The much awaited 2012 National Islamic Ijtima was officially opened in Blantyre on Friday with Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) National Chairman urging Muslims to stop lip services in order for them to make strides in several aspects of development.
Former President of the republic of Tanzania Al-hajj Hassan Ali Mwinyi who was the Guest of Honour officially opened the event, which ends on Sunday, October 7.
Speaking at the function Dr Imran Shareef (former MAM Secretary General) and William Mpanda who represented chairman of Qadria Association of Malawi Sheikh Alhaj Likonde, emphasised the need for unity among Malawian Muslims.
They said Muslims have been lagging behind in terms of development because of disunity.
“We are here to take stock of what we have achieved in the past years. Why don’t we have our own Islamic university, hospital? These are the questions that need to be answered at the end of this function,” said Dr Shareef in his keynote address.
However, Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad while admitting that Muslims have not registered meaningful development, he said most leaders do not walk their talk.
“This is not first time for Ijtmah to be conducted in Malawi. Every time, we come up with resolutions but we fail to implement them for whatever reasons. So, I am asking all Muslim leaders present today that this is not time of just talking and preaching but time of actions. Time has now come for us Muslims in Malawi to convert into actions whatever we say in important gatherings like this,” he said.
The Chairman also said the call for unity should be sincerely, not just from the word of mouth.
“Indeed unity is very important in any endeavours but let the call be from the bottom of our hearts. Some of us are fond of singing, preaching about unity but without practising it. We say here one thing come tomorrow is another story, which I think is not good. Therefore, as we are doing the stocktaking let us also learn to practice what we preach. This is not time for promoting hatreds but working together for us to achieve our goals,” said the chairman amid takbeer (applause) from the multitude of Muslims who gathered at the event.
The three-day event continues tomorrow with sermons by different renowned sheikhs in Malawi as well as Tanzania.
Some of the notable Muslims who attended the official opening today include Honourable Yusuf Matumula, Sheikh Dinala Chabulika, Sheikh Muhammad Uthman among others.
Reporting by Marshall Dyton at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre