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Why Kano Tribunal judgement cannot stand

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Kabir Akingbolu, Esq

 

In the last few days, the media, both electronic and the conventional media have been awashed by all sorts of reports and analysis about the recent judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the governorship election and return of Alhaji Yusuf Abba as the governor of Kano state. To my mind, I think and believe that this judgment and series of opinion or analysis that followed have all failed to decipher the real position of the law with regard to the major reasons why the Tribunal nullified the election.

As shall be demonstrated anon, the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction to declare the APC candidate in the election as the winner after nullifying certain votes, given the state of our electoral jurisprudence. Before going further, it is pertinent to state that the jurisdiction of any court, including an election petition tribunal, is determined by the statute, a fortiori, an Election Petition Tribunal, whose jurisdiction is not only donated but also circumscribed by the statute, that is, the Electoral Act, 2022 and the 1999 constitution (as amended).

This means that a court of law cannot act outside the statute that established it. See Alhassan V. Ishaku (2017) All RWLR (pt 866) 209 at 297-298, where the Supreme Court held that the jurisdiction of a tribunal is circumscribed and limited in power by the enabling statute or law. Therefore, looking at the major ground or reason given by the tribunal in nullifying 165,673 votes, it will be observed that it was based on the failure of the Presiding Officers of the affected polling units to sign, date and stamp the results issued, according to the tribunal.
Now, the question to ask are: can the mere omission to sign or stamp an election result constitute a ground to nullify same? Assuming it can (which is not conceded) does the tribunal have the jurisdiction to declare APC candidate the winner in the circumstances? It is submitted most humbly that the Tribunal’s order declaring the APC candidate the winner of the election completely turned the law upside down, for undisclosed reasons.

This is because section 60 (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, upon which the judgment was based is not sacrosanct. For ease of reference, section 60 (1) and (2) of the electoral Act 2022 provides:

(2) The presiding officer shall, after counting the votes at polling unit, enter the votes scored by each candidates in a form to be prescribed by the commission as the case may be.

(2) The form shall be signed and stamped by presiding officer and counter signed by the candidates or their polling agents where available at the polling units.

It is submitted that non adherence or observance of the above provision cannot render the result of an election invalid because looking at the provision, it commanded two major obligations, namely: The presiding officer shall sign and the candidates or his agents shall sign. Fair enough, but there had been several instances where agents of the candidates were available but refused to sign the results of the election and the court held that it is not mandatory neither did it nullify the results of the election. See Ikpeazu V Otti (2016) 8 NWLR (Pt.1513) at 54.

That being the case, if the failure of an agent to sign an election result is held not sufficient to nullify an election result, it then follows that non signing by the presiding officer or stamping is not fatal, especially given the fact that the presiding officers’ names are subscribed to the foot of every result and that suffices to give it validity. That apart, in Ishola V. Ajiboye (1998) 1 NWLR (Pt. 532) at 71, the court held that similar provision should be interpreted in the same way.

Therefore; the courts overtime having interpreted that the failure of the agents not signing results to be of no moment cannot now hold that non signing and stamping of same by presiding officers is fatal because the two obligations are provided for by same statute and in the same section. How then will the court give two different interpretations to the same provisions? It is impossible.

Moreover, the Electoral Act, 2022 in Section 60 (6) prescribes punishment of N500,000 or six months imprisonment for any presiding officer that fails to comply with the provision of section 60 relating to failure of the presiding officers to sign and stamp the results in the polling units. It follows to reason that since the electoral Act has prescribed a sanction and consequence for the delinquent act, the court or tribunal cannot do otherwise.

It is submitted that if the framers of the law had wanted the results not so signed and stamped to be invalid, they would have so provided expressly in the law. Be it noted, however that Section 60(6) of the Electoral Act, 2022 is an innovation which was not provided for in section 63 of the Electoral Act, 2010 which ended at sub section (4). For emphasis, section 63 (1, 2, 3 and 4) of the 2022 Electoral Act but with the addition of two new subsections, namely sub sections 5 and 6 of the Act.

Being a new innovation, it means that is the remedy provided by law which is punishment and not cancellation that is relevant.

