Malam Alhaji is the chief of the third house of Bori spirits, the House of Koranic Scholars. Alhaji literally means that he has made the pilgrimage (the Hajj) to Mecca. He is the younger brother of Sarkin Aljan Suleimanu.
The affliction Malam Alhaji controls is chronic coughing. He presides over a method of healing, which involves writing Koranic verses onto a slate. Water poured over them absorbs the sanctity of the text and is then consumed.
He is envisioned as a dignified, elderly gentleman. Unlike other Bori spirits, he doesn’t dance, even during possession rituals. Instead he sits, fingers his rosary, and writes Koranic verses on a slate.
It is important to note that although Malam Alhaji is described as a Muslim scholar, he is not a Muslim spirit. Malam Alhaji is a Bori spirit. Participants in Bori understand him as a Muslim, but conventional Islam does not accept or condone Bori traditions and rituals. The paradox is that if Malam Alhaji was truly the conservative Muslim he is portrayed as being, he would not participate in Bori but would condemn it.
Arziki; Bori; Mai Gizo; Nakada; Sarkin Aljan Suleimanu
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.