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Friday Sermon: Hisbah and the Islamic ways of stopping evils in society

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Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation, may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.

Dear brothers and sisters! The Shari’ah-oriented political scientists define Hisbah as the duty of enjoining good when it is neglected and forbidding evil when it is prevalent in society. Ibn Khaldun considers Hisbah as a religious post. That is why jurists (Fuqaha) differentiate between the Muhtasib (one who practices Hisbah), who is appointed by the head of state or the governor to look after the state’s subjects, and the Mutatawi’i (volunteer), who practices Hisbah without being assigned by the political authority. Historically, Hisbah as a system was founded in the political life of Muslims during the era of Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Khattab. However, the term itself was known only in the era of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mahdi.

According to some Islamic scholars, Hisbah started in a simple form in the early days of Islam, but acquired various features and ramifications over time. In fact, some contemporary government ministries and departments — such as those of health, social affairs, municipalities, transport, and police — are now assuming duties that used to be entrusted to the Muhtasib.

The Muhtasib must be a capable, discerning Muslim adult. This person serves as the eye of the law on both state and society.

Hisbah, as defined earlier, is the duty of promoting what is good and preventing what is evil. And it is a collective duty or obligation of the Muslim society. Hence, a considerable number of individuals should assume this responsibility, take an affirmative stand toward it, and put it into practice whenever there is a need for it.

Hisbah is a broad Qur’anic principle that encompasses both the government’s responsibilities as well as any effort exerted by the individual to resolve a conflict or misunderstanding between two individuals, groups, friends, families, or strangers.

Hisbah thus encourages the individual to participate and get involved in society as an active agent who is mindful of the problems and concerns of the society where he or she lives. There are several verses in the Qur’an on Hisbah, which is also one of the major themes of the Prophetic Sunnah.

Muslim jurists (Fuqaha) have also spoken at length on the conditions and valid application of Hisbah, which need not be reviewed here. However, one deems it mandatory to mention that Imam Ibn Taimiyyah specified certain conditions for one to be eligible to be a Muhtasib such as knowledge, leniency, and patience.

So the main Pillars of Hisbah are:

1. The Muhtasib: who must be a capable, discerning Muslim adult. This person serves as the eye of the law on both state and society. In other words, this person supervises the application of the law in society, especially in the marketplace, to protect it against treachery, mishandling, monopoly, usury, exaggerated profits, and the like.

2. A flagrant evil that exists: It should be so clear to the Muhtasib, in such a way that requires no effort exerted for noticing it.

3. The process of Hisbah itself, which refers to the regulation or censorship of public morals as described above.

Dear brothers and sisters! Know that enjoining good and forbidding evil in society is one of the essential teachings of Islam. It is the pillar of a justly-ordered society and the guardian of true faith. Everyone is obligated to acknowledge good and reject evil in their hearts, at the very least.

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith.” [Muslim]

The lowest level of faith is to reject evil in one’s heart and it is an obligation at all times. As for changing evil with one’s tongue, or words, and with one’s hand, or by direct action, it is only an obligation for those who are able to carry out its duties according to proper methods, principles, and objectives.

Imam Ibn Rajab commented on the many Hadith of this nature, saying:

“All of these Hadiths indicate that it is an obligation to condemn evil by the measure of one’s ability. As for condemnation in the heart, it is always required. Whoever does not condemn evil in his heart, it is a sign that faith (Iman) has vanished from his heart… As for condemnation of the tongue and hand, it is only obligatory within one’s capacity.” [See Jami’ul Ulum wal-Hikam]

The scholars have said that enjoining good and forbidding evil is based upon three principles, or prerequisite and necessary conditions:

1. Knowledge

2. Gentleness

3. Patience

It is not appropriate for someone to enjoin good or forbid evil unless they have knowledge of Islamic rulings and their relevancy to real-life situations, they are able to be patient and forbearing with the harm this duty entails, and they are gentle with people as much as possible.

