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Friday Sermon: Say The Truth Any How Bitter It Is!

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By Imam Murtadha Gusau

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

All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our own souls and the wickedness of our actions, whoever Allah guides, there is none that can lead him astray, and whoever Allah allows to go astray, there is none that can lead him to the right path.

I testify and bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth but Allah, alone, without any partners. And I testify and bare witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger. As for what’s after:

Dear brothers and sisters! Know that, to acquire divine knowledge is to inherit a Prophetic legacy of action and propagation. The learned are like radiant beacons of light moving between sheathes of darkness. They are the glowing effects of the Prophets of Allah, through whom He conveyed His covenant to man. Their presence illuminates the paths of those who come near them. On the authority of Abu Darda (RA), the Prophet (Peace be upon him) says:

“The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.” [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

Central to every messenger’s duty was his conveyance and transmission of the message of truth. The heirs of that legacy protract that learning, conveying and proactively blotting out the murk of ignorance and misguidance whenever they encounter it. Allah Almighty says:

“O Messenger! transmit what has been sent down to you from your Lord. If you do not do it you will not have transmitted His Message.” [Qur’an, 5:67]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) further informs:

“Convey from me even a verse…” [Bukhari].

The right of truth is for it to be imparted, not hidden or obscured. In Arabic, the word for ‘worthy‘ (ahaq) derives from the word for ‘truth’ (haq). This implies that the truth is the worthiest pursuit and objective. Both appear in the following verse:

“Ask (them, O Prophet), “Can any of your associate-gods guide to the truth (al-Haq)?” Say, “(Only) Allah guides to the truth.” Who then is more worthy (ahaq) to be followed: the One Who guides to the truth or those who cannot find the way unless guided? What is the matter with you? How do you judge?” [Qur’an, 10:35]].

Respected servants of Allah! For one to refrain from imparting what is true, or worthiest for that moment, despite being able to, when such can rectify another person’s misguidance, resolve a schism or stand in the face of an injustice becomes tantamount to consent. One can only see their refraining a worthier (ahaq) endeavour if they first undermine (falsify) that truth (haq) being concealed. And as the nature of truth is to be imparted (both clear and clarifying), like intense light which burns away the dusk, forcing it to stay concealed within oneself will bridle its holder with its unbearable heat. On the authority of Abdullah Bin Amr Ibn Al-As (RA), the Prophet (Peace be upon him) says:

“Whoever conceals knowledge Allah will bridle him with reins of fire on the Day of Resurrection.” [Ibn Hibban]

Dear brothers and sisters! Such deplorable behaviour was rampant among the followers of Judaism and their clergymen. Seeing themselves as Allah’s ‘Chosen People’, they absolved themselves from the need to salvage ‘other’ gentiles from misguidance. In effect, they saw themselves exclusively worthy of Allah’s mercy and absolution. This cultish demeanour with the truth and their failing to share their knowledge with others, to guide them or speak truth to people brought about their corresponding removal from His Mercy, culminating in Allah’s curse (La’anah). Allah Almighty says:

“Those who hide the Clear Signs and Guidance We have sent down, after We have made it clear to people in the Book, Allah curses them, and the cursers curse them.” [Qur’an, 2: 159]

Some of them even earned by way of their consensual silence:

“They are people who listen to lies and consume ill-gotten gains…” [Qur’an, 5:42].

They listened to lies silently, ‘Samma’un’, failing to denounce the falsehoods they heard which forms the crux of why they were cursed. And though they were not heard, or necessarily known to be proponents of that falsehood, their silence spoke just as loud.

There is little doubt that they knew their silence, as people of scripture and knowledge, would deliver that effect without needing to openly profess falsehood. Had they spoken in support of falsehood, Allah would have instead called them ‘mutakalimun bil-batil’ or ‘speakers of falsehood’, but their silence was enough to make them culpable for the lies peddled by others.

