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NCC: Digitally boosting President Buhari’s Next Level Agenda

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NCC EVC Profile Picture

Henry Nkemadu

On June 12, Nigeria will be celebrating “Democracy Day” and 21 years of uninterrupted democratic rule.

And the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) riding on its mandate to connect Nigeria and create an information rich society remains on the driver’s seat.

Provision of the necessary digital impetus to the actualization of the economic diversification of Mr. President, tailored towards a free market economy which is not tied to oil and gas is on NCC’s priority list.

This push is in tandem with the administration’s “Next Level Agenda” as it enters its fifth year in this long democratic race.

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During President Buhari’s first term, the NCC positioned telecoms as the baseline enabler for the realization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 of the government, which is a short-term economic blue print designed to drive the economic diversification agenda of the government.

Through deliberate and sustained efforts in driving major initiatives, programmes and necessary regulatory interventions, the NCC has been able to deepen access to telecommunications services- voice and data – across the country which has helped in positively impacting other sectors of the economy such as healthcare, education, agriculture, finance, transportation, commerce, governance, and so on.

NCC: A believer in Buhari’s economic agenda

The Executive Vice-chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, is consistently supporting the economic agenda of President Buhari through the provision of more digital access to individuals, corporate and government for the implementation of the agenda has been validated by available official data.

The Telecoms sector has witnessed huge growth in terms of the subscribers’ base, earnings to the government, increase in gross domestic product (GDP), teledensity and increase in foreign direct investments into the sector.

Today, the sector has contributed 14.07% to GDP.

Active mobile voice subscribers have increased to over 189 million with a teledensity of 99.16%.

Internet subscribers have increased from 128,365,704 to 136,203,231; broadband penetration increased from 38.49 % (indicating 73,466,093 on 3G and 4G networks) to 39.90 % (76,163,670 on 3G and 4G networks).

The Commission has committed millions of Naira to driving ICT innovations in the academia and among technology innovators.

We have also activated and increased the number of operational Emergency Commission Centres (ECCs) being built by the Commission to 17 states throughout the Federation and the Federal Capital (FCT), Abuja – 18 ECCs in all.

We have successfully scrubbed over 24 million invalidly-registered subscriber records via Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) in fulfillment of the mandate to establish a credible database of telephone subscribers.

Pantami not responsible for NIDCOM’s withdrawal from office complex–NCC

NCC suspends spectrum trading guidelines 2018

As a Commission, we have recently taken measures to regularize activities of all satellite operators including Space Station Operators as well as Earth Station operators; issuance of landing permits to Space Stations beaming signals over Nigerian territory.

In line with our regulatory excellence, we have now put the Communications and Digital Economy Complex, Jabi, Abuja to use. This move has helped to leverage the various world-class facilities within the complex to increase NCC’s overall operational efficiency and subsequently achieve better cost-cutting measures in line with the Federal Government’s directive.

Also, because of its huge impact on the nation’s GDP, developing broadband infrastructure to deepen penetration among individual and corporate consumers of telecoms services has been the focus of the Commission.

Based on the understanding by the Commission that telecommunications breaks barrier and can act in its own right as an enabler of socio-economic transformation, growth and modernization across all sectors of the economy, the NCC Management has deliberately embarked on initiatives, serving as digital fulcrum and catalyst that propel the inter-sectoral implementation of the socio-economic transformation agenda of the current government.

One of such initiatives is the licensing of infrastructure companies (InfraCos) to provide additional robust broadband infrastructure across the geo-political zones in the country.

Six of the InfraCo licenses have been issued to five geo-political zones and Lagos carved out as the sixth zone because of its commercial centrality, while the last and seventh license for the North Central region is being worked on by the Commission.

This is in addition to several other strategic initiatives being embarked upon by the NCC to address sundry challenges confronting telecoms infrastructure deployment by the existing licensees.

Digital impetus for Next Level Agenda

To sustain its forward-looking economic growth agenda, President Muhammadu Buhari, has restated commitment to the cause of advancing and consolidating on the gains of his first-term economic transformation agenda.

To this end, the President has tagged economic blueprint for his second term as the Next Level agenda.

A cursory look at the Next Level agenda shows that the President, in the current dispensation, aims to focus on improving security, improving the economy and reducing poverty; as well as fighting corruption and corrupt practices.

Speaking on the Next Level agenda recently, the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said he would ensure that all agencies under his ministry including the NCC key into supporting the President in achieving his new agenda.

Nigeria recently launched a New National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) aimed to “deliver data download speeds across Nigeria at a minimum speed of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage)”.

During the presentation by the Committee on the NNBP (2020-2025), the Minister, Pantami, said: “The NNBP addresses 3 of the 8 priorities that the Federal Government assigned to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the parastatals under its purview, for implementation.

“These priorities are the implementation of broadband connectivity and execution of a plan to deploy 4G across the country, as well as the development and implementation of a digital economy policy and strategy”.

We didn’t evict Diaspora Commission from our building–NCC

We have not issued any 5G licenses–NCC

The Minister continues, “The development of a Broadband Plan aligns with global best practice and the constitution of the Committee is in line with the powers of the Minister as stated in Section 23(a) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003- the Minister shall be responsible for ‘the formulation, determination and monitoring of the general policy for the communications sector in Nigeria with a view to ensuring, amongst others, the utilization of the sector as a platform for the economic and social development of Nigeria”.

“…Broadband supports the development of the digital economy and a focus on growing the National Digital Economy will also improve and diversify the nation’s traditional economy.

“The implementation of the Plan will lead to creation of jobs, improved socio-economic development and sustained economic growth, amongst others.

“However, it is important to note that the successful implementation of the Plan requires synergy between government and the private sector”.

According to him, “telecoms has been supporting the country in the areas of job creation, improvement in security and efficiency as well as in making life easier and better for Nigerians, charging the NCC leadership “to continue in this direction and as any individual agenda will are bringing onboard must have direct bearing toward supporting the promises of President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed in his promise to Nigerians.”

Thus, the Minister has thrown his weight behind the NCC’s InfraCo project in what he described as the correlation it has to propel the attainment of the Next Level agenda through accelerating increased digital access to Nigerians across the country.

In the Next Level agenda, emphasis is placed on infrastructure with the critical ones being roads, rail, power, and the Internet, marked to be treated as ‘critical infrastructure’ and according to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC)/Chief Executive, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, globally telecommunications has become an essential factor for measuring the level of a nation’s socio-economic and political development.

