Sheikh Silliman Kasule Ndirangwa was appointed Supreme Mufti on December 16. In this interview, he shares his passions and how he runs his two homes.
From the day he was appointed Kibuli-faction Mufti, Sheikh Silliman Kasule Muhammad Ndirangwa agreed to have an interview with us at his home.
On more than one occasion, we had to postpone the interview due to official engagements.
On all these occasions, Ndirangwa would call and reschedule. However, on February 2, we finally had it at his home in Buziga, a leafy suburb of Kampala.
Being our first visit to the new Mufti’s home, since his appointment on December 16, 2015, Ndirangwa is gracious enough to give us directions all the way.
We snake through a pot-holed hilly road to Buziga Hill. We find the Mufti outside his home leaning against a stationary Pajero Land Cruiser, probably, talking to someone inside the vehicle.
On seeing the cameraman and I, Sheikh Ndirangwa welcomes us.
Dressed in a tunic designed with blue stripes on the sleeves and neckline, with a cream Muslim’s cap, Ndirangwa ushers us into his home.
In the compound are three cars; his official vehicle a Pajero Land Cruiser hoisted with a green flag inscribed with some Arabic words, his wife’s Toyota Hilux and a regular work Toyota Saloon car.
The compound is dotted with mango, jack fruit, and avocado trees as well as different flower species.
The hospitable Mufti
“This is my humble home,” he says while leading us to the porch. After a while, he excuses himself to open for us the door leading to his sitting room.
When he reappears, he points at a spot on the porch, and says; “this is my favourite point where I relax at night. It offers me a panoramic view of Kampala city as I sip coffee.”
When we settle down on the cream sofa set, Ndirangwa teases, “You have been on my neck, what exactly do you want,” he asks as he reclines in his seat.
Before I can even reply, he asks what drinks he can offer.
We opt to continue with the interview and quickly ask him about his life. He says, “I am a happy husband and a father. I have two wives and thus two homes, which means I have to balance work and home to ensure the happiness of my two families.”
The father of 10 says his day starts at 5am, when he wakes up and prepares for Subhi, the Islamic dawn prayer, with his family.
“I get ablution, pray Sunnah [two optional prayer units], recite some Koran verses and say the morning supplications. I wake up my people to prepare for the same,” he shares.
“After prayers, I tune on the television set and watch foreign and local news to acquaint myself with what is happening around me,” he says.
During this period, he says, his children prepare his morning breakfast, and what he will wear that day. He has breakfast at 8:30am.
“I eat fruits before I can put anything else in my stomach. My breakfast comprises light foods such as Matooke and fried eggs accompanied with black tea without sugar.” Ndirangwa says doctors advised him not to take sugary drinks after he was diagnosed with diabetes.
Ndirangwa emphasises that being Mufti is a “mere title and I lead an ordinary life.”
“I am a down-to-earth person. I treat everyone equally,” he says. At home, my gates are always open and people visit me frequently, which is why you don’t see any police officer manning my home, “it’s a people’s home,” he says.
During his free time, Ndirangwa visits neighbours as well as members of his family.
“I love helping my wives with home chores but often they don’t allow me. It’s always fun to do things together, for example, washing a car with my children before leaving for work,” he shares. The 54-year-old says week days are ideal for spending time with the family because at the weekends there are so many functions to attend.
He explains that besides official functions, it’s obligatory for every Muslim to respond to invites from their brothers and sisters, according to Islam tenets.
As he shares his thoughts, his daughter Swaffah Kasule serves breakfast.
While this is happening, the Mufti receives a call. It is a woman asking him for audience at his office.
Ndirangwa tells the voice on the other end of the line to wait at least for 40 minutes before he can attend to her.
Dining with the Mufti
He then washes his hands in the sink adjacent to the dining table and invites us to do the same.
In normal dining settings, many Muslims use their hands to eat, as a tradition of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. As such, I am curious what the Mufti’s choice will be.
His food is served with a spoon on the side and a glass of water. We are served with Matooke with groundnut paste and fried eggs plus black tea.
He says his favourite food is Matooke. He prefers boiled sauce.
“I love vegetables such as Ntula, and eat fruits because they are my source of sugar in the body and keep me healthy,” he observes.
When he starts to eat, he uses a fork. He prefers to eat first then talk later.
“Feel free to let me know in case you need some more,” he says, while he collects dirty plates and takes them to the kitchen.
About his family
When we are done with the interview, he invites his wife to join us. However, before concluding the conversation, I ask him when we will visit his second home, but he simply brushes off the matter.
“I think we have shared more than what you will require for your story. We will not go to the second home, just leave it out,” he says.
However, he shares that his other home is in Mbuya.
Ndirangwa is also an affectionate man. He says, “My darling first wife is here with me, Hajjat Madiinah Kasule Nakimuli and the second wife is Hajjat Mariam Kasule.”
He shares that both his wives are businesswomen, importing goods and own and run accessories shops in Kampala.
“I have 10 children, two graduated and are businessmen, some are in high school and a few in primary,” he explains. When I further inquire about the particulars of his children, he draws a vernacular saying.
“In Buganda we don’t expose home issues to the public and we don’t count children. Therefore, go with the picture I have painted about my children,” he says.
Making time for everyone
He says a family is an important unit of society; and as such, he ensures that his two families are comfortable and satisfied with his love and services.
“Islam teaches us fairness to our families. I divided my week into two schedules. Two days at Mbuya and two days at Buziga and the week rotates in that manner,” he says.
When I ask which home is more dear to him, he says, “That is a sensitive request and it cannot be not granted, I reserve the answer to my heart.”
When I playfully ask in which home he would prefer to take a casual rest in the afternoon, he looks at me and replies; “the one closest to my office.”
When we leave his home to go about our day, one thing stands out and that is the Ndirangwa’s humility and hospitality.
Sheikh Silliman Kasule Ndirangwa, 54, is father of 10. He has two wives, one in Mbuya and Buziga, both Kampala suburbs. He is son to Muhammad Kasule Ndirangwa.
Ndirangwa studied at Madarastu Noor Kilayangoma, Masaka District up to Primary Three. He then joined Sseke Islamic Primary School in Kalungu District.
From there, he went to Bilal Islamic School where he attained a Primary Theological Certificate. He then joined Bilal Secondary School and completed the O-Level Theological Certificate.
In 1982, Ndirangwa got a study scholarship to Saudi Arabia and joined the college of Dar Hadith al Makkiya for college [an equivalent of A-Level] studies in Mecca.
Later he was admitted to the University of Medina where he graduated with a degree in Daawah, thus qualifying for the call of people to the way of Islam.
On his return to Uganda in 1989, Ndirangwa taught at Masaka Islamic Primary School, Buziga Islamic primary and Secondary school [1991-1992] and Hidaya Primary Islamic School .
On his invite to lead a Juma prayer at Kibuli mosque, in 1993, he was then identified as a talented Da’ee [preacher] and later appointed Imam of Kibuli Mosque.
He served in the position until 2010 during the general elections for the Muslim community where he was appointed to represent Kibuli Mosque at the council of 45 Sheikhs for Kampala District.
It is this council that elected him to the position of the District Kadhi for Kampala, a position he held until December 16, 2015, when he was appointed the Mufti by the Kibuli Mosque council of eminent Sheikhs.