Correspondingly, their consuming “ill-gotten gains” was to their earning by way of that silence or in today’s terms, they were ‘Scholars for Dollars.’ Those who had reason to pay them off knew of their reformatory impact, as learned men, should they have spoken out. It also speaks volumes about what the peddlers of lies are prepared to offer those who know the truth in extortions, or in new terms, ‘hush money’ in exchange for staying quiet. Today, this presents as one of the most abominable phenomena among learned men under many absolutist regimes.

A group of them once approached the Prophet (Peace be upon him) seeking his judgement for two who had committed adultery. On the authority of Abdullahi Bin Umar (RA), he said:

“The Torah was brought, and then one of the followers of Judaism put his hand over the Divine Verse of the stoning to death and started reading what preceded and what followed it. On that, (the companion) Ibn Salam (RA) said to him: ‘Lift up your hand.’ The Divine Verse of the stoning was under his hand.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

Beloved servants of Allah! Notice how the man in question was cautious not to openly deny that the verse existed. Instead, putting his hand over it, his actions were synonymous to promoting the falsehood in question. Allah Almighty says:

“People of the Book! why do you mix truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth?” [Qur’an, 3: 71]

Some will argue that silence is more palatable to the masses. Countering a falsehood may compromise one’s popularity or charisma, being likely to stir up mass objection or loss of ‘followers’ or loss of worldly gain. These may focus their activism around palatable messages and affectionate, more acceptable narratives (the ‘known’ or the ‘ma’ruf’). They may even have little wealth, drive cheap cars or wear simple clothes but their words are cleverly crafted so as not to stir up the tastes of their crowds. Sufyan al-Thawri (rahimahullah) is reported to have said:

“Many are ascetic with respect to their food and drink but compete for fame or leadership like two mules butting heads.” [Jami’ul Masa’il].

Imam al-Thawri’s words tell that being an ascetic is not by one’s mere abstinence from taking corporate gifts or large pay cheques or by wearing rugged clothes. Instead, one can also choose to be austere with respect to their presence, platforms and audiences, seeing no reason to compete for these ultimately material returns. Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Tarifi says:

“Whoever witnesses the inviolability and status of Islam being defied, or people’s right being violated, but fails to speak in order to maintain his own status, Allah will take away from his own status as much as that appropriated from Islam because you reap what you sow.”

It becomes not only incumbent on those who recognise evil to contest it, but follows that it is better and undeniably ‘safer’ to be ignorant of an unfolding evil than to recognise it and choose silence over speaking.

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

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

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Safar 5, 1444 AH (September 02, 2022).

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Opinion

The Muslim Ummah, death of Queen Elizabeth II and the appreciation of Islam by King Charles III

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By Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

 

 

 

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

All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our own souls and the wickedness of our actions, whoever Allah guides, there is none that can lead him astray, and whoever Allah allows to go astray, there is none that can lead him to the right path.

I testify and bare witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth but Allah, alone, without any partners. And I testify and bare witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger. As for what’s after:

My dear brothers and sisters! On Thursday 8th September, 2022 Queen Elizabeth II passed away. As you all know, she was the longest reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom, having celebrated her platinum jubilee earlier this summer, completing 70 years on the throne. In her wake she leaves behind four children, eight grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. Her eldest son now accedes to the throne as King Charles III, the new head of the British monarchy and the Commonwealth.

During her reign she witnessed 15 Prime Ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill and ending with Liz Truss. Her reign saw the slow degradation of British power from the twilight of colonial era to new post-colonial Britain. During her long life she lived through times of prosperity and security for many in the United Kingdom as well as times of war, crisis, and recessions.

However, her legacy is not without controversy. Whereas Prime Minister Liz Truss credited “her devotion to duty” as “an example to us all”, as reported by Scottish Daily Express, others have seen her death as a moment to remind us of the role the British monarchy has played in colonialism.

