Azhar Vadi | 11 Jumadul Ukhra 1436 – 01 April 2015
It’s not about the numbers of people that are expected to gather in Roshnee this weekend, south of Johannesburg, for another of South Africa’s annual Tabligh Jamaat Ijtima or mass gatherings.
It’s not about whether there will be dhal and rice or mutton curry served after the Friday’s Jummah Salaah. It’s not about the vast arrangements and preparations, spanning months before, that have gone into hosting the thousands who will attend from the 3-6 April 2015.
In an Islamic world that increasingly sees brother Muslim ever so ready to derail the efforts of the next brother Muslim, where name, glory and expected praise is the way the tasbeeh (rosary) beads roll, the Ijtima and the works of the Tabligh Jamaat pedal in the total opposite direction.
Unlike the common practice where leadership is sort after, fought for and people are willing to get beaten up and even killed to keep a hold of it, the true Islamic manner of shunning and pushing away leadership, name, prestige and power is the banner under which the Tabligh Jamaat operates today.
No one wants to be at the helm, for fear that any miscalculation or mismanagement or a moment of weakness that could result in the entire ship steering in the wrong direction. And this fear ultimately transcends into a fear of the reckoning that the leader will face on the Day of Qiyamah.
There are no bank accounts, no fundraising campaigns, no elections. Each individual using their own health, wealth and time, often sacrificing the very things that are dearest to them; family time, recreational activity, their business life and even their workplaces for a single overriding purpose: to become part of the worry and concern of the final Messenger Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) by making an effort to bring conviction in the Oneness of Allah and practical Islam into their lives and passing this message on to others.
Without seeking any reward from next person or power or land or country of kingship, the effort has won of the hearts of millions of Muslims, both men and women, across the globe. There exists today not a single country where the group has not reached.
What is the Ijtima?
The Ijtima, or mass gathering, is simply to draw as many people as possible to a specific place for a set duration of time, creating the opportunity to speak to them about the importance of learning the Deen of Allah, imbibing and practicing the Deen of Allah and then creating the worry and concern in the hearts of all to see how the Deen of Allah can be passed on to every human being until the end of time in order for us all to be successful in this world and the next.
During the Ijtima, senior Islamic scholars will address the gathering encouraging people towards self-reformation and adherence to an Islamic way of life as espoused by the final Messenger, Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam).
People who attend will spend their time listening to lectures on Islam, learning through halaqahs of Taalim, speaking about Allah and the Sunnah or practices of Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam), sleep on the floor under simple structures and eat all together on one eating mat.
The teaching of the Tabligh Jamaat is based on six qualities commonly found in every Sabahabi or companion of the Messenger, Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam). By the admittance of the Tabligh Jamaat elders themselves, the six qualities are not the whole of Islam. There is no Hajj or Zakaat or direct reference to business dealings for example. But by practicing on the six mentioned, it becomes easier to bring the complete religion into one’s life. The method has been tried and tested and the millions who have changed their lives from being from the lowest ebbs of society to proponents of piety, bears testimony to the greatness of the effort. These qualities are:
- Correction of conviction in the belief that there is no God but God and that Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) is the final Messenger of God.
- The performance of Salaah (prayer).
- The acquisition of beneficial knowledge and its application.
- Honouring fellow Muslims and service to the rest of humanity and creation.
- Correction of intention.
- And striving with one’s own health and wealth for the establishment of these qualities.
The sermons delivered at this year’s Ijtima will focus on these very topics. From the Ijtima groups of Muslims will then be called on to volunteer their time to spread the same message to the Muslim public throughout South Africa and the rest of the world.
They are constituted into a jamaat or group, with an ameer or responsible person, appointed as a leader from amongst them. They are then directed to head out along a predetermined route where they will meet other Muslims and pass on these key Islamic messages.
The movement has a long history. It was revived in 1926 by Moulana Muhammad Ilyas Khandlawi in the rural Mewat villages surrounding New Delhi in India. Distressed by the lack of Islamic knowledge and practice amongst the Meos people, the Moulana set out under trying circumstances to invite these villagers to accompany him and start learning Islam once again. His efforts soon spread and his message reached out to Muslims across all social and economic strata.
The movement is viewed by many as one of the greatest tools that can unite the Muslim Ummah because of their policy of steering clear from any controversial issues and politics.
The followers of the group, commonly known as Tablighis, are encouraged to respect and be tolerant with Muslims who differ ideologically as well as with other religious groups. It is not uncommon to find followers of the different schools of Islamic jurisprudence in one active group or Muslims from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds moving from place to place. Europeans, Africans, Asians, Hanafis, Shafi’ees and even Salafi’s all work together and effectively for the upliftment of their faith.
Cii News | 11 Jumadal Ukhra 1436 – 01 April 2015
“Make sure you come early on Friday morning,” advised Abdul Majid Badat, the head of traffic at his year’s annual Tabligh Jamaat Ijtima scheduled to take place in Roshnee from 3-6 April 2015.
The concerns stems from the announcement that a second event, a cycle race in Meyerton, is scheduled to take place at about 11am on Friday morning.
With the Ijtima expected to draw huge crowds for the Friday Jumah Salaah and lecture, the roads heading to Roshnee will be extremely busy and congested.
Badat told Cii Radio that depending on traffic volumes, the R82 heading south from Johannesburg to Roshnee could be turned into a dual carriage road from the Southgate shopping centre right down to Roshnee. If the volumes are lighter, the dual carriage way will run from the Grasmere turn off to Roshnee. A helicopter has also been put on standby to provide traffic reports to the operations centre.
He advised attendees coming from the east to use the R59 coming into Vereeniging on the Voortrekker off ramp and then on to Roshnee.
Once vehilces reach Roshnee they will go straight down Iqbal Avenue and enter from the back of the Ijtima site and not the front as was the case in 2009,” said Badat. He was confident that sufficient parking space had been made available. Previous Ijtimas have seen as many as 50 000 people attending at one time.
Special arrangements have been made for people with disabilities who will be shuttled to the site.
Buses coming through to Roshnee will be directed to turn left at the garage onto Tagore Street just after entering the area. “I will have my marshals, our motorbikes will be marked and all cars will insh Allah be secured.” Over 200 volunteers will make be stationed to as deterrents to any possible theft or damage to vehicles.
In the event of an emergency within Roshnee itself, the road of the Jumah Masjid will be opened as an exit point. Vehicles will have to cross over the incoming traffic and head towards the neighbouring Rus Ter Vaal area and on to Vereeniging. Badat added, “We ask the people of Roshnee to cooperate with us during the period of the Ijtima. The main period of traffic will be on Friday between 11am and 12pm.”
According to Uncle Majid, the non-Muslims in the entire town have been informed and they have also pledged their assistance to the event if needs be.
The stalwart’s loudest appeal was for motorists to work with the marshals and obey instructions in order to smoothly facilitate the flow of traffic.