By Shabir Najafi, Chairman Africa Federation
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad al-Mustafa and his Pure Progeny.
“Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwa (righteousness).” (Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 2:183)
Our Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad al-Mustafa (SAWW) used to fast during the months of Rajab and Sha’ban. He encouraged Muslims around him to increase in worship during Ramadhan, before it actually arrived, by mentioning the extra rewards for doing good deeds during these blessed months.
During the holy month of Ramadhan fasting abstains one not only from eating and drinking, but also keeps one away from evils and bad habits, and encourages to engage oneself in prayer, charity and other good deeds, and brings one closer to Allah (SWT). Furthermore, the holy month of Ramadhan is not only the month of fasting, but it also is the month of the Holy Qur’an. It is the month in which The Holy Qur’an was revealed as a guidance for mankind.
Ten ways to Prepare for the holy month of Ramadhan:
- Keep praying daily that Allah (SWT) gives us the chance and grants us good health that will enable us to fast the way that He likes and wants during the holy month.
- Start repenting (Isteghfaar) and seeking forgiveness of the Almighty for all our wrongdoings before the holy month of Ramadhan.
- Seek the Wasilah of the Ma’sumeen (AS) especially the Imam of our time (ATFS) and build your relationship with them.
- Recite and reflect upon the Holy Qur’an.
- Seek forgiveness from all members of your family, workmates, neighbours, and relatives for any wrongdoing against them.
- Give more Charity (Zakaat and Sadqah) to the needy and poor.
- Refrain from backbiting, slandering, and unlawful mixing with people.
- Clean your heart and soul from envy, jealousy, hypocrisy, arrogance and improve your character.
- Seek the blessings of your parents and their forgiveness for your shortcomings towards them.
- Increase your Du’a and commitment to your daily duties and obligations, and not to abandon enjoining good (what is right), and forbidding evil (what is wrong).
The World is currently going through challenging and difficult times; unprecedented in the recent history. The Covid-19 outbreak is first and foremost a human tragedy, and spreading indiscriminately affecting the health of ever-growing numbers of people in several countries including Africa. Latest statistics shows 2.8 million people are affected by this novel Covid-19 infectious disease and has caused 197,000 deaths so far globally.
The ongoing pandemic is also having a growing impact on the global economy, and businesses are having to react and adapt in real-time, having had no ability to plan for the depth of the economic slowdown. Similarly, the lockdown of several essential services like travelling, restrictions on large gatherings hampers movements of people and which also affects our normal religious functions and activities, like the daily congregational prayers, lectures, majlises, iftar etc.
I call upon all our Community members to exercise great care and precautions during this period of pandemic and strictly follow the advices from the Health Authorities and Health Professionals, like social distancing, proper hand-washing, wearing of protective gears – face mask etc. and avoiding crowded places. Importantly also, older people who are most vulnerable to Coronavirus illness must stay at home (self-isolation) to protect themselves, their immediate family members and others.
Virtual Communications Madrassah and Ramadhan Programs:
This is an unfortunate reality and we have to adapt to these changes. Our Jamaats should consider the best possible way and means to conduct the programs for the holy month of Ramadhan for our Community members in the best possible manner to preserve our religious activities and spiritual well-being, for example; organize daily on-line religious programs for adults and children.
Africa Federation attaches great importance towards continuous Madrassah classes for boys and girls of our Community during the lockdown and quarantine situations. Jamaats should work on alternative methods like having the E-Classes (Online Learning) twice or thrice a week since the schools are closed down for unforeseeable period. For more guidance, please contact Africa Federation Tabligh Board (AFTAB) by email here.
Africa Federation has two of its officials in the Covid-19 Task Force of the World Federation, should you require more information and guidance, please email Alhaj Zuhair Jaffer, Hon. Secretary of AFED and Dr. Mazaher Jaffer, Member of AFED Central Health Board (CHB)
Our Community members are also facing economic difficulties due to the serious state of the economy which is exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. We appeal to our Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Community members in Africa and the African diaspora in Australia, Europe, USA and Canada to support our endeavors with funds (General Donations, Hukook, Zakat and Sadaka) to help our Community members in Africa who are in need of financial support at this critical time. Please contact Africa Federation Secretariat in Dar es Salaam for details to remit your funds, you will receive official acknowledgement and receipts of all your payments.
Prayers and Ramadhan Wishes:
Let us pray to Allah (SWT) that this year’s Ramadhan may not be the last opportunity in our life like many Community members who were amongst us last year are no longer with us this year.
May this holy Ramadhan be the start of your happiness, prosperity and brighten your path toward enlightenment and may Allah (swt) bless you with peace, prosperity, good health and grace – Ameen.
Let us remember all our past Leaders, Volunteers and all the Marhumeen with Sura-e-Fateha.