Saturday, June 7, 2008

Second Chinese Film Week Holds In Jos

The second in the series of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria sponsored Chinese Film Week began this week in Jos, Plateau State capital, from June 5th, 2008.
The Nigerian Film Corporation/National Film Institute, both in Jos, are collaborating with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for the second edition which is designed to engender exchange of cultural values and cinematic expression between Nigeria and China. The Chinese Film Week will also provide a platform for the consolidation of bilateral relations between the governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that of the People’s Republic of China, especially in film production, tourism and commerce.
The Embassy’s cultural counsellor, Mr. Jiang Weiming, has promised that this year’s edition of the Film Week would be an improvement on last year’s edition, assuring that the Embassy would continue to partner the NFC for the sustenance of the yearly event. To ensure a successful 2008 Chinese Film Week, the Chinese Embassy is rolling out materials and financial support to be complemented by the Nigerian Film Corporation.
The Chinese Film Week is a collaborative event between the NFC and the China Embassy in Nigeria. It is designed to explore cultural exchange and entertainment opportunities between both nations, using film as a vehicle.
It would be recalled that the first in the series was held last year, at the National Film Institute, Jos. This year’s edition is the second, and it is expected to be better than the first edition.
The Chinese Film Week is the second in the line up of film weeks for the year. The French Week was held in March this year, and that of Spain will be held later in the month of June.
Meanwhile, Afolabi Adesanya, NFC’s managing director, has commended the Chinese Embassy’s efforts in sustaining the film week, which he says has provided the required platform for partnership development in the areas of equipment, resource support and manpower training. So far, the NFC has received from the Chinese Embassy, DVD films, Cine-projectors, books, DVD players and recently, scholarship for a staff of the National Film Institute, Mr. Yomi Olugbodi, who is already in Beijing, China for a doctorate degree in Film Studies. Also, a staff of NFC, Mrs. Halima Oyedele, was sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce to attend the African Female Capacity Building Conference which was held recently in Beijing, China.

In LEADERSHIP of June 07, 2008

CANNES' Red Carpet: The Jury’s Last Word

At the end of the closing ceremony, the jury explained the award selections during a special press conference. President, Sean Penn and jurors Jeanne Balibar, Alexandra Maria Lara, Natalie Portman, Marjane Satrapi, Rachid Bouchareb, Sergio Castellitto, Alfonso Cuarón and Apichatpong Weerasethakul answered questions from journalists.

-Sean Penn explained the first choice:
"We all wondered about that as we all have had films in festivals before, and the concern about placement and so on. My own view is that I truly believe that our response would have been the same at any point during the festival. The generosity of this picture just reaches out and I don't think it has anything to do with scheduling."

- Sean Penn on why Waltz with Bashir did not garner any prizes:
"I was happy to find out that buzzes mean nothing; this Jury was entirely not influenced and I can tell you that I would agree with you, but we had only so many prizes to give. There were several people - myself inclusive - who found it a worthy film. As I said during the ceremony, there were things that called out, and there were times when we felt that we had almost a certain category fulfilled and then something else would come and provoke us in a different way. There's not a good answer to this question. Even though I did not particularly argue for it ultimately, I think it was a wonderful film. I also believe that it is a film that is going to find its audience with or without us."

-Marjane Satrapi, on the Palme d'Or:
"We all fell in love with it immediately. It's a film that goes beyond bad neighbourhoods, beyond schools, to raise the real question of democracy, of all these people who live together. What's more, it doesn't give any answers. Often [in a film], you see a teacher who miraculously settles all the problems at the end. This film doesn't give any answers, but it contains all the questions that are troubling people. I'm also impressed by the quality of the acting and the obvious realism. I was a fervent admirer of this film."

-Sean Penn on the Palme d'Or:
"One of the reasons that we agreed unanimously on the Palme d'Or - we start with the art of film. And in that integration and completeness of integration: virtually a seamless film. All of the performances: magic. All of the writing: magic. All of the provocations, and all of the generosity: magic. It's simply everything that you want a film to give you. On top of that, because of the things that it takes on, and the issues that it confronts, and the timeliness of them, in a world that, everywhere you go, hungers for education and for a voice - it just touched us so deeply."

-Alfonso Cuaron on the reach of the film:
"This is one of those rare films in which we're talking about high cinema that you can share with really young audiences. That is what it has to say, in the world in which we are living. They are going to be the ones who will be in charge of finding solutions, in the very difficult world they are inheriting."

-Sergio Castellito on the Palme d'Or:
"As I watched this film, I thought of myself as a father, speaking to my son's teachers. That gives the film a universal social reach, without any loss to its poetry. It's a film that seems to have been shot live, that lasts two hours, and covers a one-year period. This narrative quality is amazing."

-Sean Penn on the 61st Festival de Cannes Award:
"I think that they [Catherine Deneuve and Clint Eastwood] and others are largely, for many of us, why we got into film. When people like that who have lived within cinema for a very long time, and are still inventive and expressive, practicing their craft on even a higher level than perhaps they previously did, it's the kind of encouragement that makes film happen. I won't say that we felt indebted, it's just in a form that by definition has artifice to it. It would be so artificial not to acknowledge them and the weight that their work and their presence brought this festival."

-Jeanne Balibar on the Palme d'Or: "I was grateful to this film for not leaving out any contradictions. I was grateful to this director for never claiming to have resolved them, either for the people on the screen, the audience, or French society. I think he exposes them, in all their violence. It might be the most violent film we saw. In my opinion, the highest expression of art is in contradiction, with its harsh truth and its hope."

