4 Rabbee-Al-Awwal, 1442 AH

Tuesday 20 October 2020

In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful

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Poverty, lust and greed have turned some men of unquestioned moral rectitude into lustful individuals, in extreme cases, sharks and gormandizers. The mantra, ‘get-rich-quick-attitude of the youth’ especially among some Muslim youth has now forced them into MALAMS, creating the unfortunate impression that there are no genuine MALAMS left in the system. These individuals often appear on radio and TV sets and propagate their fetishistic and idolatry ideas on how to make people who are wallowing in abject poverty into riches overnight, to mention but a few. The situation has reached such an alarming height that it requires urgent attention and clarification.

Just last week, a Muslim friend posted on his facebook wall on the damages these idolaters who dub themselves as malams do. He wrote ‘At times I become very irritated when I hear these fetish people who call themselves malams appear on the screen .He continued, ‘I’ll urge them to stop this insolent behavior. This only deepens the perception and misconception people have about Islam. Allah (SWT) is watching.’
According to him, the so-called malam on that fateful day on Peace TV started his program with Suratul Fatiha . He could not be able to recite the surat articulately as he wobbled and fumbled big time! For me, it is not only an insolent remark by the so-called malam -who struggled to recite ‘ummul kitab’ -but a blasphemous remark as well.
Sighing in disappointment, I decide to write this article for people to understand the real meaning of malam….and also to sensitize people that those people who appear on TVs and Fm stations worship something else but NOT ALLAH. To put the word-malam-into proper perspective, the root word comes from the Arabic word ‘alim’ /aalim/ or muallim which means a Muslim learned in religious matters. Or one can still say ‘Al-alim’ OR Al-muallim in Arabic and in Swahili. The word was then coined as malam, mallam, mallan or maalami in Hausa depending on the way one wants to say it and the geographical location.
The Concise Oxford English dictionary (eleventh edition) corroborated the Hausa way of saying it as ‘mallam’ and it gave the meaning as a learned man or scribe……and the dictionary gave credit to Hausa as its source.
With all the aforesaid explanation, how then does a learned Muslim man or a person who copies important documents for keeps becomes an idolater?
These bunch of shenanigans that appear on our screens pay huge amount of money to TV and Radio stations to advertise their fetishistic propaganda and also tell gullible individuals the venues people can reach them for protection with regards to their dying businesses, marriage, jobs, power quest and other man-made problems in a man-made jungle we call civilization. They promise people with a miracle cure and manna from heaven with the help of their deities. They claim to have a magic wand which can solve people’s problems overnight.
I do not begrudge them their freedom of worship or belief, neither am I blocking their easy way of amassing wealth, but my grudge is against the use of malam and by extension linking Islam to devil worshipping for their selfish and parochial interests. Since malams are not seers or clairvoyants who communicate with dead bodies, conjure magic or communicate with fairies, I beg to differ and vehemently protest against its usage. Instead of malam so-and-so, alternative words like Obosom so-and-so or Nana so-and-so could be used. 
This will help erase the millions of doubts lingering in the minds of people that malams do not look through the crystal ball to tell the fortunes of people but rather, they are only Islamic scholars who have acquired much knowledge and wisdom to impart on practicing Muslims. They also do not have sacred incantations to invoke ancient gods to help helpless souls. They base their arguments on facts from Allah’s Qur’an and also the myriads of Hadiths of the prophet (P.B.H) collated by his sahabis.

Saani Alhaji-Saleh,

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