Imam Sufyan al-Thawri, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“No one may enjoin good or forbid evil except for one who has three qualities: gentleness in what he enjoins and forbids, justice in what he enjoins and forbids, and knowledge of what he enjoins and forbids.” [See al-Amr bil-Maʻruf lil-Khallal]

And Imam Al-Qadi Abu Ya’la said:

“No one may enjoin good and forbid evil unless he understands what he enjoins and forbids, he is gentle in what he enjoins and forbids, and he shows forbearance in what he enjoins and forbids.” [See al-Amr bil Ma’ruf li-Ibn Taimiyyah]

And Imam Ibn Taimiyyah said:

“One who enjoins good must have three qualities: knowledge, gentleness, and patience. Knowledge comes before it, gentleness comes during it, and patience comes after it.” [See al-Amr bil Ma’ruf li-Ibn Taimiiyyah]

Respected servants of Allah! The scholars set these three conditions because, in addition to being mentioned many times in the Qur’an and Sunnah, they further facilitate the ultimate objective in Islam of reforming and purifying souls on their journey to Allah into the Hereafter. If someone tries to enjoin good while lacking one of these qualities, they will likely end up making the situation worse for themselves and others.

Imam Ibn Taimiyyah said:

“Based on this, it is said to let not your enjoining good and forbidding evil be evil itself. As it is among the greatest of obligatory and recommended deeds, thus the benefit of obligatory and recommended deeds must outweigh their harm.” [See al-Amr bil-Ma’ruf li-Ibn Taimiyyah]

Being able to balance all considerations of time and place in sound knowledge, graceful patience, and compassionate gentleness is the essence of wisdom, as put by Imam Ibn al-Qayyim:

“Wisdom is to act as one should, in the manner that one should, in the time that one should.” [See Madarijus Salikin]

One who enjoins good should have a sound understanding of Islamic teachings on the issues at hand, in addition to the specific circumstances regarding people, their customs, their perceptions, and so on. Enjoining good is an act of worship done for the sake of Allah, so the good of it will be diminished or entirely nullified if it is done in ignorance.

Umar Ibn AbdulAziz, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“Whoever worships without knowledge will cause more harm than good.” [Sunan al-Darimi]

One who enjoins good should be gentle to those whom he enjoins, meaning to only use such sternness or force as is necessary to achieve the desired outcome of reformation. The quality of gentleness makes the difference between a beautiful and graceful deed done for the sake of Allah, or an ugly and disgraceful deed done for the sake of one’s ego.

Aisha (RA) reported that: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Verily, kindness and gentleness is not found in anything but that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything but that it disgraces it.” [Muslim]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was very gentle and charitable whenever he needed to criticise or correct someone’s behaviour. His habit was to make a general point of correction, without specifying or naming the person, in hopes of salvaging that person’s reputation. The reputations of the believers, like their lives and property, are sacred.

Aisha (RA) reported that: If the Prophet (Peace be upon him) heard something bad about a man, he would not name them by saying:

“What is the matter with this person that he says this?” Rather, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would say: “What is the matter with some people who say this?” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

When further criticism was warranted to achieve the intended result, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would use mild and measured language to correct a person’s behaviour. He would neither outright condemn Muslims or believers for their moral shortcomings, nor would he use foul, vulgar, offensive, or ugly language.

Anas Ibn Malik reported that: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would not revile others, he would not use profanity, and he would not curse others. If he wanted to criticise one of us, he would say:

“What is the matter with him? His forehead be dusted!” [Bukhari]

The companions likewise followed the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) example in correcting people as gently as they could, only being harsh with those who committed brazen sins and violations of other’s rights in public.

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal reported that:

“The companions of Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, if they passed by people from whom they saw something they disapproved, they would say: Take it easy, may Allah have mercy on you.” [See al-Amr bil-Maʻruf lil-Khallal]

And Imam Ahmad said:

“One should enjoin good with gentleness and humility. If they make him hear what he dislikes, he should not get angry such that he wants to avenge himself.” [See al-Amr bil-Maʻruf lil-Khallal]

And he also said:

“People are in need of courtesy and gentleness in enjoining good, without harshness, except for a man who brazenly sins in public, for he has no sanctity.” [Jami’ul-Ulum wal-Hikam]

Dear brothers and sisters! As for patience and forbearance, it was the quality of the Prophets of Allah (Peace be upon them) to endure the harms of their people to whom they delivered the message of Allah Almighty.

