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Politics and the Emergence of Alhajis among the Bokkos Fulani

Journal of Asian and African Studies , Volume 16 (3-4): 212 – Jan 1, 1981


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1981 by SAGE Publications
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Politics and the Emergence of Alhajis among the Bokkos Fulani


Politics and the Emergence of Alhajis among the Bokkos Fulani SAGE Publications, Inc.1981DOI: 10.1177/002190968101600304 Joseph V. Hickey Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas William E. Thompson Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas ALHAJI is a religious title used throughout Nigeria and elsewhere to describe persons who have completed the pilgrimage to Mecca.' According to Islamic theology both the pilgrimage and the title of alhaji are purely religious phenomena. The hajj, as the Fifth pillar of Islam, is the religious duty of every adult Muslim and its fulfillment results in a higher moral standing within the Islamic community. Despite Islamic interpretations of the hajj, a number of authors have suggested that the pilgrimage is motivated by a variety of religious, social, economic and political factors (Hickey 1979). Further, they note that throughout the world there are numerous, even contradictory, understandings about the alhaji role. Interestingly, in the literature on Sub-Saharan African societies, the religious explanations for the hajj are de-emphasized. The majority of authors suggest that among African societies pilgrimages are made for political reasons, and there is a strong association between the alhaji role and political power. In African literature three major factors are suggested as the primary motivations for
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