Who is Bayajidda?
Bayajidda, a pivotal figure in Hausa folklore, shapes the Hausa people’s self-perception and origin. Despite historians labeling it a legend, his story holds significant influence.
Abuyazid, later known as Bayajidda, hailed from Baghdad, his early life shrouded in mystery. Fleeing Queen Zidam’s conquest, he, along with forty servants, sought refuge in Nigeria through Lake Chad. Entering Gazargamu, present-day Borno state. This tale, often overlooked, bears profound cultural implications for the Hausa people.
Bayajidda’s arrival in Borno marked a warm welcome, leading to his marriage to Magaram and gaining popularity. The king’s envy sparked a plot against him, forcing a hasty escape with his wife.
In Garun Gabas, Magaram gave birth to Biram, who later became the notable leader of Gabas-ta-Biram. Fearing for his life, Bayajidda left his wife and servant, venturing eastward to Gaya, known today as Abajiyawa or possibly present-day Niger.
There, he engaged blacksmiths to craft a sword akin to the one he lost, continuing his journey northward. This historical tale unfolds with twists and turns, weaving through marriage, family, and the pursuit of safety in the intriguing tapestry of Bayajidda’s later life.
Bayajidda Journey to Daura
Bayajidda reached a place that is now Daura, in Katsina State. He entered the first house he could find, which belonged to an old woman named Ayana. He asked for water and she told him that a snake named Sarki guarded the well. Only once a week, people could get water from the well.
Bayajidda was very thirsty and she gave him a bucket to fetch water from the well. He had to face the danger of killing the snake or losing his life. He went to the well and beheaded Sarki with his sword. Bayajidda drank the water and kept the head in a bag. He came back to Ayana’s house.
The next day, people in Daura were amazed to see the snake’s head sticking out of the well. They knew that the snake would cause trouble in the city. Magajiya Daurama, the queen of Daura, ordered to beat a drum called ‘Dajinjin’ to warn people to gather at the well and praise the snake. They also begged it to calm down and go back into the well.
Many people came to the well with Daurama, but they stayed far away from it because they were afraid of the snake’s anger. Only Audi Indi, a brave man, dared to get closer to the well and check what happened. He saw that Sarki was dead and he became famous as Ƙaura of Hausa land for his courage.
Sarauniya Daurama Rewards For Killing the Snake
Magajiya Daurama, the queen of Daura, wanted to know who had killed the snake. She offered half of the town to anyone who could prove it. The old woman Ayana, who had Bayajidda as her guest, told Daurama that he was the one who had killed it.
Daurama asked Bayajidda to show her the snake’s head and confirm his claim. He did so and she gave him half of the town as a reward. But he refused to take it and asked for her hand in marriage instead. She agreed because she was grateful for his bravery.
However, according to an oral palace version of the Bayajidda legend, Daurama could not marry because it was against the customs of the Daura people. She said she would marry him later after performing a ritual. She gave him a concubine named Bagwariya to keep him busy until then.
Legacy of Bayajidda in Hausa History
Bayajidda married Daurama, the queen of Daura, and they had a son named Bawo. He also had a concubine named Bagwariya, who gave birth to a son named Karaf da Gari. This made Daurama worried.
Some versions of the legend say that Bawo became the ruler of Daura and six other states: Katsina, Zazzau, Gobir, Kano and Rano. He also had a half-brother named Biram. Together with Biram, they formed the ‘Hausa Bakwai’. Other versions say that Bawo and Magaram were not involved in the legend and that all the sons of Bayajidda and Daurama ruled these states.
Another version of the legend says that Karaf da Gari was the son of Bagwariya and that he had seven sons who ruled Kebbi, Zamfara, Gwari, Jukun, Ilorin, Nupe and Yauri. These are called ‘Banza Bakwai‘ or ‘Illegitimate seven’.
The historical Hausa kingdom started with these seven states founded by Bayajidda’s legend and his six sons.
Bayajidda left a lasting legacy at the Kusugu well, which is now a tourist attraction site.
He also left a legacy of forming the Hausa states with his descendants.
There is no clear information on when Bayajidda died, but some studies suggest that he lived for a long time.
Controversy About Bayajidda’s Life
The main debate among historians is whether Bayajidda was a real person or a mythical figure created to please the Hausa people. They also point out many inconsistencies in the legend. The only reliable source of information about Bayajidda is the oral tradition, which was recorded by Alhassan AbdurRahman, the prince of Daura, at the request of his father, AbdurRahman dan Musa, the emir of Daura.
FAQs on Bayajidda
1. What is the significance of Bayajidda in Hausa folklore?
- Bayajidda is a pivotal figure shaping Hausa people’s self-perception and origin, holding profound cultural implications despite being labeled a legend by historians.
2. Where did Bayajidda come from in his early life?
- Bayajidda, initially known as Abuyazid, hailed from Baghdad, and his early life remains shrouded in mystery.
3. How did Bayajidda enter Nigeria, and where did he seek refuge?
- Fleeing Queen Zidam’s conquest, Bayajidda, along with forty servants, entered Nigeria through Lake Chad, seeking refuge in Gazargamu, present-day Borno state.
4. What unfolded in Bayajidda’s marriage in Borno?
- Bayajidda’s arrival in Borno led to a warm welcome, marriage to Magaram, and gaining popularity. The king’s envy sparked a plot against him, forcing a hasty escape.
5. Who was Bayajidda’s son, and what role did he play in Gabas-ta-Biram?
- Magaram gave birth to Biram, Bayajidda’s son, who later became the notable leader of Gabas-ta-Biram.
6. Why did Bayajidda venture eastward to Gaya?
- Fearing for his life, Bayajidda left his wife and servant, venturing eastward to Gaya, seeking safety and engaging blacksmiths to craft a new sword.
7. How did Bayajidda face the challenge of a snake in Daura?
- In Daura, Bayajidda faced the challenge of a snake named Sarki guarding a well, beheading it with his sword to prove his bravery.
8. What reward did Bayajidda receive in Daura, and why did he refuse it?
- Bayajidda received an offer of half the town as a reward, but he refused and instead asked for Queen Daurama’s hand in marriage.
10. How many states did Bayajidda’s son, Bawo, rule?
– Bawo, the son of Bayajidda and Daurama, is said to have ruled Daura, Katsina, Zazzau, Gobir, Kano, and Rano, forming the ‘Hausa Bakwai.’