Culture and Traditions

Why Hausa Native Names are going extinction and need to revive them

Why Hausa native names are going extinction and the need to revive them. The Muslim-Hausa are probably the only people on earth that completely abandoned their traditional names in favour of names from Arabia and the Middle East.

Why? Perhaps because the brand of Islam deliberately promoted among the Hausa people, since the Sokoto Jihad, was such that seek to eliminate all traces of pre-Islam Hausa culture and identity with the EXCEPTION of THE LANGUAGE.

The average Hausa Muslim is programmed to gravitate towards other cultures labelled ‘Muslims’ and away from what is termed ‘maguzanci’. Maguzanci is a derogatory word used to refer to pre-Islam Hausa culture and identity. This way the Hausa people were made to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

During the first gulf war, a lot of babies born in Hausaland were named ‘Saddam’ after the Iraqi strongman. No one questioned the meaning or islamness of the name.

Today, if a Hausa man was to name his child Faisal or Fahad, no Malam will raise an eyebrow. However, should the child be named ‘Takobi’ or ‘Damisa’, the literal meaning of Faisal and Fahad in Hausa language, one can only imagine the likely uproar!

As I write, Fulani in Hausaland are still naming their children Bello, Tukur, Sambo etc with no one questioning the islamness of such traditional Fulani names.

Traditional Hausa names, where accepted or tolerated, are reduced to a secondary status (as nicknames), after an original Arab or Middle Eastern name.

Arabic names like Faisal, Fahad, Asad etc, are usually ‘pre-fix’ with the name Muhammad, same with Fulani names like Bello, Tukur and Sambo. So we hear, and accept, names like Muhammadu Faisal, Muhammadu Fahad, Muhammad Bello, Muhammadu Tukur etc, yet we frown at, and kick against, names like Muhammadu Jan-Gwarzo, Muhammadu Jan Hazo, Muhammadu Korau etc, which we were made to see as un-Islamic!

The point I am trying to make here, is that it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult to tell a Nigerian Muslim Hausa man from his name. Thus, this aspect of Hausa identity is rapidly going the way of the dinosaur.


I am Abdul-Raheem Zubair by name, Founder- Operator at Bago Technologies. My hobbies are reading, travelling and discovering.

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