Ali Nuhu and the question of immorality in Hausa films, By Muhsin Ibrahim


At the risk of sounding pompous, it’s a known fact to many that I have written, and I still write, quite extensively, on Kannywood.

As humans as the filmmakers and the actors are — and I believe that I know and have on several occasions mentioned where they were wrong and where they were right.

While some people reason with my postulations, others do not. Why? To them, anything Kannywood is totally wrong, reprehensible, anti-religion and anti-culture, and that nobody should associate him/herself with them.

As you might have been aware, some pictures of an actor, Ali Nuhu, have gone viral these days. It’s as if the films in which they were screenshot from were new or recent. The films are a decade or more old. Yet as seasonal as social media can make things look like, people feel offended, thus call Ali Nuhu all manner of names. Some even went far to question his faith. Subhanallah!


It’s said that “wrong doing is a hill; everyone mounts his own and decries that of another”. Perhaps Ali Nuhu might have repented and Allah might have, in His infinite mercy, already forgiven him for that. Who knows?

By the way, did he do that in any Kannywood film? No. But does that make it less wrong? No, and yes. No, because Ali Nuhu, as a Muslim, should not do something like that. Yes, because it’s not made under the banner of Kannywood! For more than a century, American and Indian films have been watched in Nigeria. So, even a small boy can differentiate between a Kannywood film from any other.


I was just wondering: have we ever called for the ban on a famous film on the history of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, titled “The Message”, or that on the Libyan warrior, entitled after his name, “Omar Mukhtar”? No. But why? Was the central character, Anthony Quinn, who acts Sayyid Hamza in the former and Omar Mukhtar in the latter, a Muslim? No, he’s, and died a non-Muslim.

So, a film is 100% playacting. That’s why we don’t care whether an actor shares our faith, ideology or worldviews. He acts a script, and that’s all. If Ali Nuhu does wrong – and it’s wrong – in those films, it’s between him and his Creator. He cannot do the same in Kannywood, for there is still a sort of sanity compared to other film industries. We should not, as a matter of honesty, condemn them all. Not on this platform.


I respect my brother, Mal. Muhd Mubarak Ibrahim a lot. He champions the cause of sharing the pictures. This rejoinder, thus, is not meant to castigate him or deaden his academic worth or whatsoever. This is just to contribute to the discourse and to extend the frontiers of knowledge.

Allah ya shirye mu duka, amin.

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