Angry mob plans to punch Radio Islam reporters
Organisers of the 2012 Mawlid-Nabi celebrations which took place on Sunday say they were angry at Radio Islam on the program aired on the eve of the celebrations where it is alleged that the hosts attacked the organisers for encouraging bidah (innovation) activities.
According to the committee’s Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Nathanie, the organisers were shocked with remarks that one of the hosts made on Saturday when he told Muslims not to attend the function because if they do, their dwelling place would be in Jahanam (Hell).
“We received reports that some people were on Radio Islam lobbying Muslims to shun away from Prophet’ Muhammad’s (saw) birthday. According to the information we have, the hosts claimed that everyone who would take part in the celebration, will go to Hell, which is not good because people do this for the love of their Prophet and not anybody else. So, we were indeed very saddened to hear such accusation from the radio which would have been in the forefront of encouraging unity and tolerance among Muslims in the country,” said Nathanie.
According to other reports, angry mobs planned to punch any reporter from Radio Islam because of the incident.
One reporter who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed of the development.
“Indeed, some few minutes after our arrival, somebody told us that we should be careful because there are other people who have planned to confront us. But this did not stop us from doing our work. We even met the organisers and discussed with them about the issue where we told them that it (the allegations) were not true.” he said. “We asked them how many times they have been conducting their activities ….and how can Radio Islam (just decide to) betray them this year?”
The spokesman further revealed that this year event registered a record attendance of faithfuls.
“Despite (Radio Islam) asking people not to come, still people came in large numbers. We had a record of 131, 000, a (very) big turnout ever,” said Nathanie.
Last year, the event attracted about 100,000 people, according to the spokesperson.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that this year’s celebration has claimed 9 lives, and many other people injured and against one fatality that was recorded during the 2011 celebrations. The increase in the deaths this year was because of a brick wall fence at the women’s section that collapsed when people were forcing there way out of the exit gate.
Meanwhile, the organising committee has demanded an apology from the officials of Radio Islam for featuring the hate program, which according to them it can divide Muslims in the country.
“When we asked them to hear their side of the story, they said it is not true. They claim that if it is true, then it could be from the listeners, not the hosts. However, according to our confirmed reports, the hosts really made those accusations,” said the publicity secretary.
One of the hosts, Sheikh Mulosola confirmed to Malawi Muslims Website to have made the sentiments but said he has no regrets.
“Firstly, I don’t know about the (call to for an) apology. However, what I know is that we were enlightening people about Prophet Muhammad (saw) and how they can show their love to him. And, some callers asked us to comment on the Ziyara Parade and we told them the truth. We said the celebration has no any base in Shariah – it is bidah (innovation). So, I don’t have any regret on what I said because it is true,” said Sheikh Musolola.
The program, Thumba la Kasakaniza comes every Saturday where the hosts discuss different issues that affect Muslims. During the last program, the hosts were talking about Prophet Muhammad (saw) under the topic, Kumudziwa Mtumiki (Knowing the Prophet).
However, in her remarks, Radio Islam’s Administrator says the radio has not received any formal communication from the organisers regarding the matter.
“We are just hearing it from other people outside but no any written or verbal communication has come to us. So, we cannot comment much on the development,” said Fatima Jafar.
Mawlid falls on the 12th day of the month of Rabii Al-Awwal in the Islamic calendar.
Last year, the event was celebrated on February 15, 2011 since the Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle the date of the day celebration changes annually in the Gregorian or Western calendar.
Celebrating the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday has been controversial with some Muslim scholars calling it a Bidah (innovation).
Some scholars argue that neither did the Prophet nor did he encourage his followers to celebrate his birthday. Salafists and others in the Sunni community also denounce the celebration of the holiday, as they consider it heretical.
However, the performers claim that there are two innovations in Islam, good and bad and the celebration falls under the good innovation.
According to Nathanie, the event brings no any harm to the religion as it is just one way of showing love to the Prophet.
“In this month, a lot of things happened. The migration of the Prophet from Makah to Madina. His daughter Asma was born in this month, 6 years before the prophecy. Abubakri Sadik was also chosen as a Khalifa in this month. Battle of Buwaat also fought in the same month. So there are a lot worthy celebrating apart from his birthday,” he said.
The celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (saw) began in Egypt in the 11th century, and featured rituals that included animal sacrifices, torchlight processions, and public sermons.
The practice was later adopted in Syria, and gradually spread throughout a number of Muslim countries.
However, in spite of the differing perspectives regarding the appropriateness of commemorating the holiday, many Muslims in Malawi still celebrate by organizing special sermons to honour the Prophet’s birth. Some decorate their houses and their cars.
Reporting by Marshall Dyton in Blantyre