One of the prominent sheikhs in Malawi Sheikh Dinala Chabulika has strongly condemned the conduct of other Muslims in Mangochi who claim that they have declared the district an Islamic State.
Last week, Muslims in Mangochi carried a placard which had words written “Say No Haram Foods in Mangochi The Islamic State”
Apart from carrying out the placard, other Muslims were also sending unsolicited text messages saying the district is now an Islamic State therefore no any haraam things should be allowed.
However, in an interview with Malawi Muslims Official Website Sheikh Chabulika said people should not take Islam for granted by confusing people.
He said Muslims should be sensitive when handling issues pertaining to Islamic religion.
“When did Mangochi become an Islamic State? Do those who say that know the meaning of ‘an Islamic State?’ Why do they want to confuse people? This is uncalled for, it should not be entertained at all cost.
“Malawi is a secular state where we have people with different religious ideologies therefore coexistence needs to be emphasized. So, no one should say this district is an Islamic State because there are many Muslims. What about other districts which are also predominantly Muslims? We need to be serious,” he said.
And speaking on Friday during his sermon delivered at Madinah Mosque in Limbe, Blantyre, Sheikh Chabulika said Islam is a very simple religion but other people who do a lot of things in the name of the religion are the ones who are making it seem to be difficult.
The sheikh who is Islamic Information Bureau National Coordinator and Malawi Council of Theologians Publicity Secretary said Islam does not condone any type of violence or use of any force to call people to the religion saying anyone doing that should know that it is completely out of religion’s teachings.
He said Muslims should emulate the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was very kind and well known when it comes to living with non Muslims.
“Islam encourages peace and harmony. It also encourages coexistence. It doesn’t condone violence nor torture against non Muslims. We need to learn to live by example of our Prophet. If misunderstandings arise between us and non Muslims, we should be the first to call for dialogue,” he said.
Sheikh Chabulika therefore advised people not to judge Islam based on actions by Muslims but its teachings.
He said people who do atrocities in the name of Islam are those that are contributing to many misconceptions which people have towards the religion.
Sheikh’s remarks comes amid reports that Bulugama Makunganya, a Muslim in Mangochi on October 24, 2013 forcibly chased away a non Muslim Paulo Msangwa who was selling Pork at the Madelco Market, the matter which forced the seller to go to court.
And on Wednesday last week, Muslims gathered at Mangochi Magistrate Court in solidality with their friend who was answering charges of breach of peace.
After the court session in the morning, Muslims took advantage of the protests initiated by angry residents over the shooting of 9 people by game rangers who were evicting the members of the Seventhday Apostolic Church from Chipalamawamba Forest Reserve which they have been encroaching for so many years.
The protesters broke into people’s shops suspected to be selling alcohol causing businesses to a stand still.
And Sheikh Chabulika said it is this kind of people who are tarnishing the image of Islam.
“Allah will punish people not because they preached to non Muslims and didn’t join the religion but by tarnishing the image of His true religion. Dawah involves telling non Muslims the goodness of islam and it is up to them to accept it or not,” said Chabulika.
He said insults to Islam and Muslims by non Muslims are not new “because even Pharaoh had insulted Moses but Moses didn’t stop there.”
The learned sheikh also bemoaned the tendency of other media organisations whom he said are also contributing to the problem.
He said other media houses fond of twisting stories and distorting information in order to achieve their ulterior motives of painting Islam a bad picture.
“You can see the way they reported about Mangochi incident. Their concentration was on Muslims and not the shooting of the game rangers when they were evicting the members of the Apostolic Church. This was a serious issue but they didn’t want to highlight it.
“They didn’t even want to say that the protests were initiated by the encroachers, which is very bad. So, as Muslims we need to be aware of this and stay away from barbaric acts that may contribute to many misconceptions which people already have towards Islam,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Mangochi First Grade Magistrate dismissed Msangwa’s demand for K85 000 compensation.
Magistrate Jack Njikho faulted both
Msangwa and Makunganya, arguing they took the law into their hands.
The judge ruled on Monday December 3, 2013 that Msangwa was wrong because he continued selling the pork after he was warned that it was forbidden to do so in the area while Makunganya was wrong for burying the pig instead of reporting the matter to the relevant authorities.