-Sergio Castellito on the two Italian films that got awards:
"I thought of these two films as being twins in the same belly. They complement each other, in a way. We members of the jury were all wondering what a Western civilian democracy, right in Europe, can hide. I think both of these directors succeeded in taking a good, hard look, for all of us."
Special prize
The jury also created a special 61st festival prize and gave it to two veterans doing work that Penn characterised as "so rare and so important." One recipient was Catherine Deneuve, star of Arnaud Desplechin's marvelous ‘A Christmas Tale,’ a multi-generational drama centered on a gorgeously fractious family that comes together for a memorable Christmas-week reunion. Unexpected but still made squarely in the French humanistic tradition, this is a film you don't want to end, not because the characters are so happy but because they are so human and so alive.
The other recipient was Clint Eastwood for directing ‘Changeling,’ a dark, yet hopeful drama, made with his trademark assurance and storytelling skill. Eastwood was not present to accept his award, while Deneuve said she was "very touched" by hers.
The festival's remaining two awards went to a pair of Cannes veterans. The best screenplay prize was given to Belgium's Dardenne brothers for their ‘Lorna's Silence,’ about a young Albanian woman wrestling with her conscience. And the best director award went to Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan for his formal beautiful "Three Monkeys." Taking the Camera d'Or for best first film was ‘Hunger,’ a look at the 1981 hunger strike in Northern Ireland directed by Turner Prize-winning video artist Steve McQueen.
The non-winning competition film most deserving of recognition was the Israeli animated documentary ‘Waltz With Bashir,’ directed by Ari Folman. Dealing with Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon in an often surreal way, this haunted, haunting film is aesthetically adventurous and passionately committed to the cause of peace.
The official Jury of this 61st Festival de Cannes, presided over by Sean Penn, revealed the Prize winners during the closing Ceremony of May 25. It ended with French movie ‘The Class’ winning the coveted Palme d'Or award for best film.
The following are the prizes won in the competition in Feature film category:
•Palme d'Or
Entre Les
•Grand Prix
•Prize of the 61st Festival de Cannes ex-aequo
-Catherine Deneuve for UN CONTE DE NOËL by Arnaud DESPLECHIN
-Clint Eastwood for THE EXCHANGE
•Award for the Best Director
Üç Maymun
•Jury Prize
Il Divo
•Prix d'interprétation masculine
Benicio Del Toro for Che by Steven SODERBERGH
•Best Performance for an Actor
Benicio Del Toro for Che by Steven SODERBERGH
•Best Performance for an Actress
Sandra Corveloni for LINHA DE PASSE by Walter SALLES, Daniela THOMAS
•Award for the Best Screenplay
•Le Prix Vulcain de l'Artiste-Technicien
Luca Bigazzi and Angelo Raguseo for IL DIVO by Paolo SORRENTINO.
Short Films' award in the competition
•Palme d'OrA 15 minutes movie, MEGATRON by a Romanian director, Marian Crisan won the coveted Palme d'Or award in short film category. It was a story of a village boy living with his mother who goes to McDonald's in Bucharest for his eight birthday, but longs to meet his father who lives in the city.
•Jury Prize
•Heart Throb Jury Prize
•Camera d'Or for Best First Movie

Meanwhile, African film makers who attended the feast look forward to seeing African movies being screened for entries into the main pool of the competition in the subsequent editions. The biggest question now is, will Nigeria as the giant of Africa and also the third largest film producing country in world be there at Cannes?

Published in LEADERSHIPWEEKEND June 07, 2008

Cannes’ Competitive Edge:African film makers’ experience

Late start of the international film festival annoys delegates as Nigerians yell for more entries, reports LEADERSHIP’s AL-AMIN CIROMA, who is in Cannes, France
Cannes has introduced a new genre to this year’s festival: the grumble flick. The lateness in announcing the full line-up has caused multiple problems for producers, distributors, publicists, party organizers and media outlets alike.
"Everything’s late this year. We didn’t find out when our film was screening until just last week, which meant we had to rush like hell to arrange things – flights, hotels, the party, everything," said the producer of one competition film.
Cannes is a feast of sorts; African representation in this year’s edition is enormous. Although, none of the African movies were selected for entries into the competition, but Africans took up the challenges to make it a reality as time goes on.
"I don’t know if the absence of African films in this year’s edition of the festival may be linked with the poor qualities of our productions because here in Cannes , they have their outstanding customary of standards. We need movies with good sound, good pictures and amazing stories, not just mere stories of normal daily living without suspense and originality. If Africa, we have FESPACO, what of we go there and find out that that there are no African films in the entries? Then I will not be surprised if I didn’t see African films in Cannes," said Reinaldo Barroso-Spech, president of African Diaspora Film Festival (ADFF), New York . The ADFF was created in November, 1993 by the husband and wife team of Reinaldo Barroso-Spech and Diarah N’Daw-Spech in the belief that education is power. He is an educator in foreign languages and Black Literature and she a financial consultant and university budget manager. They are of the reality that film is the truest medium for creating a fertile ground for education. The future of our communities of colour is directly tied to the expansion of our experiences, the depth and breadth of our reach and interaction with other communities and the framework from which our talent can stand front and center. The vision behind ADFF is to see an informed and talented community coming together to exchange ideas and strategies for improving their respective worlds.
According to the ADFF boss, "In our reality, people from diverse races, nationalities and backgrounds come together to enjoy important cinematic works of creativity, intellectual expansion, identity, and equality. In this world there are no boundaries around people because they are embraced in a universal understanding of humanity. This is the element of commonality that weaves through this annual event of images from Africa and the African Diaspora."
ADFF’s mission is to present African films to diverse audiences, redesign the black cinema experience, and strengthen the role of African and African descent directors in contemporary world cinema. In response to this mission, ADFF features the work of emerging and established filmmakers of color. Most important, ADFF distinguishes itself through its presentation of outstanding works that shine a different or comprehensive light on African Diaspora life and culture — no matter what the filmmaker’s race or nationality. The statement further said.
* African film makers @ Cannes speak…
(1) Gaston Kabore, a writer, producer and director. Kabore started out as a history student at the Centre d’Etudes Superieures d’Histoire d’Ouagadougou and continued his studies in Paris where he received an MA. During his studies he became interested in how Africa was portrayed abroad, which then led him, in 1974, to study cinematography at the Ecole Superieure d’Etudes Cinematographiques. Further inspiration came upon viewing Ousmane Sembene’s Xala, which he saw as an example of how film could be used to express African culture. After returning to Africa, Kabore was made director of the Centre National du Cinema and taught at the Institut African d’Education Cinematographique. Along with students under his direction there he made his first film, ‘Je Reviens De Bokin’ (I Come From Bokin). He further went on to produce practical documentaries such as 1978’s, ‘Stockez et conservez les grains’ (Store and Conserve the Grain), which focused on agrarian concerns. Another kind of documentary he made in this early period, ‘Regard sur le VI’eme FESPACO’ (A Look at the 6th FESPACO) evidenced his concern for and promotion of African film.

