Sa’ad Abubakar III, sultan of Sokoto, says the Almajiri system largely practised in northern Nigeria is not Islamic as it represents hunger and poverty.
The Almajiri system has children sent to distant places by their parents to learn the Qur’an but many of them end up as beggars.
Speaking at a pre-Ramadan meeting on Sunday in Kaduna, the sultan said Islam frowns at laziness but encourages scholarship and entrepreneurship.
He stressed that attempts must be made to stop the practice and its association with the Islam faith.
The sultan appealed to the government, particularly at the state level to prioritise welfare of their citizens in the bid to address hunger and poverty.
“Almajiri does not represent Islam, but hunger and poverty. Almajiri system of begging is not representing Islam and must therefore be distinguished from Islam,” the sultan said.
“Islam encourages scholarship and entrepreneurship and frowns at laziness and idleness as exemplified by itinerant Almajiri. Therefore attempt must be made to stop the practice Almajiri system of begging among Muslim faithful.”
He further called on state governments to strengthen the institution of ‘Zakkat’ – almsgiving – to address poverty.