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Government can’t snatch walking stick from blind man without replacement, says Gumi

Notable Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, has called on the government to provide the necessary support for Almajirai returning to their home states. 

The northern governors recently agreed to repatriate Almajirai, who roam the streets back to their various home states, with Kano State setting the ball rolling, with some of them later testing positive to Coronavirus (COVID-19) on arrival.

Meanwhile, the Association of Concerned Almajirai (ACAJ) has called on the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) to adopt the Almajiri system with marital counselling of parents, saying the premarital and marital counselling of parents could effectively enable them take responsibilities of their children, instead of allowing them roam the streets to beg.

ACAJ's leader, Onuchi Abdulghaffaar, disclosed this at a news conference in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, said: "The governors should make provisions for high sensitive and premarital counselling of their citizens."

On issue of learning Quran, Gumi said: "Government should inculcate the teaching of Islam with that of the western education. Almajiri now is attached to begging and Prophet Muhammad and Islam is against begging and as such, any parent whose children roam around as Almajirai should be prosecuted. 

"Prophet Muhammad said those begging on the day of resurrection will have no flesh on their cheeks, except bones. You are teaching this children what Islam forbade (begging)

"You, as parent, who send your child to Almajiri and they went begging, instead of you to be gaining reward, you are gaining minus. God will ask all those in authority, ranging from parents to governors, why this children are left begging.

"There should be no more begging, but the governors should make provisions for the children they sent out of the street. You should replace a blind mans working stick with another good working stick. Build schools for them. Let them be with their parents. Local governments should be funded to cater for them. They should be clothed. 

"If God spares us and we are done with this coronavirus, there should be no more begging in this north. There was a time I went to Malaysia and there was no a single child that was begging. They said all their children were in school. Any parent who allows his child to beg should be prosecuted.

"What remains is jihad with good intentions. People are attributing jihad to Almajiri system, but Almajirai are those who travel to seek for knowledge in course for the sake of God. The question we should be asking is: Are nowadays Almajirai contributing to betterment of society?

"We cannot say because the Prophet rode on camels, then we drop our cars and start riding camels too, because the world is progressing and some discoveries are being made. 

"This was not even how the Almajiri system was run in the olden days." Abdulghaffaar said in cases of child abuse and any other defaults of parents or guardians, proper actions should be taken by the 19 northern governors, wondering: "What moral standard have such people to talk about banning the rich, traditional Islamic Almajiri system?"

He suggested the setting up of a high-powered committee of stakeholders to produce a blueprint to overcome the challenges of Tsangaya system, describing it as a formal system of knowledge- seeking, which has been in existence and practiced in northern Nigeria before the invasion of colonialists.
he noted: "The system is a process of migration of an individual or group of people from one place to another in search of the knowledge of the Quran and Islam in general."

On the misconception of Almajiri, he said: "It is a Hausa corrupted Arabic word, which has Almuhajir as its original meaning of a migrant. In Northern Nigeria, it refers to someone who migrates from one place to another in search of knowledge," noting that it is not restricted to Islamic knowledge, but the study of the Holy Quran.

Asked what measures ACAJ would take if the governors failed to heed calls for the integration of Almajiri and Tsangaya systems, he said: "I
will be compelled to sponsor a bill to the National Assembly to address the ban of Almajirai, including their repatriation to their respective states. "Every citizen if free to live in any part of the country, as the 1999 Constitution guarantees free movements and residence of people in
the country."



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