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SA muslims raise funds for restoring Indian shrines

South African muslims raise alms for restoring Indian shrines on the anniversary celebrations of Prophet Mohammad.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 13:30 IST

South African Muslims have rallied to a call to assist in the renovation of a Muslim shrine in India at a celebration in Johannesburg to mark the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammed.

The annual three-day Meelad-un-Nabie function at the Saaberie Chisti mosque in the huge and mainly Indian township of Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, attracted more than 3,000 people from all over the country and even some guests from abroad.

Participants from India, Pakistan and Britain delivered discourses during the event.

The recitals started with the Friday Jumma prayer led by Ghazi-e-Millat Allama Sayed Mohammed Hashimi Mia from Kichocha Sharif in Lucknow, the shrine of the Muslim saint Hazrat Khawaja Shamsuddin Turk.

As the events progressed, a fund-raising drive for restoring the shrine was also launched, with 16,000 rands (Rs.120,000) eventually being raised from the public and well-wishers.

The venue was filled to capacity as recitals in praise of the Prophet were read, led by Hafiz Wasim Abbas from Lahore in Pakistan.

As has become the tradition at the event, the Dastaarbandi (graduation ceremony) of young boys who have spent time at the Zia-ul-Uloom run on the premises was part of the event.

Junaid Akoojee, Asif Fazle Ahmed, Munir Rahim and Faheem Rahim had the traditional green turbans wrapped on their heads by the head and founder of the spiritual foundation, Shaikh Sayed Mohammed Jilani Ashrafi from Kichocha Sharif in India, to signify that they are now Huffaaz (those who have memorised the Quran by heart).

The keynote address was delivered by London barrister Shaikh Faizul Aqtab, founder and principal of the Hijaz Islamic College, who lauded the local men, women and children present for having upheld the principles of Islam despite the strong influences of the West which surrounded them.

Shaik Aqtab spoke in English, which left the audience very impressed.

"Usually the guest speaker speaks in Urdu, which many of us younger people do not understand. This time, I got the message loud and clear. We must mobilise youth to ensure the survival of our traditions and culture," said 22-year-old Rafik Chauhan.

First Published: May 01, 2006 11:38 IST