Islamic Literacy and Scholarship in African Langages: The Case of Hausa in West Africa


Language is the main instrument in the wider spread and documentation of Islam and Islamic history in Africa and beyond. Historical development and rapid spread of Islam in African societies were historically accredited to African languages.The historic contact of the first Muslim generations with the Ethiopian emperor opens up the gate for the socio-linguistic development of translating Islamic dogma and messages into African languages. The Hausa factor in West African Islam is well noted in the writings of the early Muslim scholars. African linguistics contributions enhance the converts' literacy and develop a strong community of scholars of the highest historical relevance in the history of Islam in the African context. Africa is the home of about 2000 languages, Nigeria is with more than 556 languages, having Hausa leading the race with about 150 million speakers was rated as number 11 out of 7500 languages in the modern world as of 2022. Interestingly, about 85% of the Hausa native speakers are Muslims and about 69 percent of the Nigerian Muslim scholars are either Hausa natives or hausanized through Islamic activities in Hausaland. Thus, the spread of Islam in Africa was the handwork of African languages and not by the sword as alleged by the observers. My contact with Muslim scholars of various regions in Hausaland justified that, the technique of identification and naming Arabic alphabets are the same across the regions. In addition, the Ajami writing styles are the same. Hundreds of books and manuscripts are of the same orthography. These gave me the courage to investigate how it helps Islamic scholarship in the West African regions. This paper aims to study the role of Hausa Muslim scholars in the translation, naming, and adaptation of the 28 Arabic alphabets into the Hausa language which led to the innovation of Hausa Ajami writing and subsequent development of scholarship in the Hausaland. The paper would critically look into the Hausa-Arabic battle of alphabets treatment and the role of mother tongue in Islamic scholarship activities in West Africa Islam, with special emphasis on Hausa-speaking communities of West Africa.


Islamic Literacy and Scholarship in African Langages: The Case of Hausa in West Africa 


Aliyu Muhammdu Bunza
(Professor of Hausa Studies)
Department of Nigerian Languages
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
Monday, 12th June, 2023


    Islam the religion of Allah was sent to mankind through the last prophet, Muhammad the son of Abdullah (S.A.W). Prphet Muhammad is an Arab by tribe, born in Mecca in the Quraishite family, the custodian of the Holy Mosque and leading figures in the classical Arabic of their period. Indeed, all prophets sent to mankind were chosen from their own languages groups with same linguistics characteristics and cultures, so as to ease conversation and communication gap. This testifies the relevence of language in the context of religion, specifically in learning, teaching, preaching and the related religious penal codes. Thus, this paper intends to study the historical link between Islam and African societies, with special reference to Arabic (Language of Islam) and African Laguages. To be specific, Hausa language in West African region is selected to be the case study in the deliberations.

What is Literacy?

    A literate person is one who is able to read and write in any language. Experts are of the view that, such a person must be from seven years and above, and must be able to understnad what he reads and writes in any language. In this view, the ability to read and write is not the only yardstick of being literate, hence one must comprehends the meaning of what he is reading or writing in order to extend the information to the third party. Without these qualifications one remains illiterate. In some societies, ability to read the letters of alphabet, or one who can read and write his or her own name in any language is considered literate. Therefore, functional literacy as defined by William S. Gray (The Teaching of Reading and Writing, 195621):

As the training of adults to meet independentlythe reading and writing demands placed on them.


According to the UNESCO literacy is far from the above,the openion of S. Gray, in the openion of UNESCO:

Litearacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, creat, communicate and compute using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.Generally, literacy also encompases numeracy, the ability to make simple arithmetic aclculations. The concept of literacy can be distinguished from measures to quantify it, such as the literacy rate and functional litearcy.



Ability to read and write in any language might be the first yardstick for one to be literate. These abilities are expected to give a person learning culture of interpretation, innovations, indentification and understanding of printed and written materials to the extend of guiding and leading learners to any subject under review. If such a skill is aquared by a literate person, then the ability to conduct research and train the trainers at university or college is certain and hence gained mastery in one or more disciplines. According to the educationist, any person of such a position is called “Scholar” (sing) “Scholars” (pl.). The productivities of these great persons is called “scholarship.” Threrefore, the peak of literacy is the ability to innovate and interprit ideas and knowwledge in writing any language regardless to its status in the global ranking of the so-called linguistics herachy of the word languages.

