Pre­par­ing for Sal­lah in Birnin Kebbi

Daily Trust - - OPINION -

The days of the months in Is­lam are nei­ther fixed nor con­stant. The cres­cents are usu­ally and de­lib­er­ately looked out for and where they are sighted, the count be­gins. In Is­lam, a month lasts 29 days or 30 days, no more, no less.

As read­ers may be aware, ev­ery year, Mus­lims all over the world fast 29 or 30 days of the holy month of Ra­madan. The month of Ra­madan is quite unique be­cause of its de­creed brother­hood, gen­eros­ity, piety, hu­mil­ity and sac­ri­fice for the sake of Al­lah by the ad­her­ents of Is­lam. It’s said in sev­eral places in the holy Qur’an that fast­ing has been de­creed for Mus­lims as it was de­creed for those peo­ple be­fore them and that if they are wise enough, they should fast the month of Ra­madan in order to ben­e­fit from Al­lah’s mercy. Thus, all through this month, Mus­lims seek close­ness to their cre­ator by pray­ing harder, shar­ing gen­er­ously and widen­ing pos­i­tive con­tacts. More im­por­tantly, they ab­stain from eat­ing, drink­ing, sex and vain talks from dawn to sun­set.

The peo­ple of Birnin Kebbi in Kebbi State have not been left be­hind in these im­por­tant rit­u­als dic­tated by Ra­madan. They have fasted for 29 days now and from all in­di­ca­tions, they pre­fer that Id-el Fitr takes place to­mor­row. The whole town had been in a frenzy of fes­ti­val in an­tic­i­pa­tion that the new moon would be sighted on Mon­day and the Sal­lah com­mem­o­rat­ing the end of Ra­madan will be to­day.

Al­most ev­ery­thing is in high de­mand but short; peo­ple wished that they had money to buy food items, fruits and veg­eta­bles. The mar­kets are full to the brim with many items on sale but peo­ple lack the pur­chas­ing power. How­ever, there is abun­dant meat. As they have done ev­ery year, peo­ple in ev­ery com­mu­nity have pooled money to­gether to buy cows which they slaugh­ter and share the meat. By yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, many peo­ple had taken their share of the meat home, and by evening of the same day, an un­avoid­able cocktail of aroma from the dif­fer­ent pots of soup had en­veloped Birnin Kebbi. For those who craved oily, meaty If­tar, Mon­day evening was par­tic­u­larly rich.

Some places I par­tic­u­larly took no­tice of were tai­lor­ing sta­tions. Tai­lors are ter­ri­ble this sea­son. I saw anx­ious and frown­ing par­ents, their cry­ing chil­dren in tow, ha­rangu­ing tai­lors. The tai­lors had col­lected more ma­te­ri­als than they could sew and Mon­day, the eve of sal­lah was the mo­ment of truth for them and their cus­tomers. From all in­di­ca­tions, they would not be able to de­liver and there were ex­changes of swear­words and curs­ing be­tween them and their cus­tomers. Many of these par­ents had taken seats be­side the tai­lors pre­fer­ring to spend the night there and col­lect the fin­ished cloth­ing of their chil­dren than to go home and risk their in­con­solable cries. Un­for­tu­nately for the par­ents and their kids, many of these tai­lors had re­ceived up front the en­tire sums agreed after as­sur­ances that they would de­liver the clothes.

Else­where, peo­ple were plac­ing caps on their heads and slip­ping their feet in and out of shoes and slip­pers in order to as­cer­tain those that sized them. Clearly, these were the lucky ones who had had a smooth busi­ness with their tai­lors, shoes and caps be­ing the only out­stand­ing things ahead of a re­splen­dent out­ing this Sal­lah.

The Is­lamic schol­ars had spent the en­tire month con­duct­ing Taf­sir (read­ings from the Holy Qur’an) and ex­plain­ing the verses over and over. They had ex­horted peo­ple to obey God and his apos­tles, to do good and avoid evil, to treat one an­other with love and to ful­fil the covenants they made. One par­tic­u­lar scholar even warned tai­lors to avoid col­lect­ing clothes from cus­tomers if they knew they would not be able to sew by the dead­line so as not to an­tag­o­nise one an­other but no mat­ter.

In the dif­fer­ent neigh­bour­hoods, hair­dressers and henna mak­ers were also mak­ing a kill. Girls went up and down in a long queue try­ing to make their hair. Some of them had waited a long time; they slept and woke up only to find that it was not their turn.

There could be a dur­bar, even if mini, at the Emir of Gwandu’s Palace this Sal­lah. I heard from a friend that his en­tire ex­tended fam­ily made up of dozens of horse­men will gal­lop to the Palace on Sal­lah day to greet the Emir.

Some­where else in Gov­ern­ment House, the Gov­er­nor, Al­haji Atiku Bagudu had been entertaining dif­fer­ent guests at break­fast. Apart from mem­bers of his in­ner cir­cle who had al­ways eaten with him ev­ery evening, the gov­er­nor had in­vited other groups to share the Gov­ern­ment House menu with him. On Sun­day, it was the turn of bankers to eat with him and the Ban­quet Hall was full with guests and they had a va­ri­ety to choose from. There was salad, kunu da ko­sai, jollof rice, boiled and fried yam, fruits, etc.

On the eve of this Sal­lah, this Mon­day, I also saw a large num­ber of youth corps mem­bers at the NYSC sec­re­tariat; from the jostling, one could guess that some­thing im­por­tant was tak­ing place there. Were they col­lect­ing their al­lowances in cash? Or were they only sub­mit­ting their clear­ances for the al­lowances? Either way, they were all keen on what­ever was it that was go­ing on there.

On the eve of this Sal­lah, Birnin Kebbi is full with peo­ple and ve­hi­cles. Ob­vi­ously, its sons and daugh­ters in the di­as­pora have come home to cel­e­brate the end of Ra­madan. From the masses to the roy­alty and those in gov­ern­ment, every­one is gear­ing up for a peace­ful, mem­o­rable and glo­ri­ous Sal­lah. Barka da shan ruwa!

The peo­ple of Birnin Kebbi in Kebbi State have not been left be­hind in these im­por­tant rit­u­als dic­tated by Ra­madan. They have fasted for 29 days now and from all in­di­ca­tions, they pre­fer that Id-el Fitr takes place to­mor­row In the dif­fer­ent neigh­bour­hoods, hair­dressers and henna mak­ers were also mak­ing a kill. Girls went up and down in a long queue try­ing to make their hair. Some of them had waited a long time; they slept and woke up only to find that it was not their turn

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