Allah Almighty said:

“Verily, Ibrahim was forbearing, compassionate, and repentant.” [Qur’an, 11:75]

And Allah the Most High said:

“They said: We will surely be patient with the harm you cause us, and let them rely upon Allah those who would rely.” [Qur’an, 14:12]

My beloved people! One who enjoins good must be gentle to avoid provoking the harmful reactions of those whom he enjoins, but it is to be expected that such harm is inevitable in some cases. This means that the believer should advise others and neither reciprocate their harm and insults, nor retaliate against them for the sake of his or her own ego.

Amr Ibn al-As, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“The truly forbearing one is not one who is forbearing to those who tolerate him but insults whoever insults him. Rather, the truly forbearing one is forbearing to both those who tolerate him and to those who insult him.” [See al-Mudarah al-Nas, 6]

Artah Ibn al-Mundhir, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

The believer does not take vengeance for himself. He is prevented from doing so by the Qur’an and Sunnah. He has been restrained.” [See al-Amr bil-Maʻruf lil-Khallal]

Enjoining good should always been done with a sincere intention for the sake of Allah, not as a pretext to vent personal grudges or any other egotistically driven motive. Sometimes one who enjoins good is motivated by hope of reward or fear of punishment, but an even better motive is good will and mercy towards the believers and the pure love of Allah and love for the sake of Allah.

Imam Ibn Rajab said:

“Know that enjoining good and forbidding evil is at times done out of motivation to seek reward from Allah, at times done for the fear of His punishment for leaving it, at times done for anger for the sake of Allah in violating His sacred limits, at times done with good will for the believers, mercy for them, and hope in their salvation from what might afflict them of the wrath of Allah and His punishment in the world and in the Hereafter, and at times it is done out of motivation to glorify Allah, to honour Him, and to love Him… Whoever considers these last two positions, it will be easy for him every time he endures harm for the sake of Allah Almighty, and perhaps he will even supplicate for the benefit of those who harm him.” [See Jami’ul-Ulum wal-Hikam]

Dear servants of Allah! Islam is based upon sincere good will (Nasihah) towards the believers and human beings in general, which is to desire and intend good for them. Enjoining good always involves giving advice and therefore must be based on this type of sincerity. Believers should love for others what they love for themselves.

Jarir Ibn Abdullah reported that:

“I pledged allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) to establish prayer, to give charity, and to be sincere to every Muslim.” [Bukhari]

Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“Verily, the believers are people with good will and love for each other, even if their lands and countries are far apart. And the hypocrites are people with malevolence for each other.” [See Tarikh Dimashq]

Even when it comes to non-Muslims and unbelievers, Muslims should be merciful to them and present Islam to them in the best possible manner, as mercy and concern for all beings is at the heart of Allah’s message.

Abdullah Ibn Amr reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“The merciful (people) will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful (Allah). Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

In this regard, it should be appreciated that changing evil “with one’s hand” refers to direct action and not brute force or violence, unless defending oneself and others from aggression becomes legal and is necessary as a last resort.

Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“Changing evil with one’s hand does not necessarily mean with a sword or weapons.” [See Jami’ul-Ulum wal-Hikam]

At the same time, Muslims should not be reckless in enjoining good if it might bring excessive harm to oneself and others. This principle is most clearly understood in relation to unjust and tyrannical leaders. If one can safely correct their behaviours and condemn their evil, without inciting a civil war or greater persecution, it is an obligation to do so. But

if confronting the leader would likely result in bodily harm to oneself and the society, it is no longer an obligation and may even be prohibited.

Sa’id Ibn Jubair reported that: I asked Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him:

“Shall I enjoin good and forbid evil upon the leader?” Ibn Abbas said: “If you fear he will kill you, then no.” Then, I asked him again and he said: “If you must do so, then do it between you and him privately.” [See al-Amr bil-Maʻruf li-Ibn Abid Dunya]

Imam Ibn Rajab commented on this narration, saying:

“As for rebellion against the leaders with the sword (weapon), then it should be feared that they will cause trials leading to the shedding of blood. Yes, if it is feared that boldness in condemning the leaders will harm his people and his neighbours, it is not appropriate for him to confront them if it involves causing harm to others. Such was said by Al-Fudail Ibn Iyad and others. Along with this, if he fears they will put him to the sword, or whip, or prison, or shackle, or banishment, or seizure of property, and other types of harm like that, then the obligation to enjoin good and forbid evil upon them is dropped. The Imams were explicit about that, among them Malik, Ahmad, Ishaq, and others.” [See Jami’ul-Ulum wal-Hikam]

The issue of confronting tyrannical, unjust and merciless leaders best illustrates the need to wisely consider the harms and benefits of direct action or speech. There are plenty of examples in Islamic history, and human history in general, when zealous revolutionaries incited a civil war in their countries or states and made a very bad situation even worse than it had been before.

Imam Hasan al-Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“If people had patience when they are afflicted with trials and injustices from their leader, it would not be long before Allah gives them a way out. Yet they rush to their swords (weapons), so they are left to their swords (weapons). By Allah, not even for a single day did they bring any good.” [See al-Tabaqat al-Kubrah]

This is not to say that confronting unjust authorities should never be done. On the contrary, it is among the best acts of jihad to speak truth to a tyrant and it is an obligation for those who can reasonably do so. That said, the position of most scholars is that political violence almost always leads to greater evil than the original tyrant. The priority should be the pragmatic safety and well-being of the society or nation, not an abstract commitment to a ruling ideology or Utopian society.

Respected brothers and sisters! Enjoining good and forbidding evil is a trial, so it should not be rushed into without the prerequisite faith (Iman), knowledge, and character. A believer ends up harming themselves or others when they confront a trial without being prepared to endure it or manage its fallout.

Hudhaifah reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“It is not befitting for a believer to humiliate himself.” They said, “How does he humiliate himself?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “He confronts a trial he cannot endure.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Imam Ibn Rajab commented on this Hadith, saying:

“Indeed, it only indicates that if one knows he cannot endure the harm and be patient with it, then in that case one who would enjoin good should not confront it. This is the truth.” [See Jami’ul Ulum wal-Hikam]

Great servants of Allah! Lastly, it is a fact that we will sometimes be confronted with evil that we have no power to change at all, whether it is because we as individuals are in a weak position, or the society as a whole is failing in the collective obligation to forbid evil, or the supporters of evil are too numerous to counter. In such a case, the least we can do, and perhaps the only thing we can do, is to hate the evil we see in our hearts.

Ummu Salamah reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“There will be leaders from whom you will see both goodness and corruption. One who recognises their evil and hates it will maintain his innocence, but one who is pleased with it and follows them will be sinful.” It was said, “Shall we not fight them?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “No, as long as they pray.” [Muslim]

Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“Soon one of you who lives long enough will see evil he cannot change, yet Allah knows that he hates it in his heart.” [See al-Amr bil-Maʻruf li-Ibn Abi Dunya]

In sum, enjoining good and forbidding evil should only be done by those who can do so with a sincere intention, knowledge, gentleness, patience, and forbearance. It is only an obligation upon Muslims in so far as they are able to properly effect change, although true believers must always hate evil in their heart. Enjoining good involves the careful consideration of priorities, benefits, and harms, with the objective being to protect the Muslim society’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being in this life and in the Hereafter.

And all praise is due to Allah, 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 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, 27 Sha’aban, 1445 AH (March 08, 2024).

 

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Opinion

A tribute to Professor Jibril Isa Diso: A symbol of resilience and wisdom

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Ibraheem Ladi Amosa

 

In the hallowed halls of academia, rare souls leave ineradicable marks on the hearts and minds of those they touch. Today, with full submission to the will of Allah, we mourn the loss of such a luminary, *Professor Jibril Isa Diso, the first blind professor in Nigeria.* A symbol of hope, resilience, and wisdom, Professor Jibril’s journey from Tudun Maliki School for Special Needs to the esteemed Department of Special Education at Bayero University Kano epitomizes the triumph of the human spirit.

Born in Gwale, Kano State, Professor Jibril’s life was a testament to the power of determination and the boundless potential that lies within each of us, regardless of our physical limitations. His early years at Tudun Maliki School for Special Needs were marked by an unwavering pursuit of knowledge, a journey that saw him rise above challenges with an indomitable will and an insatiable thirst for learning.

