Friday, November 16, 2012

South Africa's Largest Muslim Student body condemns attacks by Israel on Gaza (November 16, 2012)

The Muslim Students’ Association of South Africa (MSA Union) officially expressed its dire concern today over the recent attacks that have plagued Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). Gaza has endured over 30 air raids in the past 48 hours, along with the threat of an eminent Israeli ground assault- reminiscent of Operation Cast Lead.
According to reports in the Associated Press, On Wednesday 14th November 2012, Ahmed Al-Jabari – the most senior official of Hamas' armed unit – was assassinated by the IDF. Not long after, the intensive bombing raid ensued. The assassination of Jabari comes as a clear sign of Israel's stance towards the democratically elected resistance movement inside Palestine. The IDF has claimed that this is the first stage of 'Operation Cloud Pillar', a pre-coordinated military operation, with Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu claiming that "ALL options are on the table".
As the violence escalates, sources inside Israel have claimed that Israeli troops are gathering at the Southern border of Gaza. Already more than fifteen people have been murdered, with reports confirming that those among them include women and children, as well as more than one hundred Palestinians wounded.
"MSA Union is an organization based on Islamic principles, and through our history with Apartheid, stand against all Human Rights violations", said MSA Union President Yusuf Talia. "For far too long has the South African Government – as human rights watchdogs – been silent on the issue of Palestine. As MSA Union, we condemn the attacks carried out by the Israeli military, and are calling on our government for the withdrawal of the South African Ambassador to Israel, as well as the adoption of boycotts and sanctions on Israel."
The Union of Muslim Students in South Africa calls for the end of all diplomatic ties between South Africa and Israel until a solution can be formulated which encompasses equal rights to all citizens- No Bantustans, but rather a country in which all citizens can live, with the right of return for those who have been exiled.
MSA Union also reaffirms our BDS stance, calling for nations to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel.
Issued by MSA Union
For more information email
Yusuf Talia, MSA Union President, 071 677 2391/ 076 153 8262

Latest figures report that 18 Palestinians have been killed including 11 civilians from two days of Israeli airstrikes (466 air strikes according to the Israeli army)* *Al Jazeera, 16th November, 08:25

Monday, November 12, 2012

Project IQra Press Release - Report Back

After months of hard work from the dedicated Project IQra team, the entire project came to an end on the 21st September 2012. The idea of the IQra concept was brainstormed just a few months earlier and was chosen to be the flagship project of the MSA Union. The aim was to have a project that would both increase social consciousness amongst university students and the community as well as address a direct need in society; that being education.

Project IQra’s aim was to provide Matric Power Packs as well as school packs and on-going support to grade 11 pupils from selected underprivileged schools in South Africa. The Power Packs, given to each learner, consisted of 4 Answer Series study guides, bursary information, career information and basic stationery. Each pack was valued at approximately R520. The school packs consisted of a projector and laptop filled with useful teaching aid videos, lesson plans and textbooks. In total, we were fortunate to provide 1711 students from 9 schools with Power packs, and 15 schools with school packs. The 15 schools comprised of 2 from Limpopo, 2 from KZN, 1 from Free State and 10 from Gauteng.

Packaging week took place from the 17th to the 20th of September, where passionate students from Wits, UJ, UP and UoFS packaged and personally labelled the Matric Power Packs for each of the pupils. Each pack was designed with precision to ensure that the pupil got the 4 textbooks that he or she needed most. The packs were then delivered to the schools by the MSA volunteers, an inspirational career guidance talk was given and aptitude tests were distributed for the pupils to help identify their strengths and career paths.

On the 21st of September, the final Project IQra event took place where approximately 1700 pupils were transported to Wits for an informative and stimulating Career’s Day. The pupils had an opportunity to visit faculty stalls, take a tour around the campus, listen to motivational and educational talks as well as have a lovely lunch. The event was a great success and lives were touched. The pupils definitely enjoyed a break from the classroom environment, being exposed the larger picture.

In total, funds and items to the value of R1 million was collected. The funds raised were spent on the Matric Power Packs, school packs and the Career’s Day. Full details of the financials can be obtained from the MSA Union. The MSA would like to thank each and every person, organisation and business that contributed to the success of Project IQra. The project could not have been achieved without the co-operation and support of the community. 

Our former president, Nelson Mandela has said:
“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

We can only hope now that the passion to learn and succeed has been planted into these pupils and that they will grow to be the future leaders of this country, helping themselves and uplifting their communities. Ongoing communication will be made with the schools to follow up provide further assistance where possible.