For example, Uju Anya, an associate Professor of Second Language Acquisition at Carnegie University, tweeted on Thursday afternoon that:

“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star.”

Also Julius Malema, a politician, youth leader and activist from South Africa has this to say on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, as reported by Pan African Daily TV:

“We do not mourn the death of Elizabeth, because to us her death is a reminder of a very tragic period in this country and Africa’s history…. If there is really life and justice after death, may Elizabeth and her ancestors get what they deserve.”

Queen Elizabeth was on the throne when UK colonial administration committed one of the many heinous crimes of British colonialism in East Africa during the Mau Mau rebellion, killing tens of thousands to perpetuate British occupation all in the name of the Crown. Despite numerous opportunities to offer an official apology the Queen was not forthcoming.

Whilst it can be easy to get swept up in these discussions, I will reminds us of the important lessons that we as Muslims should take from her passing. How should Muslims react at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II?

There are three lessons that I wish to draw to the attention of my Muslim brothers and sisters, from the death of anyone, not just the Queen:

Firstly, we should recollect that we are all going to die; that Allah created death in order that we reflect upon the reality of this life, that we pause and ponder over what we have prepared for the real life that comes after death. Death is the biggest challenge presented to humanity by Allah Almighty. It is the end of this life; every individual will start another life following it. A wise person would take the opportunity to reflect on how s/he has spent this transient life in preparation for the everlasting life to follow. That’s why the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Remember death frequently.”

The reason for this is given in another narration of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). We are informed that death strikes a balance, if you are in a difficult situation, remembering death will remove that feeling of difficulty from you. And yet if you have a carefree life, then remembering death will remind you of the reality of this fleeting life. Allah Almighty says in the Noble

Qur’an:

“Every soul will taste death.”

Allah also said in reference to the Prophet (Peace be upon him):

“You are going to die and all of them are going to die.”

So this is the first point of reflection. Do not lose sight of the fact that whatever ups and downs, whatever joys and sorrows, whatever disputes and disagreements all of which you will forget, do not forget that you are going to die and the death of the Queen—or of anyone else—should remind us of the reality of this life.

The second lesson is, that Allah almighty decreed that the Queen died at 96 years of age and her husband died when he was almost a hundred. This is Allah’s decree. He chooses whether you have a long life or a short one but whatever your situation you will surely die in the end. Even if you live for a hundred years you will die, even if you are a king, a queen, a governor, a president, a minister, a senator, a local government chairman or the most wealthy person, you are not going to live forever, this is another important lesson we should take from the passing of the Queen or any other seemingly powerful person. When we look at these people we ask, where is their wealth, where is their power, where are their supporters? Have any of these things protected them against death and will they help them whilst they are in the grave? The answer is NO!

The final thought is that people feel sad upon the passing of those who are close to them. Sometimes we also feel a sadness for those who are not so close to us but have some connection to our lives. This is not reprehensible in of itself. It depends on how you react.

For example, people may repeat the traditional Islamic invocation uttered on news of person’s death:

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji’uun (meaning: truly we belong to Allah and to Him we shall surely return).”

Can this be said with regards to the death of a non-Muslim such as the Queen?

Respected servants of Allah! I do not think there is an issue here. It is simply uttering a truth that applies to mankind, rich and poor, believer and non-believer, that every human belongs to Allah and every single one will return to Him to be judged. There is no direct supplication in this statement. It may become an issue if there is an implicit supplication made for the salvation of a deceased non-Muslim.

In this regard, what about praying for their salvation? In terms of praying for Allah’s mercy for a deceased unbeliever, from an Islamic perspective, saying ‘Oh Allah have mercy on this person who died as a non-Muslim’, this is not permitted. This is by the consensus (Ijma’) of all Muslim scholars. This is not contradicted by saying Allah is the most merciful because the understanding of Allah’s mercy must be understood in light of the rest of the Islamic scriptures. Allah Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:

“It is not befitting for the Prophet and the believers to seek forgiveness for the polytheists…”

Here ‘polytheists’ refers to all those who died all those who died as non-Muslims. Allah further says in the Qur’an that anyone who dies as a non-Muslim, he is either a polytheist or an unbeliever. Therefore we are not allowed to supplicate for those who have died as non-Muslims. We know that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had his uncle who was the most beloved person to him, when he died the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not pray for him whatsoever.