Joining Bayero University Kano in 1994, Jibril’s academic voyage was nothing short of extraordinary. In 2019, he shattered the glass ceiling to become Nigeria’s first visually impaired professor, a milestone that echoed far beyond the walls of the university. His ascent was not merely a personal triumph but a symbol of hope and inspiration for countless individuals living with special needs. His rich profile served as a roadmap for others, illustrating that disability is not a barrier but a unique facet of one’s identity that can be embraced and celebrated.

Professor Jibril Isa Diso’s legacy is marked by perseverance, intellectual brilliance, and dedication to societal betterment. As a role model to all, he demonstrated that true sight lies in the heart and mind. His journey inspires us to break barriers, seek knowledge, and champion inclusivity. Though he has passed, his enduring light and wisdom continue to guide and inspire countless others in Nigerian academia and beyond.

O Allah, forgive him and have mercy on him and give him strength and pardon him. 

Ibraheem Ladi Amosa
markazihyaahisunnah@gmail.com

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Opinion

Kano Games Of The Throne: A Fight To Finish

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By Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa

“If you pursue evil with pleasure, the pleasure passes away and the evil remains; If you pursue good with labor, the labor passes away but the good remains.”— Cicero

At the first instance, the division of the Kano Emirate and elevation of the District Heads of Bichi, Rano, Karaye and Gaya to First Class Emirs was one to spite Emir Sanusi, who after all, did not give a wink.

Unsatisfied that dividing the Kano Emirate did not distract the popular Emir Sanusi from speaking truth to power, Ganduje and his co-travellers concocted allegations of insubordination that led to the unjust dethronement and banishment of Emir Sanusi, an action, which was widely condemned by men of good conscience.

Emir Sanusi fought and secured his freedom and fundamental human rights of freedom of movement through the Court; and moved on with his life, going about doing good and offering valuable advise to administrators and leaders across the world for a better world.

During his electioneering campaigns, part of the promises made to the people of Kano by Governor Yusuf was that his administration will not only restore the battered traditional institution of Kano, but will also reinstate Emir Sanusi who was maliciously removed by ex-Governor Ganduje.

Based on this promise, among others, the good people of Kano state overwhelmingly voted for Abba Gida-Gida. Today, the Governor has no choice, than to implement and execute the wishes of the people.

It is a social contract he signed with the people of Kano, which must be fulfilled, no matter, whose, Ox is gored.

In any case, Governor Yusuf’s populist action is not new to Kano political cum traditional landscape.

Adequate legal steps were taken to repeal the Kano Emirate Council Law (2019).

The enactment of the Emirate Council Law (2024) ensured the death and burial of Kano Emirate Law (2019), maliciously created by Ganduje as a weapon to humiliate and ridicule Emir Sanusi.

Indeed, Emir Sanusi’s return as the 16th Emir of Kano rekindled important aspect of Kano history which played out in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Recall that during the administration of ex-Governor Abubakar Rimi of blessed memory, there was an attempt to create five emirates in Kano State by splitting the Kano Emirate into five.

Some members of the royal family and other traditional rulers, who saw it as an attempt to weaken the Kano Emirate’s influence opposed this move.

However, Rimi went ahead with the plan and created the new emirates of Gaya, Karaye, Dutse, Rano, and Kano in April 1981.

The Kano Emirate was reduced in size and given a more ceremonial role, while the new emirates were granted more administrative and political powers.

The Emir of Kano at the time was not deposed. But was queried for his movements in July 1981 after returning from a journey.

The move led to riots in Kano and Rimi never recovered politically and resigned in 1983 after falling out with Aminu Kano.

When Governor Sabo Bakin Zuwo took over in 1983, he reversed the decision and restored the Kano Emirate to its original size and status, with the other emirates abolished.

His decision was seen as an attempt to restore the traditional balance of power and to address the concerns of those who opposed the creation of the new emirates.

Sabo Bakin Zuwo’s action was viewed by many as reflecting the wishes of the people, just the same way the good people of Kano state are hailing the People’s Governor, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf for restoring the integrity of Kano Emirate.