Kabore’s first feature, ‘Wend Kuuni’ (1982) was a breakthrough for African cinema, notably for the way it translated African oral tradition to the screen. Next, Kabore returned to address the issues surrounding African cinema with a documentary, ‘Props sur le cinema’ (Reflections on the cinema) (1986).
Another mark of Kabore’s international recognition was his participation in the film, ‘Lumière et compagnie’, in 1995 in which 40 directors from around the world were asked to make a short film with the original Cinematographer invented by the Lumiere Brothers. His most recent feature ‘Buud Yam,’ in 1997 was the 1997 grand-prize winner of the FESPACO and as writer, he wrote the same ‘Buud Yam’ and also produced ‘Cora Player,’ in 1996.
Kabore is the current proprietor of the Imagine Film Training Institute in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, the institute which according to him was not a normal school curricular institute. It was solely for young talents, it was solely catering workshops and special trainings. It habours students from various countries of Africa including Nigeria. Students from the Nigerian Film Institute (NFI), Jos with collaboration of Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN). Kabore shared his experience on Cannes as the biggest in the world of film making. But he said it is a pity Africa is not playing a major role, saying that we have to fight more and more for Africa to put its own culture in the world, "Some day it is going to grow up and flourish," he said.
(2) Mahmoud Ali Balogun, Member of Board of Trustees of Confederation of Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (CMPPAN) and also a member, steering committee on Motion Picture Council of Nigeria (MOPICON), a film maker, director, producer and screen play writer.
Balogun bared his mind on the state of affairs of MOPICON saying that the document is already on progress, it is now on the part of government. He said very soon it will be passed to the appropriate channel for further implementation.
Mr. Mahmoud Ali Balogun noted that after the implementation of MOPICON things will be practiced formerly, it will not be all farmers affairs again. He said, they will be a room and avenues for investment, it will further promote the motion picture industry as a whole, there won’t be sectional practice and disintegrated roles as it happens today in some states in Nigeria. MOPICON will unite all stakeholders and practitioners, protect all fundamental rights of the guilds and members. It will also move the country as a unified body because all structures will be on ground for practitioners.
For non-entry of Nigerian movies in the festival, Balogun said, "Our people need to be enlightened for the process of selection and registration. We need to produced good movies to meet up the international standard."
He gave kudos to the Federal Government for acquiring a pavilion, which serve as a home for all Africans in Cannes . It is an avenue to show case Nigeria ’s image. His words: "People do come to Nigeria’s pavilion to make inquiries. It shows that Nigeria is a film making destination and not a 419 country. Our pavilion is an information avenue about Nigeria . Government has done well for the industry. If we continue this way, many more will still come."
(3) Rachid Ferchiou, Tunisian Scenarios writer and film director, Born at October 01, 1941 in Bardo-Tunis-Tunisia. He is also the resident of the jury of 4th international festival cinema Pobre in GEBARA.CUBA for the category: Documentary, Experimental - President of the jury of the festival of the video clips, From August 8, 2006 Charm el sheik Egypt . Ferchiou produced and directed the fiction film: The Accident, TUNISIAN AND MAROCCO CO PRODUCTION, Decorated with the republic medal of Tunisian Republic ; Decorated with the culture medal of Tunisian Republic ; To date Adviser to the Cultural Ministry. He speaks German, Italian, English, French and Arab.
This veteran has 43 years’ experience in Festival du Cannes. He worked with the famous Senegalese film maker, Aboubaker Sam, Late Sambene Ousmane, Ibrahim Babi, president of Federation of Pan African Film Makers (FEPACI).
On lack of African film in the competition, he said, "Africa is a big country but small place in Cannes because we are absent in the Cannes competition. We are marginalized, there are a lot of Asian and Chinese film, but why don’t we have African films? It is not because we mainly produced in English and our indigenous languages, why do they accept Chinese films? We need to come up with modern way of film making." On the relationship of the two countries, Ferchious said Nigeria and Tunisia have many things in common. He said it is high time that the two countries come together in co-production capacity to further take the continent to the highest level.

