We have been operating in this country for more than a decade . What has our organization been trying to do? We have been trying to take Islam to the very poorest people and to spread the remembrance of Allah Almighty. You might think that this task would have the normal difficulties. It is not so. In many of the areas that we go into, we are unable to reach the poor people because of the extent that certain religious structures are closed to us, and then we are unable to spread the remembrance of Allah Almighty. Many parts of this country, we are unable to enter because of the Wahabi-Salafi influence and so the religious tradition of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah, brought here by our forefathers, has to a large degree been eliminated. Many of you do not know this, because you don’t work in different parts of this country. Can you imagine that in certain of the major towns of this country it is impossible to have a congregational dhikr because of a ban put on these adhkar by Wahabi-Salafi imams and mawlanas?
But it is not only in South Africa that we are facing this. In Namibia we could not get into a single mosque, and when we got into certain of the poor areas, our adhkar were stopped. In Malawi, that was at one time 100% Muslim, there has now been a major decline in the Muslim population, because spirituality had to a large degree been destroyed. We should take Malawi as a classical example of what can happen. People turn away from Islam because they do not have the spiritual strength to withstand the onslaught of the Christian church. They do not have the spiritual strength because Wahabi-Salafi missionaries declared the spiritual activities of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah as being kufr, shirk, haram or bid’ah. The consequences of all of these in Malawi have been disastrous. Today we sit quietly in our lounges little realizing the major dangers facing Islam through a discourse that battles spirituality. Here, on our doorsteps when we have a dhikr in one of the “big” mosques, we have a few odd people from the local community attending. The rest just walk out when the dhikr starts; contrary to the instruction of the Tradition on the matter. The Tradition says that when you go pass the gardens of Paradise, participate in them. The Companions asked, “What are the gardens of Paradise?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said the circles of dhikr, in one tradition, and the circles of knowledge, in another. We don’t care anymore what the Prophet (ﷺ) said.
This has become a major concern for all of us. What is it that we can do as a young organization to put a brake on the activities of these people. How do we return the Muslim community in this country to the religion of its roots? How do we do this? We have a simple choice. Do we want the Malawi experience to come here or the Namibian experience? What is it that we want to leave for future generations, Muslims without spiritual grit? Or do we work out ways and means of reaching out to the hearts of the Muslims of this country through a very intensive educational programme? Some of us are senior people. We have already seen the devastation. We go into Valhalla Park and not a single dhikr operates there, because of the activities of a non-spiritual Islamic discourse. And the community or rather individuals in the community are falling over like bowling pins to the attractions of township culture and all that this means. We are losing our children to drugs, to crime and to all those non-Islamic activities which deprive them of morality and whatever else. How many more Valhalla Parks do we want? We go into different parts of the townships, both black and coloured, and we see the devastation spread by these discourses. There is nothing going on in the hearts of these people, just as there’s nothing going on in their lives. We who are at the coalface of da’wah activities, we know what the impact has been of discourses that oppose spirituality and other aspects of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah. We know because we see the victims every day. These people are the victims of smart tongues and dark hearts. People are told, “Don’t say Allah! Allah! It’s a bid’ah. Say nothing.” And what does the tradition say? The tradition says that the world will not end while the people are still saying: “Allah! Allah!” We must not judge the religious strength of this community by what we see in some mosques on a Friday. We must judge the strength of this community by the losses suffered by Islam in the poor areas.
Do you know that I came across a poor woman in Seawinds who did not know the Salawat? If there had been a dhikr operating there, she would have known it. Why is it that large numbers of our young people at the secondary schools are not fasting? It is because they do not have the spiritual strength to withstand the attacks of Euro-centric secularism against them. If they were rememberers of Allah, they would have been fasting. Today there are very few mosques in which the usual adhkar, supplications and recitals are performed after the fard prayer. What does this mean in total? In total it means that a massive amount of these things that used to be done in the past are not being done anymore. This is a major spiritual loss suffered by the community.
You see, when I talk about these things, I base what I say on the experiences we have had in the field. Some of these experiences are very personal. What do I do as a Muslim? Do I do what everybody else is doing, sitting in their lounges compromising with the exponents of the Wahabi-Salafi discourse, because of the value of the riyal, or what?
I am asking each one of the murids to come forward and to participate in an educational programme to save this community from what is already happening to it. Of course, it is best to have peace. The Qur’an says peace is best but there are times in our lives when we have to stand on our two feet and defend the religion that our forefathers brought here. We must consciously become defenders of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah. There are few other defenders around. We ask Allah Almighty to make us of those people who will carry the flag of Islam as understood by Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah to wherever He allows. We ask Him this, because we know that every Friday in our mosques and every day in so many madrasahs a new Islamic discourse is taught. We ask Him to make us of those people who will at least try our best to stop this, amin.
[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]