Balala Calls For Grand Mufti Office
A day after millions of Muslims celebrated the Iddul-Adha and a controversial call by the Chief Kadhi, Sheikh Ahmed Mudhar that wrong-footed the government’s gazetted day, the Tourism Cabinet Secretary Mr Najib Balala called for the establishment of a Grand Mufti Office who will be In-charge of Islamic religious issues and Islamic calendar. According to Mr Balala Muslims have failed to unite and speak in one voice when it comes to agreeing on the dates of important events in the Muslim calendar like Ramadhan and Eid.
During prayers at Sheikh Zayed Centre in Mombasa on Tuesday, Balala proposed the establishment of the office of the Mufti to end the impasse. ‘’I will lead 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 unity of Muslim faithful in the country’’ he said.
Balala pointed out that the Chief Kadhi is challenged in making critical decisions affecting Muslims as this could contradict his constitutional role which as a judicial officer confines him to adjudicate on issues related to marriage, inheritance and divorce matters. “ He cannot make the decision on other matters that are outside that are his jurisdiction. Therefore, we need an office of the Mufti, who is a person highly scholarly and can make a decision on behalf of the Muslims” Said Balala.
’’We necessarily do not need a legislation to have this office in place, because a Mufti is not a choice of the government but that of Muslims. However, if the government sees it fit to have the office anchored in law, it will be even better and we shall lobby for that”
While many Muslims welcomed the Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matian’gi decision to gazette Eid Ul Adha’s as a public holiday, the Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar sharply differed with the notice as it went against his proposed date of August 22. “ I wrote to him before the announcement indicating that Muslims would celebrate Eid on Wednesday but he went ahead to declare Tuesday a public holiday” Said Muhdhar.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale took a swipe at the Chief Khadi saying his pronouncement divided the Muslim Umma in Kenya”. He said during Eid Ul Adha’ha prayers in Garissa. Duale urged the Chief Kadhi to stick to his constitutional mandate of adjudicating on Muslim personal law-Marriage, Divorce and Inheritance.
Speaking during the Eid Baraza even in Mombasa, the County governor Hassan Ali Joho adviced Muslim leaders to handle the matter of differences with sobriety and avoid engaging in a game of mudslinging. Joho among other leaders observed the Eid prayer on Tuesday.
Muslims who form more than 50% of Kenya’s population are a very important component of the citizenry of the country and their public holidays of utmost importance to the government.