Fulani Ethnic Group and Their Cultural Heritage

Fulani, also known as Fula, are a West African ethnic group located primarily in Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana, Togo, and Benin. They can also be found in Central African countries such as CAR (Central African Republic) and East African countries such as Sudan. They make up the majority of the population in Guinea. The Fulani people, like most tribes in Western Africa, have a rich cultural heritage. They follow their traditions as well as the regulations and standards of Islam, their faith. Fulani people are nomadic; they move with their cattle from place to place searching for water and pasture. Despite being pastoralists, Fulani people have always observed all the religious obligations such as attending prayers, celebrating Ramadan and other Muslim holidays, and giving back to the community as stipulated in the Quran. Fulani people are religious people who love their neighbors and country. Of late, they have embraced education and have quite a number of people from their tribe holding senior government positions. In Guinea, for instance, they hold more than 30% of senior government positions. In West Africa, Islam is one of the most popular religions alongside Christianity.

The Importance of Ramadan Among the Fulani People

One of the most popular and globally known is Ramadan, which is celebrated on the ninth month of the Muslim year and involves strict fasting being observed by all Muslims from sunrise to sunset. Most Muslims describe Ramadan as the holy month of prayer, fasting and introspection. Ramadan runs for a whole month and when it ends there is always a three-day festival known as Id al-Fitr and is known to be one of the major holidays among Muslims (Cavendish 79). When fasting, they are supposed to avoid eating, smoking drinking or getting involved in sexual activities. They are also supposed to restrain from immoral, unkind and impure thoughts and imaginations. Ramadan involves prayers and purity is considered very important during the holy month. As stated before, most of the Fulani people are Muslims and they too celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. This month has significance or importance among all Muslims across the world. It is a month of prayer to Allah and introspection. Ramadan is an important month in Muslims; Fula Muslims people included (Jalloh 103). In the subsequent sections of this paper, the importance of Ramadan among the Fulani people will be looked into, analyzed and described succinctly.

Ramadan: A Unifying Factor Among the Fulani People

To begin with, Ramadan acts as a unifying factor among the Fulani people. During Ramadan, all Muslims across the world gather at their places of worship (Mosques) to fast and pray. Being nomadic, Fulani people are not settled in one location or area, they move with their livestock from place to place searching for pasture and water. This implies that they are not always together with their community. Ramadan brings all of them together as they pray and celebrate during the early month. During Id al-Fitr, all the Muslim Fulani people meet in mosques to pray to Allah (Geels 81). It thus means that all the pastoralists or the nomadic Fula also go to church. They meet with the clericals and are taught more about the Islam values and how they should live. In some instances, some Fula pastoralists spend months without reuniting with their families but during the month of Ramadan, they go back home and unite with their families in prayer. In essence, Ramadan teaches a lot about unity not only among Muslims but also within the entire society or country. Reunion with family members always brings about happiness and ignition of family and society goals. Ramadan is thus, a good way of reuniting Muslims. It plays a good role in Fulani society as it brings people together making them show concern and love amongst themselves as well as helping them plan and achieve their goals together.

The Importance of Self-Control During Ramadan

Ramadan is important among Fulani people since it teaches them a lot regarding self-control to enable them resist and desist from bad habits and wrongful desires making it easier to protect themselves against evildoings. As stated before, the Fulani people are rich in cultural activities that require them to refrain from some doings. For instance, they do not eat goat meat claiming that if they do they become lepers (Geels 68). In addition, the Fulani men are not allowed to pronounce the names of their first child, spouse, father, mother, their in-laws and names of the parents of a beautiful girl or woman (Cavendish 103). They consider doing that taboo. Relating these to Ramadan that involves strict observation of all Islamic rules makes it proves that the Fulani people are the highest beneficiaries of the holy month. Muslims do not take pork. They have some restrictions on interacting with in-laws as well. In other words, Ramadan is a month whereby Fula people have the option to practice and learn various lessons that they can use in their daily lives.

