A marabout is a Koranic scholar in Islam or a religious teacher. They can hold fixed positions at institutes of learning or can wander and subsist on alms. The original marabouts were military volunteers or religious students who resided in forts (ribats) built in North Africa during the Umayyad Conquest of North Africa (647-709CE) but later came to refer to traveling religious teachers. They would often travel across the Islamic world to be inspired or to ponder various theological matters. It also has come to generally refer to a Muslim hermit or saint in North Africa. Marabout is Arabic for “one who is garrisoned”. It can also be spelled "murabit" in English.