In Nigeria today, once we see a Fulani man, the best and easiest way to call him is Mallam. So many of us have gotten used to it that we don't even care to know the real meaning of Mallam. In this article, we look at the reason why Nigerians should stop addressing all the Fulanis' they see on the road or anywhere as Mallam.
First of all let us look at a brief history of the Fulani people.
The Fulani are regarded as the world’s largest nomadic group: about 20 million people dispersed across Western Africa.
They reside mostly in Nigeria, Mali, Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal, and Niger. They also can be found in the Central African Republic and Egypt.
Credit: Science photo library
In Nigeria, the Fulani comprise of the most populous and politically influential people, comprising more than 250 ethnic groups in the country.
They speak Fula languages as well as French, English, Hausa and Arabic.
Credit: Premium Times
According to history, the Fulani were early adopters of Islam, participating in holy wars, or jihads, in the 16th Century that established them as a dominant social and economic force in Western Africa.
Let us look at why Nigerians should stop calling them Mallam. According to the Educalingo Dictionary, mallam is a man learned in Quranic studies. Another definition of mallam is a title and form of address for a learned or educated man. Which means that not all Fulanis' can be called Mallam because not all of them are educated.
When you call a Fulani man Mallam. You are indirectly telling him that he is learned or educated.
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