A friend in need is a friend indeed, so goes the saying. The saying came live on Sunday when a group of concerned Muslims stormed Chichiri Prison where they donated various items to Muslim inmates.
Some of the donated items include clothes and soap which were sourced from well wishers such as Eshani Products, Young Muslim Donors, Al-noor Madrassa as well as some individuals.
Ahmed Mashah who led delegation said they decided to donate the items after getting reports about the plight of Muslims in the prisons. He said Muslim prisoners are facing many problems hence the need for them to share with the little they have.
“We need to equip them with more knowledge about Islam and encourage them not to lose hope because they are in prison. Being at this place does not mean that they are cursed because Allah tests our imaan in different forms hence, the reason for us coming here to cheer them,” he said.
Masha also asked Sheikhs to be visiting the prisoners regularly in order to strengthen their faith. He said if the faith of the Muslim prisoners is strong, it will help them not to forget Allah even when they are out.
In his remarks, Shillin Banda who is a patron at the prison thanked concerned Muslims for the donation saying it is timely considering that the prisoners lack many things.
He added that it was also encouraging to see the Muslims coming to the prison to share the word of God with their friends.
“Unlike the past, many different denominations are now coming to teach the prisoners about their religions. There is a big change because there are many positive things that are happening here. We have a Madrassah and secular school from standard one to form four,” he said.
Banda urged well wishers to assist those who volunteer to teach the prisoners logistically and the inmates because they pray on a bare ground.
Yusuf Molla one of the Muslim prisoners said his presence at the prison is a blessing because he has learnt more about his religion while in prison.
“My presence here is like a blessing in disguise because I have learnt more about my religion, the thing which was difficult when I was outside. However, we lack learning materials like books, pens and chalk among others.
“Besides the well wishers, we teach ourselves as such, when the one who teaches us is released it becomes difficult for us to find a replacement. We would have loved if there could be a permanent sheikh from outside,” he explained.
Molla also urged fellow Muslims to help them to have their own revolving fund at the prison to help themselves in problems they encounter on daily basis and assist the fellow inmates reach their destinations when they are released.
He also urged fellow Muslims to visit them saying that this encourages them to change “because you cannot change if you are not encouraged”.
Currently, there are 152 Muslim inmates out of 1,800 prisoners at the prison.
Reporting by Robert Kumwenda in Blantyre