He noted that countries with well-developed telecoms infrastructure tend to outshine their counterparts without adequate telecoms infrastructure in all development parameters.

5G: Next digital revolution for Next Level agenda

Without any doubt, the liberalization of the telecoms industry has greatly impacted the different sectors of our economy.

From e-commerce, e-banking, e-agriculture, e-healthy, e-transportation, e-education, etc. the liberalization ushered in different players leveraging different technologies to offer services. The unprecedented growth recorded in the telecoms sector with a multiplier effect on other sectors of the economy has been as a result of the sound regulatory regime which has been consolidated in the last 19 years.

We have come up with a lot of frameworks, regulations, guidelines and policies that have provided and will continue to create the enabling environment for future of telecommunications growth in Nigeria.

The future is promising and as regulator, we see a lot of prospects ahead for the industry especially in the area of broadband penetration to accelerate the transformation of Nigeria into a truly knowledge and digital economy.

The future of telecommunications in Nigeria, just as it is the case globally, is broadband and the NCC is well positioned to drive this digital frontier.

In the last five years, we had put a lot of emphasis on deepening broadband penetration and we are creating an environment that allows operators to deploy the newest technologies that can offer Nigerians better service experience with greater efficiency. Consequently, it is our commitment to see that, going forward, all new sites to be built by mobile network operators (MNOs) are Long Term Evolution (LTE)-compatible; the implementation of the harmonized Right of Way (RoW) charges on State and Federal Government highways at the cost of N145 per linear meter is realized; there is elimination of multiple taxation and regulations; and spread of 3G coverage to, at least, 80 per cent of the Nigerian population over the current 56.4 per cent of the population covered with 3G networks.

We are also ensuring the upgrade of 2G base transceiver stations to 3G; spread of 4G/LTE services to 100 per cent of the population with a minimum broadband speed of 1.5 megabit per second (Mbps); deployment of, at least, an Access Point of fiber with a 10 gigabyte per second (Gbps) capacity in all the 774 local government areas (LGAs) of the Federation through the InfraCo project.

According to Danbatta, “with the impending commercial deployment of 5G technology globally by 2020, the Commission has started preparing for and planning, in earnest, to ensure Nigeria is not lagging behind in the area of 5G deployment”.

We want to ensure spread of Fifth Generation (5G) to, at least, five per cent of the population.

Already, the NCC in November, 2019 pioneered 5G trials in Nigeria, becoming the first telecoms regulator in West Africa to proactively begin such trials toward unleashing greater digital revolution.

We have also worked with stakeholders to develop guidelines on the use of Television White Space (TVWS) to extend affordable broadband penetration to underserved and unserved areas.

TVWS is the unused broadcast spectrum which can be deployed in the telecommunications sector to provide cost-effective broadband services to people in the rural, underserved and unserved areas of the country towards achieving universal access and universal service in line with the country’s digital agenda.

In summary, the future of telecommunications in Nigeria is incrementally bright as the Regulator is always proactive in providing the regulatory environment for the deployment of cutting-edge technologies to further push Nigeria ahead in the digital revolution.

The 5G era would be characterized by the upswing in the use of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Big data, Fifth Generation (5G), Augmented Reality and many more all of which will advance sustainable development through the digital transformation it will bring for the economies.

“With 5G, the NCC is looking at three (3) usage scenarios, which include: the enhanced mobile broadband applications, the ultra-reliable low latency applications and the Machine to Machine (M2M) applications.

“Hence, 5G will be characterized by high speed, M2M explosion and low latency, all of which will require reliable broadband infrastructure, which is one of the pre-occupations of the Commission as we speak,” the EVC said.

He has also noted that three frequencies: the 26GHz, 38GHz and 42 GHz are part of the frequencies approved by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for 5G.

This, he said, is in addition to the Commission’s ongoing effort to leverage television white (TVWS) technology to expand affordable broadband services to rural, unserved and underserved areas of the country.

The Commission has conducted 5G Proof of Concept (PoC) Trials. The EVC explained that the whole idea behind the trial is to be able to see what the challenges are with regards to 5G deployments in Nigeria.

“Security challenges, level of radiation power density, whether this is within the acceptable limits provided for the International non-ionization radio Radiation Protection Agency as well as to address whatever challenges that we need to come to terms with preparatory to commercial rollout of 5G services in Nigeria.”

Role of infrastructure and spectrum to 5G

Danbatta has drawn correlation between 5G networks and effective telecoms infrastructure.

Expectedly, 5G will offer higher Internet speed and low latency and machine to machine (M2M) exposition, all of which will run on robust broadband infrastructure, which the Commission is currently driving and will ultimately support the digitisation of the Nigerian economy towards accelerating the actualization of the President’s Next Level agenda.

He said: “Without pervasive infrastructure, the dream of rollout of 5G services will remain what it is, just a dream.

“As such, Nigeria has put in place the InfraCo project for this purpose.

“Also, we have put in place an excellent initiative of spectrum trading, to allow efficient utilization of licensed and existing spectrum through leasing or transfer to other operators from a licensee instead of keeping such spectrum idle.”

Recently, the Commission suspended the Spectrum Trading Guidelines (2018) in order to carry out a review in response to global telecommunications dynamics and for more robust Spectrum trading activities. Paragraph 12 of Spectrum Trading Guides 2018 vests the Commission with the right to review/vary and modify the Guidelines from time to time as it may deem fit.

Telecoms Investment drive: Boosting the Next Level Agenda

Telecom, as an enabler for other sectors of the economy, is highly capital-intensive.

As such, Danbatta said the support of the President is very key in support of the Commission’s efforts at addressing various challenges inhibiting investment into the country’s telecoms sector.

“Yes, we have recorded major milestones in our telecoms sector.

“But are we satisfied as a Regulator? The answer is ‘No’.

“This is because we still face inadequate infrastructure.” Consequently, the NCC had identified 220 clusters of access gaps in the country and the real challenge behind connecting this large population of about 40 million is infrastructure deficit.

This informs why the NCC evolved the InfraCo project with Public Private Partnership component embedded in it.

In a recent update study carried out in 2019, the number of people living in the unserved and underserved areas was estimated to have dropped to 31.16 million and number of clusters reviewed down to 114.

