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Following the Quran distributions in Sierra Leone, Malawi and the Western Cape, the Jamiatul Ulama KZN received an appeal from a city called Nampula in the northern province of Mozambique. On Sunday November 10, 2013 a delegation from Jamiatul Ulama KZN office embarked via air for Nampula.
Mozambique has, according to local information and contrary to official statistics, a 90% Muslim population. It is a land of abundant cashew nuts and coconuts. However it’s a land that is thirsty for Islamic knowledge. Islam and the chiefly clans in Mozambique have existed since the eighth century, when Islam first made inroads into the northern Mozambique. Islam was the domain of the chiefs, whose authority was embedded with Shariah Law.
On Monday November 11, 2013 the team left early at 6am to evade extreme heat from Nampula to begin the Quran distribution. We travelled approximately 340 km on treacherous dirt road to cover 2 madrasahs and masjids combined, namely Namtili, Shalawa and a girl’s madrasah in Karsinda. In Karsinda we were greeted with Arabic Nasheed and Quranic recitals from the girls the youngest being 10 years to the eldest of 14 years.
On Tuesday November 12, 2013 we embarked on a long 400km journey from Nampula to Namyalo thereafter an additional 200km return trip to our second home base for the next two days in a coastal town of Shokasmar. On route from Nampula to Namyalo we covered 12 Masjids and madrasahs, the last one at Namyalo at 7pm. Fortunately, the majority of the trip was over tar roads however there was no reprieve from the heat.
On Wednesday November 13, 2013 we left our Shokasmar home base to another coastal town of Nakala Port therafter to Memba another 200 km return journey of unkempt dirt road. On route we covered each and every Masjid and madrasah approximately 12 in total in the most remote and rural areas.
Thursday November 14, 2013 was the Jamiat team’s final day of distribution. Our destination was from our base Shokasmar to Mozambique Island. Prior to leaving Shokasmar, news had reached the locals that the Jamiatul Ulama KZN team was in the area and distributing Qurans. A crowd of people gathered outside our base and a small riot broke out in their eagerness to obtain a copy of the Quran. Fortunately our host spoke to them and has able to calm the situation down. We covered 15 Masjids and Madrasahs within in a 60km zone thereafter crossed a 3km bridge over the ocean to Mozambique Island. This Island is claimed to be discovered first by the Portuguese settlers but was already inhabited by local Muslims. The very first Masjid built in Mozambique is situated on Mozambique Island. On this small Island we distributed 260 Qurans to 8 masjids.
In total we distributed approximately 3000 Qurans to over 50 madrasahs and Masjids combined in the Northern region of Mozambique. Sadly, these Qurans were not sufficient and many Masjids and madrasahs had to be restricted due to limited quantity. Many Masjids we visited did not have a single copy of the Quran. The majority of the Madrasahs we visited were made out mud, sticks and straw. Some structures had no window or doors. The students have to endure the harsh heat and mud floors. At some venues a few grass mats were made for sitting. If they had to study at night the students would crowd around a small kerosene lamp not bright enough to light up a small room.
Water has to be drawn from manually from wells in order to make wudhu or istinja. The toilets were structured similarly. However, the harsh learning conditions do not deter them from quenching their yearning to gain Islamic knowledge.
Aside from Qurans there is a desperate need for Madrasah Kitabs. Kitabs were literally non-existent in any of the madrasahs that we visited. The teaching medium is reduced to a chalk board which the students have to memorize. But with all these conditions they cling to their Imaan making Sabr and Shukar for whatever they have. We were not approached by a single beggar on our journey through Mozambique. They would rather sell you whatever is on hand than ask for money.
We ask Allah Ta’ala to accept our humble efforts for His Deen, to reward those who have contributed in any way towards this project and to use the Qurans distributed to spread Hidaayah in Mozambique, Ameen.
Moulana MS Mehtar