The Benefits of Fasting and Self-Restraint

The other notable advantage of Ramadan to the lives of Fulani people is the fact that it involves fasting restricting people from drinking, eating, smoking and having sex or getting involved in other sexual activities (Jalloh 38). In addition, it requires people to avoid or restrain from impure or immoral thoughts. Well, Fulani people are known be nomads; and just as mentioned before, they walk miles in search of water and pasture for their livestock. In many instances, they do not stay or spend most of their times at home. The men are the ones involved in this. Fasting and refraining from is an important aspect of Ramadan that helps them train on how to survive without food, water or women. Islamic laws as defined in Quran accentuates on the importance of fasting and refraining from sex and evil thoughts during the holy month. This is important to Muslims to enable them learn a lot about the need for purity and pure thinking and imaginations. In short, by refraining from the natural human urges that aim to satisfy human appetite, Fulani people exercise their ability to of self-control or self-restraint to enable them apply them not only when taking care of the cattle far from home but also in their normal daily lives (Kennedy 124). This makes them improve themselves and their lives. It makes them grow as careful and mature individuals who can handle any kind of challenges or situations relating to human desires.

Ramadan and the Promotion of Peace and Love Among Fulani People

In addition to the above, Ramadan, among the Fulani people, makes them attain nearness or become closer to Allah (Islam God). It makes them view and believe that Allah is a reality in their lives. Staying from sunrise to sunset and tolerating the rigorous fasting purely for the sake of the Allah’s commandments, brings them close to Him having in mind that Allah is always omnipresent and can see all their actions. This belief is very crucial and necessary in the life of Fulani people. This is because it intensifies God’s consciousness in their hearts and makes them develop good behaviors. The result of this is peace, love and fewer evils in the society. A serious problem with the Fulani people is Cattle rustling. In 2016, the conflict between Fulani herdsmen and neighboring farmers from other tribes led to over 200 deaths. The reason for the conflict was cattle rustling. One of the virtues taught during the month of Ramadan is peace among Muslims themselves and between Muslims and people of other religious affiliations. With consciousness of Allah’s presence in their lives, Ramadan pays a role in nurturing young Muslims to embrace peace and love for their neighbors in the society. With this, the conflict between the Fulani herdsmen and other farmers will be curbed permanently. Therefore, Ramadan is very important to the life of a Muslim.

The Value of Generosity and Charity During Ramadan

During fasting, Muslims usually give what is rightfully theirs to other people voluntarily. They share whatever little they have with those who do not have. At this time, humanity is highly observed an important virtue or trait that all Muslims should have since it facilitates the love for the poor or the love among people living in the same society. As mentioned, people voluntarily give what is theirs to other people (Kennedy 121). This teaches a lot about theft and the need to avoid it. Cattle’s rustling is a nightmare among most Fulani herdsmen. They steal cattle from the neighboring farmers and the farmers reciprocate the same way. This usually leads to conflict and hence several casualties. Learning about the concept of sharing and respecting other people’s property during Ramadan is a big step towards the eradication of such a problem among the Fulani people and their neighbors. Charity and generosity learned during the prayer month are also necessary in helping the Fulani people live together as brothers and learn to love one another especially those who cannot provide for themselves the basic needs. It teaches them the value of love for their neighbors and thus they should not instigate wars against them.

The Significance of Ramadan Among the Fulani People

Fulani people are among the largest tribes in the continent of Africa. They are found in more than ten countries in the continent. Notably, about 90% of them are Muslims. They observe all the Muslim traditions and ceremonies (Jilloh 29). Ramadan being one of the major Muslims tradition and ceremony plays important roles in the lives of Fulani people, who are mainly pastoralists. It encourages peace amongst them, teaches them how to survive in a world where they cannot find ways to satisfy their human desires. Ramadan is very important to Fulani people today and their future.

Work Cited

Cavendish, Marshall. Top of Form

World and Its Peoples: Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Uae, Yemen.

Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2007. Print.Top of Form

Geels, Jolijn. Niger: The Bradt Travel Guide. Chalfont St. Peter, Bucks: Bradt Travel Guides,

2006. Print.

Top of FormJalloh, Alusine. African Entrepreneurship: Muslim Fula Merchants in Sierra Leone. Athens,

Ohio: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1999. Print.

Kennedy, David. Top of Form

Culturgrams: The Nations Around Us. Garrett Park, MD: Garrett Park Press,

1985. PrintBottom of FormTop of Form

xTop of FormTaylor, Bankole K. Sierra Leone: The Land, Its People and History. Place of publication not

identified: New Africa Press, 2014. Print.

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