Meanwhile, the EVC has assured that the Commission is committed to providing the enabling environment to attract the needed investment to expand 5G deployment while ensuring efficiency of existing technologies from 2G, to 3G and 4G towards providing the needed consistent digital impetus to the realization of the Next Level Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dr. Henry NKEMADU is a Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) 

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Opinion

What, Exactly, is Kannywood? – Kannywood and Hausa Visual Counterculture

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Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu

 

I will begin with the end, and in the end, I will end with the beginning.

What is Kannywood?

A Wikipedian provided this perspective: “Kannywood is the sobriquet for Hausa-language cinema. It is a part of the larger Nigerian cinema, known as Nollywood, which includes other production centres producing films in many other Nigerian languages.”

The emphasis, according to this Wikipedian, is on language, and they provided this perspective to distinguish Kannywood from its ‘larger cousin’, Nollywood. This means, whether we like it or not, Kannywood will continuously be seen as part of Nollywood, until we change the narrative ourselves and stopped being awed by an industry that is definitely junior to our own. Let me share a personal experience.

I was privileged to be a Zuma Film Festival Jury in its 2010 edition, as well as the paper presenter. I was the only northerner in the Jury, but not the only Hausa. The team was led by Rahmatou Keïta a Nigeriène Hausa journalist and filmmaker based in Paris. Films were submitted from all over the world, including many from Kannywood, and of course, Nollywood. We sat down over croissants and coffee to decide the approach we should adopt in awarding categories to the films.

Right there and then it was decided that there was no way any Kannywood film will win the ‘Best’ of the categories – Picture, Actor, Actress, Script, Cinematography, etc. I argued that if we went by this reasoning—for which there was no rational basis—that would exclude indigenous language films from getting recognition, including those from Nollywood not in English language. A lot of arguments ensured about production values, storylines, meeting the Zuma Festival submission requirements, etc.

In the end, after two hours of back and forth, I was asked to suggest a category in which all local language films would fit in, even if from Nollywood. I suggested Indigenous Film category. This was accepted. If it was any consolation, foreign film entries were also lumped into “Best Foreign Film”. Meaning that ONLY Nollywood films will get all the glory of being the Best of the best in everything. Thus, for the Nigerian Film Corporation, Kannywood is just a subset of Nollywood. Begging the question, What is Kannywood?

The least NFC can do is to reimagine the festival according to film cultures. Let us say, for the sake of the argument, NFC recognizes Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo film cultures. A separate festival can be held for each of these cultures celebrating their ‘Best’ actors, actresses, cinematography, script, etc. As it is now, no matter how excellent, for instance, a Hausa actor is (or think he is), he will never be ‘Best Actor’ in the NFC festival. And good luck to him attempting to be the Best Actor in a ‘mainstream’ Nollywood film in which he merely appears as a token Aboki to attract audiences to a Nollywood film.

Now, let me address the other variable in this post. “Counterculture” refers to a cultural group whose values, norms, and practices are significantly different from and often in opposition to those of the mainstream society. These groups often challenge established societal norms and advocate for alternative lifestyles or beliefs. Counterculture is expressed in various forms, including popular culture.

Counterculture became critical in contemporary Hausa media anthropology because of the rapid rise and adoption of visual technologies through social media by Hausa youth of all shades—male, female and often transitioning or LGBT+. The visibility in social media provides Hausa youth with a paradoxical cloak of invisibility, in what I refer to as ‘invisible visibilities.’ They visually, boldly and unapologetically appear brash, aggressive, suggestive, sexual, assertive and insouciant. For the most part, we don’t know who they are, despite seeing them and applauding, hailing, hating or cursing them.

The rise and popularity of social media provided Hausa youth with a perfect visual counterculture template. Crude at the beginning, but getting sophisticated as time flies. Initially restricting themselves to the ‘big’ social media – YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat—the arrival of more flexible platforms, mainly TikTok, Reels, gave the freedom to let loose creative energies.

YouTube provided the first explicit platform. It led to the emergence of what I call ‘Hausa Adult Influencers’ They included Muneerat Abdulsalam, Yasmin Harka, Laure Jibiya, Ummi Zandar, Tani Harka 24, etc. They dispense raw explicit advice on heterosexual adult relationships; Laure Jibiya, possibly a pseudonym, was the only one who dispenses her advice from an Arabian face veil, making it difficult to identify her. Ummi Zinder uses a name that has possible connotation to nudity: Hausa zindir; but could also be a referent to Zinder, the Nigeriène city, locally called Damagaram. Falmati Chadi, again like others, without any other traceable history, would appear to come from Chad Republic.

Obviously, each approaches her broadcast—all in the Hausa language—with a script, a production schedule, and a series of technical and editing equipment, all put together by a person who acts as a director. The large numbers of views generated by these channels are completed by internet bots that rip the audios from the videos and make it easy for users to download the voices without having to log on to the video channel – which saves data, and at the same time, enable clandestine engagement with the contents of the channels without the videos.

Of course, they are countless other Hausa-centric YouTube uploads—ranging from music, to short films and comedy skits. Some audaciously affix ‘Kannywood’ to their channels—which is okay since no one owns ‘Kannywood’ as a label for anything. Are these YouTube uploads ‘films?’ Can they be referred to as Kannywood, even if they are NOT necessarily based in Kano or aimed specifically at the markets in Kano?

Enter TikTok and Reels. Millions of videos. Short attention-grabbing dialogues. Some with structured scripts and actors, shooting schedule, clear effective direction and editing, And messages; for it is not all pearls of fun and laughter.

Take Dan Bello. A professional cinematographer and scriptwriter. With world class video and editing equipment, storyline, excellent editing. With script no Hausa filmmaker dare to write or visualize: a critique of society and governance. A 30-second script unraveling over 30 years of spiral corruption and misgovernance. Are we still in Kannywood?

What of Yagamen? Or Murja Ibrahim Kunya. Love her. Hate her. You can’t ignore her. That’s for sure. Capable of evoking almost all emotional ranges: amusement, annoyance, irritation, exasperation, pity, adoration in virtual stand-up monologues. She expresses her thoughts explicitly and does not care whose ox is gored. She has made several allusions to being ‘Kannywood’. Cultural Kannywood will dispute this membership of their hallowed cult. So where do you put Eddie Murphy, Richard Prior, Tracy Morgan, Jamie Foxx, Whoopi Goldberg and other comedians who became some of the biggest names in Hollywood?