Furthermore it is not sufficient that the deceased are those who believe in Allah Almighty and are monotheist like Unitarians. Allah sent Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as a Messenger to all mankind. Those who do not believe in him and follow his message remain unbelievers even if they are Unitarians. They are not considered Muslims which is why the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“No one hears about me, whether he is a Jew or Christian, and he does not believe in me and in my message, except he will enter the fire of hell, he is not Muslim.”

May Allah give us the wisdom to understand our religion and apply it in different contexts, ameen.

My dear brothers and sisters! Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the accession of King Charles III to the throne has been dominating airwaves in an unprecedented fashion. This has prompted a race to understand more about the new “Head of the Commonwealth” containing 2.4 billion people across the world, drawing Muslims into the vortex, too. Among this coverage has been the curious fondness and appreciation he has shown for Islam over the years.

Yes, the new king’s appreciation of Islam is well established for those who have followed his career over the long years of his time as Prince of Wales. His positive attitude towards Islam, is indeed something rare in the governing classes of the United Kingdom and is undoubtedly appreciated by Muslims, particularly considering the overabundance of Islamophobes in the ruling establishment attempting to make daily life more and more difficult for Muslims across the board.

In a speech given at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies—of which he is a patron—King Charles gave a speech entitled ‘Islam and the West’, in which he sated that:

“It is odd, in many ways, that misunderstandings between Islam and the West should persist. For that which binds our two worlds together is so much more powerful than that which divides us. Muslims, Christians – and Jews – are all ‘peoples of the Book.’ Islam and Christianity share a common monotheistic vision: a belief in one divine God, in the transience of our earthly life, in our accountability for our actions, and in the assurance of life to come. We share many key values in common: respect for knowledge, for justice, compassion towards the poor and underprivileged, the importance of family life, respect for parents. ‘Honour your father and your mother’ is a Qur’anic precept too. Our history has been closely bound up together.”

King Charles goes on to say:

“If there is much misunderstanding in the West about the nature of Islam, there is also much ignorance about the debt our own culture and civilisation owe to the Islamic world. It is a failure which stems, I think, from the straitjacket of history which we have inherited. The medieval Islamic world, from Central Asia to the shores of the Atlantic, was a world where scholars and men of learning flourished. But because we have tended to see Islam as the enemy of the West, as an alien culture, society and system of belief, we have tended to ignore or erase its great relevance to our own history. For example, we have underestimated the importance of 800 years of Islamic society and culture in Spain between the 8th and 15th centuries. The contribution of Muslim Spain to the preservation of classical learning during the Dark Ages, and to the first flowerings of the Renaissance, has long been recognised. But Islamic Spain was much more than a mere larder where Hellenistic knowledge was kept for later consumption by the emerging modern Western world. Not only did Muslim Spain gather and preserve the intellectual content of ancient Greek and Roman civilisation, it also interpreted and expanded upon that civilisation, and made a vital contribution of its own in so many fields of human endeavour – in science, astronomy, mathematics, algebra (itself an Arabic word), law, history, medicine, pharmacology, optics, agriculture, architecture, theology, music. Averroes and Avenzoor, like their counterparts Avicenna and Rhazes in the East, contributed to the study and practice of medicine in ways from which Europe benefited for centuries afterwards. Islam nurtured and preserved the quest for learning. In the words of the tradition, ‘the ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.’ Cordoba in the 10th century was by far the most civilised city of Europe. We know of lending libraries in Spain at the time King Alfred was making terrible blunders with the culinary arts in this country. It is said that the 400,000 volumes in its ruler’s library amounted to more books than all the libraries of the rest of Europe put together. That was made possible because the Muslim world acquired from China the skill of making paper more than 400 years before the rest of non-Muslim Europe. Many of the traits on which modern Europe prides itself came to it from Muslim Spain. Diplomacy, free trade, open borders, the techniques of academic research, of anthropology, etiquette, fashion, various types of medicine, hospitals, all came from this great city of cities.”

