By Muhammad Dattijo Kabir
Islamiyya system has been proven to be an alternative to the Almajiri system. In the Islamiyya system, it is easier to commit the Qur’an to memory within the shortest period with decency. And it also allows the children to seek other knowledge that will aid them in confronting the present challenges. Almajiri system can only be insisted to be reformed when it is proven that that is the only way to learn the Qur’an. The system poses a lot of danger to the children, such as health challenges, inferiority and, of course, most of them become morally debased in the end.
Reforming this system alternatively means rewarding irresponsible parents for their irresponsibility, creating unsustainable programs which cannot see the light of the day. Instead, the government should ban and criminalise the system and absorb all the already enrolled Almajiri into formal schools. Then any other parent that wants his child to learn the Qur’an by traditional means must first provide shelter, food, and health facilities for the welfare of the child and must ensure that the child goes to school to at least get primary education.
No one is saying karatun allo should be banned. Karatun allo differs in content and operation from the Almajiri system. While the former entails learning Qur’an by the traditional design by all and sundry, the latter entails recruiting young persons to learn Qur’an by traditional means without provision for food, shelter and medical facility for children recruited. The said recruited army of children relies only on begging leftover food and tattered clothes for subsistence.
It requires no second thought to believe that this system of taking young children away from their parents at the ages they need their parents the most should be stopped and criminalised. No child under the age of 12 should be taken away from his parents’ house in whatever guise. There is nothing good in the Almajiri system as practised today. The system has served and outlived its usefulness. It became archaic and, to some extent, barbaric considering the conditions of the children involved in the system.
There are more decent systems which are alternatives to the already abused system. The system indirectly supports irresponsible parents to breed bundles of children they know they cannot cater for. The parents use the system to abdicate their parental responsibility of feeding, clothing, educating and sheltering their children.
Also, the half-baked Malllams use the system as a means of income. The activists are using it to get themselves employment from international NGOs. The nagging question is, can Qur’an be learned through a more decent system than this child molesting system? The answer is yes. Thousands of children have committed the entire Qur’an to memory through the modern Islamiyya system.
Let’s move on; the system is not viable in the present era. The era of dogma has passed. Let every child be supported by his father and take Quranic education before his parents while attending school. Any system that encourages parents to take their children to the street is barbaric and should not be encouraged.
Muhammad Dattijo Kabir. Muhammad is a lawyer, a human rights activist and a public affairs commentator. He lives in Kaduna and can be reached via email@example.com.