Also, in section 120 of the Electoral Act, 2022, the failure by presiding officers to stamp is also criminalized. And what is more? Section 63(1) and (2) states further that a ballot paper that fails to bear official mark prescribed by the commission shall not be counted but section 63(2) whittled down the extensive provision by giving the officer the latitude to make use of any ballot paper without official mark. For clarity, section 63(2) reads” if the returning officer is satisfied that a ballot paper which does not bear the official mark was from a book of ballot papers which was furnished to the presiding officer of the polling unit in which votes was cast for use at the election in question he or she shall notwithstanding the absence of the official mark, count the ballot paper.

A close look at the above provision would reveal that what the law gives to the returning officer is a blanket power which may be exercised anyhow because it is the exclusive preserve to perform the obligation so imposed by law. In doing this, his discretion is needed which the law did not provide. In Menkiti V Menkiti (200) 8 NWLR (Pt.667) 154, it was held that exercise of discretion cannot be subjected to any rule or procedure neither can it be circumscribed by human made guidelines, though it must be in compliance with natural justice. See also University of Lagos V Aigoro (1985) NWLR (Pt.1) at 143.

Stretched further, a more analytical dissection and justaposition of sections 60 and 63 of the Electoral Act 2022 would reveal that while section 60 deals with election results, section 63 deals with ballot papers.

Unfortunately the tribunal applied section 60 which deals with stamping, signing and dating of election results and not ballot papers. For this, we submit that the tribunal misapplied the law and therefore, its findings are perverse, unjust and cannot stand.

Although, the electoral Act did not specify what an “official mark” means, it is submitted that any mark or name of any official of INEC suffices. In Aiki V Idowu (2006) 9 NWLR (Pt.984) at 49, or Aiki V Idowu (2006) All FWLR (Pt.293) 361 at 375,the court held that any mark constitutes a signature Also, by virtue of clause 5, of the INEC Regulation and Guidelines for the election, upon collation of results, INEC ward collation officer is deemed to have resolved any discrepancies.

It is submitted that by parity of reasoning, once the result of the election is taken and announced by the electoral officers, it is deemed that the result is valid.

In any case, clause 36 of the Manual and Guidelines on the election seems to suggest that water mark constitutes official mark. We submit that if that were to be taken, then, the tribunal was wrong to rely on the CTC or copies of the result because water mark can only be seen in original copies of ballot papers because water mark is a hidden security features in the ballot. What is more? Our courts over the years have reiterated the point beyond any peradventure that there is presumption of regularity in favour of any result declared by INEC. See Livinus Gwaza Ujumatyu V Titus Tyoapine uba & Ors. (2019) LPELR 48859.

Although, the presumption of regularity which enures in favor of INEC results by virtue of section 168 of the Evidence Act is a rebuttable one, the burden of proving otherwise is squarely on the person alleging any irregularity. Unfortunately, the Tribunal got it wrong in this regard when it held at pages 215-216 of the judgment thus: “The 1st Respondent, in demonstrating that the ballot papers were valid, ought to have pleaded and further called the returning officer to give more particulars as to the validity of the official mark and also the 1st Respondent ought to have identified before the tribunal thumb printed ballot papers which the hoodlums brought”.

Ditto no evidence was led by the 1st Respondent to show that the Returning officer was satisfied that the ballot papers used in the aforementioned local government areas which did not bear the official marks, was from a book of ballot papers which was furnished to the presiding officer of the polling unit in which the vote was cast or use at the election in question. The tribunal was left with no option but to work (SIC) the ballot papers tendered and relied upon by the petitioner. It is the view of this tribunal, that election petition results and reports are very important documents, as held by the Court of Appeal on the implication of undated election results and election report in the case of Adihige V. Nwogu (2010) 12 NWLR(Pt. 1209) 419 at 481.

Without having the name, signature and date of exception on Exhibits P5, P6-P16c, P18-P34a, how can the tribunal know that it was made contemporaneously with the date the results were declared? It may be of probative value if the maker gives parole evidence of date it was executed. Having not offered further explanation, this honorable Tribunal cannot engage on a voyage of discovery, to know why those ballot papers in respect of the local governments aforementioned, which did not bear the official mark, were counted or not”.