And G-Fresh Al-Amin. An excellent rapper whom I mentored once (listen to his ‘Kano to California Remix’). Can he lay claim to Kannywood? Or Hassan Makeup, Sadiqa (previously known as Sadiq) and other influencers with alternative sexualities. Daring to boldly go where no Kannywood producer will dare to go. I know. Purist will claim these are not Kannywood. These social media Hausa alterities lay claim to Kannywood – only that they provide a countercultural narrative. Each skit, monologue provides a story, completing with a marketing structure; for the money is made in the AdSense clicks some have activated. Bringing in few dollars. And no censorship.

If we debunk Hausa counterculture alterities as not being serious, not being ‘films’ in the accepted sense (whose accepted sense?) then how do we explain cinéma vérité? If you have a strong stance on a political or social issue, cinéma vérité is a vehicle to express and defend your opinions. All the Hausa counterculture videographers can be lumped as cinéma vérité—a perfectly valid form of cinematic expression. It combines improvisation with use of the camera to unveil truth or highlight subjects hidden behind reality.

This, of course, excluded religious or journalistic social media as these are focused on a particular topic often in a didactic and linear fashion. Counterculture social media is about rebellion to the established public culture, or teasing out things public culture would rather hide or gloss over in a ‘conventional’ cinematic expression.

TikTokers Khadijah Ibraheem and Anti Hussaina use this technique to criticize—as well as appreciate—boys (“kai, guy ɗin nan ya sha wanka”). And in case you label them something else for expression their frank views, they do so in full Muslim hijab, and all clean dialogue. Not a single swear or foul word. Contrast their dialogue with Murja Ibrahim Kunya – all about female sexuality, but in different delivery modes. Aminu J and Abis Fulani provide critical commentaries on news events. Bilal Villa is transnational in using local resident Lebanese in his dialogues, giving a unique dimension to commentary on Kano society. Still not Kannywood? How about this, then.

One of the craziest aspects of Kano is that even people with clearly mental health issues become celebrities in a process the literature refers to Celebrification. The last three years saw the emergence of Ale (a Kano specific corruption of the word, Alhaji) Rufa’i Bulgates (another corruption, of Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft), the man who created new virtual currencies, ‘Gangalion’ and ‘Americallion’. He uses this currency to buy whole countries. His relatives reported his skit makers to the police and an order was issued banning making any videos of him taking advantage of his gullibility. They started regretting it later, because….

…no sooner had he disappeared from the scene, than another one emerged. Ale Umar Bush. A load-carrier in the Kwanar Singer segment of the Kano Sabon Gari Market. In a short period of time, he became stupendously rich because the way he amuses people with incredibly horrible foul language. I guarantee you, no language provides the most disgusting foul abuses like the Hausa language. This guy knew them all and utters them with relish and stern face. Like a circus performer, he gets invited to meet important people and foreigners, including Arabs and Indians, to be feted for their amusement, with videos taken and sent to their countries: “hey, look, a crazy African.” I once flew in the same plane with him to Abuja where he was invited to provide amusement to people who are presumably mentally healthy, but enjoy teasing a mental patient. Like kids holding a hapless insect in their hands and getting amused at ripping off each of its wings.

Now, he is a film star. Yes, he has just starred in his first 12-minute film, “Sallah Ram Deal in Kano”. It was produced by Abdulgafar Ahmad Oluwatoyin, aka Cuteabiola, a Nollywood comedian, who starred in it. Someone has found a way of weaving a script around a foul-mouthed mental patient and creating amusement for non-mental health people. Cute Abiola himself posted the story on his Facebook timeline. It generated 471 comments, hugely appreciative of this new dimension of Northern Nollywood, and 272 shares. Are we still in Kannywood?

Over the last five years, social media has enabled the creation of Hausa countercultural microcinema—short films, often created with low budgets and minimal equipment, which is a good fit for the brief, often amateur or semi-professional nature of social media videos—and cinéma verité that provide a countercultural narrative to life in both urban and rural Hausa societies. Cinema is multifaceted medium that combines art, technology, and industry to create and share moving images, offering a powerful means of storytelling and cultural expression. Nothing says how long it has to be. Or how expert the cinema maker has to be.

The whole point of my argument is that Hausa social media counterculture skitters, shorties, documentaries, comedies, the whole ball of wax, are increasingly claiming they are also Kannywood. The non-counterculture Kannywood leadership on the other hand struggle hard to create a dividing line. They faced this with the Hiyana incidence in 2007 where virtually every actress is seen as a Hiyana, derailing the image of Kannywood.

 

I will end with the beginning.

What, exactly, is Kannywood?

 

Adamu is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at Bayero University, Kano. This was first published on his Facebook account. 

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Opinion

Re:Kano govt. a rendezvous with recklessness and executive rascality

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By Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa

I read with utmost bewilderment an article titled: “KANO GOVT: A RENDEZVOUS WITH RECKLESSNESS AND EXECUTIVE RASCALITY.” My greatest surprise is that such a piece of trash is coming from a journalist with self-acclaimed intellect and versatility like Bala Ibrahim. This is what we see in the Fourth Estate of the Realm when veterans who ought to hold on to objectivity are subjected to the whims and caprices of the drowning opposition elements, after eating fat from portions of state funds embezzled by their paymasters while in-charge of the affairs of the state and the commonwealth of the people.

Having dined and wined with the immediate-past administration of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who has a number of cases of fraud and corruption to answer, Bala Ibrahim will be the least person to see anything good in the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) administration in Kano, under the able leadership of His Excellency, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf (Abba Gida Gida), the people’s Governor.

Does Bala Ibrahim actually understand the workings of government and governance? This is one question begging for answer. I do not want to go into judicial pronouncements, but the point I want to make clear is that the issue of Kano Emirship is straightforward with the repeal of the Kano Emirate Law (2019), enactment of Kano Emirate Law (2024), which gave Governor Yusuf the POWER to abolish the five Emirates and return Kano to its glorious and historic position of one EMIRATE (this is the wish of the good people of Kano state). The re-appointment of His Highness, Emir Muhammad Sanusi 11 did not also come to anyone as a surprise because his dethronement and consequent banishment by Ganduje and his co-travellers was done out of malice.

Now calling for the arrest of dethroned Emir Aminu Bayero was only done for public good as his entrance into Kano, shortly after his dethronement posed a serious security threat which is being managed up till today. Governor Yusuf remains the Chief Security Officer of Kano state, and no sane leader will fold his arms and watch Kano snowballed into a state of anarchy without taking action.