Project IQra has touched the lives of many, both the receivers of the packs as well as those involved in making the project a success. We hope to run a similar initiative in the years to come, helping more individuals and touching more lives.

Ms Taskeen Adam                                          

MSA Union Vice President
Project IQra Manager                         
083 259 3786

Date: 12 November 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The MSA hosted Tariq Ramadan on October 31st in jo'burg.  The event was video streamed to kzn and capetown.  if you missed it, watch it on our website,


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Sunnah to Smile - MSA Comedy Jam

MSA Comedy Jam

MSA presents: "It's Sunnah to Smile"!

Join us on 28 September at the Wits Great Hall for some entertainment and forget about exam stress for an evening!
Time: 19h45 for 20h00
Comedians Include: Loyiso Gola, Simmi Areff, Laz Gola, Dillan Oliphant, Yumna Mohamed,  Deen Schroeder and some homegrown student talent.
Tickets are R150 each
Age restriction: 16 yrs

To make your reservation, simply email and don't miss out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MSA Support for Wits SRC Israel Boycott

Statement in support of the University of the Witwatersrand
Student Representative Council’s decision to Boycott Apartheid Israel

The Union of Muslim Students' Associations, who has released a number of statements against those who perpetuate injustices, commends the University of the Witwatersrand Student Representative Council on taking a principled stance against the oppressive state of Israel. We recognise the decision as a victory in the worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The resolution outlines a cultural and academic boycott against Israeli institutions. The resolution states that Wits University “will not participate in any form of cultural or academic collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions and will not provide support to Israeli cultural or academic institutions”.
The landmark resolution also calls for an inquiry into any relationships that Wits University might have with Israeli institutions. The SRC will also actively search for any such relationships and lobby to ensure that these relationships are brought to an end.

The Student body will also promote and support Israeli Apartheid Week which is held in more than 90 cities across the world. The Israeli Apartheid Week campaign is supported by the Muslim Students’ Association.
MSA Union calls upon all student bodies in our institutions of higher learning that support justice and equality to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Let us make it known that we will not allow relations to normalise with a state as oppressive as Israel. Furthermore, we call upon student representative councils nationwide to take similar BDS stances and ensure that a cultural and academic boycott is in place.
The Apartheid state has proven time and again that it has no regard for International Law, human rights or dignity towards Palestinian civilians. We will not associate ourselves with any organisation that supports the Apartheid state of Israel and will continue to maintain this stance until such time that the Palestinians have dignity, freedom and the right to national aspirations.
Statement issued by: MSA Union

Contact information:

Yusuf Talia -         - 071 677 2391
Aslam Bulbulia -         -  071 020 0100


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A mother's feet, by Golden Amanah

A reminder to myself before others.

Who knew that at the feet of your mother would lie the entry to paradise?
But even with this great advice,
Some of us are still very unwise.
We curse, disrespect, give our mothers sorrow
But who promised your blessed mother that she'd see tomorrow?

Don't be fooled into thinking that because she gave birth to you, she's there to stay
Its by the mercy of Allah that she endured nine months of pain,
and years on would not delay,
in pleasing you to her utmost, always making sure that you're okay.
There are some mothers out there who wouldn't hesitate
In giving their children away,
Before they’ll hear the last breath their child takes.

Don't abuse the love of your mother with unkind treatment,
Rather adore her like the Queen she is, and pray for her intercession
On a day where you could have prayed 100 raka'hs daily,
It wouldn't be a grain in the sand if you left your mother wailing.

This world deceives us into thinking that we'll always have time,
So we delay repentance, increase our sins,
Unknowingly crossing the line.
Our mothers in our infant days bore our tears and cries,
Now we're impatient when they shed a few,
While we hurry our goodbyes.

But what happens when you've met and married your chosen loved one,
And sooner or later Allah blesses you with a daughter or a son?
That child grows up, and shows no love
Is disobedient to the core,
You try and teach them the clear and straight path,
But to them it's all a bore.
Then something from within makes you shudder for a while,
because you've seen those fatal footsteps you chose, reflected in your child.

All that time you thought you were safe in a little bubble,
And now you fear for yourself as much as your child, because you know there'll be trouble.
Consequences for your actions,
Other worldly punishments
Worse than a worldly court,
Because this is supreme judgment.

Each moment a grace of Allah,
Yet wasted in forgetting,
That we'll account for those moments when our mums were always fretting.
We never gave them peace of mind, never enough sleep,
Making the promise of being home by ten, And that promise we didn't keep.