We submit, most respectfully, that the Tribunal completely went off the radar and misplaced the burden of proof by supposing that the INEC and other respondents in whose favour the legal presumption enures are to disprove the legal presumption. This is because the law on he who asserts must prove has not changed. Therefore, by misplacing the burden of proof, the judgment of the tribunal is perverse and unjust. See Atolagbe V Shorun (1985) 1 NWLR (Pt.2) pg. 360 at 375.

Stretched further, section 135 (3) of the Electoral Act, states that, “no election shall be questioned or cancelled by reason that there is a mistake, conflict or inconsistence in the date contained in the result of such election signed by a returning officer or any other officer of the commission.”

We submit that this provision says it all. This is because, it is safe to argue that the law itself knows that there is no way an election may be conducted without any mistake or shortcoming at all. Thus, the word “mistake” has been judicially defined in Bello v. State (2016) LPELR-45601 (CA) as follows “I have consulted the Black’s Law Dictionary for the definition of mistake.

Black’s Law Dictionary (supra) defines mistake on page 1001 as: “some unintentional act omission or error arising from ignorance, surprise, imposition or misplaced confidence”.

Therefore, omission of dates, even official marks or step, cannot make an election to be invalid more so that the court can take judicial notice of the date of election.

Furthermore, it is surprising that the tribunal that held that it cannot go on a voyage of discovery to know why the ballot papers which did not bear official mark were credited or not, summersaulted 360 degrees and held that it had no choice than to look at the results tendered and make use of them.

We submit that the tribunal was also wrong to have held that the hallowed principle of dumping of documents did not arise in the case based on section 137 of Electoral Act. This is because section 137 of the Evidence Act cannot override the provision of section 128-133 of the Evidence Act on burden of proof.

More interestingly, is the fact that this section was recently interpreted to be of no moment if a party fails to lead evidence on the documents tendered in court. We rely on the unreported decision of the presidential election delivered by the Court of Appeal on 6th September 2023.

Therefore, section 137 of the Electoral Act, even though an innovation, according to the tribunal, we submit that documents tendered before the tribunal or court must be spoken to and linked with the case of parties. Assuming without conceding that the findings of the tribunal that those results that bear no official mark are invalid and properly voided is correct, it is our submission that the tribunal cannot make a return of the APC candidate as the winner for the simple reason that the complaint against non affixing of official mark, non dating, non signing and non stamping of election results and/or ballot papers raised in the petition and decided by the court are grounds of non-compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act.

What is more? This was confirmed by the tribunal at page 206 where the tribunal held that “By way of conclusion, this issue, may we point out for the umpteenth time that section 137 of the Electoral Act and paragraph 46(4) of the first schedule to the Electoral Act, 2022, have changed the law on the hallowed doctrine of dumping in election petition litigation, so much so, that in a narrow sphere of proof of non-compliance, can now be proved by documents alone.”

It is submitted that by admitting expressly that the allegation of non- signing, non-dating non-use of official mark belong to the realm of non- compliance, the tribunal missed the point by declaring APC candidate as the elected governor of Kano state. This is because under our electoral jurisprudence, once a party based his petition on non-compliance with the provision of Electoral Act, the only order the tribunal or court can make is nullification of the election and not an outright return.

This means the tribunal should have cancelled the results and order for fresh election in the affected areas. See section 136 of the Electoral Act, 2022, which provides:

(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), if the tribunal or the court as the case may be, determines that a candidate who was returned as elected was not validly elected on any ground, the tribunal or court shall nullify the election and order the commission to conduct a fresh election not later than 90 days after the-
(a) Decision if an appeal is not filed against the decision; or

(b) Nullification of the election by the court having final appellant jurisdiction in respect of the said election.

Before dilating on the above provision, we reproduce section 136(2) and (3) which states thus;
(2) Where an election Tribunal or Court nullifies an election an the fund that the person who obtained the highest votes at the election was not qualified to contest the election, the lection tribunal or court shall declare the person with the second highest number of valid votes cast at the election who satisfies the requirements of the constitution and this Act duly elected.

Provided that the person with the second highest number of valid votes cast at the election remains a member of the political party on which platform he contested the election otherwise, the candidate with the next highest number of vote in the election and who satisfies the same conditions shall be declared the winner of the election.

