MOMBASA, Kenya, Aug 21 – As Muslims commemorated the Id-Ul-Adha on Tuesday, tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says he will soon organize a forum to advocate for the establishment of the office of the National Mufti.
Balala said the disagreements, which are experienced when Muslims are about to start the Holy Month of Ramadhan, will come to an end once the office is created.
According to Balala, a Mufti is an Islamic scholar who interprets and expounds on Islamic law. There are also jurists who are qualified to give authoritative legal opinions known as fatwas.
“I will lead the Muslim faithful to organize a forum where we can discuss this matter so that we can have an office of a Mufti. We want to do this for the unit of Muslim faithful in the country,” he said.
His sentiments come after the Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar disagreed with the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi for setting up Tuesday as the national holiday for Muslims.
Sheikh Mudhar argued that the government’s choice of day contradicted Koranic teachings, arguing that the holiday should have fallen on Wednesday.
This irked the national government with Majority Leader Adan Duale saying they will review the Chief Kadhi’s conduct on opposing government declaration.
While attending the Eid-al-Adha prayers at Sheikh Zayed Centre in Mombasa, Balala said to end this impasse, the office of the National Mufti should be created.
He said the Chief Kadhi cannot make pronouncements on matters that are outside his jurisdiction because his is a judicial office, whose mandate is only marriage, inheritance and divorce matters.
“We need an office of the Mufti, who is a person highly scholarly and can make decisions on behalf of the Muslims,” he stated.
At the same time, Balala said it will be important if the office on the Mufti is anchored in law.
“We necessarily do not need a legislation to have this office in place, because a Mufti is not a choice of the government, but the choice of the Muslim. However, if the government see it fit to have the office anchored in law, it will be much better and we shall lobby for that,” he said.
Muslims are also divided on issues of family planning and interest on bank loans.
The Kenya National Muslim Advisory Council chairperson Sheikh Juma Ngao on his part said the Muslim community needs to speak in one united voice and the Mufti will be the only link.
“We read the same Quran, we pray to the same Allah (God), we are the same ummah (faithful), but we are always disagreeing on simple things like dates of Ramadhan and Eid. We now need someone who will guide us,” he stated.
He pointed out that Rwanda, Burundi, Egypt, Uganda and Tanzania have created the office of the Mufti and Kenya needs to do the same.