Reader's view:

In Nigeria illegal censorship by state\'s such as Kano State is not helping matters at all. The recent incarceration of Mr. Hamisu Lamido Iyantama of Kano in the Kano Prisons is a case in point. Kano state government and it\'s agent in a show of shame forcefully removed Mr Iyantama from his office (Iyantama Multimedia) without warrant. The kano state government accused Mr. Iyantama of directing and producing the movie Tsintsiya and incorporating musical and dancing scenes in the movie. The movie has sincewon many awards and is now highly acclaimed. If the human rights and civil libertiesof a popular and highly regarded movie director and producer like Mr. Iyantama can be trampled upon at will by rouge state governments, why should any one invest in African movies? With out the ability to attract funding African movies will continue to lack the ability to have the budget momentum to make the type of movies capable of competing at Cannes. Please join me in condemning Kano state government for harassing Mr. Iyantama and pushing back the decades of work to put hausa movies on top of the competition. Mohammed SokotoBy: Mohammed Sokoto From: Nigeria

Published in LEADERSHIP's INTERVAL Wednesday-May 21, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Laylatul-Qadr: Peace Until Dawn

In this article, Al-Amin Ciroma highlights the significance of Laylatul-Qadr and how to explore its spiritual advantages.
In each of the daily prayers we offer, we solemnly declare to Allah Ta'ala by saying , Iyyaka na'budu (You alone do we worship). While the intelligent and committed believer realises that his very lifestyle spells worship, he knows, remembering the words of our Prophet (pbuh) that Du'aa (supplication) is worship, [Tirmidhi, Abu Daud].
Allah, the Most Merciful, has encouraged the believers to take advantage of certain times during the year to make Du'aa' (supplication). Such an occasion presents itself annually during Ramadan, especially on the Lailatul Qadr (the Night of Power.) In this night, the single most important event in human history unfolded after the Glorious Qur'an was preserved in the protected tablet, Angel Jibreel (AS) descended with the blessed Book to reveal it, upon Allah's command, to His Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh). Accentuating its significance, Allah says in the holy Qur'an, "And how would you know (the value of the) Night of Qadr?"
The month of Ramadhan has been singled out for special worship (Ibadat) and exclusive favours. It is a month unlike other months. The holy Prophet (pbuh) said that it was the month of Allah (SWT). One reason for this, as defined by the Qur'an, is because the Qur'an was revealed in this month. Says Allah in Sura al­Baqarah: "The month of Ramadhan, that in which the Qur'an was sent down; a guidance for mankind, and clear signs of guidance and distinction". In fact, Imam Ja'afar As-Sadik (as) said, the other holy books (Zabur, Taurah, Injil) were also revealed in this month.
Among the nights of Ramadhan is one special night, which is better than a thousand months, good deeds performed on that single night are equal to those performed over a thousand months. It is the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr), when the Qur'an was revealed. Some commentators believe it was the night when the Qur'an was brought down from Baytul Ma'mur (Heavenly abode), for Angel Jibreel (as) to reveal in parts to the Prophet (pbuh). Others say it was the night when the Prophet (pbhu) received the entire Qur'an, but was asked to transmit it as and when the occasion demanded.
Laylatul Qadr is a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the final guidance for humans. It is a tribute to the commencement of the message revealed to mankind by their Creator, a message which shows them the way to achieve happiness in both the worlds. Just as the arrival of a child is celebrated, on its birth and then every year, as a bringer of joy and fulfilment for the family, Laylatul Qadr is celebrated as a bringer of light and guidance for mankind. Unlike the birthday, which is celebrated with a feast for the senses, Laylatul Qadr includes a feast for the spirit, a feast of worship and prayers.
Qadr also means honour and dignity. The holy Prophet (S.A.W) received the divine revelation, when he was in prayer in the cave of Hira (outsket of Mecca). Since this night enjoys the honour of having the first revelation brought to the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wasallam), it has been named Lailatul Qadr.
As one of the holiest and most blessed nights, which is likely to occur on one of the odd nights on the last ten days of Ramadhan and most likely to be the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th. The reward of worship on this night is better than the worship of a thousand months of worship, equivalent to a person's lifetime. So, on this night one should pray nafil namaz, recite the Quran, do Tasbih, Zikr, Duas, etc as much as possible.
This night had already opened its gates of treasures when the angel for the first time had come with the Divine Message in the cave of Hira, but its auspiciousness has continued to be with us permanently. Every year in the month of Ramadhan, this night is given to the Ummah. Muslims engage in prayers, recitation of Quran and praying to Allah Ta’ala, as the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with him and his purest progeny) said: "The person who offered prayers to Allah in the night of Dignity with faith and with hope of reward from Allah, all his past sins have been forgiven." (Bukhaari)
As the rainy season is suitable for farming, similarly for the attainment of nearness to Allah Ta'ala, specific times, specific days and specific nights are most suitable. For example, like the time of Tahajjud (midnight) prayers, Friday prayers, month of Ramadhan, the Day of Arfah, and so on, so also the Night of Power is the most suitable night for attaining nearness to Allah (SWT).
In the Hadith, we have been asked to seek it in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadhan. Hazrat A'isha (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) has said, 'Seek the night of Dignity in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadhan'.(Bukhaari).
Going by these facts, there are many ibadats and zikr (Allah's remebrance) selected for lailatul qadr. Some of which are:
•Seeking Forgiveness: Hazrat Aisha (RA) asked the Prophet (S.A.W) that if she happened to get the night sublime, what prayer should she say? The Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam replied that she should say the following prayer : "Allahumma innaka afuwwun kareemun tuhib-bul af-wa fa-afo anni." Meaning - (O Allah, You are the One who grants pardon for sins, loves forgiving, so forgive me.)
•Reciting Istighfar (forgiveness). The following should be recited as much as possible: Astaghfirullah hallazi la-ila-ha illa huwal Hayyul Qayyumo wa atu-bu ilaihe, (I seek forgiveness from Allah, the Almighty, there is no God but He. He is self-Existent, the Eternal and I return to Him). •Reciting Suratul-Qadr
Preparation For the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr): The other decent efforts for this night are that before its arrival, the prudent wayfarer should arrange for its preliminaries and necessities, e.g. for worshipping in this night, a suitable place, dress, and perfume should be arranged in advance for engaging in private humming communications with Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), as well as for communications with his masters, i.e. sinless Imams [a] he should arrange suitable themes and contents; for paying alms during this night should allocate some money, even for the invitation of guests and for payment of alms, he should plan in advance to select the most suitable guests and the genuinely poor people, who really deserve financial support.