It is here King Charles highlights a sentiment rarely appreciated in the Western world:

“Medieval Islam was a religion of remarkable tolerance for its time, allowing Jews and Christians the right to practise their inherited beliefs, and setting an example which was not, unfortunately, copied for many centuries in the West. The surprise, ladies and gentlemen, is the extent to which Islam has been a part of Europe for so long…”

King Charles is not only praising what Islam has bought to the Modern European world, but emphasising that Islam is an intrinsic part of European history, and its growth was influenced by Islam:

“…first in Spain, then in the Balkans, and the extent to which it has contributed so much towards the civilisation which we all too often think of, wrongly, as entirely Western. Islam is part of our past and our present, in all fields of human endeavour. It has helped to create modern Europe. It is part of our own inheritance, not a thing apart. Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in the world which Christianity itself is the poorer for having lost. At the heart of Islam is its preservation of an integral view of the Universe. Islam – like Buddhism and Hinduism – refuses to separate man and nature, religion and science, mind and matter, and has preserved a metaphysical and unified view of ourselves and the world around us.”

He has also praised many Muslim scholars and authors such as Rene Guenon, Seyyed Nasr and Martin Lings. In particular, when Martin Lings’ book “A Return to the Spirit” was published after his death, King Charles wrote a letter of admiration in which he praises a book written by a prominent English convert, about the last Prophet sent to mankind:

“One of Martin Lings’ greatest legacies was his remarkable biography of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).”

Kings Charles is not a closet Muslim, but clearly literate in some aspects of Islamic thought probably unparalleled in the history of the British Monarchy, being described as an “Islamophile” by some:

Others have been questioning this special pleading for King Charlie’s appreciation of Islam. While he appears to be in little need of such good will, the same cannot be said for other prominent figures in UK public life who have likewise expressed an appreciation for many aspects of Islam but have also been publicly maligned.

Dr Salman Butt, a Journalist, warns that:

“It’s good to celebrate positive news, but important not to fall into some traps, such as using events like these as a plaster to cover over a weakness that we might feel: requiring validation from a powerful or famous non-Muslim. If we do feel that, we need to take a step back and build our appreciation for Islam with knowledge and, more importantly, good deeds; since Ibadah (worship) increases our intelligence and reflective capabilities, and strengthens our Iman (Faith) and character.“

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

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

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Safar 19, 1444 AH (September 16, 2022).

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Opinion

Resurgence of Interest in Hausa Identity on Social Media: A Perspective

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By Aliyu Ammani

 

 

 

 

 

Those following happenings in the social media, could not have missed the debates and controversies generated by the rise in tribal identity consciousness among the Hausa in Nigeria. Identity among the Hausa has been suppressed by the mischievous use of the tag “Bamaguje”, masked by “Hausa-Fulani” and “Arewa” labels, and tacitly put to question over the years. 

Many people see in this increasing consciousness, a threat to the coexistence between the Hausa and the Fulani, two tribes that have been living together for centuries in Hausaland.

Series of conspiracy theories are churn out to explain the genesis of this resurgence on social media, most of which borders on the ridiculous.  The conspiracy theorists appeared not to see the wood for the trees.

There are 2 basic reasons behind the resurgence of interest in Hausa identity in Nigeria today.

First, the Bororo Fulani banditry in Hausaland on populations that are essentially Hausa, and its attendant destruction of lives and properties, maiming, looting, raping of women, kidnapping for ransom etc.

