaya school curriculum which was based on the traditional method of learning and teaching Islamic knowledge. This system takes place in a room, veranda or a hall where Almajiri students gathered to received their Qur’anic studies under one particular Islamic tutor with a unique method whereby student with their different books surround their teacher who in turn would teach them one after another.

However, those that did not memorize the Holy Qur’an used to memorize some verses (Harda) under the care of their teacher known as Malam, when Malam is satisfied with their mastery of the particular portion of the Qur’an, he will then instruct him to write other new verses for memorization. However, for those who memorized the Holy Qur’an and graduated from this level known as al-Iftada’iyyah and become Malams they will proceed to the secondary level of this type of education known as Karatun Zaure, where they will learn different books of different fields from their Malam. Almajiri schools system or Zaure System began around 6:30am to 8:30am and the student gathered in one place or different rooms and reading or reciting the Qur’an, hadith, Fiqhu, Tauhidu etc. after two hours, the students left the place and went to their respective places/homes for breakfast, after which they for another round of studies. After Zuhr prayer, Almajiri or Zaure teachers will come back for the second time, to teach the students and continue with the teaching till 4:00pm, these is happening every day exept Thursday and Friday.


Some Selected Subject Teaches in Almajiri School

 Scholars of Almajiri schools teach their student (Almajirai) many subjects apart from learning the glorious Quran, some of the subjects are related to human life, religion and culture, some subjects were related to national security, the subjects attached the enhancement of the national security includes: Islamic jurisprudence (fiqhul islamiy), Transactional science (mu’amalah),The science of ordinances (Fara’idh) and Islamic history (Tarikhul islam). All the above subjects help to establish and encourage security in the society, also, it is taught in the traditional way of teaching, the student will be raised on a sound creed and good morals and finally he will live in the society as very sober and productive. (T.M.Faru, personal communication, May 18, 2022).

MU’AMALAH (Transactional science)

MU’AMALAH (Transactional science): Means a set of Islamic religious law that governs aspect of day-to-day life for Muslims. Mu’amalah also outlines on how Muslims should conduct themselves in various aspects of their lives, including their personal lives, responsibilities to society, religious beliefs, as well as finances. (A. Hassan, 2011).

Mu’amalah comprises three basic elements: Aqidah: which concerns all forms of faith and belief in Allah. Akhlaq: covers all aspects of a Muslim’s behavior, attitude, and work ethic, and Fiqh: which governs the relationship between man and his creator (Ibadat), Mu’amalah also concerns on Political, economic, and social activities. (A. Hassan, 2011).

Mu’amalah is an Arabic word which literally means “transactions” or “dealings”. (U. Abdulhamid, 2001). while technically is any form of mutual dealings hold between men to solve their everyday needs, especially in matters relating to Security, trade and commerce. Mu’amalah is a social relationship which consists of various economic and non-economic activities. (U. Abdulhamid, 2001) also, Mu’amalah related with the interpersonal relationship between a person and others. Thus it covers matters related to criminal procedures, disputes settlements, business and financial dealings, ruler’s rights and responsibilities, citizens, rights and responsibilities, international communications and etc.

Mu’amalah in the common law, is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. When the parties agreed on the same thing, it means that they have reached a consensus on an issue of common interest. In order to make their agreement meaningful, they must have the intention and clear understanding that their contract must be legally enforceable. (M.Adam, 2016).

The scope of Mu’amalah is very broad. It covers all human relations and activities. These include social, political, economic, cultural, biological and professional way of life. It also covers other relationships of a human being with other creators including animals and plants it consists of all actions that can be rewarded or punishable by Allah.

All true Muslims as learned, are eager to engage in permissible social interactions because of the injunctions of Allah as well as the benefits of compliance and the reprisals of non-compliant to the contractual parties and the society in general. (M.Adam, 2016).

The almighty Allah set some rules and regulations governing it in order to protect and promote individual interests in all social transactions, Allah says:

O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. And let a scribe write (it) between you in Justice. Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write and let the one who has the obligation dictate. And let him fear Allah, his Lord, and not leave anything out of it. But if the one who has the obligation is of limited understanding weak or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate injustice…”. (Qur’an, 2:282).

The above Verse is the longest (Ayah) in the Glorious Qur’an that touches different aspects of Mu’amalah under the business and financial relations some of which include the following:

The Verse also stressed the importance of Taqwah (piety). This means that, we should fear Him, remember His watch over us, implement his command and avoid what he prohibited. The importance and necessity of writing transactions that take effect later on. Allah directs the believers to record transactions when their term is delayed. The Verse also stressed the necessity of Justice, keeping promises and trustworthy among Muslims within their Mu’amalah.