Concept of Literacy in Islam

   Muhammad bn. Abdullah (SAW) 590-632 was the immidiate successor to the prophetIsa bn. Maryam (AS). Christianity the religion before Islam was about 2000 years in the human world. Historically, Christianity was about (554) years ahead of Islam. The period betwwen Prophet Isa (AS) and Muhammad (SAW) was named Ayyamul Jahiliyya  (period of ignorance). Ita was the period of total darkness in term of devine religion. The technical know-how of writing and reading was extremily scarce among native Arab speakers in the Arabian Peneusula. However, the concept of writing and reading was well captured in to their folklore. In addition, Qur’an clearly address the Islamic concept of literacy in advanced. The first chapter revealed  to the prophet reads:

1.     Iqra’a bi ismi Rabbikal lazii Khalaq  (Read in the name of your Lord who created).

2.     Khalaqal insaana min alaqinn (He has created man from a clot).

3.     Iqra’a wa Rabbukal akramu (Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous).

4.     Allazi allama bil qalam (Who has tought by the pen).

Issue of writing, reading and power of pen are well addressed in these verses. Furthermore, in Suratul Ankabut chapter 29 verses 48 literacy was addressed in the following manner:

“Wa maa kunta tataluu min qabliHi min kitabin walaa takhuɗɗuHu bi yamiinuka, izan lartaa bal mubɗiluna.” (Chp.29 V 48).


“Neither did you read any book before it nor did you write any book with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted.”


This is an indication that, before Islam literacy was at advanced level, the concept of reading and writing was well established and the book culture was recognised. The Arab culture of writing is from left to right, and hence the right hand in to care the pen is writing.

Language and Islamic Scholarship

    Modern human world of our century is blessed with about 6,500-7,500 languages. Africa is having 1500-2000 languages, and Nigeria, the mother of Africa have about 520-560 languages. In Nigeria, Hausa speaking communities are in the northern region which comprisess, Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto,Niger, Katsina, and Bauchi states. Hausa first language speakers were also found in Republic of Chad, Niger Republic, Ghana, Benin, Mali, Borkina Fasso, Central African Republic, Sudan, Serra-leone, Ereteria, and Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, Hausas people are about 98% Muslim by religion. The language Hausa used to be the vehicle in all their Islamic activities.

    The first contact of Islam with African languages was during the first era of Muslim migration to Ethiopia the olderst Christian empire in African societies. Founded by Emperor Menelik son of king Solomon and Queen of Sheba. The first Muslim generations who migrated to the empire met Najjash a honest Christian king on the throne. Ja’afar the speaker of the migrant spoke at length on the issue of monetheism, and the prophet hood of the Prophet Isa (AS) and Muhammad (SAW). He spoke in Arabic and Amharic rendation was provided instantly. Amharic, one of the oldest languages in the world, has about 345 alphabets and the only African language  having its own writing system. The historic discussion between the Empero of Ethiopia and prophet deligations under the leadeship of Ja’afar was the first episode of involving African languages in Islamic propagation and defence of Islamic dogma. Certainly,the interpreter between the king and prophet’s deligations was verse in both languages and the message was accurately delivered. In this respect, translation was the first mechanism of literacy in history of Islam in African societies.

    In African context, Islam was in East Africa since 610 AD about 1,412 years. In South Africa, it was on the 8th century about 1,300 years ago. In West Africa, it was about 1000 years. In Central African Republic, it was introduced around 1086 AD about 936 years as at 2023. In North Africa, the first Muslim Governor Amr bn. Al-As ruled between 640-646 AD about 803 years from the first day of his apointment. These brief discussions demonstrate the historical origin of Islam in African countries was dated back to the early days of the prophet’s life in Mecca as at the East African contact of about 610 AD. In all the aforementioned regions, Arabic is a foreing language with very insignificant numbers of speakers (if any). In this respect, the main tool for religious activities was native languages of the respective inhabitants. The idea of learning recitation of the Holy book (Qur’an) writing it’s chapters and verses, documenting rituals, was localy done in the native languages. This develpoed the idea of using Arabic alphabets in writing African languages to communicate religious activities. This development is called AJAMI which was the historical origin of Islamic literacy in African Languages. Hausa, Kiswahili, Bambara, Fulfulde and Kanuri languages are among the leading African languages that develop Ajami literacy to the academic standard.