Let us imagine that if an emperor dispatches a special courier before someone, with compassion and mercy, invites him for a special feast, gives him glad-tidings that if he appears in the royal feast with decency and decorum, rewards and magnificent gifts would be bestowed upon him, and the more respectfully he would behave in the assembly, the emperor too would increase his rewards and gifts in proportion with his behaviour. Undoubtedly, after receiving such a message, this person would become excited and pleased, and in order to prepare himself would not leave any stone unturned, and during this period would mobilize all his resources and efforts to procure whatever is required for being present in such an assembly, so that finally, when that moment arrives, being fully decorated in a respectable and decent manner, he could present himself over there.
The invitation of an emperor is responded in the above manner. But how about the invitation of Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), who is the King of all kings - the King of the earth and the heavens and has invited us for His feasts? In order to invite us, He has dispatched His favourite angels, pious prophets and sinless Imams (a) as His couriers. He has assigned His angels to announce his invitation kindly and compassionately to us; has given us the glad-tidings of giving us permanent abode in Paradise in return for sincere worshipping during one single night (the Night of Power); has promised such bounties, which have not been seen by any eye, have not been heard by any ear, and have not been imagined through any human being's mind, as well as has given us the glad-tiding of illumination, ecstasy, majesty, splendour, nearness, union, and countenance, for whose least comprehension and understanding, faculties of reason and thoughts find themselves astonished and helpless.
Selection of the Most Suitable Deeds : Other desirable efforts of this night are that with the nearing of these nights, one should increase his eagerness for receiving the promised bounties and blessings; should select worships and deeds which are more in harmony with his mood from the point of view of sincerity, openness of heart and internal purification; in this matter should seek help from Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), and the impeccable ones. And if he cannot diagnose himself what suits his mood properly, he should seek guidance from Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), through consultation (istikhara).
How to bid farewell to the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr): As was described for the other important and esteemed nights, the Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr) should also be farewelled exactly in the similar manner, i.e. one should submit his deeds and worships to those exalted ones, with a heart broken, with grief and shedding tears, should request them to make those deeds as righteous, and should intercede with Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), for their acceptance, and thus making them fruitful.