Again, the demolition of buildings and structures illegally acquired by former Governor Ganduje, his family and friends was an exercise carried out in good faith. It was an exercise pegged on the efforts to recover public property from the hands of very few individuals who believed they can pocket public funds, structures and resources and get away with them without giving a wink. We will not be deterred by propagandists like Bala Ibrahim doing the bidding of their paymasters, at the detriment of the welfare of the good people of Kano state and the socio-economic development of our dear state.

Indeed, it is childish of Bala Ibrahim to keep mentioning the rift between the Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Comrade Aminu Abdulsalam Gwarzo and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, which has been amicably settled by the two leaders. Who does he want to impress. In times like this, it is common for leaders to have misunderstanding, and also move on after ironing out issues. Now, who is Bala Ibrahim to query the Deputy Governor over his intention to apologise to the NSA in the spirit of brotherhood, and as a devout Muslim?

Bala Ibrahim’s, “rendezvous with recklessness and executive rascality,” will only gain weight and acceptance in the figments of his own imagination, when he has refused of appraise the uncommon achievements of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf, even in the face of needless distractions by the weakened and frustrated opposition elements.

Recently, Governor Yusuf declared a State-of-Emergency on education in Kano state. This action was taken to revive the state’s education sector which was killed and almost buried by the immediate-past administration. In that occasion, Governor Yusuf made certain revelations on the state of our ailing education sector and what the government is doing to salvage it. Radical but practical measures are being taking to reposition education in our State.

There is no gainsaying the fact that our beloved State is witnessing an alarming proliferation of out-of-school children, (with the current figure standing at 989,234 children of both genders), a situation that threatens to rob an entire generation of their right to education and a brighter future. The statistics are grim and the faces of these children, devoid of the promise of learning, haunt us as a collective failure. Our schools, which should be sanctuaries of knowledge, discipline and growth, are in a deplorable state. Dilapidated infrastructure is a common sight—roofs caving in, walls crumbling, and classrooms that can no longer provide a safe and conducive learning environment. The
lack of instructional materials further
compounds the problem, leaving our teachers and students to struggle with outdated and insufficient resources. Above 4.7Million pupils are sitting on bare floors to take lessons while about 400 schools have only one teacher for all classes subjects and all pupils. Rather than building more classrooms and providing basic furniture in the schools, as well as hiring more teachers, the immediate-past administration chose to butcher the land belonging to those schools, in some places demolishing classrooms to create space for shops. Those schools that they could not sell, they closed them down and got them vandalized

The encroachment of public school lands and the conversion of these vital institutions into private business premises is an affront to our communal values and a direct assault on our commitment to public education. This reckless appropriation of educational spaces for commercial use is unacceptable and Governor Yusuf is ready to stop it no matter whose ass is gored.

In Kano, we have the vast expanse of educational facilities that dotted our landscape including: 7,057 primary schools, 1,148 junior secondary schools, 813 senior secondary schools, and 49 science and technical schools. These numbers, while ostensibly impressive, belie the grim reality that lies beneath the surface. Let us delve deeper, and you will discover disheartening statistics: out of the 42,516 total classrooms available in our basic schools, a mere 22% meet the most basic standards of habitability. Let us pause to contemplate the implications of this revelation. Nearly four out of every five classrooms in our primary and junior secondary schools are marred by dilapidation and disrepair, rendering them unsuitable for the noble pursuit of knowledge.

In our senior secondary schools, the picture remains bleak. Here, less than 30% of classrooms can be deemed habitable, leaving a significant portion of our student population to grapple with inadequate facilities that impede their intellectual growth and development. In our science and technical schools, the bastions of innovation and ingenuity. Unfortunately, the situation here is even grimmer, with less than 20% of classrooms meeting the most basic criteria for habitability. How can we hope to nurture the next generation of scientists and engineers when the very environments in which they are meant to learn are rife with inadequacies and deficiencies?

As part of Governor Yusuf’s commitment to revitalizing education in Kano State, the administration has allocated an unprecedented 29.95% of our 2024 budget to education. This decision is based on the realization that only significant allocation of financial resources would address most of the hydra-headed problems afflicting our educational system, largely centered around under-funding. In his bid to revitalize the basic and post-basic education sub-sectors in the State, Governor Yusuf restored the upkeep and overhead funds for all secondary schools in the State. This injection of funds will enable the
schools to maintain their infrastructure,
procure essential teaching and learning
materials, and ensure the overall conducive teaching and learning environment that our
students deserve.

Furthermore, in recognition of the pivotal role of practical education in nurturing innovative minds, Governor Yusuf has unveiled plans for building an additional 300 state- of-the-art laboratories in 100 schools across the state. The provision of these facilities will provide our students with hands-on experience in scientific inquiry, fostering a culture of experimentation and discovery that is essential for their future
success. This is in addition to another 300 laboratories that will be comprehensively overhauled in 100 secondary schools.

Governor Yusuf’s administration is also constructing 1000 classroom across the State within the next academic session. This measure will, no doubt, mitigate classroom congestion that has become a common feature of most of our schools. He has also directed that all contractors handling inherited abandoned projects in tertiary institutions should go back to site immediately.

Governor Yusuf’s administration’ has also ordered the reopening of all the boarding schools, that were shut down by the immediate past administration. These schools will be reopened and re-boarded within the next academic year. Boarding schools play a crucial role in providing a supportive environment for students, particularly those from remote areas or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. By reopening these institutions, we are expanding access to quality education and creating opportunities for students to thrive academically and sociallly.

One of Governor Yusuf’s vision statement is to make, “Every School, a good school.” He intends to make every public school in the state a good school with decent and standard infrastructure for teaching and learning as well as adequate, qualified and well-motivated teachers and support staff. Already, he has approved for the comprehensive renovation of all primary and junior secondary schools in all the 44 Local Government Council. This renovation will include providing students seats, painting, refurbishing toilets and staff offices. This exercise will be completed in the next two academic sessions. CRC, Kwankwasiyya, Lafiya Jari, and Kano Pro-PA will be responsible for handling minor repairs while Ministry of Education and SUBEB will shoulder all major repairs through competitive bidding.