Arabic Literacy in Hausaland

   There was speculations that Arabic language was in Hausaland before the coming of Islam into the region. Egyptian coptics and Arabs who were involved in slaves trade and slaves raiding brought the language into the Hausaland through their translators and interpreters of the unlawful business. This might be undisputable considering the missionery activities in West African societies, with special reference to Hausaland and Borno. In fact, some classical Hausa vocabularies that are of Arabic origin such as baki (mouth), ƙafa (leg) gashi (hair) mutuwa (death) were found in some Hausa Ajami document of Hausa and Arab merchants.Therefore, the development of Arabic Ajami literacy in African languages was dated back to the period before the arrival of the Muslim missionaries of Mali to Kano during Aliyu Yaji Ɗantsamiya. They met Ajami literacy and writing style in commercial transactions, debts, loans, and some very few official memos. However, it was very restricted to the custodians of the merchants and ruling class. In what ever situation it was, it do exist, regardless of its quality it remains a historical document of Islamic literacy in African languages far back 13th century.

The Second Stage of Islamic Literacy in African Languages

Arabic is the languages of Qur’an and all believers are expected to learn the art of reading and writing its chapters and verses. The Zaure or Makarantun Allo schools have a common practice cross the Hausaland which gave them the best practice to groom children to the memorising and reciting the Qur’an. The popular notable stages are:

1.  The child must be between the age of 4-5 to be admitted as a register pupil.

2.  He will be introduced to Ta’awiz and bamala for a period of one week.

3.  The Fatiha would be given special treatment to be memorised in seven days.

4.  After successiful compeletion of Fatiha  same style would be employed to handle Suratul Falaq to Suratul Fiil, one after the other.

5.  The content of Suratul Fatiha to Suratul Fiil is (67) verses which a pupil is expected to commit into memory.

    By this development, pupils are literate in the art of reading though without knowing what they are reciting in writing. They would be carefully trained how to pronouce each word correctly in its manners and places of articulations of each sound of a given word. Since literacy is the ability to read and write, reading culture was first introduced to them but uphead. They would not be provided with anything in writing until the (67) verses of the (13) chapters done perfectly.

Identification of Arabic Alphabets

This is the third stage of Islamic literacy in African languages.The Arabic has 28 alphabets, with different appearance in Arabic orthography. The letters are therefore divided into three stages, namely: Initial, middle, and terminal.

Name of alphabet

English representation

At the end

At the middle

At the beginning

Single alphabet























































































From the above table, the (28) Arabic alphabets are palced into three stages for a learner to identify. As we earlier stated, identification of printed or written materials in any languages is part of qualification for one to be literate. In this development we can see that only (6) letters maintained their positions at the middle of Arabic words these letters are:   and   . In addition, two letters  and are also noted to have double appearance at the terminal end of an Arabic word. Letter Q is noted to have two different appearance at the initial and middle of a word. With successiful idendtifications of these alphabets the next level is naming process.

Naming Process  

   alu ja              ا

   alu baƙi            ا

   baguje             ب

   taguje            ت

    jin saɓeج             

   hasaɓe            ح

   ha ƙarami mai ruwaخ      

    dal              د

   zal              ذ

   ra               ر

  zaira              ز

   sinara            س

   shin mai ruwa        ش

  (swodi) sodi         ص

  (lwodi) lodi          ض


   (zwodi) zodi         ظ

  An bakin wofi        ع

   Fa    fa’ara        ف

  ƙan mai ruwa ﻖ         

    ƙaf wauو            

   Kaulasan            ك


  ha ƙaramiد          

  An agi likkafa          

  Lam               ل

   minara             م

   nunara             ن

   ha babba             ه

  waw              و

  yaara             ي



It is observed that, eight Arabic alphabets have no equivalents in Hausa

ت sin caa

    eɓas  ha ح     

خ   kha mai ruwa

ذ   zal

   ص  swadi

   ض Lwadi

    ظ  Zwadi

    ع  An bakin wofi

Dots (Ruwa) in Hausa Names of Arabic Alphabets

Historical origin of dots in Arabic alphabets was accredated to Abul As-Wadil Du’ali the first scholar to provide such a meaningful development in the orthography of the Holy Qur’an. He Provided dots at different locations of some selected Arabic words/letters. What he did was:

a.      Provided one dot on top of a letter representing Fatiha.

b.     One dot under the letter to indicate Kasra.

c.      One dot at the front of a letter to indicate domma.

