(312 words)

(pl. malamai ), a Hausa term derived from the Arabic muʿallim with the meaning “teacher”, formerly used to designate a man versed in the Arabic language and Islamic sciences to whatever extent. The tasks of a malam were many and various and included any or all of the following: preparing talismans (Hausa: hatimi from the Arabic k̲h̲ātam ), dispensing medical cures both herbal and Ḳurʾānic, advising on propitious days, slaughtering animals at circumcision, naming and other ceremonies, officiating at marriages, offering prayers on behalf of patrons, te…

Cite this page
Hunwick, J.O., “Malam”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 18 July 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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