I can vividly recall that many northern leaders and elite condemned the decision of Ganduje to balkanize the Kano Emirate into five in 2019.

They criticized the decision. They questioned the motive. They foresaw the consequences. They advised Ganduje against it, but all their overtures fell into deaf ears.

A renowned historian at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Prof. Nadir Nasidi, is among the experts who opposed the creation of the new emirates in Kano. According to him: “Kano is the only Emirate in the country with one unifying king. The creation of unnecessary kings is not palatable.

Many people, including myself, told the Ganduje administration that what he was doing wasn’t a good one.”

It is also pertinent to note that nobody agitated for the creation of four other Emirates in Kano.

It was entirely the sole decision of Ganduje and his gang to create problem in Kano’s traditional institution simply because they do not like the face and patriotic stance of Emir Sanusi.

The people of Kano never asked to be divided. We are one people. Nobody asked for new emirates.

So, what we are dealing with is a situation where somebody divided us. Kano Emirate is a kingdom that has existed for over 1000 years.

If you go to the king’s list in Kano, the king’s list from Baguada starts in 999 AD. We have a list of kings from Baguada up to the 16th Emir of Kano, Khalifa Muhammad Sanusi II.

Last Thursday, a Federal High Court, sitting in Kano, presided over by Justice A.M. Liman affirmed Aminu Bayero’s deposition as Emir of Kano. The Court also held the validity of Kano Emirate Law (2024).

Indeed, Justice Liman’s ruling, brought to an end, the argument on the deposition of former Emir Aminu Ado Bayero as the court ruled that the new Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024 remains valid.

According to the ruling, all five Emirates of Gaya, Rano, Karaye, Kano and Bichi remained abolished.

While delivering the ruling, Justice A.M. Liman held that the Kano Emirate Repeal Law 2024 remains the law and its validity is intact but actions taken after assenting the law when an order from the court was issued are voided.

Recall that Governor Yusuf had assented to the new law and reinstated the 14th Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II as the 16th Emir of one united Kano at the same time.

The Liman, however, declared that: “Law is still the law, but actions carried out in the execution of the law are set aside.”

Justice Liman also granted a stay of proceeding and transfered the case to his learned brother of court three, Justice Amobeda.

This bars all parties from taking any step to enforce the ruling till after determination of the appeal. By this decision of the Federal High Court, the five former Emirs including that of Kano with eight Local Government Areas remain deposed and the defunct Emirates remained abolished.

It is therefore, ascertained that the 16th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II remains on throne and Aminu Ado Bayero remains deposed while the legal tussle continues.

There is no gainsaying the fact that forces from outside the state are hanging up with the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) to destabilize security in Kano, all in a bid to distract and discredit the administration of Governor Yusuf.

They are intentionally fueling the Kano Emirate crises to achieve their evil ambition.

The National Leader of our great party, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, saw the handwriting on the wall when during the flag-off of 82-kilometer rural road construction in his Madobi country home declared that the people of Kano will resist any attempt to undermine the constituted authority in the state. The Grand Commander of the Kwankwasiyya Movement reminded them that: “We have mass followership because people believe in us. We are pro-people and the NNPP administration is determined to serve them anywhere they voted for it.

We will not fold our arms and watch enemies of the state destroying the peaceful co-existence of our dear state, as we shall do everything possible to support the governor to succeed.

I am happy that he is not distracted and is focused on achieving his goals.

“There are people from Kano, enemies of the state, who also suffer mental illness and are the ones advising the Federal Government on how to take over Kano through a State of Emergency.

This is madness of the highest order that the good, peace loving and committed people Kano will resist.

In the build up to 2027, some desperate politicians are already on a mission of disruption, but we will rather prefer the two of us to loose than to allow them crush us.

We dare anybody, who thinks he can victimise us politically, to go and be rest assured that we are ready for the fight.

We are not afraid to be out of power because we will remain politicians in or out of government.

We cannot run away from our destiny, we are humans, we know what is good for us and we will pursue it vigorously.

The Federal Government is listening to some unpatriotic politicians from Kano, who will only contribute to its failure because the people of Kano will resist any attempt to undermine the constitutional responsibility of the Governor by any individual or group.

We are open to dialogue, truce and reconciliation, but we will not accept intimidation and political harassment of any sort.