For the sake of Allah take heed of this heartfelt warning,
Because we're all in need of it from time to time,
Repent, and beg for your mother's forgiveness
Before the light of the early morning,
Surely your Lord is indeed sublime.
Only Allah knows if we’ll get through these tests,
He knows when it gets tough,
But obedience to our mothers is always best,
Start now before your time is up.

Golden Amanah
Halima Shode (Golden Amanah) is a talented writer and Muslim student currently living in London. She loves poetry and eating out, and supports healthy, strong Islamic views .

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Jewel, by Golden Amanah

The jewel


In a world that defines less as more,
Where worth is judged in how many looks you score,
The Jewel was crying out for shade,
Covered from the world’s gaze.
And wouldn’t society be amazed?!
The Jewel never knew her true worth,
Assuming that from her birth,
That time would go on and she’d have her layers uncovered,
For others to gape at her in awe and wonder.

She never wanted perfection, only protection,
The protection of her Lord was what she slowly began to crave for,
She was given guidance by the Qur’an with its blessed spiritual sustenance,
And they say her fate was sealed when she read the verse that revealed,
“On no soul do we place a burden more than it can bear.”
Tears poured from her eyes and even more from her heart,
Because right then she knew that with a fresh start.

Her title Muslimah would not be in vain,
And the deeds of her life which slowly became,
To hold more significance than just day to day,
Her Lord she began to call on to ease her way.
Into this beautiful way of life with unmatched wisdom,
Of which there were obstacles to overcome,
Many out to snatch the Jewel’s shine,
But she fought back with all her might every single time.
A comment, a stare, an unkind laugh,
Made for a challenged heart,
But she remained firm and steadfast,
Against all cruelty, so she’d stand last.

The Jewel had Sister gems who she also wanted to protect,
From the snare of Shaitan so they wouldn’t be next.
So she taught them what she knew and prayed for their safety,
Monthly, weekly, especially daily.
She knew a day would come when they would question life,
And when that time came, she wanted for them less strife,
She wanted their hearts resistant to temptation,
For She Knew Fitna was ready to corrupt their destination.

May Allah make it easy on all beautiful girls,
The Muslimahs striving for Allah, the well guarded Pearls,
Because we are Jewels with beauty undiscovered,
Our Lord, Most wise, gave us this cover.

Golden Amanah

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Beggar, by Leyla Rodriguez

A Beggar

I came from a dark place.

The nights were cold while the sun shone, there was no escape.

I was trapped inside my self against all fate.

I often questioned my existence.

The purity of my soul, the will of no control, my heart insisted.

I searched for the unknown.

In the dry desert I stood with no drink but thirst, all alone.

I turned to the Creator and begged, ‘O Lord of the Heavens and Earth, I know you exist, guide me to the truth and show me the straight path.

I was headed for self-destruction in the city called Life.

Consumed I was by the falsehood and its wrath.

There lived a grain of hope.

It fed me when I was hungry.

Destitute I became,
lost without vision,
I had no destination.
Leyla Rodriguez

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gala Dinner

The Muslim Students Association present a not-to-be-missed gala evening supported by SANZAF and AWQAF. Join us for an unforgettable experience on Saturday 1st September 2012 at Sultan Bahu Hall at 6:00 pm.

Enjoy delectable delights, memorable entertainment, including nasheed artist Waleed Bata, and renowned speaker Edris Khamissa. Place your bid to buy an exclusive item for your home, and stand a chance to win one of the many prizes up for grabs.

A unique educational Waqf Investment Fund will be launched on the evening. The WIF will help generate returns from the income of the initial investment, with priority given to Project IQra and /or other educational projects.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the MSA’s Project IQra. Project IQra is the largest student-driven educational development initiative in the country. The project is focused on underprivileged grade 11 learners, by equipping them and their schools with adequate materials and study guides to assist them in progressing through their final year of secondary schooling thereby granting them an opportunity to study at a tertiary institute.

Tickets are R350 per person. Limited seating available, so get your ticket ASAP!

 For bookings email or contact 073 913 8607/079 407 2040

Project IQra - Read. Learn. Succeed.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Project IQra Details


Project IQra is an initiative aimed at uplifting communities through the enrichment of their secondary and tertiary education. The project focuses on underprivileged grade 11 learners, by equipping them and their schools with adequate materials and knowledge to assist them in progressing through their final year of secondary schooling and into a tertiary institute.

A total of 15 schools, in Gauteng, Free State, Kwazulu Natal  with approximately 3000 grade 11 learners will be identified as beneficiaries of the project. There will be an identification process where schools will be chosen, based on already available information and statistics from the South African Department of Education and the broad development focused institution, the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF).