Similarly, Allah in His Glorious Book also warned the Believers against consuming Unlawful earnings. He said:

O you who believe! Eat not your property among yourselves unjustly except it be a trade amongst you, by mutual consent. (Qur’an, 4:29).

In this Verse Allah (the Exalted) prohibits His believing servants from illegally acquiring each other’s property using various dishonest methods such as Riba (Usury) Gambling and other wicked methods that appear to be legal, but Allah knows that, in reality, those involved seek to deal in interest. (A. I. Bn Kathir, 2013). The Verse also talks on mutual agreement between the two parties.

Mu’amalah provides much of the basis for Security, and is instruments of Islamic Security. So, During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In fact, the Prophet himself is in charge of security in Mecca and was called by the Meccan “Al’amin” meaning a honest and sincere man. This is the starting point where the Security system was brought to the world as promoting the spirit of brother hood and social interaction. However, we are taught by the Prophet (peace be upon him) the conduct of Mu’amalah with regard to Security issues, economic activities, Marriage and parental right over their children.

                Al-Miqdaam Ibn Ma’d Yakrib (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

No one has ever eaten food better than that which his hands have earned. (Sahih Bukhari, 34/2072).

Narrated Az-Zubair Bin Al-Awwam: the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, it is better for anyone of you to take a rope (and cut) and bring a bundle of wood (from the forest) over his back and sell it and Allah will save his face (from the Hell-fire) because of that, rather than to ask the people who may give him or not.

The above mentioned Hadiths shows the necessity for seeking Halal (lawful) in our daily life and financial dealings to avoid eating Haram (unlawful) as it’s the major cost to insecurity in life.

 From the foregoing, the reader will understand that, the Scholars in Almajiri Schools are clearly explaining everything that man needs from the beginning to the end of his life. We can understand that, Teaching Mu’amalah is the duty of every good teacher, scholar and leader as to guide his people to what he knew was good for them and warned them against what he knew was bad for them.

Mu’amalah at nowadays, The Life activities of the Muslims in some areas of Zamfara is Un-Islamic in the sense that, most of the people except few of them are dealing with unlawful transactions, like selling of Alcohol, cigarette, game of hazard, are commonly found in the some areas of Zamfara state as it’s the major cost of insecurity in the state and is totally un-Islamic because Allah the Exalted Says:


O you who believe, wine and the game of hazard and Idols and divining arrows are only an abomination of Satan’s handwork. So shun each one of them you may prosper. (Qur’an, 5:90).

Entrepreneurial Skills in Almajiri Schools

Throughout the history of Almajiri School system in Nigeria, students have different cultural values on entrepreneurial skills, most of the logical issue is that many of Almajiri student considered local business as occupation, moreover, different value orientations among Almajirai was identified, and it is cleared avenue that, value orientation might be an important component in entrepreneurship. (Dana. 1995a). it seems reasonable to assume that Almajiri school system has an impact upon the legitimization of entrepreneurial skills despite secularization in the system.

Entrepreneurship has many reasons that include, but are not limited to accessibility of Western schools but it has primary sources in Almajiri school system, as the system can outline an Islamic basis for the confabulation of Islamic security activity. It is also can be served sources that will form the basis for security tips in the society. (M.G,Faruku, personal communication, July 6, 2022).

In Almajiri schools system, There are two main sources to be learned as the basis for entrepreneurial skills thought as encourage security system in the society, the main sources are: the glorious Qur’an and the sayings and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. (Mutahhari, 1985).

The Qur’an is seen as more than just a book of guidance for Muslims for all activities of their life. The glorious Qur’an states that: “God has created the universe for the benefit of all human beings. God has made the resources of this earth available to man who has the responsibility to make use of them, to mold them, and to transform them according to his needs”. (Qur’an 7:10).

In the Qur’an, there are clear references to the work of entrepreneurial skills: “…On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time”. Also, he said: “We have made the night and the day… that we may seek bounty from your Lord…”. (Qur’an 2:36).

From above verses we can understand that, both spiritual and secular implications a person is expected to work for economic and security success in this life. Almajiri school system teaches the dignity of engaging in labour to support oneself.


Entrepreneurial model Almajirai follows in Almajiri system

The scholars of the system clearly state that, it is better to pursue an opportunity to provide for oneself regardless of the resources. They have encourage the following models. (M. F. Maidamma, personal communication, August 6, 2022).


