Further thoughts on the ‘Muslim Identity’ program on SABC2
I think that primarily there are two concerns. Firstly, it was glaring that the views expressed were very one sided. Viewers were only exposed to the opinions of one segment of the Muslim community. What about the views of those who draw their inspiration from the work of Tableegh and feel that it has helped them define their identity? Those who have found great direction in life from the many Ulama who serve as spiritual mentors in our country? Hashim Amla is greatly lauded and praised especially on the aspect of maintaining his Islamic Identity. Was his spiritual mentor not the late Ml Yunus Patel RA who belongs to the category of Ulama that were subtly maligned on this program? Would we say that Ml Yunus Patel was not in touch with the youth or with current trends?
How many in the corporate and professional environment have taken inspiration and learnt about Islamic identity from the likes of Ml Ebrahim Bham? Is the Ijtima not the biggest gathering of Muslims in the country?.How many youth,male and female, have totally transformed their lives after going out in the path of Allah?
Is it not a great ‘feather in the cap’ for South African Muslims to hear a lecture cd of Ml S Moola being played in the car of a Muslim in North America? Don’t we see thousands of South African Muslims flock to listen to his lectures?
I’m not for a moment suggesting that South African Ulama should not ‘up their game’ and improve in the way they tackle contemporary issues,but to flight a one hour program that carries an undertone implying that local Ulama(unlike their overseas counterparts) are inept,out of touch and too conservative to motivate and lead the Muslims of the country is a gross misrepresentation of the facts on the ground!
Secondly, I think that the program did raise many genuine concerns but on the wrong platform. The majority of the viewers were non Muslim,many of whom have become victims of Islamaphobia. Muslims globally are faced with the challenge of countering misconceptions and incorrect perceptions regarding Islam and Muslims. Rather then have nasheed artists speaking on the debate about the legitimacy of music in Islam or a Muslim blogger explaining how conservative Muslims attacked his blog on the World Cup,could the program not have been used to do serious Dawah? We need to resist the urge to have a go at those within the ranks of Islam who don’t share our views at the expense of furthering the cause of Deen. These issues should be discussed internally. If we feel there isn’t enough room for such debate, we should take that up internally.
But to squander a one hour program on national television in such a manner is heartbreaking. The more I think about the program, I cannot but help and sigh: Could we not have utilised the oppotunity better? The enemy is raining down (ideological) bombs on the Muslim Ummah, and we are shooting arrows at each other. If we cannot resist the temptation of having a go at each other rather then highlighting the beauty of our Deen to non Muslims,then we have not understood the Seerah of Nabi SAW and the legacy of Sahabah!
And Allah Ta’aala knows best!