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Conveying the message of Islam to Malawi

By Hashim Msusa. 

Published in Sunday Times

As every nation in its formation, so too Malawi, received tribes, religious dogmas, went through political metamorphism and even more. Apart from the above, assume that Malawi never received the message of Islam, what message of it will be needed at the moment?

Perhaps the perspective of this write up attempt to find out if Islam has a convincing message to be conveyed to Malawi, the warm heart of Africa. And if indeed it has that convincing message, has it been made accessible to Malawi?

Even though the message of Islam is too numerous to outline, it has its spirit. In other words, the spirit of the message of Islam can be summed up in this phrase: La illaha illa llahu (There is no deity but Allah) or (There is no god but God). In short, apart from Allah (God)  nothing must be worshipped.

But as alluded to that “La illaha illa llahu” – is the spirit, rather principal message of Islam, propagated by all Prophets, (peace be upon them all) Malawi is eager to learn the other segments of its message. Don’t get worried, since getting the message conveyed to us is not to embrace it. Allah Almighty says, “There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right (Path of) Guidance has become distinct from the wrong path.” (2:256)

Let’s begin by conveying the message of the rights of children. The rights owed to children is that they must be protected. The world today is concerned about child labour, child trafficking, neglect, institutional abuse and many more child abuse.

The message of Islam on children is that their affairs must be taken care of. They must be given proper upbringing. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “It is sinful enough for a person to be negligent of his family.” In other words negligent to children. Think of the plight of street children caused as a result of negligence?

As we move on with conveying the message of Islam, we cannot ignore the area of working. Is there a message regarding work and employment? Islam introduced principles and guidelines which define the relationship between the employer and the employed. This was instituted fourteen hundred years ago. The modern labour laws followed late.

In this regard, Islam enjoin that the relationship between employer and employee should be based upon principles of brotherhood, equality and dignity. The Prophet (peace upon him) said, “Your servants are your brothers whom Allah has placed under your authority.”

Likewise, as employers honour employees their due rights, the employees should also observe the rights of the employers. They should carry out the work in the best manner. Perhaps at this earliest stage, we can agree that Islam has a message ideal for human living.

As the world is going social, Islam has a message regard that. It introduced social laws which set rights and duties of every individual and ensure stability in a society. Some of the rights are specific while others are general. Specific of it is the rights owed to leaders. They must be obeyed, as long as they do not order wrong doing.

Further on social life, there are rights owed to the ruled. These rights include justice which is achieved by giving everyone their due rights. All should stand as equal to them. No individual or group should be favoured above others. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Indeed the most beloved person to Allah on the Day of Requital will be a just ruler.”

Of late we have heard issues of neighborhood watch. Police working with communities. This cannot be materialized when neighbours ignore each other. Islam enjoined that one be good to his neighbours. Allah says, ” Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger…..” (4:36)

The world today promote sustainable development. Islam gives the message of moderation, exhorts man to avoid wasteful use of natural resources. It calls for sustainable means of consumption. Allah says, “But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters.” (5:64) We can see that the needed message is forthcoming though curtailed.