The next statement of vision is: “Every child, enrolled in school.” In essence this is our expression of commitment to clear all out of school children from our streets and get them enrolled in schools. To achieve this, we must first of all provide classroom accommodation to house all the 989,234 out-of-school children in the State. A total of 28,264 classrooms will be built in the next three years across the State. The Ministry of Education and SUBEB will supervise the issuance of the works through competitive bidding while the Ministry for Project Monitoring will monitor execution and compliance.

The next statement in the vision is: “Every student, an engaged learner”
This requires the provision of modern, state-of- the-art teaching support services and tools. To keep pupils in schools and attentive in their classrooms, we would commence the distribution of one-meal per pupil per day in all primary schools. This would be a joint effort between state government, local government, development partners, philanthropists and host communities. Already, the Community Reorientation Committee (CRC) of the state has been directed to commence preparation and the hiring of cooks for the home-grown school feeding program. We would also re-introduce the distribution of free uniforms to all primary I pupils in all our primary schools.

During his tenure, His
Excellency, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso selected some private Universities across the country where scores of our students were sponsored for their first degree. Although these students graduated with good results, the immediate past administration refused to settle their tuition fees and left them for four years without being able to participate in the one year mandatory youth service scheme. Governor Yusuf has settled all the tuition fees and they have collected their certificates. The Universities include: Bells University Otta, Crescent University, Abeokuta, ABTI University, Yola, Igbenidion University, Okada and Al- Qalam University, Katsina.

Governor Yusuf adminstration met
a backlog of liability of examination fee to the tune of over N1.3billion which have been paid and got Kano State students registered for NECO and NBAIS. Alhamdulillah! This year, Goverjor Yusuf administration has approved for the payment of NECO and NBAIS registration fees to the tune of over N2.9Billion for 121,597 students that have four Credits in their Qualifying Examination in our public schools. This is apart from restoration of foreign scholarship programmes where Kano indigenes are currently doing their second degree studies in India, Egypt and other parts of the world.

Relating to health, Governor Yusuf administration has restored the Hasiya Bayero Pediatric hospital. The renovation of Nuhu Bammalli, Bela, and Nassarawa Specialist hospitals are ongoing. The free Pediatric and Maternity care programmes have also been restored. The Murtala Specialist hospital has been renovated. Ambulances have been distributed across the 44 Local Government Areas for easy movement of patients to hospitals across the state. Indeed, hospital renovations and restorations contribute to healthcare infrastructure development. Free Pediatric and Maternity care aligns with adequate health service delivery. Ambulance distribution supports emergency healthcare.

In human capital development, Governor Yusuf has restored the free weddings sponsorship. Over N4 billion was allocated for procurement of palliatives which are shared to the less privilege people across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state irrespective of political and religious affiliations. Islamic study schools have been reopened. Technical Colleges and Skills Acquisition Centres have also been reopened. It is important to note that free weddings and empowerment programmes contribute to social well being of the people, palliative allocations addresses economic vulnerability, while re-opening of educational and skill acquisition Centres align with human capital development.

In infrastructural development, Governor Yusuf has commenced renovation and construction of abandoned roads across the state. Street lights have been restored in streets across Kano metropolis, bringing down the wave of crime and as well, beautifying our great state, particularly in the night. Governor Yusuf has also commenced the construction of two mega flyovers that will ensure traffic decongestion and give Kano its pride of place as a mega commercial city. The administration is also ensuring renovation of many government infrastructures and restoration of clean and portable water supply. There is no gainsaying the fact that infrastructural development contribute to economic development. Street lights enhance urban infrastructure, while adequate water supply aligns with sustainable development.

Space may not allow me to mention all that have been achieved in agriculture, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) drive, establishment of the state Gross Domestic Product (GDP) under the state Bureau of Statistics, strengthening the Kano Bureau of Statistics to report monthly inflation rates and consumer Price index, updating of the social register, overhaul of the state civil service, prompt payment of civil servants salaries and pensions to pensioners which recently earned Governor Yusuf award as the best pension-friendly Governor, recruitment and training of over 2, 600 civil servants, among others.

There is a saying that, “any government without criticism is dead before it begins.” Governor Yusuf’s administration’ welcomes and appreciates criticism, but frowns at critics like Bala Ibrahim who are always induced by slices of bread laced with butter and a cup of tea with too much sugar. I urge him to take a deep look at Governor Yusuf’s uncommon style of governance and imagine how it will restore the lost glory of Kano within the next four years, and beyond.

Sunusi Bature Dawakin Tofa is the spokesperson to Governor Yusuf/ Director-General, Media and Public Relations, Government House, Kano

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Opinion

Friday Sermon: The day of Arafah and fasting it if falls on a Saturday, and rulings of cutting nails, hair

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Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon the noblest of Prophets and Messengers, our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and companions, and those who follow their guidance until the Day of Judgment.

Respected brothers and sisters! Know that in the Islamic calendar, the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah (12th month in the calendar) is called the Day of Arafah. This day is the culminating event of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Because the Day of Arafah, like other Islamic Days, is based on a lunar calendar, rather than the Gregorian solar calendar, and its date changes from year to year.

The Day of Arafah falls on the second day of pilgrimage rituals, which will In Shaa Allah going to be on Saturday, June 15, 2024. At dawn on this day, over two million Muslim pilgrims will make their way from the town of Minah to a nearby hillside and plain called Mount Arafah and the Plain of Arafah, which is located about 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) from Makkah, the final destination for the pilgrimage. Muslims believe that it was from this site that the ​Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) gave his famous Farewell Sermon in his final year of life, which I read to you in the previous Khutbah.

Dear brothers and sisters! Every Muslim is expected to make the pilgrimage to Makkah once during his or her lifetime; the pilgrimage itself is not considered complete unless the stop at Mount Arafah is also made. Thus, the visit to Mount Arafah is synonymous with the Hajj itself. Completion involves arriving at Mount Arafah before noon and spending the afternoon upon the mountain, remaining until sunset. However, individuals who are physically unable to complete this portion of the pilgrimage are allowed to observe it by fasting, which is not practiced by those making the physical visit to Arafah.

During the afternoon, from about noon until sunset, Muslim pilgrims stand in earnest supplication and devotion, praying for peace and Allah’s abundant forgiveness, and listening to Islamic scholars speak on issues of religious and moral importance. Tears are shed readily as those who gather make repentance and seek Allah’s mercy, recite words of prayer and remembrance and gather together as equals before their Lord. The day closes upon the recitation of the evening prayer of Al-Maghrib.