My Islamic Articles

What Muslims Are Supposed To Do On FridaysFriday is the best day of the week. Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) had said, “We (Muslims) came last and yet we are the first on the day of judgment.They have received the books before us (meaning Taurah and Injil). We have received the book after them (meaning the Qur’an). Friday was their day to be glorified. However, they disputed on that while Allah Ta’ala had told us Friday is the day to glorify. Thus, they will follow us. The Jews glorify Saturday, and the Christians glorify Sunday.”Also reported by Imam Muslim, Abu-Dawod, Al-Nasaii, and Al-Termithi, that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) had said, “The best day during which the sun have risen is Friday. It is the Day Adam was created. It is the day when Adam entered paradise and also when he was taken out from it. It is also the day on which the day of judgment takes place.”
Muslims are supposed to do the following on Fridays:•Men are obligated to participate in Friday Prayer. Allah (S.W.T.) said in Surat Al-Jumauah, (verse 9), what can be translated as, “O’ you who believe! When the call is proclaimed to Prayer on Friday hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business. That is best for you if you but knew.” •In addition, prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) had warned from not attending Friday Prayer. Imam Muslim and Ahmad had reported that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) said about people who do not attend Friday prayer, “I wanted to ask a man to lead people in the prayer so that I may go and burn houses of men who did not attend the Friday Prayer with us” He also said, reported by Imam Muslim, Ahmad and An-Nasaii, “Either they (meaning people who do not attend the Friday prayer) stop neglecting Friday prayers or Allah will set a seal on their hearts so they can not find the right path again.” In another authentic hadith reported by Abu Dawod, Termithi, An-Nesaii, and Ibn-Majah, that the prophet (S.A.W) said, “Who ever does not attend three Friday prayers, (without a valid excuse) Allah will set a seal on his heart” •It is also recommended to increase supplication, especially at the last hour of the day since it is the hour when requests are replied by Allah (SWT). In an authentic hadith reported by Imam An-Nasai, Abu-Dawod, and Al-hakim, that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said, “Friday has 12 hours, one of which is the hour where cries are granted for Muslim believers. This hour is sought at the last hour after Asar.” •It is encouraged to wish peace be upon prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) during Fridays and Friday’s night because of an authentic hadith reported by Imam Abu-Dawod, An-Nesaii, and Ibn-Majah, that the Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) said, “The best day is Friday. On Friday Adam was created, and died. On Friday is the first time the trumpet is blown (meaning when every creature dies) and the second time the trumpet is blown (referring to resurrection). So increase the number of times you wish peace upon me since this prayer will be shown to me.” They asked him, How will our prayers be shown to you after you have vanished. He replied, “Allah has prohibited earth to cause the body of prophets to decay.” •It is also recommended that Muslims recite surat Al-Kahf, because of the authentic hadith reported by Imam Al-Baihaqee, and Al-Hakim, that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) had said, “Whoever recites surat Al-Kahf on Friday, Allah will give him a light to the next Friday.” •It is also recommended that Muslims clean and wash themselves and make sure they smell nice when they attend Friday prayers. Imam Muslim and Bukhari reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said, “Every Muslim is obligated to wash on Fridays and wear his best cloth. Also, he should use perfume if he has any.” •It is important to come early to the Friday prayer. All of the hadith collectors, except Ibn-Majah, reported in an authentic hadith that the prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said, “If one washes himself and then went to Friday Prayer, it is considered as if he donated a camel for the sake of Allah. However, If he went in the second hour then it is considered as if he donated a cow, and if the third hour then as if he donated a big sheep, and if the fourth hour then as if he donated a chicken, and if the fifth hour then as if he donated an egg. Then when the Imam starts delivering the speech, the angels come and listen to it.” Also in anther authentic hadith reported by Imam Abu-Dawod that the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said, “On Friday the angels come to stand on the doors of the mosque (masjid), the angels record who comes first, if the Imam starts delivering the speech, the angles close their files and come to listen to the speech.”It is forbidden to work on Fridays after the call for the prayer is announced because Allah Ta’ala says in Surat Al-Jumu’ah, (verse 9), what can be translated as, “When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business.” Also, it is forbidden to talk during the Khutbah. Several sayings of prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) covers this subject. In an authentic hadith reported by (the group of Ahadith collectors), except Ibn-Majah that prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said, “If you told your friend to pay attention on Friday while the Imam is delivering the speech then you committed a sin of vain talk.” Another authentic hadith which was reported by Imam Ibn-Majah and Attermizi that prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said, “Even who touches the gravel on the floor then he committed vain talk, and he who does commit that there will be no (Jumuah) Friday for him.”It is also disliked to walk between sitting people during Friday gathering unless there is an empty spot to fill. In an authentic hadith reported by Imam Abu-Dawod, An-Nesaii and Ahmad it was reported that, A man came and started walking between people during a Friday gathering while Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was delivering his speech, so the Prophet told him, “Sit, because you caused harm to other people and came in late.”It was not legislated to consider Friday as a day off and not work on that day, because Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Jumu’ah, (verse 10), what can be translated as, “And when the prayer is finished, then you may disperse through the land and seek of the bounty of Allah.” It was not a habit of any of the companions to consider Friday as a day to take off from work. On the contrary, Imam Al-Malik said, “It is disliked to take Friday off since we will be resembling the Jews and Christians for taking, respectively, Saturday or Sunday off.”Finally , there are two important matters for us in this country to be caution of •First of all, we must not neglect Friday prayers because of work, study, or other matters. Every Muslim should make attending Friday prayer his top priority. It is important to do so since ignoring it three times with no valid reason will cause the heart to be sealed from the right path. •The second matter to watch for is the loosing of one’s interest in the importance of Friday. This is especially important for the growing generation who are used to the concept of weekend being Saturday and Sunday, and know almost nothing about the importance of Friday in the eyes of Muslims. So it is our duty to remind them and ourselves about this great day which is the best day of the week and try to spend it according to Islamic teaching. To Develop Love Between Husband And WifeIslam has placed much emphasis on love and tolerance when it comes to the issue of marriage. As it is, marriage is one of the pillars of the Sunnah (tradition) of the holy Prophet of Islam, Abul-Qasim Muhammad (S.A.W).Allah (SWT) in His holy book (Al-qur’an), indicates that marriage is one of His outstanding signs that He created man and woman and imparted them with wisdom of love and care, so that they will regenerate and prosper in the generation of Islam. Due to the importance of this profound topic, alot of scholars have contributed their own quota in actualising good homes. As the topic goes, we need to explore some dua’ (supplications) from the holy qur’an in order to have everlasting love and understanding between spouses. From my findings, the following are some of the supplications:•Recite Surah Yasin 7 times and every time blow breath through the palm of the right hand on 7 almonds or dates separately and give them to your spouse to eat all of them.