The learners will be provided with individual packages containing materials that will assist them in successfully getting through matric and providing a basis for their tertiary education. In addition, the schools will be provided with school packs in order to assist in the educating of the students and facilitating more efficient lessons. Below is a list of the materials. Please note, the materials are subject to the needs of the respective schools. After all 15 schools have been identified the needs will be provided by the school and the list will be adjusted appropriately.

Each student packs will each contain the following:

·         A selection of four study guides based on the subjects that each child currently takes.

·         A selection of basic stationery, including exercise books, pens, pencils, ruler and eraser.

·         Advanced stationery, including a scientific calculator and a maths set

·         Additional study guides

·         Matric past exams papers (printouts)

·         Bursary information packs

·         University/Technikon/College information and application forms

·         A rechargeable desk lamp

·         A school bag

 The school packs will contain the following:

·         A selection of facilitating DVD’s, per subject

·         A basic laptop with a DVD player

·         An over-head projector


In addition to providing the materials, a Careers Day for the 3000 students will be hosted at the participating universities and will focus on providing the learners with the adequate knowledge needed in order to enter into a tertiary institution, exposing the learners to the faculties available at these tertiary institutions as well as provide them with the motivation and incentive to pursue a further qualification. This will allow them to gauge the opportunities that they have based on their interests, the subjects they’re currently taking, the grades required, the application processes etc. The day will include presentations by various faculties, students and representatives of the Department of Education.


Project IQra spans four phases:

1.       Fundraising and advertising for the project. This will take place from June till 17 September.

2.       Actively identifying schools, engaging with them and based on the identifying process, establishing the needs of the schools and learners. This will take place in August.

3.       Getting mass student involvement on each campus and, as a collective, putting the 3000 individual packs together and actively taking them to the schools for distribution. This will take place from 17 to 20 September.

4.       Preparing and implementing the Career’s Day at the universities on 21 September.

MSA Project IQra :
4 Provinces
8 campus MSA's
3000 learners
R 3 million

Follow us on Twitter @MSA_Union
like Project IQra on Facebook at
For more information email

MSA Project IQra Press Release

The Muslim Students Association Union, representing 18 campuses across 8 cities in South Africa, is excited to announce the launch of their newest endeavour- Project IQra. The MSA have always been one of the few student organisations who have successfully managed to merge massive and enthusiastic student involvement with that of charitable initiatives within our local communities. This year, under their new leadership, the MSA Union is upholding the legacy of true humanity and pioneering this novel project.

For the past 8 years, MSA bodies across the country have successfully been running the RHP (Ramadhaan Humanitarian Project) initiatives, with immense success and efficiency. However this year, the MSA has decided to undertake a new venture which exemplifies the foresight and visionary leadership that the Union possesses. Recognising the great importance of knowledge, as well as the lack of adequate facilities to acquiring this knowledge that so many of the youth of our country suffer from, the MSA is proud to announce the launch of Project IQra in 2012.

 Project IQra is an initiative aimed at uplifting communities through the enrichment of their secondary and tertiary education. The project focuses on underprivileged grade 11 learners, by equipping them and their schools with adequate materials and knowledge to assist them in progressing through their final year of secondary schooling and into a tertiary institute. This project, a ground-breaking idea in its implementation and much-needed action, will provide power packs to both future Matric learners as well as their schools. The MSA is excited to announce that together with these packs containing vital educational material and equipment, a Careers Day will be organised as well, facilitating the transition of these underprivileged youth to a tertiary education.

Project IQra is in its advanced phases of organisation and will, inshAllah, be happening over the week of the 17th-22nd September of this year. The MSA, since its inception in 1974, has always been a visionary student body, driving student activism and contributing to the community immeasurably. We hope that this project will take the abilities of the MSA to new heights, enabling and inspiring all of us to make positive and progressive changes and contributions to the world we live in.
Submitted by MSA Project IQra 2012 Working Group (

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lift, Lifta

(This was written via my personal blog last year)
Last year, a group called, “1948 Lest We Forget,” filed an application to the World Monuments Fund (WMF) for Lifta, a Palestinian village, to be included on the 2012 World Monuments Watch list. The reason the WMF were chosen was because they’re an independent organization (registered as a charity in New York) who require no national or state endorsement for nominations. They are linked to the saving of many historical and treasured places in the world.

Research was carried out by the group- Lifta’s history, architecture, cultural and social character and they had, “found it to be an embodiment of everything Palestinian.”

