Colonialism rained devastating blows on many Muslim ways of lives and left many former Colonies with the scars. In Nigeria, for example, British Colonialists made Nigerians to observe official and private matters strictly using the Gregorian Calendar. Muslims were made to observe public holidays so as to celebrate Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year, Easter, etc; events that were strange to them. The Native Authorities in Northern Nigeria instituted “Sallah Durbar” to celebrate Eid Festivals. The British were attracted to these due to their similarity with the “King’s Trooping of the Colour” in London and that resulted in the Sallah Days being declared as public holidays. Muslims clamoured for the Maulud Day (the birthday of Prophet Muhammad SAW) to be declared as a public holiday at par with the Christmas, but it was not until 1962 that the Government of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa conceded to the request. Nigerian Muslims are now clamouring for the Government to declare the Muslim New Year as a public holiday at par with the 1st of January, New Year’s Day.
The importance of the Muslim Lunar Calendar is gaining high prominence all over the World. Even those Muslims who do not believe in celebrating birthdays and wedding ceremonies believe in the Muslim Lunar Calendar that has been in use for over 1,440 years in determining all Muslim events including the day of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), those of the Prophet’s Companions (RLA) and those of all the great men and women of Islam. Indeed, all major Muslim events and documents were dated using the Muslim Lunar Calendar System. The World’s greatest traveller, Sheikh Ibn Battuta, dated all his famous travels using the Muslim Lunar Calendar. All of Sheikh Usman Danfodiyo’s Jihad Compendiums carried Muslim Calendar dates. It is today so easy to convert Lunar dates to Gregorian dates and vice-versa by merely clicking a button on the computer.
The declaration of Christmas Day, Maulud Day, Sallah Day, Easter Day, etc, as public holidays shows clearly that the Government recognises that that there are two distinct Calendars for the two adherents of the two major Religions of Islam and Christianity in Nigeria. It is therefore puzzling that the Government continues to recognise only one of the Calendars in public service matters. For example, dates of birth, of schooling, of employment, of retirement, etc, are only recognised under the Gregorian Calendar. This dichotomy can easily be resolved by employing the “equivalent” dictum as is done in currency exchange and in similar matters. But, it is even more puzzling that Muslims themselves celebrate their birthdays, their weddings, etc, using the Gregorian Calendar dates! Recently, the Federal and several States Governments, Senior Muslims, Muslim Forums, Muslim Organisations, etc; showered encomiums on the Nigerian Leader of the Faithful, the Amirul Mumineen, His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, CFR, mni; on his “64TH BIRTHDAY” CELEBRATION. Nobody (private or official) cared to remember that His Eminence the Sultan is the Head of the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria, the titular Ruler of the largest defunct Caliphate in Africa and, therefore, the highest representative of the Muslims in Nigeria. His age should therefore tally with the Islamic Calendar and not the Gregorian one. The Nigerian Government itself recognises the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) under the Islamic Lunar Calendar by declaring the date as a public holiday. Why then congratulate the Sultan, Mr. President and other notable Muslims on their Gregorian and not Muslim Lunar birthdays?
His Eminence Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar was born on 17th Muharram 1376 AH, which is equivalent to 24th August 1956 AD. He is, therefore exactly 66 YEARS and not 64 YEARS OLD!!!
President Muhammadu Buhari was born on 9th Dhul Hijjah 1361 AH (17th December 1942), making him 80 years and not 77 years old.
President Ibrahim Babangida was born on 23rd Rajab 1360 AH (17th August 1941), making him 81 years plus and not 79 years old.
General AbdulSalami Abubakar was born on 28th Jumada Awwal 1361 AH (13th June 1942), making him 80 years plus and not 78 years old.
Sheikh Sharif Ibrahim Saleh Al-Husainy was born on 12th Rabi’u Awwal 1357 AH (12th May 1938), making him 84 years plus and not 82 years old.
Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi was born on 29th Dhul Hijjah 1345 AH (29th June 1927), making him 96 years plus and not 93 years old.
Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi was born on 10th Rabi’u Thani 1343 AH (7th November 1924) and he died on 13th Rabi’u Awwal 1413 AH (11th September 1992). He was therefore 70 and not 68 years old when he died.
Yours faithfully, the Waziri of Katsina, Sani Abubakar Lugga, is very proud to be 72 years old having come to the world by the Grace and Mercy of Allah (SWT) on 14th Dhul Qa’dah 1369 AH (28th August 1950). My Dear Muslim readers, are you so proud?
By Sani Abubakar Lugga, PhD. The Waziri of Katsina
SUPPORT MUSLIM NEWS NIGERIA
With your generous financial contributions to MUSLIM NEWS, you are helping to sustain a culture of journalistic integrity that promotes tranquil Islamic values and ensures it remains free and available to all.