•Recite Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim 786 times on a glass of clean (pure) water and give it to your spouse to drink. •Recite Surah Al Quraysh 14 times and blow it on roses and both husband and wife should smell them. •Recite Al-Wadood 1000 times and every time blow breath through the palm of the right hand on some sweet eatables and both should eat it. •Recite Surah al Muzzammil 41 times and every time blow breath through the palm of the right hand on some sweet eatables and give it to your spouse to eat.•Recite the following dua’ verse 31 of sura Ali-Imran: Qul in kuntum tuhibbuunallah, fattabi’uunii yuhbibkumullahu wa yaghfirlakum walLaahu ghafuurur-raheem 3 times and every time blow breath through the palm of the right hand on a glass of pure water and give it to your spouse to drink.• Recite verse 32 of Sura Sad: (Fa qaala) Innee ahbabtu hubbal-khair andhikri rabbee hatta tawaarat bil hijaab (Translation: He said: “Verily I have loved the love of (earthly) good above the rememberance of my Lord until (the sun) was hidden in the veil (of night)) on some sweet eatables and give it to both of them to eat for a period of 7 days.•Recite verse 83 of Sura Yasin: Fasubhanalladhee biyadihee malakuutu kulli shay’in wa ilaihi turja’uun. Wa laa haula wa laa quwwata illaa billahil-aliyyil ‘azeem (Translation: Therefore glory be to Him in whose hand in the kingdom of all things. Unto Him you will all return. There is no might nor strength with (any one) save Allah, the high, the great.) on some sweet eatables and give it to both of them to eat. Insha Allah very soon they will come very close to each other. •Take an egg (of hen) clean it and write verse 128 of Sura Al-Bara-at: Laqad jaa’akum rasuulun min anfusikum ‘azeezun ‘alaihi maa ‘anittum hareesun ‘alaykum bil mu’mineena ra-uufun raheem (Translation: Indeed a messenger from among you has come to you. Any distress that befalls you grieves him, (he is) most kind and merciful to the believers.) on it with the name of your spouse. Enclose the egg in a pot with a cover and bury it under the earth where fire burns everyday. Insha Allah the spouse will come very close to you. If there has been a separation, an immediate reconciliation will take place.•It is written in the book, Biharul Anwar that in order to create love between husband and wife, write the names of Ashab al-kahf (the people of the cave) and then the name of your spouse with her or his mother’s or father’s name and wear it as a ta’wid on the right arm. The names of seven sleepers (followers of Prophet Isa (AS)) in Christian books are as follows: (1) Constantine (2) Dionysius (3) John (4) Malchus (5) Martinian (6) Maximiam (7) Serapion According to Hafiz Farman Ali Sahib they were six and the seventh was a dog. Their names are given below : (1) Kimsilmina (2) Martunus (3) Sarnivilus (4) Ninivanus(5) Tmlikha (6) Wariwanus The Eminence Islam Attaches To WomenFrom Zainab Bashir MarafaThe position of women in Islam has recently been an issue of debate. Some misconceptions arise, either from traditional practices which are thought to be “Islamic,” but are not, or else from prejudices. However, the real issue is how women are regarded in the Islamic faith, and when we look at this, we see that Islam gives women great social value, freedom and comfort.God’s commandments about the status of women and the relations between men and women, which have been revealed to us through the Qur’an, consist of full justice. In this regard, Islam suggests equality of rights, responsibilities and duties between the two genders. Islam is based on sympathy, tolerance and respect for human beings, and does not discriminate against women in this matter. The examples of good morals communicated to us in the Qur’an are universally compatible with human nature, and are valid for all stages of history. Respect for women and women’s rights fall within this. In the Qur’an, God insists that the tasks and responsibilities of women are the same as those of men. Furthermore, while performing these tasks and responsibilities, men and women must help and support each other: The men and women of the believers are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong, and establish prayer and pay alms, and obey Allah and His Messenger. They are the people on whom Allah will have mercy. Allah is Almighty, All Wise. (Qur’an, 9:71) God emphasizes that believers will be rewarded in the same manner according to their deeds, regardless of their gender. Their Lord responds to them: ‘I will not let the deeds of any doer among you go to waste, male or female - you are both the same in that respect... (Qur’an, 3:195) Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Qur’an, 16:97) In another verse, Muslim men and women are considered together, and it is stressed that both have the same responsibility and status in God’s sight: Men and women who are Muslims, men and women who are believers, men and women who are obedient, men and women who are truthful, men and women who are steadfast, men and women who are humble, men and women who give alms, men and women who fast, men and women who guard their private parts, men and women who remember Allah much: Allah has prepared forgiveness for them and an immense reward. (Qur’an, 33:35)In the Qur’an there are many more verses stating that men and women are exactly equal in terms of their tasks and responsibilities and their rewards or punishments in return. There are a few differences in social issues, but these are for the comfort and protection of women. The commands of the Qur’an regards the congenital differences between the two genders resulting from their creation, and suggest a system maintaining equal justice for men and women in this light. Islam does not see women as objects. Therefore, it is not seen appropriate that a woman of good morals should marry a man of bad morals. In the same way, it is not permitted for a woman of bad morals to marry a man of good morals: Corrupt women are for corrupt men and corrupt men are for corrupt women, Good women are for good men and good men are for good women. The latter are innocent of what they say. They will have forgiveness and generous provision. (Qur’an, 24:26) Also as regards marriage, the duties and responsibilities of couples towards each other require equality. God demands that both spouses be protective of and supervise each other. This duty is expressed in the Qur’an in the following words. They are covers for you and you for them... (Qur’an, 2:187) Many rules and commandments exist in the Qur’an regarding the protection of women’s rights on marriage.

