The term “Black Friday” will not be used in the northern Nigerian state of Kano on the occasion of this year’s reduced-to-clear shopping festival as the state’s Islamic religious police, or hisbah, has determined that the term insults Muslim sensitivities on the holy congregational day of Friday.
A statement that was sent for an announcement in one of Kano’s most popular radio stations, said the office of the religious police had received “a complaint for the conduct of Black Friday Sales”. The letter reminded that “the majority of the inhabitants of Kano state are Muslims” who consider Friday a Holy Day.
“Note that the Hisbah Corps will be around for surveillance purposes with a view to avoiding occurrence of any immoral activities as well as maintaining peace, harmony and stability in the state,” the letter ended.
The letter has been received with mixed reactions gauging from responses on social media. One of the reasons for the confusion is that Kano is the only one of Nigeria’s Muslim-majority states to issue this decree.
It is also not clear if the state’s hisbah has the right to punish those who are found to have fallen foul of this order. It is the first time any such order has been given.
Reporting by the BBC indicated that the religious police said its order was to preemptively guard against physical contact between men and women when they rush for goods in stores.
Sharia in Nigeria
Sharia is Arabic for law and in Islam, Allah’s immutable laws. Outside the Islamic world, and especially on western platforms, Sharia is thought to be often misunderstood and desecrated.
Since 1999, 12 northern states in Nigeria with Muslim-majority populations work with Sharia as part of civil and criminal jurisprudence. These states also abide by secular federal laws.
Only Muslims are governed by Sharia in Nigeria. If a non-Muslim requires a Sharia court to adjudicate in a matter involving them, the non-Muslim would have to put their request in writing to a Sharia court.
A non-Muslim’s agreement is required even in cases involving a Muslim.
Sharia court judges are learned in both Islamic and secular laws and are expected to provide those who appear before the court every opportunity to make their case