Thursday, the January 16th 2014, is the day which many Muslims in Malawi will never forget following the loss of one of the prominent, renowned and influential Muslim leaders Sheikh Amani Matiya.
Sheikh Matiya, who was also the Director of Al-Manasik Travel and Tours, passed away on Thursday morning at Mwaiwathu Hospital in Blantyre.
Here at Malawi Muslims Official Website, we try to take you through just a little about the life of Sheikh Matiya and how he will be missed.
They say the litmus test for any great and quality leader is not how long but how effective and productive his life was and how beneficial to the people he led and what mattered to him the most. If we judge the late Matiya on those qualities of leadership, nobody will deny the fact that the former special adviser to the President of Malawi has done quite good and with no doubt he would have done more.
Sheikh Matiya was a man who believed in himself, a person with a great vision. He was the only indigenous Malawian who, despite facing several hiccups from other disgruntled, envy Muslims, excelled to set up his travel agent for Hajj and Umrah Al-Manasik Travel and Tours.
Of course, he could make mistakes here and there – after all he was a human being but the concept itself and eager to achieve more Matiya made indigenous Malawian Muslims proud.
Gone is a self-esteemed and confident man who believed what Douglas MacArthur alluded to when he said ‘a true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.’
Gone is a leader from Nkhotakota who possessed not only good preaching skills but practising what he preached to the people.
In masjid, especially during Bayan it is rear to see people smiling, and when the sermon touches their souls, raising their voices making takbeer is something uncommon – but it was norm with Sheikh Matiya’s sermons and speeches. Listening to Sheikh Matiya’s lectures and sermons – you could see that indeed the man was blessed. Of course, what he was preaching was not something new but the way he was putting it using his skills is what made Matiya special.
But one of the most interesting things in him was that he never stood on the podium and say ‘I am one the most skilled or educated sheikhs in the country.’ He was leading a low profile as he believed that whatever he has, be it skills or whatsoever is from Allah.
Gone is a strong leader who did not want to let fear stop him from speaking truth as he believed life is a test and it is only justice that would set people free.
It was on September 18, 2012 when he received a heavy pressure from the US Embassy to explain what he meant when he said “Muslims were ready to defend and die for Islam” after he confidently and fearlessly condemned the US Anti-Islam Film.
The 14-minute film which was distributed online depicted the Prophet Muhammad (saw) as a womaniser and a warmonger.
However after watching the film, the late Sheikh Matiya could not sit idle and let the Holy Prophet’s image be discrated like that, he did not care whether the film was made in one of the powerful countries in the world or what. He openly told the US government to apologise to the Muslim faithful worldwide failing which he would mobilize demonstrations outside the US Embassy in the Capital Lilongwe.
Yes, and he meant it.
Unfortunately, with just a call from the US Embassy on the remarks which late Sheikh Matiya made, Muslim’s mother body Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) was melted with fear and immediately produced a statement distancing itself from the remarks – leaving Sheikh Matiya alone.
But Matiya stood firm, he refused to withdraw the statement which at first was said he was speaking on behalf of MAM.
Instead, he owned it as his own views after MAM rebuffed him and confidently told Malawi Muslims Official Website in an interview that “I am ready and prepared for anything.”
What else can you expect from a good leader apart from this?
Gone is a man who removed a word ‘failure’ from his vocabulary.
“I have come across with many challenges for my firm to be where it is now. People have tried to frustrate me, psychologically torturing me but I never gave up. Instead, many customers have been increasing every year with some coming from Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“What is important is to believe and accept that this how some human beings behave. When you are doing good things especially the Allah’s work, that is what you should expect and even more. We can be poor yes, but we can do more if we are focused,” Sheikh Matiya once said this at his office last year when asked how he managed to set up his travel agency.
There are many things that we could have talked about Sheikh late Matiya but the space is just limited.
We just say, Oh! Sheikh Amani Matiya, we will miss you. May your soul rest in peace! Inalillah wa ina illah rajiun.