Introduction / History
The Sokoto Fulani are a sub-group of the much larger Fulani people, a tribe that is spread across much of West Africa. The Fulani live in northern Nigeria alongside the Hausa people. The Sokoto region, which lies in the far northern part of the country, houses some of the ruling class of the Fulani, known as the Toroobe. The Toroobe exercise authority and political power over the Hausa.
Many of the Sokoto Fulani have also spread into southern Niger. While some of the Fulani living in this area are educated aristocrats, others are Bororo, or semi-nomadic herdsmen (part shepherds and part farmers).
The Sokoto Fulani, then, are composed of the ruling class (Toroobe) and the semi-nomadic shepherds (Bororo). The area they occupy is an open grassland with narrow forested zones. Camels, hyenas, lions, and giraffes inhabit this region. Though the temperatures are extremely hot during the day, they are much cooler at night.
What are Their Lives Like?
The semi-nomadic Sokoto Fulani engage in some supplementary farming, along with animal breeding. Millet and other grains are their main crops. Milk, drunk fresh and as buttermilk, is their staple food, and meat is consumed only during ceremonial occasions. The cattle are herded by the men, although the women help with milking the cows. The women also make butter and cheese and do the trading at the markets. Among the Fulani, wealth is measured by the size of a family's herds.
The semi-nomadic Sokoto Fulani live in temporary settlements. During the harvest, the families live together in small huts that make up village compounds. Each compound is surrounded by the family's garden. During the dry season, the men leave their wives, children, the sick, and the elderly at home while they take their herds to better grazing grounds. Each village has a chief or headman to handle village affairs.
Like the Toroobe (ruling class), the semi-nomadic Sokoto Fulani are divided into age groups of three or four year intervals. The youth in these age groups work together and help each other during their early years. A man usually selects a bride from his age group.
The settled Sokoto Fulani (the Toroobe, or ruling class) are an influential people who live in towns and cities. They are usually government workers, tax collectors, and municipal rulers. These Sokoto Fulani are educated and dominate the leadership of Islam in the area. Although they may own some cattle, their real interests lie in administration, law, religion, and education. Their children are encouraged to go to school and do well.
The settled Sokoto Fulani are very intelligent people. In fact, the Sultan of Nigeria belongs to this ruling class. Because the Fulani were a moral, pious group who had an interest in learning, the duties of the Muslim church were passed to them, eventually making them the leaders of the Muslim faith. Mallams ("men of learning") are revered and treated with respect in their culture.
Since the Fulani converted to Islam, their women have had more restrictions placed upon them than in previous times. Their former free lifestyles are now confined by the rules of Islam. Today, men are considered socially and morally superior to women, thus dominating them.
What are Their Beliefs?
The ruling class of Sokoto (Toroobe), like other Fulani groups, believe they are descendants of Abraham and believe in a supernatural God who created everything. They follow the strict moral code of the devout Muslim. The genuinely godly among them strive to attain sanctity and, in turn, supernatural powers. Those that are not so religious are usually superstitious and may engage in fortune-telling. They may also make charms and medicines for those who believe in their powers.
What are Their Needs?
The Sokoto Fulani are virtually all Muslim. Although missions agencies are currently working among them, very few Sokoto have converted to Christianity. Much prayer is needed to loosen the hold that Islam has on their lives.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into Nigeria to minister to the Sokoto Fulani.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are currently focusing on the Sokoto Fulani.
* Pray that God will give the Sokoto Fulani believers in Nigeria boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Sokoto Fulani church for the glory of His name!
|Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center|