Rudin Zamani is My Blockbuster, says Rahama

Rahma Hassan is an up coming actress in Kannywood. Born and bred in Sokoto, she started her primary education there up to secondary, and left Sokoto when she was in JSS2. According to her, her father was a police officer and the reason for her leaving the seat of the Caliphate was because her father was transferred back to Minna, the Niger state capital in 1996. After her secondary education at Police Secondary School Minna, she sat for JAMB, and got admission into the University of Abuja, where she studied Business Administration. Presently, she is about going back to school for her MBA at Bayero University Kano. In this chat with Al-Amin Ciroma, she bares her mind on her experience as an up-coming star in the Hausa film genre and the movie that brought her to limelight. Excerpts

What attracted you into the movie industry?
Hm… I had the flair to act right from childhood. I had told my Mum about it, who in turn told my dad and he supported it. He was like, ok you could go and act, no problem. But just take care of yourself. I really love acting. I think it is in me, and I think when I act, I really portray the real character I was given and the message to impart to the audience. It may be on the negative or positive side, but all the same, we are just sending a message to the audience. I have always loved acting right from childhood, it is just in me. And I finally debuted into Kannywood just recently in the year, 2006.

How many films have you done so far?
I have featured in five films. Musanya was my first
movie, followed by Qudsiyya then 'Yan'uwa, Wasan Maza and now the big one, Rudin Zamani. That is where I played a lead role. It is really going to be my blockbuster.

What about the Rudin Zamani?
(Laughter) Rudin Zamani is a fine film with a lot of suspence. The storyline is superb. It is about a lady, whose parents are rich, and her father likes her very much. That lady was me. Later, she got a guy, who is poor. She introduce him to her dad and that is how the guy made it. Her father was very happy because he wanted her to settle down. After everything, they got married and her father made him one of the richest young men around. Along the line, the girl pleaded with her husband to allow her go back to school and continue her studies and he accepted.
After going back to school, she made some friends, who misled her with school life. Although she is married, but her girl-friends were
not married. They were just having very funny life styles. And from the way the girl grew up, she never had such opportunity. She lived a shettered and protective life being a daddy's girl, and so on. But while in the school, everything changed. Her friends were like, why is she so serious with education? Can't she just play or have fun? They tried to deceive her that there are other ways and means to pass her exams even without reading her books. Before she knew it, she has already become a member. They were all having fun, keeping boy friends. She started staying late in school. She will call her husband and giving him flimsy excuses that she might be coming home late and the husband, being so gentle will succumb to her. At a time, the whole thing got into her, then she started misbehaving to her husband to an extent that, she vehemently asked for a divorce, just give her Saki as we call it in Hausa. She really asked for Saki Uku, the final one as in, if she go, she won't come back with regards to the Qur'anic injunction. She did that because she knows her dad is very rich, so even if she leave him, she is going to have her fun in school and there won't be any restriction. She doesn't have to lie to anybody that she would come home late or something. But at the end of the day, she really regretted as she discovered that all she was looking for was not the real thing she expected. Her life became a mishap.
In essence, Rudin Zamani is something else because the story depicts what is happening now in our society. You see married women going to school or any public places and when they get there, they become another people entirely. A film like that has a lot to offer the society. You know marriage is the sacred institution we have in our various religions. So we should learn to keep them and abide by their rules and regulations. Now producers of Rudin Zamani are trying to expose the unfortunate happenings in our marital lives so that we take precautions.

People are of the opinion that actresses nowadays are wayward. Do you see this as a challenge?
Yes, most people see some actresses as wayward human being, but it all depends on you. But some of the actresses allow the whole thing to happen to them. By the time you have so many fans, everybody will start calling you, they want to take you out for lunch, they want to take you out for dinner, they want to buy you gift, buy you this, buy you that. Once you allow this to get into you, you are going to have problems. Still, there are many actresses who made it and still are not wayward.

What is your experience like in the industry?
Well, it has not been easy, but then Alhamdulillah, I don't really have any bad experience, but just that sometimes the way they schedule the shooting, you have sleepless nights. You are always at the location. It is not easy, probably because it is in me, I don't have problem with acting. So far so good, I have heard a director that complained about Rahma.

Any comment about the recent scandal about the stripped video?
Well, I think that video clip took the whole of us by surprise, we weren't expecting a very beautiful young lady as Maryam to do that, but it is her personal life. I am very sure she did that because she is in love with her guy. If she had knew that this thing will be out for the whole world to see it, she wouldn't have done it in the first place, that I am very sure of. So my advice to my fellow actresses is that we should be careful. The technology is really moving at a very fast lane. Everybody should be on the watch. As an actress, you are a public figure, you should be cautious of what you are doing. Even if you have to do it, calm down and ask yourself, this thing I am about to do, is it good for me and my religion? If you do it, what is going to be the effect? It might not be immediate. What happened to Hiyana was not instantly. It was after a very long time. So I am sure everybody has learnt a lesson out of that indignity.

What about those suspended from the industry alongside Hiyana?
I think they should be pardoned. Everybody has learnt his lesson by now. Then we need an orientation in Kannywood. We have too many young girls that are coming into the industry without knowing what they are there for. And some of the producers will just use them in the movies without properly orienting to know all what it takes to be a movie actor.

Are you indirectly supporting the new laws set up by the Kano State Censorship Board?
Yes! I am in support of the laws 100 per cent. Initially, some people left saying that they were not going to act again, but most of them are coming back and are willing to abide by the rules. Let's just hope that those who set-up the rules, will not in turn, break it.

How do you mean they will in turn break it?
Most of them go out with these young girls in the industry. We had that experience before, there is no need to revisit it or mention names. But it all depends on you as a woman. Sometime, I used to ask myself, why will I have to date somebody? Is it because I want to be a star? Hell no! Not because I want to be a star. I know I am good, it might take some years but I know one day, I will be there.

Who is your role model in Kannywood?
AliNuhu and Aisha Dankano. What Aisha did in Wasan Maza was really good. I love the way she acts. So she is my role model. I want to be like her one day

Do you have similar experience in Nollywood industry?
Yeah Nollywood is another aspect entirely. It is very okay. I was once in Nollywood. I actually left because of my background, culture and religion. My Mum doesn't see it good for a woman to wear skimpy dresses in movies. I am not saying they are not trying, but Islamically, it is wrong that is why my dad advised that I should better be cautious about my religion and cultural background.

Do you really subscribe to the singing and dancing aspect of the Hausa movies?
(Laughter) Yeah, I think its fun. I love fun. We did Yahoozee with Ali Nuhu, we had a cool evening.

Any word to you fans?
Yeah, I love them all. They should be on the look out for my movies. They should also pray for me.

Thank you.