This weekend the Jamiatul Ulama KZN hosted the 7th Southern African Ulama Forum conference in Durban. It was a first for Durban with over 500 Ulama from the nine Southern African countries attending as well as delegates from foreign countries.
One of the topics discussed was the unity of the Ulama and the public condemnation of Ulama that emanates from a minority group of “Ulama” as well as from those who usurp and fraudulently use the names of bona fide Ulama bodies.
Among the resolutions unanimously adopted was the following, “The Forum resolved to promote the concept of tolerance among the Ulama fraternity and undertook to resolve differences with decorum and dignity. It further implored Ulama not to take their differences to the public arena.”
From the above it is amply clear that the overwhelming majority of the Ulama have the best interests of the public at heart and that creating confusion and negativity in the hearts of the public against the Ulama and the teachings of Islam is furthest from their intentions.
A question similarly raised was how to deal with those who would seek to destroy this unity by sowing the seeds of confusion in the Ummah. One point mentioned was that in an Islamic state, Ulama who would cause confusion in the public domain would be brought before the authorities and at times heads would, literally, roll so that the unity of the Ummah may be preserved.
Unfortunately, this legal authority is not available in our present context. Hence, the duty of the Ulama is to educate the Ummah and encourage them to be vigilant and take whatever action that is within their power to prevent this abuse.
Firstly, verify the source of information. Recently emails and posters have been circulated on the name of the Jamiatul Ulama KZN emanating from addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and other addresses ending with gmail.com. Emails from the Jamiatul Ulama KZN end with @jamiat.org.za. Emails not ending with the official @jamiat.org.za should not be accepted at face value.
Secondly, each of us has the power to administer our own email addresses. If a fraudulent email comes into your inbox, mark it as spam and complain to the web hosting company if the email emanates from a registered email address as is the case with firstname.lastname@example.org which is hosted by Afrihost. Although such steps will not prevent those bent on creating disunity with their illegal emails, it will at the very least remove their emails from your inbox.
We urge the public not to entertain correspondences of those who would create disunity in the Ummah. May Allah Ta’ala unite the Ulama and protect us from those who would see its unity toppled, Ameen.
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Council of Muslim Theologians
223 Alpine Road, Overport, Durban