In Hausa language interpretations these dots are name (ruwa) meaning  a drop of water (ink). In the strugle to provide appropriate name to the (15) Arabic letters with dotes that in:


  غ  ن   ي   ق  ف  ظ  ض   ش  ز   ذ   خ   ج   ث  ت  ب


In Hausa naming only three letters are named with their dots, that is to say:

Shin mai ruwa        ش

Ha ƙarami mai ruwa     خ

Jin mai ruwa         ج


Naming Arabic Vowels in Hausa

Literary is not only the identification of alphabets but recognizing the changes of each letter with its respective vowels. It is the vowels that guides the reader how to pronouce each letter with its respective vowels. The Arabic vowels translated into Hausa reads:

1.     Wasalin bisa       Fatha      ۆ

2.     Wasalin ƙasa       Kasra      ڕ

3.     Rufu’a          Rufu’a      ڷ   

4.     Shadda          Shadda       ه

5.     Ɗauri            Sukun      ت

6.     Faɗuwar wasulan sama   Fatahataini   ت

7.     Faɗuwar wasulan ƙasa  Kisirataini    ب ﹴ

8.     Faɗuwar wasulan rufu’a  Dammataini    

9.     Jan wasali          Madda       


   The alphabets are always in contact with the vowels in the process of reading and writing. A letter without vowel is ambigious. Thus, efforts would be made to study the (28) Arabic letters with the (9) vowels for one to graduate as literate in Arabic and Ajami.

Methods of Reading Costant With Vowels   

It is assumed that at this stage alphabets ware well recognised and vowels are clearly identified by the learner. The drill expected to be conducted is to insert the vowels, at the appropriate positions of each letter/consonants. Idealy, in Hausaland it was a tradition that pupils would be tought this drill from the first chapter Suratul Fatiha to Suratul Fiil  making 67 verses, as usual. Below is common example of the drill.


            حيمم لرا ن حما لرا اله  بسم

Ba da wasali ƙasa, sin da ɗauri ma’anarsa da wasali ƙasa. Lallan Hakuri da shadda da wasali ƙasa.

Alu baƙi lam raa da shadda da wasali sama/bisa.

Haƙarami da ɗauri min da wasali bisa aluja nun guda da wasali ƙasa.

Alif lam raa da shadda da wasali bisa.

Haƙarami da wasali ƙasa yaa min’ara da wasali ƙasa.


The identification of consonants with vowels is a continious drill from Suratul Fatiha to Suratul Fiil as usual.This is what is traditionaly named as Farfaru da babbaƙu (meaning consonant and vowels) or tafi-da-wasula (the application of the vowels).

Art of “Tattashiya” (Reading Drill)

Reading drill is almost similar to the naming of consonants with vowels but differs in one impotant segment, that is to say “reading skill.” In “tattashiya” given words would be pronouced with its vowels the learner is permitted to recite each word based on its vowels specifications with clear voice to the places and manners of articulations af each word. The tattashiya example reads:

    المين العا رب اله الحمد

Alu da wasali bisa shi ne “a”

A ya ɗauri lam ya ce “al”

Haƙarami da wasali bisa shi ne “ha”

Ha ya ɗauri mim ya ce: “ham”

Dal da rufu’a ita ce “du” = Alhamdu

Lam da wasali ƙasa shi ne “li”

Lam da shadda da wasali bisa shi ne “la”

Li ta ɗauri lam da shadda tac ce: “lil”

Lam da shadda da wasali bisa shi ne “la”

La ta ja alu jaa ta ce: “laa”

Hakuri da wasali ƙasa shi ne “hi”= “Lillahi”

Ra da wasali bisa ita ce: “ra”

Baguje da shadda da wasali ƙasa shi ne “bab”= “Rabbi”

Bi ta ɗauri lam ta ce: “bil”

Ainun da wasali bisa shi ne “a”

A ya ja alu baƙi ya ce: “aa”

Lam da wasali bisa shi ne “la”

Min da wasali ƙasa shi ne: “mi”

Mi ya ja yaa ya ce: “mii”

Nun guda da wasali bisa shi ne “na”= “Aalamiina”

A successiful drill of tattashiya from Suratul Fatiha to Suratul Fiil is an affirmation for one to be literate in reading and writing in Arabic language and posessed a good working knowledge in reading the Holy book (Qur’an).

The Ajami Innovations

It was observed that there are about 10 letters in Hausa whose equivalents in Arabic alphabets are not available. This open up a room for reconstruction of some Arabic alphabets to dance to the tune of Hausa pronouciation. The Hausa letters affected are:

         ي  ‘y‘

        ؼ  ky

         كو  kw

        قو   ƙw

         قي ƙy

        غي  gy

        غو gw

         ڟ   ts

        ث  Ca

        ٻ  Ɓɓ

These reconstructions were accepted across Hausaland and was used as Hausa Ajami characters by writers at different capacities.