Entrepreneur as Steward.

Exemplars-Prophet Muhammad.

Source of wisdom for entrepreneur The Qur’an and Hadiths.

Motivation for entrepreneurship Submission to God’s will

Primary quality of an entrepreneur Concern for communities


The role of Almajiri school system in the entrepreneurial skills process is establishes the values play in decision-making and career selection. Since personal values can be directly linked to security development in the society and influences the motivation of entrepreneurial skills. It is composed to know that, from an early roots of Almajiri system was tied in to entrepreneurship, as majority of the first Scholars of Almajiri system was a merchant, these has supported their mission and allowed them to spread the message of Islam in formative actions and regards, because they are self-sufficiency and confident in their entrepreneurial behaviour, they was predisposed Muslims to engage in venture creation for support of self and the greater community. ((M. K. Yakubu, personal communication, August 6, 2022).

Types of Entrepreneurial Skills

To quietly examined the validity of the small skills used by Almajiris while undergoing Almajiriranci system of learning, such can be considered as entrepreneurial behaviour and ethic that equips the individual to excel in economic pursuits and such skills could be useful in addressing portions of the world that suffer from any form of insecurity and underdevelopment that have large population in the Nation, such skills include the following. (M. B. Tawwada, personal communication, August 6, 2022) Nail cutting (Yankan Kunba), Local laundry (Wanki da guga), Barbing (Aski), Makers of traditional Hausa caps (Dinkin hulluna), tailoring, Mini provisions, Local Pottery (Gyaran tukane), Cobbler and Local raring of Animals (Kiyon bisashe).

The small businesses mentioned keeps Almajirai busy and tinted to their means of life, these also can equally contribute largely to the revival of our economy within the local society, as arguably represents a large chunk of private security in Zamfara state and Nigeria at general.


This research studied and analyzed the impact of almajiri school system in enhancing security in zamfara state with particular reference to Mu’amalah. The research employed theoretical materials (data) and oral data through interviews for data collection from two main sources as already noted earlier. These were primary and secondary sources (i.e. published and unpublished). Therefore the source materials were subjected to evaluation so as to determine their validity as earlier noted. It is also important to note that in order to ascertain the authenticity and reliability of the data collected, both external and internal criticisms were applied. For the collection of oral information, a constructive and guided interview technique was used. This included recording responses on audiotape where necessary. the research got the necessary data that helped in achieving the current form which are graciously acknowledged and appreciated.


The Research also recognized that, despite the problems and challenges. The Almajiri School system made great impact on changing the bad behaviors of the citizens. In the same vein, they have enhanced learning activities among people with emphasis on religious education. This includes the knowledge of the basic tenets of Islam and its practical devotional acts. Both the adults and the children have benefited from such educational services as well as local entrepreneurial skills services


Conclusion and Recommendations

The Almajiri school system were introduced to achieve imperial objectives in the world of Islamic learning, However, in our contemporary, Almajiri system is aimed to integrate traditional Qur’anic Schools and western education, under Universal Basic Education Commission. The establishment of Almajiri integrated education is one of the current issues that require special intervention from the governments at all levels to take measures to curtail the menace of street begging, drug abuse, abuse of local skills, child trafficking and youth redundancy in the name of pursuing Qur’anic Education. The traditional system of learning was structured to improve Islamic knowledge with higher regard to good behavior and manner as for good production youths.

The study made the following recommendations for effective management and improvement of Almajiri schools in Maradun local government in particular and Zamfara state at large. These recommendations among others include:

1.       It is hoped that the efforts of the scholars in almajiri schools highlighted in this work shall continue to change the life of the people and other scholars shall emulate them with high sense of commitment to further enhance the spread and development of security in Zamfara State in particular and in Nigeria at large.

2.       Almajiri schools should be improved in Zamfara state in order to cater for the number of almajiris on the street in the state.

3.       Our local entrepreneurial skills should be improved in all Almajiri schools in the state in order to improve our economy which will assist in shine to security improvement in the state and Nigeria at large.

4.       Tsangaya Schools should be established in the state and only almajiri students should be admitted into it.

5.       Effective and regular supervision and maintenance of tsangaya schools’ facilities should be made to ensure that they are in line with prescribed guidelines and actualization of goals and objectives of almajiri education system in Nigeria.

6.       Government should ensure adequate funding for Almajiri Education Programme in the state.

7.       Government should collaborate with Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and other philanthropists to ensure adequate provision of facilities that would develop the Almajiri schools in the town.


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