Cape Town: For the past three years, a team of Muslim scholars in South Africa has been on a mission to rid the country of gangs of drug smugglers and drugs and bring peace to many parts of Cape Town.
According to a report by the British news agency ‘BBC’, these scholars often go to the gangland of Cape Town for open worship on Thursday evenings. In Africa, this worship is called ‘Zikr’. God’s name and attributes are frequently mentioned aloud during worship.
Organizers say there has been no fighting during the one-and-a-half-hour worship in the last three years. Usually 100 to 400 people participate in this dhikr. One worship was dedicated to fighting gender-based violence, a major problem in South Africa. About 2,000 people attended the worship.
Administrator Sheikh Mohammad Salig Ishaq said it did not matter how many people attended. The biggest thing is that for three years we have been continuing the process of dhikr in all kinds of situations.
According to the British News Agency, Menenberg is a township in Cape Town, created by the government for low-income people in the 1960s, the official term for mixed-race people in the country. The white minority government at the time forcibly separated races on the basis of sectarianism, allowing whites to live in affluent urban areas.
According to the BBC, there are an estimated 52,000 people living in the town, who are mainly Christians. Unemployment, poverty, crime and gang wars are on the rise.
However, a few hours before Zikr, these flats were fired upon and 4 people were killed as a result of firing in Gangland over the weekend. However, a ceasefire is currently in place after fierce fighting between gangs in Meneburg.
The organizers of Zikr feel that violence can never end because so far the government has not made any proper effort to deal with it.
For Sheikh Ishaq, involving different religious leaders in the community would be a good start, there is no limit to crime and they do not discriminate on the basis of religion.
He believes that the authorities need to deal with the problem of overpopulation in the slum and instead of building more flats here, they should help people move to other areas and increase the number of security forces in the slum.
Muslims around the world remember God in different ways and have a special way of reciting according to the region. Muslims do this zikr after sunset and before Isha prayers. The mixed-race Asian community Cape Malaysia, which has lived in South Africa for generations, has its own unique style of dhikr.
Some Christians living in the township also participate in this ‘dhikr’ and watch this worship from their nearby apartments.
Sheikh Samegh Nooruddin, one of the founders of the Zikr session in Maine, is preparing food for the devotees. In Cape Town, participants in the Zikr party are given something sweet in a cake or meal – as in most parts of the world, the food is called Niaz.
Since most of the people living in Menenberg belong to the poor class, the devotees are also given hot food after ‘Zikr’.
Authorities declared Meneburg a “red zone of danger” in mid-2015, and for several months ambulances could not enter the area unless police were called.
Every Thursday a special person or scholar is invited to speak. Here Sheikh Hassan Pandey is seen talking about the importance of his mother in the life of any human being.
Guest speakers speak out in public, so their messages cover topics ranging from gender equality to drug use, and people from every community can hear the message.
The organizers try to get the services of a Christian pastor as a guest speaker in these sessions.
Sheikh Ishaq said that this ‘remembrance’ has created an atmosphere of calm in Menenberg. We only do this session once a week. It would be great if we could host these programs every day, but we can’t do that due to limited resources.