Ajami Literacy and Islam in Hausaland and Beyound

Ajami is one of the gigantic contributions of African languages to the develpoment of literacy and Islamic literatures in Africa. The Hausa Ajami writings was pehaps the early Ajami writing in the West african regions. The Kanuri Tarjimo could not reach beyond Borno empire witin the reach of the inhabitants (Kanuri). The Fulfulde Ajami developed during the 19th cetury Jihad in the Husaland and was targeted to the native speakers only. Certainly, there are many evidences to credit Nupe, Yoruba,Zarma,Kyanga, and Tuaregs, for the literacy contributions of their Ajami to the development Islamic scholarship in West-Africa. Not with standing however, the Hausa factor in Islamic literacy development in West Africa is indeed remarkabale. Materials of Hausa Ajami manuscripts worth to be mentioned includes:

1.     Records of financial transactions of prominents merchants and traders.

2.     Issues related to natural calamities such as farmine, flood, and drought.

3.     Religious activities of the Christian missionaries in pumplets and treatise.

4.     Court records and judical proceedings.

5.     Poetries and songs.

6.     Translation from Arabic and other languages to Ajami.

7.     Special books on topical issues in Islamic rituals.

8.     Kundi book legacy of the prominent scholars.

9.     Preservation of special document in charms and amulates.

10. Transliteration from Arabic to Ajami.

11. Memos and related official document.

12. Contracts and sales agreements.

13. Debts and repayments.

14. Biography and information to travellers.

15. Tales, folklore and story telling.

16. Speacial prayer books and prayers.

17. Records keeping.

18. Learning second language.

19. Truce.

20. News papers.

As at 2023 Ajami writings is said to reach its peaks of development, becouse it is being recognized in our schools colleges and high institutions of learning. Many of the prominent Islamic books of Fiqh of Maliki penal code were translated into Ajami Hausa writing. Many of the said books are in wider circulation in West african countries.

1.     Ƙawa’idus salat

2.     Ma’anar Laa

3.     Ahalari

4.     Ashmawi

5.     Iziyya

6.     Risala

7.     Askari


Among the popular religious songs published in Hausa Ajami writing which are in circulation throughout West-Africa includes:

1.     Gangar Wa’azu: Malam Muhammadu Na Birnin Gwari.

2.     Waƙar Kiran Salla: Malam Maharazu Barmu Kwasare.

3.     Waƙar Roƙon Ruwa: Malam Kwaren Gamba.

4.     Waƙar Tabban Haƙiƙa: Shehu Usmanu Ɗanfodiyo.

5.     Waƙar Furen Gero: Aliyu Namangi Zariya.

6.     Waƙoƙin Infiraji: Aliyu Namangi Zariya.

7.     Waƙar Ma’ama’are: Shehu Usmanu Ɗanfodiyo.

8.     Waƙar Yabon Annabi: Liman Aliyu Isa

9.     Waƙar Allah : Malam Maharazu Barmu.

10.Waƙar Murnar Cin Birnin Alƙalawa: Abdullahi Gwandu.

11.Waƙar Na Ƙare Lawali: Liman Aliyu Isa.

12.Waƙar Yabon Ɗanfodiyo: Wani Malami.

13.Waƙar Yabon Bawa Jangwarzo: Wani Malami.

14.Waƙar Yabon Abdullahi Gwandu: Wani Malami.

15.Waƙar Yabon Sayyidina Aliyu: Yusuf Kantu Isa.

16.Waƙar Mi’iraji: Aƙilu Aliyu Jega.

17. Waƙar Jakadiyar Fikiri: Aƙilu Aliyu Jega.

18. Waƙar Zuwan Nasara: Sarkin Musulmi Attahiru.

19. Waƙar Mata: Malam Ɗangani Zariya.

         Hausa Ajami manuscripts in verse are in hundreds thousands accross the West African regions (Hiskets,1975Sa’id,1978).

