Perhaps the major challenge that we have to our work in this country is a very subtle and not very noticeable spread of the Wahabi-Salafi discourse. In fact, even a very cursory assessment of what goes on in our mosques and madrassas, shows a general decline in the spread and establishment of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. We have said on numerous occasions that this is the understanding of Islam that we had inherited from our forefathers and that had prevailed at the Cape up to a few decades ago. Today, because those of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah were not watching their backs, the religious leaders trained in Wahabi-Salafi discourses have taken over many of our religious institutions.

One of the greatest difficulties wherever we try to work, we find mawlanas and shaykhs who are opposed to the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. And so they’ve tried to stop many of the religious ceremonies and activities that formed part of our heritage. In many mosques today ceremonies like Mawludun Nabi, Nifs’ Shaban, congregational adhkar, etc. have steadily been eliminated. Of course this is accompanied by underhand attacks against the personality and status of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ). This is best seen in the classification of him (ﷺ) as an “ordinary man”. The attacks against our Prophet (ﷺ) are usually accompanied by attacks against the Awliya’ of Allah Almighty, and so respect for these Friends of Allah (ﷻ) and visits to their graves are also in decline. One parent, for example, complained to me that he has now taken his child out of the third hifz school, because of the propaganda against our understanding of Islam.

We are to a large degree to blame for what is happening. The Wahabi-Salafi religious people found the doors to our community open and they just walked in. This is not only happening in South Africa but also in the territories around us. In Namibia, for example, it is almost impossible to establish a congregational dhikr on which there are so many Ahadith. Our experiences in the other territories indicate the same situation. In Malawi, which was at one time 100% Muslim, I think the figure has now [2012] come down to 65% as a consequence of the Wahabi-Salafi onslaught, which has reduced the spiritual defence of the faith of the Muslims, and allowed the Christian churches to penetrate the community. There also, congregational adhkar have eventually been eliminated, and so the people have no spiritual protection against Christian onslaught.

The only organization at present that is prepared to raise the banner of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah in this country is our Tariqah. The attacks against us for being Shia are deliberately done to cover up the prevailing Wahabi-Salafi discourse in this country. Those who attack us know very well that we are not Shia. Those who attack us also know very well what they are, and they use the community’s disfavour of the Shia Madh-hab to attack us. This is an old trick used all over the world; label your enemy to cover up your own point of view.

I have found the Wahabi-Salafi religious leaders all over and unless something serious is going to be done, I cannot see the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah surviving without the Naqshbandis in operation. We are the only group that is prepared to take a stand against the Wahabi-Salafi; not only here but all over the world and so they have brought out their poisoned pens and lies to attack us. The consequence of this has been that in some areas we are prevented from holding congregational adhkar in certain mosques.

We are telling you all of this to make you understand that we have a very important historical mission in this country, as part of the historical mission of the Naqshbandis throughout the world. This mission, of course, is to defend the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah’s interpretation of Islam. Every time we have a congregational dhikr or reciting different adhkar and du’as after the salah, or celebrating Mawludun Nabi; we are putting the nail in the coffin of those people who want to destroy the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. We need the co-operation of each one of you. It need not appear very important, but when murids stay away from congregational adhkar, they are weakening our struggle. We must show by our numbers and by our support, the seriousness of our struggle. Every time we build a jamaat khana or establish a madrassah or feed people, we are strengthening the cause of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. When we run away from these responsibilities or want to be just a quiet murid, then we are helping our enemies and weakening our “Jihad”.

Our work in the townships, for example, is critical in the struggle because the future of Islam in this country rests with those people who are living there. Africa is a black continent and South Africa is part of this continent. Islam in Africa is, to a large degree, in the hands of the Black people and we must show by our presence in the townships that we are also Black.

On Heritage Day just a handful of us were in Driftsands for Jumu’ah. This worries me. The message that we are sending out to those living in the townships is that we are not prepared to make sujud to Allah Almighty in the same rows with them. We have been welcomed by the people in the townships and have established very strong links with them, but we must show by our praying with them that we belong together. Our presence in the townships is part of our defence of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. If we are not going to be there, the Wahabi-Salafis will be there. Already they have made an attempt to get into Burundi and they were denied, because of the stand of the Street Committee. Every time we go into a township with the proper intention and try to help the people there, we are helping the Cause of Islam. We are once more appealing to each one of you to make a special effort to attend Jumu’ahs in the townships when you are able to, and try to attend the Sunday morning adhkar there.

[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]

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