Save Islam in Balaka
IFFD Report on Balaka Fact Finding Trip
Date visited: 9 December, 2018.
Team members: Abdurazak Telela (IFFD Member), Manaf Ibrahim Katonga (IFFD Member), Iman Isuba (IFFD Member) and Ashraf Abdullah (Non-member)
Discussions at the Chief's Courtyard with T/A Nkaya and his Chiefs.
It is IFFD procedure to conduct research in order to find the facts pertaining to situation of Islam in different areas of our country. The research helps the organization to come up with correct response to the area affected since - the needs of areas are always different. Most of these researches and trips are conducted in response to complaints and/or reports received in a particular area.
On 9th December, IFFD members visited Nkaya, Chimpakati and Kapalamula to understand problems that Muslims are facing and find a way on how the organization can help these areas. After visiting the above places, the team went further to inspect two Madrasahs that IFFD is managing in Kachenga area (Mkwatula and Chikamana).
The team visited Nkaya with the help of Brother Ashraf Abdullah. The team had a meeting with the following people:
T/A Nkaya, Group Village Headman Naweta, Group Village headman Ndimbule, Group Village Headman Makoloje, Chief Ndimbule, Chief Nsanjala, Chief Umari, Chief Nkalasi, Chief Malindi, Shaikh Peter, Shaik Makoloje, Shaikh Cassim, Shaikh Aufi, Shaikh Iweni, Shaikh Ayini, Brother Mangame, Brother Simba, Brother Nyelere, Brother Sailesi, Brother White and Brother Maganga.
The meeting took place at T/A Nkaya courtyard at the T/A headquaters.
T/A Nkaya and his chiefs were overwhelmed by the visit of the IFFD team, they detailed some challenges that Nkaya is facing. The T/A and all chiefs emphasised on the fact that Islam in Nkaya is under siege and if no proper intervention is made, Islam will be a history in Nkaya. The following are major challenges:
The Roman Catholic Church dominates Balaka district, especially Nkaya. Schools and clinics that are available in Nkaya are mostly run buy Catholics;
Schoools are far apart which forces young children fail or dropout early from attending schools;
There is no tangible intervention of prominent Muslim organization in the area. There are 28 total Masaajid - only 6 Masjids are well built (and have necessary facilities for a Masjid) by some organizations like MAM but only 3 places have Madrasahs. During Ramadhan and/or Qurbani, they hardly receive help from Muslim organizations;
There are very few boreholes that support Muslims in the area;
Lack of Madrasahs in most parts (lack of Islamic knowledge forces girls to get married to Non-Muslims who then leave Islam). The chiefs stresses that girls are the ones that preserve deen and they are many in number than boys. If they don't get Islamic education, it is a disaster to Nkaya;
Muslims are hardly seen making Da'wa while Christians have intensified their da'wah programmes;
The available shaiks in the area sometimes fail to conduct Jumah since they go far places to seek sustenance, hence, people come back without performing Jumah which de-motivate many Muslims in the area;
Appeal from T/A Nkaya and the Chiefs
- T/A Nkaya requested an Islamic Centre in his area where girls and boys can further their Islamic education;
- Madrasahs should be introduced in the area in order to preserve deen;
- A girl child should be in the first priority when establishing Madrasahs;
- Organizations should remember the area at times of Iftaar and Qurban distributions;
- Regular da'wah or ziyarah activities in the area;
- The welfare of old shaikhs should be taken into consideration so that they can serve continue serving Islam without difficulty;
- Organization should construct decent mosques and drill boreholes in the area;
CHIMPAKATI VILLAGE, T/A NSAMALA
Chimpakati Masjids that the community built.
After the meeting in Nkaya, the team went to Chimpakati with the help of Shaikh Hassan.
Islam in the area is 20% . After Comparative da'wah efforts that shaikh Hassan did, it helped to increase the number of Muslims in the area. The Muslim community acquired land and built a temporary Masjid to uplift the deen in the area.
The main problem in the area is lack of Madrasahs. Since many are reverts, lack of Islamic education might bring them back to their previous religions. There 30 women and 60 children. The whole village has over 400 families and 700 children. The regular da'wah and Madrasah programmes can bring a lot of them to Islam.
There are some Muslims boys and girls that are failing to continue with school because of fees. Among of them is a girl who was selected to study at Maryam Teachers College but failed to go because of lack of K50,000 fees.
GVH KAPALAMULA, TSEKA VILLAGE
With the help of brother Juma Allie, IFFD team visited Tseka village. Muslims in the area are like goats living in the cage of lions - it is a highly Christian dominated area. Muslims in the place married in the non-Muslim families, but because of their strong Imaan, the number of Muslims is growing. However, due to lack of Madrasah and Masjid, they sometimes lose Muslims to Christianity.
They purchased land and paid K175,000 wherein K100,000 was donated by MP of the area. There is a balance of K125,000 which they are asking organization to help.
The current Masjid is very far - where it take 4 hours to walk in order to reach the Masjid. Because of that many fail to perform Jumah and children fail to attend Madrasah. Children that go to that Madrasah come back home around 7pm because of distance. They ask the organization to help the community build one Masjid and put up a Madrasah.
They have a son who graduated from Assalam Muallim Institute who can help the community with Madrasah teaching. They have over 100 children who can attend Madrasah.
While waiting for the Masjid to come up, there is a class block that can be used as a Madrasah. Currently, the class block is used for nursery school taught by one of the volunteers.
They have children that did well their matric / form 4 but are just sitting at home doing nothing so they asked the organization to help them with bursaries so that their children can further their studies.
Team walks around the villages taking notes from the Community
Shaikh Dickson said that madrasa is going well although the number of children has declined to 38 because of Madrasa opened in the nearby place.
The Shaikh asked for a soccer ball in order to motivate children to attend classes.
The Madrasa lacks basic items like kitabs, chalk, and board. Shaikh said that just singing will not help the Madrasah to grow, children need to see what is written and they need to practice writing.
The people drilling a borehole that IFFD facilitated in the area were busy at work. IFFD has assisting with the drilling of two boreholes in the two villages of Mkwatula and Chikamana.
Shaikh Fahad said that the place of learning is small since he has a big number of children. They were 100, but now the number has gone down because of other Madrasah that opened in the nearby places.
The main challenge is lack of teaching material like kitabs, chalk and board.
He suggested to have an ibaada Masjid since children go to the main mosque for Asr Salaah. The two Madrasah (Chikamana and Mkwatula) are in adjacent villages (not far from each other).