For many Muslims, the Day of Arafah proves to be the most memorable part of the Hajj pilgrimage, and one that stays with them forever.

For the Muslims around the world who are not participating in the pilgrimage often spend this day in fasting and devotion. Both government offices and private businesses in Islamic nations are generally closed on the Day of Arafah to allow employees to observe it due to it’s importance. The Day of Arafah is, therefore, one of the most important Days in the entire Islamic year. It is said to offer expiation for all sins of the prior year, as well as all sins for the upcoming year.

Dear brothers and sisters! As mentioned earlier, the ninth Day of Dhul-Hijjah is the day of Arafah. It is the day when pilgrims stand on the plain of Arafah to pray. On this day, Muslims all over the world who do not witness the annual Hajj should spend the day in fasting, in preparation for the three days festivity following Eid-ul-Adha (the celebration marking the end of the Hajj, commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness of sacrifice).

Abu Hafsah reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Fasting on the day of Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on Ashurah, (the tenth day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years.” [Reported by all except Bukhari and Tirmidhi]

In another saying the Prophet’s wife Hafsah said:

“There are four things which the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) never neglected: Observing fast on the day of Ashurah, Arafah, three days every month, and offering fajr Sunnah prayers early in the morning.” [Muslim]

These statements are proof that fasting on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the day before Eid-ul-Adha was a lifelong practice of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as his wife reported.

There are some reports that fasting is prohibited on the day of Arafah. However, it must be understood that this refers to a person performing the Hajj. If a person is on the Hajj, there is no fast for him or her on the day of Arafah. That is undoubtedly a blessing for him because of the hardships of the pilgrimage. In a saying reported by Ummul Fadl, may Allah be pleased with her, she said:

“The Companions doubted whether the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was fasting on Arafah or not. She decided to prove to them that he was not, so she said, ‘I sent to him milk, which he drank while he was delivering the Khutbah (Sermon) on Arafah.” [Bukhari]

Prohibiting the pilgrims from fasting on these days is a great mercy for them, for fasting will exert undue hardship on the person performing the Hajj, while they are primarily concerned with their pilgrimage. Above all, the pilgrim would not be fasting anyway because he is travelling.

Some Virtues of Fasting on Arafah Day:

1. It is the day on which the religion was perfected and Allah’s Favour was completed.

In Bukhari and Muslim it was reported from Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (RA) that a Jewish man said to him, “O Amir Al-Mu’minin, there is an Ayah (Qur’anic verse) in your Book which you recite; if it had come to us Jews, we would have taken that day as an Eid (festival).” Umar said, “Which Ayah (verse)?” He said: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Al-Ma’idah, 5:3] Umar (RA) said: “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). It was when he was standing in Arafah on a Friday.”

2. It is a day of Eid for the people who are in that place.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Yawm Arafah (the day of Arafah), Yawm al-Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice) and Ayyam al-Tashriq (the three days following Yawm al-Nahr) are Eid (festival) for us, the people of Islam. These are days of eating and drinking.” [This was narrated by the authors of Al-Sunan]

It was reported that Umar Ibn al-Khattab (RA) said:

“It – i.e., the Ayah (verse) ‘This day I have perfected…’ was revealed on a Friday, the Day of Arafah, both of which – praise be to Allah – are Eids for us.”

3. It is a day by which Allah swore an oath.

Allah the Almighty cannot swear by anything except that which is mighty. Yawm Arafah is the “witnessed day” mentioned in the verse:

“By the witnessing day [Friday] and by the witnessed day [the Day of Arafah].” [Al-Buruj, 85:3]

It was reported from Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The promised day is the Day of Resurrection, the witnessed day is the Day of Arafah, and the witnessing day is Friday.” [At-Tirmidhi – classed as Sahih by Shaykh Al-Albani]

It is the “odd” [i.e., odd-numbered, Witr] by which Allah swore in the verse:

“And by the even and the odd.” [Al-Fajr, 89:3]

Ibn Abbas said:

“The even is the Day of Al-Adha [i.e., 10th Dhul-Hijjah] and the odd is the Day of Arafah [i.e., 9th Dhul-Hijjah] This is also the view of Ikrimah and Al-Dahhak.

4. Fasting on this day is an expiation for two years.

It was reported from Abu Qatadah (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah. He said:

“It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” [Muslim]

This (fasting) is mustahabb for those who are not on Hajj. In the case of the one who is on Hajj, it is not Sunnah for him to fast on the Day of Arafah, because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not fast on this day in Arafah. It was narrated that he forbade fasting on the Day of Arafah in Arafah (i.e the one making Hajj who is in Arafah).

5. It is the day on which Allah took the covenant from the progeny of Adam.

It was reported that Ibn Abbas (RA) said: the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’man, i.e., Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord? They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ let you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Batil (i.e., polytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allah)?’ [Al-A’raf, 7:172-173].” [Ahmad, and classed as Sahih by Shaykh Al-Albani]

Therefore there is no greater day than this and no greater covenant than this.

6. It is the day of forgiveness of sins, freedom from the Fire and pride in the people who are there.

In Sahih Muslim it was narrated from Aisha (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’”

It was reported from Ibn Umar that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of Isha’ on the Day of Arafah, about the people of Arafah. He says, ‘Look at My servants who have come unkempt and dusty.’” [Ahmad, and classed as Sahih by Shaykh Al-Albani]

The Ruling of Fasting The Day of Arafah If It Happens To Fall on Saturday:

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Busr who said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Do not fast on Saturday except that which is an obligation upon you. If anyone of you cannot find anything other than grape stalks or the bark of a tree, let him suck on it.” [At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah]

Imam Abu Dawud (rahimahullah) said:

“This Hadith has been abrogated, the Hadith of Juwairiyyah abrograted it.”

Imam At-Tirmidhi said:

“This Hadith is Hasan. The meaning of forbiddance here applies to the man who singles out Saturday with fasting – due to the fact that the Jews revere this day.”

Imam Abu Dawud also said:

“The majority of Scholars hold that it is not forbidden.”

The Hadith of Juwairiyyah:

“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to Juwairiyyah (one of his wives) who was fasting on a Friday: “Did you fast yesterday?” She said: “No.” He said: “Are you going to fast tomorrow (i.e. Saturday)?” She said: “No.” So he said: “Then break your fast.” [A Sahih Hadith, Abu Dawud; also Bukhari] – thus proving the permissibility to fast on a Saturday so long as one fasts Friday with it.

