Shaykh Yusuf da Costa: Stand firm for the Ahlus Sunni Wal Jama’ah

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During the last few years [2012], we have noticed how, in many mosques, the usual adhkar, supplications and recitations that we used to do after the obligatory salah, have been slowly disappearing. Today, in many of these mosques, only short supplications or one of those endless supplications that tire everybody, are made. We have also found that this happens predominantly in those mosques in which the religious teacher is an adherent of or has leanings towards the Wahabi discourse in Islam. What is so sad about all this is that in many of the Sunni mosques, this practice is also starting. We suppose, in a few years time, despite what the Prophetic Traditions instruct us, nothing will be recited after the obligatory salahs anymore.

But this is not all. The usual respect this community had for the intensely pious people is also disappearing. Previously, when anyone went on pilgrimage to Mecca, that person would greet as many of the Awliya’ here in the Western Cape. This practice is ending quite rapidly. Of course, the same people, if they had not been taught that it is not necessary for them to go to Madinah, would greet Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ), Sayyiduna Abubakr (r.a.) and Sayyiduna Umar (r.a.), in the haram of Madinah, the martyrs of Uhud and the inmates of Jannatul Baqi. It is not a bida’, as the Wahabis say, to do this in Madinah, but it is a bida’, as the Wahabis say, to do this in Cape Town. When a community starts to ignore its pious forefathers, it tells a big story of that community’s spiritual orientation.

Those of us, who accept the Wahabi declaration that the sufis are all unbelievers, have in the process declared our own forefathers unbelievers, because the forefathers of the Muslim in the Western and Eastern Cape were mainly adherents of the Tasawwuf discourse and used to practice sufi practices intensely. Those who glibly call sufis kafir, are also calling our forefathers kafir. We must remember this.

Another sign of the spiritual decline of the present Muslim community is the extent to which congregational adhkar have been suppressed. This is also done by those who accept the Wahabi discourse despite all the Prophetic Traditions on the matter. The havoc that this discourse has caused with Mainstream Islam is evident throughout the world, and it is also evident here by us and the rest of the country. In previous years, the majority of Muslims participated in a large number of religious practices such as congregational adhkar at different times of the week. These people worked hard to become pious people. Many of them placed themselves under religious guidance of the sufi shaykhs and the community vibrated with the celebration of the praises of Allah (ﷻ). All of these are going away. Today our concentration is on material possessions and young people fall for the Wahabi discourse, because it opens doors for them to those possessions. In a certain sense, spirituality, and what it stands for, is steadily being lost in our community; and very little is being done about this. And so, important religious activities associated with congregational adhkar and missionary work amongst non-Muslims, and Muslims who have become wayward, are being left mainly in the hands of those people declared kafir. A most amazing thing! Those people whose religious vocabulary consist mainly of the words: “haram, shirk, bida’ and kafir”, are nowhere to be found amongst the shacks in the poor areas. They have little regard for the poor, as many others have. Those whom they condemn with any one of these labels are the same people that are found amongst shacks in the townships and also inside the shacks and in many of the other poverty-stricken areas. Here and there we find members of the Tableegh movement, but they have also been declared kafir by the Wahabis. In terms of their ideology, the Wahabis are the only true Muslims on this planet. Here in the Western Cape and elsewhere, they have brought major divisions and dissension amongst people; have taken people away from the paths of piety and involve the people in arguments over different aspects of religion. The destruction these people have caused to our religion has very little comparison in the history of Islam.

When one surveys Islam in South Africa, one just sees religious devastation. From the time the Muslims set their feet in this country, they have been quarrelling with each other over all kinds of issues; especially issues related to mosques. This dissension amongst Muslims has now been worsened during the last few decades by the entrance of the Wahabi ideology through the large number of South African students who have trained in Wahabi institutions overseas and locally. All over the country Islam stands massively divided with the major mantra of the Wahabis being haram, shirk, bida’ and kafir. We see the impact of this wherever we travel; the Muslim community as a divided community and at each other’s throats. The intensification of this dissension is directly due to entrants of the Wahabi ideology into our religious space. Many of our religious leaders help to spread this devastation, all in the name of Islam.

I do not know what to say anymore on these issues, but all those who are in sufi structures must stand firm in defence of the Ahlus Sunni Wal Jama’ah and must stand firm in defence of the dignity of our forefathers. I have examined the history of our forefathers and I find pious people only amongst those in one or other Sufi Order. The Wahabi ideology has produced nothing. But the fact that they have large financial backing from Saudi Arabia, gives them the power and the strength to destroy the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunni Wal Jama’ah and their institutions. I am appealing to each one of you to stand firm. Don’t allow these people to rattle you. Defend your positions and protect the communities in which you work. We ask Allah (ﷻ) for assistance, amin.

[Unpublished 2012]


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