+ All you need to know about the controversies over the Hisbah’s ban
One of the leading global Muslim Scholars, Dr Mufti Ismail Menk has said that the trending video of him ‘permitting’ ‘Black Friday Sales’ has nothing to do with Nigeria in particular.
Mufti Menk, a renowned Zimbabwean scholar, made the clarification in a chat with Muslim News, on Friday.
According to him, “I don’t support the term ‘Black Friday’ and the video has nothing to do with Nigeria in particular. I had no clue of any controversy in Nigeria about Black Friday. But, giving discounts to the public at any time is great and there is nothing wrong to make use of those discounts.”
Social media has since Friday been thrown into frenzy over the Kano Hisbah Board’s directive banning the use of the term ‘Black Friday’ for promo in the State, one of the Muslim majority Northern States in Nigeria.
Findings by Muslim News revealed that the state religious enforcement board wrote the Manager of 96.9 Cool FM, asking the Kano office of the station to stop using the term, ‘Black Friday’ for promotion, with immediate effect.
In a letter of notification written to the Manager, Cool FM Kano, Hisbah’s Principal Executive Officer, Abubakar Muhammad Alli expressed concern over the tagging of Friday as ‘Black Friday’ — a day considered to be ‘special’ and ‘holy’ by the 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide, Kano inclusive.
Alhaji Muhammad Alli urged the radio station and residents of the State to stop calling the day ‘Black Friday’ with immediate effect, adding that Hisbah officials will be on ground to ensure compliance, maintenance of peace, harmony and prevent spread of any immoral activities.
[SAMPLE OF THE LETTER]
Kano State Hisbah Board has commanded a radio station, Cool FM, to immediately stop mentioning “Black Friday” as the day is holy according to Muslims. The Board, in a letter, said its corps will ensure their would be no “immoral activities” of black Friday sales in the state. 🤦🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/Lb5t8nyFxZ
— Aliyu Dahiru Aliyu (@Aliyussufiy) November 27, 2020
In their characteristic manner, many Nigerians criticised Hisbah on Twitter and other social media networking platforms, describing the religious police as a “disgrace” and the call for ban of ‘Black Friday’ as ‘nonsensical’
What kind of disgrace is this?
The Muslims that are being killed don't matter, it is Friday that matters? Are we not black so what is wrong in having a black Friday?
A glorious BLACK FRIDAY where you get goods at reduced price. Isn't that giving?
Isn't giving out part of Islam? pic.twitter.com/FoDYmRbXgh
— Aisha Yesufu (@AishaYesufu) November 27, 2020
Friday is our sacred day of prayer as Muslims.Whatever colour is added to it doesn’t matter.Hisbah’s threats against the phrase’Black Friday’ is nonsensical.They should focus on the killings and kidnappings going on in their domains.Their services are needed in the battlefield.
— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) November 27, 2020
To further cast aspersion on the Hisbah, a body saddled with the responsibility of ensuring total compliance to Islamic doctrine in Kano, some netizens began to circulate one of the many videos of renowned Muslim scholar, Mufti Menk, where he said Black Friday is “a good idea.”
In the 44 seconds video, which has spread like wildfire on social media, Mufti Menk said though he preferred not be called Black Friday for some reasons, there is nothing wrong with giving discounts to the public.
I think @muftimenk has said everything you need to know about the Black Friday stuff. Kano Hisbah should focus on fixing their spellings first before we talk about black Friday .
Religious stupidity is killing this country pic.twitter.com/f8cUWBsgkB
— kabir🥇 (@kabirlb55) November 27, 2020
Speaking further in the video, he said; “I thought I should speak to you about black friday sales, and people are saying it’s not allowed, and so you know, some people have messaged me to please speak about how haraam it is. Actually, I’m going to do the opposite and I’m going to tell you. Please, let me know if there are any space. May Allah bless you guys. Barakallahu fihi. Salam alaykum warahmatullah.”