Thousands of towns and villages across Hausaland were sacked. Communities of free law abiding citizens forced back to the dark age of slavery; abled bodied men attacked and abducted, sometimes right inside mosques on Fridays.

The perpetrators of these heinous crimes are always willing to tell the world that they are

Fulani, fighting for Fulani against the Hausa. The reader can hear from the Horse’s Mouth in the following audio-visual documentaries available on YouTube: (i) BBC Africa Eye Documentary “The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara”, (ii) Trust TV’s “Nigeria’s Banditry ‘The Inside Story’” and. (iii) a video coverage of Dr Ahmad Gumi’s meeting with Zamfara Bandits at Shinkafi.

Second, and most important, the attitude of city dwelling Fulani, including some notable traditional and religious leaders in Hausaland in the face of Bororo banditry.

Instead of publicly dissociating themselves from the atrocities of the Bororo bandits or publicly declaring that terrorists like Bello Turji, Dogo Gide and Ado Aleru do not represent the Fulani; they seem more comfortable fabricating excuses for the bandits in tongue-in-cheek statements like “their cattle were rustled”, “traditional cattle routes were blocked by new farmlands and settlements”, “the Fulani are not in it alone, there are other tribes including the Hausa aiding and supporting them” “the Fulani are neglected by the governments, …” etc.

Not a single traditional ruler in mainstream Hausaland came out to publicly take an impartial stand as did the emir of Muri.

Even Miyetti Allah, the Fulani association that is always quick to cry blue murder whenever the interest of the Bororo appeared threatened, appeared to lose its voice.

Thus, projecting an impression that while Bororo Fulani are busy terrorising and destroying essentially Hausa populations and settlements; city Fulani are busy manufacturing and propagating excuses and justifications for the atrocities.

Can one sincerely justify banditry or rebellion by Fulani in Hausaland, a land that is practically a Fulani territory?

The most important traditional rulers in Hausaland are Fulani. The key political figures and public officials in Hausaland are Fulani. The most notable Islamic clerics and religious leaders are Fulani. Even in Hausa settlements outside Hausaland, the heads of the communities, known as “Sarakunan Hausawa” (singular- Sarkin Hausawa) majority are Fulani. The Fulani should be the last to rebel in Hausaland!

The Hausa, hitherto conditioned to accept that he has ‘his back covered’ by the Fulani, feels betrayed. With the scales falling off his eyes, he began to see the writing on the wall: “You are on Your Own”. This ignites the process that sparked the chain of reactions that we are now seeing on social media as the resurgence of interest in Hausa identity, what others see as the dissociation of Hausawa from the Fulani.

There is indeed the tendency that a reawakening of identity consciousness among the Hausa is capable of igniting an equal spark in Fulani identity among the almost “hausanised” Fulani in Hausaland. This could lead to an upsurge in identity politics among both groups, which could lead to extremism where elements from both tribes could begin to see and interpret processes and events on a “we versus them’ basis.

Traces of such extremism are already visible. However, the possibility of such tendency should not be reason enough to deny the Hausa of their rights to tribal identity, association and aspirations, for the simple reason that other Nigerian tribes have been enjoying such rights without posing any threat to their coexistence with other tribes in Nigeria.

The upsurge in Hausa identity revival has started and cannot be stifled or halted, the genie is already out of the bottle.

The question that begs for an answer is “which way forward”?

The way forward is not in the identification and clamping down on the persons or group managing pro Hausa identity revival social media handles as is being suggested by some Islamic clerics across Northern Nigeria. This is more likely to compound rather than solve the problem.

The solution is for the ‘organised Fulani front’ to confront and respectfully address the fears of the Hausa people (of a conspiracy to annihilate them), assure them and publicly dissociate the Fulani from the activities of terrorists like Bello Turji & Co, and commence the process of rebuilding mutual trust and respect between the Hausa and Fulani.