Islam in Hausar Boko Scripts

         The fall of Nigeria to the British marked the begining of clonial education system in the country. Before the Western education, Islamic education was in wider circulation in the country. Writing Roman figures in Hausa language is what is hereby refer to as Hausa boko and any education under this guises is named “Karatun Boko.” Though boko met serious challenges by the Muslim communities in the Northern Nigeria, but colonial administration surrenders all their resources to enforce it. These efforts led to the establishment of Primary schools, Secondary schools, Teachers colleges to the presesnt higher education system in the country. Hausa, Fufulde,Kanuri, Nupe, Yoruba, Igbo, etc languages were selected among the major languages of their regions to be used in teaching pupils from class 1-3. This was the begining of using Hausar Boko, in the Western education of the country.

   During colonial and post-colonial periods adults were provided with special training of literacy called “Yaƙi da Jahilci” (Adult education) adults and elders were encouraged to participate and hence a strong class of literacy developed in Northern Nigeria. Through the use of Hausar Boko:

1.     Translation and transiliteration develped rapidly.

2.     English and Arabic materials were translated into Hausa.

3.     Hausa folklore, songs and related oral materials were translated into Hausa.

4.     Books of special topics were written in Hausa language.

5.     Islamic manuscripts, and treatised were translated into Hausar Boko.

6.     Popular Hadith books of Buhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, and Muwatta Malik were all rendered into Hausar Boko versions.

7.     As at 2023 we have about 10 different translations of the Holy Qur’an into Hausa language.

8.     There is also Bible translations and commentries in Hausa.

The Result of Islamic Literacy in Hausa Language

          We can see that Hausa Muslim community are well placed in terms of literacy in Islamic perspective. Islamic materials in Arabic are hausanized through Ajami and Hausar Boko writing styles. This help in making Hausa Muslim literate and to have access to the advanced materials of Islamic jurisprudence and law. To this end efforts of our leading Islamic scholars in Northern region who uses Hausa language in their daily activities of preaching, tafsir and sermons are part of the Hausa language contributions to Islamic literacy and scholarship in Hausaland. among the leading personalities in these developments are:

1.     Sheikh Nasiru Kabara

2.     Sheikh Abubakar Gummi

3.     Sheikh Ɗahiru Usman Bauchi

4.     Sheikh Jafar Mahmud Adam

5.     Sheikh Buhari Siriddawa

6.     Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh

7.     Sheikh abubakar Tureta

8.     Sheikh Isma’ila Idris Jos

9.     Sheikh Ahmad Lemo

10.Sheikh Haliru Binji

11.Sheikh Na’ibi Sulaiman Wali

12.Sheik Ahmad Bemba

13. Sheikh Muhammadu Maizabura Niamey

14.Sheikh Lawal Abubakar Kaduna

15. Sheikh Sanusi Gumbi

16. Sheikh Muhammadu Baba Ba’are Zariya

The Result of the Study

         Historical development of Islam in the Muslim world was highly influenced by the native languages of the believers. Arabic as the language of the religion played its significants role in the Arab world among its native speakers. In african context african languages played a greater role. In West African states, Hausa was the leading language with about 200,000,000 speakers wich was rated number 11th out of the 7,500 languages of the world. Hausas were in control of the most poerful kingdoms in West Africa namely: Kano, Gobir, Zazzau, Zamfara, Kabi, Yawuri, Maraɗi, Katsina, Damagaran, Kabi/Kebbi most of these kingdoms happened to be the centre of Islamic learning far back 14th century. In addition, their leaders accepted Islam and it was adapted as their state religion long before the colonial episode. In view of this, Islam and Muslims were well secured and given freedom of worship across the (10) kingdoms. This paper is able to establish the fact that:

Islamic literacy and the development of islamic scholarship in Hausaland was solely the contribution of Hausa language. Arabic literacy was critically studied in the native language and the 28 Arabic alphabets were linguistically assimilated in Hausa Ajami writing.The Hausa Muslims have the advanatage of Ajami writing before the Western education. The duo contributesimmensly to the development of literacy in Hausaland. This Hausas are having the best literate community in the West African societies as at 2023.


    Literacy is the ability to read and write in any language.For one to be literate he must have the working knowledge of both. The ability to interprete, communicate, creat and compute are necessary ingredients to demonstrate the competent of a literate person. African Muslim societies considerd Arabic language as their second language that one must be ready to learn its reading and orthography. Hausa contact with Islam might be morethan one thousand years as at (2023). Hausa technics of learning how to read and write in Arabic  language was very special to the extend that no African language in the West African regions reaches its standard. Combination of Ajami  and Hausar Boko enhences Hausa language development in tems of publications, book culture, and manuscripts development. Hausa perception of Arabic literacy is as equal as Islamic literacy why Western education is named Karatun Boko.



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