Some tweeps have been praising Mufti Menk for what they described as “religious simplicity”, thereby disparaging What they call “religious stupidity in the North”, which is against development and advancement as recently witnessed in United Arab Emirates, a gulf country that relaxed its law on alcohol, at a time Kano destroyed cartons of beer worth millions of naira.
— Al'ameen✨ (@Al_ameen_Yabo) November 27, 2020
Muslim News decided to chat up the respected Islamic scholar to clear the air on his position over the controversial Black Friday promo.
According to him, “My video is recent and has nothing to do with Nigeria in particular. I don’t support the term Black Friday. But, giving discounts to the public at any time is great and there is nothing wrong to make use of those discounts.
“Black is not a bad colour. It is just a colour. We have made it bad in our minds. The Kaabah Kiswah is black. The Hajar Aswad is black and many other things.
“I respect difference of opinion if there is any, not only in this matter but in other matters too. I wouldn’t argue or claim to be the only correct opinion. It’s usually a matter of understanding.
“Some members of the public and some media intentionally misrepresent what is said and don’t even listen to or analyse correctly. The main argument is where did the term come from and is it derogatory?,” he asked.
Is ‘Black Friday’ derogatory?
According to the reports of many online sources, including The Telegraph on Friday, November 27, 2020, the term “Black Friday” was actually first associated with financial crisis, not sales’ shopping.
The medium related how two Wall Street financiers, Jim Fisk and Jay Gould, together bought a significant amount of US gold in the hope of the overall price soaring and in turn being able to sell it for huge profits.
“On Friday 24 September, 1869, in what became referred to as “Black Friday”, the US gold market crashed and Fisk and Gould’s actions left Wall Street barons bankrupt.
“It was not until later years that the post-Thanksgiving period became associated with the name.
“Police officers in Philadelphia were first to link Black Friday to the post-Thanksgiving period in the 1950s. Large crowds of tourists and shoppers came to the city the day after Thanksgiving for the Army-Navy football game, creating chaos, traffic jams and shoplifting opportunities. [Read more Here]
While some Muslims see nothing wrong in the tag, majority of them believe that the term ‘Black Friday’ is derogatory as the colour ‘black’ has negative connotations, which is a stain to the sanctity of Friday; otherwise known as Yawm al-Jumu’ah, the best day of the week according to Islamic tradition.
This isn’t the position of Kano Hisbah board alone, several Muslims particularly in Pakistan hold similar positions on the subject.
The use of the term has been disallowed in Pakistan, following the Council of Islamic Ideology’s condemnation against the usage of the term, saying, if there is no ulterior motive, it should be changed to “blessed Friday promo”.
A Muslim analyst, Abu Muhammad said, “What if we have black Sunday promo? Or Black Easter or Black Christmas promo? Why do we have Good Friday and not Black Friday, since that was the day Jesus was reportedly crucified according to some Christians? You can see why taggings really matter a lot, especially to the Muslims who are sincerely serious about their religion.
Speaking further, Abu Muhammad said there is nothing wrong with having dedicated days for such a very good initiative — slashing of prices of goods, adding that, what you name your child matters a lot.
According to him, “If on Christmas or Sallah Day, some families have an accident on their way home, what do you call that? Black Sallah or Christmas?. So, when you say Black Friday, what do you expect from a conscious Muslim? If there are no bad intentions or hard feelings, the promoters should look for other days or change the tag to ‘Beautiful Friday’.
“Although there is nothing wrong in slashing of prices of goods because it is not allowed in Islam to forbid what Allah has permitted, and vice versa. Our community should not just rubbish some of the Muslims who expressed concern over issues that affect their religion.
“While I call on the Hisbah to always be professional and transparent in their dealings, I don’t think it is out of order for the board to do what they have done. It is still part of their stipulated assignment and for those saying they should go to Sambisa to fight Boko Haram, they are only being mischievous because it evident that Hisbah isn’t trained for that. It is the job of the military to curb terrorism.”
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