(3) If the Tribunal or the Court determines that a candidate who was returned as elected was not validly elected on the found that he did not score the majority of lawful votes cast at the election, the election tribunal or the court, as the case may be, shall declare as elected the candidate who scored the highest number of valid votes cast at the election and satisfied the requirements of the constitution and this Act.
Looking at the above provision of the law in section 136 (1) (2) and (3), it is crystal clear that the tribunal will only have power to declare anyone the winner of an election where the petition succeeds on section 134 (1) (a) and (c) which deal with non-qualification of candidate and failure to obtain majority of lawful votes cast at the election respectively.

Therefore, section 136 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 has pinned down the specific order a tribunal can make where the petition succeeds on any ground other than the two grounds mentioned in section 134 (a) and (c) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

To do otherwise therefore, is an offshoot of the law. Put differently, the petitioners on one hand wanted the election to be nullified on the ground of corrupt practices or non-compliance, while on the other hand they want the tribunal to declare the 1st Petitioner as the winner of the election having allegedly scored majority of lawful votes cast at the election.

Considering the reliefs sought at the tribunal here, it can be concluded that the reliefs sought are mutually exclusive or inconsistent and incongruous.

In OBIEKWE & ANOR V. AYINLA & ORS (2019) LPELRN-50785 the court held that, “The complaint of the appellants under this issue centered on the reliefs sought by the Appellant as petitioner for the mollification of the election of the grounds that same was marked by substantial irregularities non-compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended) and the reliefs seeking for declaration of the 1st Appellant as duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast are mutually exclusive, and cannot be granted.

I agree with the learned Judges of the Tribunal that in law the Appellants are entitled to make alternative claims in the petition but the Appellants have to make a choice which of the claims to pursue. The 1st Appellant cannot claim that he won the election by scoring majority of valid votes cast and at the same time seek for the nullification of the election. The reliefs are clearly incongruous and rightly, in my view, discontenanced by the Tribunal. See also, AMOSUN V. INEC (2010) LPELR 4943 (CA).

It is submitted that in a petition alleging and founded on substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act or corrupt practices, no winner ought to emerge. In other words, the consequences of proof of such allegation, which is the only relief available to a Petitioner relying on such grounds, is the nullification of the election and order for fresh election. No more, no less. Meaning that a petitioner cannot pray to be returned as the winner of the election he alleged to have been flawed by substantial non compliance as it is not only incongruous but also sign post his insincerity in the claim he is making before the Tribunal.

CONCLUSION
From the foregoing, it is undoubtedly clear that the judgment of the Tribunal is a total miscarriage of justice.
In the analysis of the facts of the case and interpretation of the law, the Tribunal took over the case of the Petitioners in arriving at its indefensible conclusion. In as much as the Tribunal tried to hide its unbelievable bias, one of the members employed such foul and vulgar language in attacking the 1st Respondent and members of the New Nigeria Political Party. In arriving at a predetermined position the Tribunal cancelled 165,000 votes because of the mistake of INEC officials who failed to mark and stamp the ballot papers.

Thus, in an undisguised manner, the Tribunal clearly showed sentiment and emotion in support of the APC in the language used in the judgment. A member of the Tribunal, Justice Benson Anya let the cat out of the bag when he said, “I use this opportunity to condemn the gang of Red Cap wearers who like a violent and terrorist cult chased us out of Kano and put us in the fear of our lives.

We believe that only Allah is the giver of power. Those who believe in Allah must bow to his will and submit to the authority of Governmental power. Resort to anarchy, violence and killing can never be a source of lawful power. Threatening to put Honourable Judges in the danger of their life as done in Kano by some disgruntled bandits parading as politicians is hereby condemned.”

In descending to the arena and subjecting the entire members of the NNPP to collective punishment the Tribunal did not deem it fit to give them fair hearing before condemning them. However, we agree with the Tribunal that “only Allah is the giver of power.” But since Allah has through the electorates of Kano State given power to Governor Abba Yusuf, we are confident that the Court of Appeal will dismiss the unjust judgment of the Tribunal and res tore the confidence of the Nigerian people in the judiciary.

Kabir Akingbolu, Esq
Is a legal practitioner, human rights activist and constitutional law expert
writes from Lagos, Nigeria

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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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