Al-Athram (student of Imam Ahmad) said:

“The proof utilised by Abu Abdillah [Ahmad bin Hanbal] in allowing fasting on a Saturday is that all of the Hadiths oppose the Hadith of Ibn Busr (i.e. the Hadith above) – and from them is the Hadith of Umm Salamah (RA) when she was asked: On which days did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) predominantly fast? So she responded: Saturday and Sunday.” [Ahmad]

Umm Salamah (RA) said:

“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) used to fast more often on Saturdays and Sundays than on the other days. He would say, “They are the Eids of the polytheists, and I love to act contrary to what they do.” [An-Nasa’i and was rendered authentic by Ibn Khuzaimah, and the wording is his]

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

“I heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saying, “None of you should fast on Friday unless he fasts a day before or after it.” [Bukhari]

This Hadith is a proof that Saturday can be fasted with the condition that Friday is fasted before it – so the Hadith forbidding the Saturday fast is not absolute in forbiddance.

Shaykh Ibn Uthaimin (rahimahullah) stated:

“It is known that fasting on a Saturday has different scenarios:

1. That which is obligatory like that of Ramadan, so he fasts – or it is making up of an obligatory fast or an expiation, or in replacement for the one who did not sacrifice whilst at Hajj (At-Tamattu). So in this there is no harm, so long as he does not single it out with fasting believing it to be [more] virtuous.

2. That he fasts the day before it, Friday, then there is no harm in that. This is because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to one of the Mothers of the Believers who fasted on a Friday: “Did you fast yesterday?” She said: “No.” He said: “Are you going to fast tomorrow (i.e. Saturday)?” She said: “No.” So he said: “Then break your fast.” [Bukhari] So his saying, “Are you going to fast tomorrow?” proves the permissibility of fasting Saturday along with Friday.

3. That the legislated fast happens to coincide with Saturday, such as the middle of month recommended fasts, or the day of Arafah, or the day of Ashurah, or the six days of Shawwal for the one who fasted Ramadan, or the nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, then there is no harm in fasting on Saturday because one is not fasting it because it is a Saturday, rather he fasts because it is legislated to fast on these occasions.

4. That fasting on a Saturday happens to coincide with one’s habit such as the one who fasts one day and leaves off fasting the next day [and so on] – so the day he is fasting happens to coincide with a Saturday – in this case there is no harm. This is like the saying of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in forbidding fasting a day or two days just prior to Ramadan except for the one who is in the habit of fasting. [Bukhari] So here there is no forbiddance, so this case is similar.

5. That a person singles out Saturday alone for the optional fast, then this is forbidden, if it is assumed that the Hadith of forbiddance of fasting on a Saturday is authentic.”

[See Majmu’ Fatawa of Ibn Al-Uthaimin, Volume 20, page 57-58 – slightly adapted to assist ease of understanding]

Shaykh Ibn Uthaimin also stated:

“It is established from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) in speech and action that fasting on a Saturday is not forbidden. The Scholars differ with respect to the Hadith that forbids fasting on Saturday as to whether it is acted upon. From them are those who say that it is not to be acted upon at all, and there is no harm in fasting on a Saturday, whether it be on its own or not on its own because the Hadith is not authentic. And a regulation cannot be established from a Hadith which is not authentic. From them are those who have said the Hadith is Sahih or Hasan, and they said: The reconciliation between this Hadith [that forbids fasting on a Saturday] and the other Hadiths [that allow fasting on a Saturday], is that it is forbidden to single out Saturday on its own – meaning that Saturday is singled out without Friday or Sunday. This was the position of Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah), wherein he said: “If one fasts alongside Saturday another day, then there is no harm, such as fasting with it Friday or Sunday.” We, likewise say: If Saturday coincides with a day upon which it is legislated to fast such as Arafah, or the 10th of Muharram (Ashurah), then it is not disliked (or forbidden) to fast it, because the dislike is when you fast it because it is a Saturday, i.e. that you have singled it out believing it is more special than other days. Indeed I have heard that when some of the people fast on the ninth and tenth of Muharram (Ashurah) or the Day of Arafah and one of those days happens to be a Saturday, some of the brothers forbid them and command them to break the fast – this is wrong and it is upon this brother to ask (the scholars) before issuing a verdict (Fatwa) without knowledge.”

[See also Majmu’ Fatawa of Ibn Al-Uthaimin, volume 20, page 37]

Respected servants of Allah! Concerning cutting the nails and trimming the hair, all the Hadiths which have been mentioned about this issue are all authentic, however, there are varying opinions held by the great Imams/Mujtahids regarding the ruling established from these Hadiths. Some Imams like Imam Ahmad and Ishaq have stated that it is prohibited (Haram) for a person who intends to do the sacrifice (Layyah) to trim the hair or pare the nails etc. when the month of Dhul-Hijjah begins. Other Imams of Fiqh like Imam Shafi’i and his companions have stated that it is Makruh (highly disliked) to do such, but it is not prohibited (Haram). Imam Abu Hanifah, and Imam Malik in one opinion, state that it is not Makruh to trim the hair, nails etc. during this time for the person who intends to do sacrifice (Layyah). Their proof for saying that it is not prohibited (Haram) or Makruh (disliked) to do this, is the Hadith of Aisha (RA) in which she states:

“I used to twist/plait the necklace of the sacrificial animal of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). He would then tie the necklace (around the neck of the animal) and send it to be sacrificed, and nothing would be Haram upon him which Allah has made Halal, until he slaughtered his animal.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Based on this Hadith, it is evident that it would not be prohibited (Haram) to pare the nails or trim the hair (for one who intends to do a Sacrifice). However, based on the Hadith narrated by Umm Salmah (RA), the majority of Scholars/Jurist experts (Fuqaha) have it to be Mustahab/Sunnah for one who intends to do a Sacrifice (Layyah) to refrain from trimming the hair, nails etc from the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah until he sacrifices his animal.

For more explanations check the Sharh of Sahih Muslim by Imam An-Nawawi and Al-Fiqh Al-Islami Wa Adillatahu, Volume 4 Page 2,735.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of: Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah Mosque; and Late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com; or +2348038289761.

This Friday sermon (Jumu’ah Khutbah) was prepared for delivery today Friday, 08 Dhul-Hijjah, 1445 AH (June 14, 2024).

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