Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 13 Safar 1437/26 November 2015

As the debate on the state on Indian-black relations in South Africa still simmers, Muslims in the country have been advised to be more astute in the manner they dispose of their charities to engender goodwill.

South African Muslims have not been bystanders to the the conversation that has seen some, particularly in KwaZulu Natal, chastised for their alleged anti-Indian hate-speech, with some Muslims voicing their disbelief that their community has been singled out for an offensive of animosity.

A common gripe arising from such quarters is that the leading role predominantly ‘Indian’ Muslims have taken in the fields of charity and developmental efforts in South Africa, is going largely unnoticed.

To exacerbate the situation, there is also a perception that most Muslim charitable funds land up overseas, assisting the indigent in the far flung conflict zones of the world, at the expense of those suffering locally.

“To set the record straight,” Moulana Khalid Dhorat of Pretoria argued recently, “there are currently more monies being expanded locally amongst both the Muslim and non-Muslim population, than overseas.”

“Feeding schemes, clinics, schools, religious institutes etc have been operated for dozens of years in SA. However, the painful lesson we learn from this is that true brotherhood and loyalty cannot be bought by hampers and millions alone. We have realized that charity is merely a device for alleviating the plight of the poor, but for genuine brotherhood, we need to have genuine sincerity, affection and humility – free of prejudice and racism. We need to live amongst the poor, marry amongst them, speak their language, share their troubles, and change our da’wah (missionary) strategies in order to rid the locals of their prejudices for their Indian brothers.”

Elaborating on these sentiments, Moulana Dhorat recently conveyed to Cii Radio listeners why he believed local Muslim philanthropy was not having its desired effect.

“There is something we are doing wrong, which is now evidencing itself in this way,” he said.

“We have to look at what wrong we are doing in relation to the local black people.”

The aalim was forthright in arguing for charitable projects instituted for the benefit of indigenous communities to steer completely clear of having any strings and conditions attached.

Quoting a Quraanic verse that instructs the believers not to invalidate their charities with reminders or injury, Moulana Dhorat said it was the attitude that accompanied charitable deeds that was most critical.

“When we give a person charity, we feel we can take advantage of a person – unfortunately many of us have that tendency, we pay our workers what is due to them, but we feel because we gave them money, we are the bosses and they are slaves. We have to get rid of this mentality,” he urged.

Moulana Dhorat suggested that Muslims still had a lot to learn from Islamic teachings that offer admonishment for an attitude of pride and arrogance, such as that contained in the Hadith that states that those with even a mustard seed of pride would not enter Jannah.

“You are looking at the next human being with contempt, whereas you are supposed to be looking at him with the eyes of compassion, giving him the Da’wah of Islam, helping him out of his evil habits, and actually treating him as a human being – this is where we have gone wrong.”

“I think..our donations and our charities without the requisite benevolence and feelings of empathy and brotherhood has only served to satisfy the stomachs of the people – not to incline their hearts towards us. So we have helped the locals and they have benefited from it materially, but on the spiritual side, we have not seen the type of mileage that we actually wanted to see. So, we are doing something wrong with our charity here, ” he pointed out.

Going forward, the Aalim exhorted Muslims to dispense their charities “as equals” eschewing any air of perceived superiority.

“In fact, when giving charity, hug the recipient, make them feel special – ‘I am not doing you a favour by giving you. You are doing me a favour by accepting my charity.’ Don’t only give the charity – Go and visit the man in his shack, go and eat his simple pap. Instead of  throwing massive Iftaars in our Masajid in Ramadan, go to the home of a poor brother and make Iftaar with him in his home, speak to their children, take a gift..

“The barrier of giver and recipient must come to an end. We must all live like brothers,” he said.

Simultaneously, he advised that the lowering of living standards was equally vital.

“It is easier for a person who has something, to cut down, than a person who has nothing to go up. We have to start living simply, driving simply, thinking simply, dressing simply – our Masjids should be simple. In this way we would avoid also being in the eye and becoming subjects of envy for the poor.

“There is an external cause to our troubles[in South Africa], ans a spiritual cause. We have caused it for ourselves. That is why Allah SWT has allowed these conditions to befall us, in order for us to start taking stock of our lives”.

LISTEN to the full interview with Moulana Khalid HERE