Sheikh Muhamad Uthman, one of the contenders of Muslim Association of Malawi’s (MAM) national chairman elections has advised Malawian Muslims to open their eyes and try to choose a leader who will build Islam in the Country.
Sheikh Uthman said this in an exclusive interview with Malawimuslim.com where he also said ‘leadership is not about education but wisdom and maturity.’
There have been reports that other Sheikhs have been standing on the public and castigating their fellow contenders the thing, which Sheikh Uthman described as ‘unfortunate.’
“Leadership is about maturity and wisdom, not education. I do not think a very educated, intelligent Sheikh can stand on the pulpit and start ticking off his friend-you can not do that for the leadership which is there for a short time,” he said.
“We have to tell people what we will do for them if we grab that hot seat and not bad things about our friends,” he continued.
The renowned marriage counselour at Islamic Information Bureau and founder of religious programs at Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation Radio and Television Malawi said he has never talked bad things about anybody despite him being also one of the interested parties.
“Me, Muhammad Uthman when talking to people, I do tell them only what my plans are and not about others because I believe that a Sheikh must have self-discipline if he want to be respected. Sometimes we can feel like what we are doing is good without knowing that we are just damaging our own image,” said Sheikh Uthman adding that talking about somebody on his absence is also prohibited in Islam.
Namanolo Islamic Centre and Islamic High School first principal also reminded Malawian Muslims that they should not be in qualm with those people who rebuke their friends saying, “everybody has his own character despite being Sheikh and sometimes the title can not change his behaviour.”
1980s international Quran recitation Malawian representative in Saudi Arabia also expressed his disagreement with the current system of elections describing it as ‘shameful and unacceptable.’
“This political system which we are following is not good, that is why you hear other people castigating each other. Worse still other Muslims have also politically goaded, saying they will not vote because they have not given money-which is not good,” he said.
“Let us not exchange religion with money. We have to ask ourselves why those people are giving out money-it shows that they do not have something to show Malawian Muslims and that is the only way they can do to get votes. . We have to choose the leader who will build the religion and not destroy it,” advised Radio Islam Fiqh and Question and Answers programs expert.
When asked what Malawian Muslims should expect from him if he tends to be put into that hot seat, sheikh Muhamad Uthman said his priority is unity.
“Currently, Muslims in Malawi are not united. We do not work together as a team. Current leadership is failing to bring all organizations together; instead, you will see every group doing its own things. It does not mean if we unite then there will be anything else, no! It is just a matter of working as a team and make our religion strong,” said Nikah and other Islamic Functions (NIFA) Board of Trustees chair.
“Secondly, I need to sensitize the importance of Sheikhs in Malawi so that they should be respected. You will find an ordinary man with a degree drives his own car and Sheikh with the same degree but getting low salary that can not enable him to source his own car, which is pathetic. I want the words of Sheikhs to be heard!
“Thirdly is education and health. I will make sure that we have more good hospitals and schools than now, because it does not mean that we do not have money, we have, but since we are not united that is why we are not able to do that. And I have also worked with all previous chairmen of MAM and I have known their strengths and weaknesses-so I am fully equipped to be next leader,” he said.
Sheikh Uthman also asked Malawian Muslims to try him these five years and see what he can offer to Muslim community as with his age can not allow him to stand for another term.
“With my age I can only serve these five years. Therefore, I ask Malawian Muslims to give me a chance so that they should see what I will offer them,” he said.
Malawian Muslims are to choose the next Muslims mother body leader. Sheikh Yusuf Kanyamula (incumbent), Imran Sherif, Idriss Muhammad and Ali Kennedy are some of the contenders.