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SA Muslims Urged to Visit Al-Aqsa

SA Muslims Urged to Visit Al-Aqsa

Muslims should frequent Masjidul-Aqsa in an effort to make it a hive of activity – this was the message conveyed by Islamic Movement leader Shaykh Raid Salah to a group of South Africans who recently returned from a trip to Palestine.

“Shaykh Raid told us to keep Al-Aqsa in mind and to remember how important it is to us as Muslims,” said Aslam Ismail who was part of a 7 person group which attended the Islamic Movement’s Conference for Al Aqsa, in Umm Al-Fahm. “He highlighted the fact that it was important in the sense that we attach sanctity to it as part of our belief, it was also the first qiblah, and it is one of the three harams.”

The theme of the conference, which was attended by about 70 000 people, was ‘Al-Aqsa in Danger,’ and Ismail said that Shaykh Salah had spoken about the importance of realising that in this year alone, there have been four attempts to destroy Masjidul-Aqsa.

“He highlighted how important it is for us to provide support structures for Al-Aqsa, not just in a financial sense, but also to give it noor (light) by making it a hive of activity and frequenting it.” A number of ways of supporting Al-Aqsa had been outlined by Shaykh Salah, said Ismail, and these include loving it and making du’aa (praying) for its liberation, as well as making an intention to somehow or the other visit the haram.

Ismail described his visit to Masjidul-Aqsa, where his group donned the ihram for Umrah, as ‘amazing,’ adding that there were many activities taking place in the masjid. “After Fajr, they have a dars (lesson), and talks take place throughout the day. There’s also a library and classes for ladies are held, as well as Qur’an recitation lessons.”

He added that he felt that ideas which many South African Muslims have of Palestinians not being Islamically-inclined, were a ‘myth.’ “All the people we met were very Islamically conscious and were very well informed about the requirements of Islam,” he said.

Ismail echoed Shaykh Raid Salah’s sentiments, encouraging all Muslims to make an effort to visit Palestine and particularly Masjidul-Aqsa. He said that although Israeli authorities had interrogated several members of the group at various junctures, at no point in time did they feel that their lives were under threat. “Despite the fact that there were hindrances, and at times I did feel scared, it was never a life-threatening situation.”

Article by Fatima Asmal

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