We know how to play politics and we have all it takes to protect ourselves from any evil.”

More so, during the 6th edition of Shagalin Bikin Sallah, organized by the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation (KDF) in honour of Senator Kwankwaso, held at his Miller Road residence last Tuesday, the former Defence Minister and Presidential candidate of NNPP in the 2023 general elections, reminded the audience that the Kwankwassiya members, where ever they are, remain peaceful people! And we will keep on being peaceful.

Our leader recalled that, “in 2019, we won election in this state (Kano), but the enemies of the State worked against us through INEC, through the Court, and so on, but what happened is now history.

The same thing! This time around, in 2023, we won election, overwhelmingly, and there was a lot of efforts by the enemies of the State, who are the minority here-mm, they worked so hard to take it; but by the grace of God, Allah in his own wisdom, decided to ensure justice is done; and I am sure that has gone a long way in maintaining peace and order in the State.

Now, it looks like the enemies are at it again! You know what is happening on the issue of the Emirate Council. We thank all those who are supporting the position of the government. We are one and we will continue to be one.”

Indeed, it amuses me when some people question the choice of Emir Muhammad Sanusi II! Ours is a government determined not to fail the people of Kano state.

Governor Yusuf craves to getting the best of team capable of giving Kano the best it deserves in terms of leadership and dispensation of democratic dividends.

In Emir Sanusi II we have an invaluable adviser that can help take Kano to greater heights. People from across the globe seek for his advice on economy and other divergent issues.

They tap from his wealth of experience in building community and nations.

Why then should we not make adequate and proper use of the asset God has bestowed on the people of Kano? Emir Sanusi II is an asset that we cannot afford to wish away.

An accomplished administrator, banker, financial risk manager, former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), motivational speaker, and above all, leader with unflinching love, charity to humanity and fear of God.

We cannot wish him away. Kano state cannot wish him away.

Therefore, emir Muhammadu Sanusi is here to stay as the Governor retains the exclusive right to depose or appoint emir in whatever circumstance.

The courageous leader and the Executive Governor of Kano His Excellency Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf is known for his determination to take any decision if he truly believe that decision will change the narrative of the state in a positive way.

Those thinking that Gov. Yusuf will have a rethink on his decision about reinstatement of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II would certainly be disappointed, as a prince, a blood of the royal family and a political leader, the Governor is ready for the fight to finish on the ongoing emirate tussle.

“As it is today, the Governor retains the exclusive right to appoint or depose an emir in the state and to the layman’s understanding, matter of chieftancy is completely in the hands of state High Courts, there have been so many authority to it through various Supreme Court judgments.”

Former Emir of the Kano metro, Aminu Ado Bayero as simple as he used to be should have known that the Governor’s decision stands, it was the same executive power aided by the amendment of Emirate’s law by the State Assembly used by the former Ganduje to dethrone Emir Sanusi II and apointed him.

For the records, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero was never an emir of Kano, he was appointed an emir of eight metropolitant local government areas and from the look of things, he lacks all the qualities of an emir who is supposed to be patient and loyal to constituted authority.

By the new law which was accepted as valid by the latest judgement, Alhaji Aminu should resume to his former title of Wanban Kano and district head of Dala if he so wish.

My candid advise to him is and of course it’s coming from my sincire heart, staying in graveyard of late emirs at Nasarawa cemetery will not in anyway make the Governor revert his decision, the earlier Alhaji Aminu realise this the better for him to take a suit into the style of the 16th emir Sanusi II when he was dethroned, he should resigned to fate and accept his destiny by moving forward as a free man to once again enjoy his life as a private citizen.

No amount of pressure, harassments and intimidation from within and outside Kano will stop Kano state government from insisting on Khalifa Muhammad Sanusi II as the 16th Emir of one and indivisible Kano Emirate.

I conclude with the quotes of our leader, Senator Kwankwaso that: “The average Kano person does not want injustice; and that is the position of the Kwankwasiyya Movement. Our fathers and great grand-fathers fought injustice; and we will continue to do it as their sons and daughters here in Kano.”

Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa is the spokesperson to Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf/Director-General, Media and Publicity , Government House, Kano

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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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