 

 

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Opinion

Hausa Day: 20 Hausa Words in Everyday Nigerian English

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Photo credit: Lugude.

 

Farooq A. Kperogi

 

 

 

Since 2015, every August 26 has been observed as “Hausa Day” (or “Ranar Hausa” in the Hausa language) by Hausa-speaking people all over the world. In honor of this day, I highlight 20 Nigerian English—and Nigerian Pidgin English— expressions that owe debts to the Hausa language.

As with every language that leaves its primordial shores, the Hausa words that make it to Nigerian English are often contorted from their original forms and meanings.

1. “Jaara.” Most speakers of Nigerian English recognize this word as an additional, often small, quantity that a merchant gives to a customer who purchases goods in the market as a show of appreciation for the customer’s business. It is derived from the Hausa “gyara.”

The word’s corruption to “jaara” in Nigerian (Pidgin) English) is a consequence of the absence of the Hausa phoneme “gy” in most Nigerian languages.

Interestingly, in the U.S. state of Louisiana, when I lived for almost two years before moving to Georgia, people use the term “lagniappe” (pronounced Lan-Yap) to signify what Hausa people call “gyara” and that Nigerian English speakers call “jaara.”

No other part of the United States has a culture of merchants giving a small gift to their customers after a transaction. I once speculated that the Louisiana “lagniappe” culture may be traceable to enslaved Hausa people in the state hundreds of years ago.

2. “Babban riga.” The resplendent, broad-sleeved, flowing gown that has now become the attire of choice of Nigerian politicians of all ethnicities is often called “babban riga” in Nigerian English. It’s a slight distortion of “babbar riga,” its Hausa name.

3. “Megad.” This Nigerian English word for what native English speakers call a door guard, a gatekeeper, a uniformed doorman, or a hall porter came to us from a distortion of the Hausa “maigadi,” itself a blend of the Hausa “mai” and the English “guard.”

The fact that most doorkeepers in Nigerian urban centers used to be—probably still are—Hausa or Hausa-speaking northerners helped to admit “megad” into the pantheon of unique Nigerian English expressions.

4. “Buka.” This word now means a cheap, casual, ramshackle eatery that sells already prepared food. It came from the Hausa word “bukka,” which means a temporary, tumble-down hut or tent.

Since most roadside or dirt-cheap eateries in Nigeria used tents (many don’t these days), Nigerians neologized the word “bukateria” from “bukka” on the model of cafeteria, itself an American English word borrowed from Spanish.

5. “Burantashi.” Most Nigerians know this word to be the Hausa word for an aphrodisiac, that is, the bitter herbal concoction that reputedly stimulates sexual desire in men. “Bura” is the Hausa word for the male reproductive organ and “tashi” is the Hausa word for rising, waking up, etc.

Curiously, however, the word “buratashi” (which is probably how it would have been written in Hausa if it were a thing) is more used outside Hausa land than in Hausa land.

In everyday conversational Hausa, at least among Hausa Muslims, “bura” is rarely used except in vulgar insults such as “bura uban ka/ki” (which is now rendered as “borobanka” in some varieties of Nigerian Pidgin English).

I’m genuinely curious how “burantashi” came to be if it’s almost absent in the demotic repertoire of native Hausa speakers. Hausa people call aphrodisiacs “maganin karfin maza” or “gagi.”

6. “Fadama.” This Hausa word for a fertile wetland is now a widely used terminology in agriculture in Nigeria and beyond.

7. “Do guy.” To “do guy” in Nigerian English is to preen, to show off with elaborate sartorial care. That expression owes provenance to the Hausa “gayu,” where it means the same thing. A dandy is called “dan gaye” or “dan danyu” in Hausa.

But it seems like there is a circular sociolinguistic loop in the emergence of this expression from Hausa to Nigerian English. Since “gayu” itself doesn’t seem to be native to Hausa, it’s reasonable to assume that it’s a loan to the language from the English “guy.”

