Sheikh Mohamed Badamana and Radio-Based Fatwas (Legal Verdicts) as a Learning Tradition in Kenya



fatwa, ulama, Islamic studies, media, Islamic religious education


In the 1980s, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), and Radio Taifa (National Radio), hosted a 30-minute programme entitled Uliza Ujibiwe. The presenter was Mohamed Salim Badamana, an associate professor of Veterinary Medicine. In this radio programme, the Kenyan public (both Muslims and non-Muslims) would pose questions in writing on issues touching on Islam and the presenter would give a fatwa-sort of response. Given his academic background, this raises the question: Was his participation in a religious program challenging the conventional religious authority held by the traditional ‘ulama (Islamic scholars) in Kenya? Given its wider reach, the radio is an effective medium for knowledge production, interpretation and dissemination. Arguably, the use of electronic media can be a vehicle for blunt religious indoctrination and a means to disseminate positive universal human values across linguistic, racial, religious and social differences that in turn help in strengthening multicultural, multi-religious nations (Adnan 2010; Laura et al. 2019). Undoubtedly, Badamana’s radio programmes provided pertinent answers to a wide array of questions raised by the Kenyan public, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. What purpose did Badamana’s radio sessions serve in the Kenyan context? What sort of issues were of great interest to the audience and why? Therefore, my study analyses the contribution of Badamana to Muslim knowledge creation and dissemination in Kenya, based on the findings of a discourse analysis of selected audio recordings of Uliza Ujibiwe. While the programme is defunct, Badamana, appropriated the national radio to give fatwas on a wide range of issues, an emerging vista, way beyond the hitherto common mosque-darsas (study sessions) and textual writing platforms of the local ‘ulama (Islamic scholars).  


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How to Cite

Mraja, Mohamed Suleiman. 2023. “Sheikh Mohamed Badamana and Radio-Based Fatwas (Legal Verdicts) As a Learning Tradition in Kenya”. Journal for Islamic Studies 41 (1):18 pages.