On Sunday the 25th of September, 5000 children from indigenous, traditional and expat Muslim communities celebrated 1400 years since the revelation of the Quraan to Islam’s most revered prophet, Mohammed SAW. The 2nd Children of Islam Jalsah echoed across the Johannesburg Ellis Park sports arena as about 60 bus-loads of school children participated in an interactive extravaganza of Quranic recitation, plays, historical stories and musical performances.
Under the theme of Love, Learn and Live the Qur’an, the event celebrated the post apartheid heritage week, yet it focused on the most important heritage of a Muslim, the role and relevancy of the Quran in the 21st Century.
Surprise guest Zain Bhika also made his appearance much to the applause of the crowd. A rendition of the SA National Anthem in Arabic by the Bosmont Muslim School was a crowd pleaser, as were various nasheeds and songs. However what got the attention of many was the recollection of the contribution of Muslim inventions inspired by the Qur’an, to the advancement of mankind, aptly captured in the inspirational play From the Dark ages to the Golden age. The aim of the Jalsah also strengthened the bonds of friendship and unity between SA’s varied community of Muslims, reaching across all spectrums of society.
One of the main organizers of the event was AWQAF SA. Deputy CEO Ismail Munshi told Lenasia Times that the aim of the event was to encourage children not only to read and learn the Qur’an, but to practice the message and instruction of the Qur’an as well. He said it is a useful opportunity to remind people about the Qur’an. Ismail added that “we are celebrating the Islamic and also the South African heritage. As a South African community we’ve made tremendous progress in two levels, that we are able to practice our religion and we have contributed in various levels to the economy, life and culture of South Africa.” He went on to emphasize that Muslims in all sorts of organization’s are contributing at various levels. “Our first national democratic parliament had 20 percent Muslim cabinet ministers,” he reminded.
Though the event is not the main issue for Awqaf SA, Ismail said that they “participated in this event to make people aware that we do exist and what our aims are.” Awqaf SA’s main aim is to create Islamic Charitable Endowments or Waqfs (pl Awqaf) which empowers communities, economically socially, and many other ways to bring services to the people. The TRUST collects waqf funds and assets and invests them for the benefit of the community. Ideally the aim is to actually put the funds into property owned by Awqaf SA. The deputy CEO added that “there is a tremendous gap between the haves and the have nots.” As such, they are calling people to create a community waqfs / endowments in every community. Though traditional community foundations, which Ismail points out are “effectively Awqaf,” the waqf given to this organization are not bound to geographical or ethical involvement, and are used for the benefit of all people irrespective of colour or religion. He also highlighted the fact that there are a number of ministries of Awqaf all over the Muslim world. The aim of the Awqaf, “is more of a facilitator and funder in the partnerships with specialist organization’s,” like cataract operations that the IMA conducts.
All in all, the level of talent and knowledge of the Qur’an, and its teachings left many with the sense of belonging and a new understanding of the benefits of the perfect books of instruction to get you into heaven. One would expect that an organization that caters for needs of mankind, would naturally partner with the many schools and madressa’s to celebrate the revelation of the last book of instruction which came as a mercy to mankind.
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