Guy means an adult male in English, and men who wore shirts and trousers (as opposed to the more common Hausa attires of kaftans and babbar riga) were referred to as “guys.”

So, “guy” might have changed meaning from just being men attired in Western clothes to dandies, from where it made its way to Nigerian Pidgin English and later to Nigerian English to simply mean preening.

8. “Long leg,” the Nigerian English idiomatic expression for connections (which even Wole Soyinka used in one of this iconic plays) is said to be the direct translation of the Hausa dogon-kafa. Dogon-kafa can mean long-established, and it can colloquially mean (unfair) advantages that come with knowing people in high places.

9. “Kaya mata” or “kayamata” (which native Hausa speakers would write as “kayan mata”) has come to mean sexual stimulant for women and is now widely known by that name in southern Nigeria.

10. “Mudu,” the unit of measurement that most Nigerians use in the market, is a Hausa word.

11. To “see gobe” in southern Nigeria is to be in trouble, sometimes good trouble. It’s the title of Davido’s 2013 hit song. It may have been derived from the Hausa “sai gobe,” which literally translates as “until tomorrow.” I am also curious to know how the semantic transition occurred from “until tomorrow” to “being in trouble.”

12. “Suya” literally means frying in Hausa, but it has become the name for barbecued meat in Nigeria, which Hausa people call “tsire.” Since most non-Hausa Nigerians can’t faithfully pronounce the phoneme “ts” in Hausa, it’s entirely possible that Hausa tsire sellers encouraged the popularization of suya, an easier word to pronounce among non-Hausa-speaking people.

13. “Dogon yaro” (which literally means tall child) is the Hausa word for neem tree, but it is almost universally known by that name in Nigeria.

14. “Wahala.” Although “wahala” is an Arabic word, it came to Nigerian (Pidgin) English most likely through Hausa. It’s derived from the Arabic “wahla,” which means fright or terror, and is now firmly established in most Nigerian languages—and in the West African Pidgin English spoken in Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon.

15. “Waaka.” In Nigerian Pidgin English, “waaka” is a popular insult often uttered in moments of extreme exasperation with all five fingers stretched out. It’s a corruption of the Hausa “uwar ka” (male) “uwar ki” (female). Uwa means “mother” in Hausa, so “uwar ka” is “your mother!”

16. “Mugu.” Nigerian 419 email scammers popularized this expression in Nigeria and beyond. It is understood to mean a chump, that is, a fool who can easily be tricked to part with his or her prized possessions under false pretenses. But this meaning of the word departs from its original Hausa meaning of “sadist.” Now, mugu has other variations such as “maga.”

17. “Haba!” This exclamation of astonishment or disappointment that has crept into Standard Nigerian English is native to the Hausa language. But a British linguist by the name of Roger Blench observed that “Habahaba! was a common expression of joking amazement in the US in the 1940s,” and wonders if there is any relationship between the Nigerian “haba!” and the obsolete American English “habahaba!” in light of the phono-semantic similarities between both expressions. I doubt that there is.

18. “Shikenan” (often rendered as “shikena” in southern Nigeria), the Hausa term for “that is it,” is now almost universally used in Nigerian (Pidgin) English.

19. “Shege.” This means bastard in Hausa, although it can also be used as an intensifier. It is now widely understood and used in the same context in Nigerian Pidgin English.

20. “Zobo” (short for zoborodo), a kind of drink originally limited to Hausa land is now probably the most pan-Nigerian locally produced drink. It is sold in African shops in Europe and North America.

Bonus: Turenchi, usually dogo turenchi, (which would be turanci, dogon turanci in Hausa), is now widely used in Nigerian Pidgin English and in informal standard Nigerian English to mean long, boring, ineffective harangue in English by politicians and academics.

 

 

 

Kperogi, is a Professor of journalism and emerging media at Kennesaw State University, USA. This article was first published on his Facebook account.

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