Muslim Forum for Democracy and Peace (Musford-Peace) has called upon Muslims in the country to be united and avoid castigation in the public.
Since Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM)’s 2011 polls, which saw Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad grabbing the national chairmanship role with a landslide victory, there have been disagreements between MAM leadership and those who were not elected.
There has been an exchange of bitter words between the current MAM National Chairman and Sheikh Dr Imran Shareef Mohammed whose bid also to become the Muslims’ leader did not materialise.
Dr Shareef who now controversially leads Supreme of Ulamah Council in Malawi has been rebuking the new MAM Chair that he is not qualified to lead the council saying he is not in the first category of sheikhs in Malawi .
He has also been accusing the MAM leadership of failing to organise last year’s Muslims annual gathering (Ijtmah). Dr Shareef told Radio Islam that his organisation was very saddened with the failing of last year’s event and stressed that his organisation would be responsible for organising the event from this year.
This means that Muslims in Malawi may witness two ijtmahs for men only if MAM will organise the event as its tradition.
However, Musford-Peace Chairman Sheikh Jafar Kawinga said his organisation is shocked to see the well-learned sheikhs castigating each other over leadership positions.
“It is very sad to see sheikhs who were supposed to be exemplary doing things which are contrary to the teachings of Islam. They are the ones who are supposed to unite us all but not being the source of divisions in our Muslim community.”
On Dr Shareef’s sentiments on the incumbent MAM leader, Sheikh Kawinga said, “Yes, we know that some of them are well educated in both secular and Islamic studies but that should not be an element of castigation. What these people were supposed to do is to discuss on how they can convince the government of Malawi so that it should start accepting our qualifications.’’
Sheikh Kawinga further said, “If we don’t do this and instead start discarding each other, we are giving a bad picture to our future leaders that Islamic qualifications is nothing if we do not do well in secular side as well. Some of them will start shunning away the religious education and concentrate on secular side because they will think that they might end up suffering – posing a great danger to the future of our religion because at the end of the day, we will have very few Muslim scholars in Malawi.”
Commenting on the Ijtmah, Sheikh Kawinga said that there is no problem for organisations to be organising Ijitima as much as they can but said this should not be done as a mode of competition.
He then feared for lack of financial support towards these events since most organisations depend on the same Muslim donors. So, it will happen that other sector will fail to hold the event because some donors will not be able to contribute twice hence making another organisation to fail staging the event.
Musford-peace is an organisation, which was formed three years ago. It is aimed at making sure there is unity among Muslims, ensuring religious coexistence, promoting justice and fighting for democracy in Malawi.