However, Lifta’s history is being somewhat hidden behind its very own domed roofs.

Lifta is the only Palestinian village that has been left as it was before the Zionist war in 1948, when 500 Arab villages throughout Palestine were demolished by colonial Zionists. The now depopulated Lifta was built by its own inhabitants, who constructed, “cube-like buildings,” topped by the well-known domed roofs. The domed roofs were made from the “single natural material that the inhabitants employed”- The Special Jerusalem Stone. The community had built their houses without hindering the natural beauty of the area or destroying the gentle hills- the houses had looked and felt like it belonged there. Many of the homes remain intact to date, in view of the speciality of the Jerusalem stone. The village itself dates back to biblical times of Muslims, Christians and Jews living harmoniously.

Lifta was occupied in 1948, one of the main strategic reasons being that it was in close proximity to Jerusalem. Both Muslim and Christians were evicted from their homes by use of, “brutal, racist tactics,” and the Jews given place to stay, thereby achieving the Zionist goal of ethnic cleansing.

Currently, the few inhabitants are Jewish, but most of Lifta has been kept deserted by Israeli authorities. In an attempt to stop the original owners from claiming their land, squatters, drug dealers and gangs have been roaming the area destroying the domed roofs of the houses. Lifta now faces demolition by private developers at the hands of The Israel Land Administration (ILA) who will eventually rid this village off any Palestinian history and memory. The ILA’s plans include a, “building of 212 housing units exclusively for Jews, a luxury hotel, a shopping mall and a museum.” In addition to the current efforts of driving the original occupants away from attempting to claim their homes, the redevelopment is also in aid of totally nullifying any potential efforts made by the depopulated at getting their homes back. They were evicted, and by law, no longer hold the right to return to their land- they cannot gain citizenship nor return to their homeland.

Daphna Golan, a Professor of Law at the Hebrew University described the move as being primarily political, having a face of rejuvenation in an ‘abandoned village.’ “It is a building plan geared towards erasing the past,” she says. “In other words, serving to continue the process of judaization of the land- a policy which aims to eradicate Palestinian history, memory and presence.”

The museum, if built, confirms some claims that ILA plans are, “aimed at seizing the identity and completing the Judaization process of the last remaining Palestinian village,” as the museum will only display Jewish history. Adding more to the attempt at wiping Palestinian history out, is the ILA’s designation of Lifta’s cemetery as “public land” in the plan, allowing it to be used as land for future construction in time to come.

Why is Lifta important, really?

Lifta is politically important, above the obvious architectural, social and cultural reasons. Politics played a part in the “formation and evolution” of Lifta’s architecture. After being rejected by the WMF, 1948 Lest We Forget questioned if it was for Lifta’s political history, that they were de-classified off the Watch List. The group had posted this regarding their attempt at getting Lifta on to the Watch List:

“Lifta, without doubt, is considered a “hot potato” because it is as much a symbol of the Palestinian tragedy as it is a physical manifestation of it. Could it have been, we tried to guess, Lifta’s “political” dimension which de-classified it from the Watch List?

In order that a future re-nomination of Lifta may be attempted, it was important for us to get an absolute understanding of the reasons why Lifta was de-selected in order that we

may avoid derailment in the future. We spoke to Avrami at the WMF and, after a brief discussion, we asked her, “was the decision to exclude Lifta a political one?” The answer came in an email about two weeks later and it confirmed our worst fears:

“The Watch nomination for Lifta village incorrectly located the site in the Palestinian Territory, when it is in fact within the current borders of Israel [our emphasis]. Factual inaccuracies are something taken into consideration in the review and selection process.”

It is worth repeating here that our application was accepted and validated back in February and there were no questions raised at the time, or since, about Lifta’s geographical location. Our application had clearly showed Lifta’s coordinates on the map which accompanied the application and positively placed it inside the Corpus Separatum zone designated by the 1947 Partition Plan under UN Resolution 181.

As the reason for disqualifying Lifta is seen now to be its geographical location and not necessarily the other criteria, we felt that we were about to be embroiled in a debate on an

issue which sits at the core of the Israel-Palestine question.

For the sake of historical correctness, we had no choice but to rely on international conventions to safeguard Lifta from physical oblivion. An extract of the UN Resolution 181 Partition map was sent to the WMF with another map showing the UN designated are of Jerusalem and its environs within the Corpus Separatum international zone. Lifta sat comfortably inside that zone, and as the WMF response emphasized “the current borders of Israel,” we also sent the WMF another extract of the UN map showing the 1949 Armistice Lines which wrapped around West Jerusalem and the village of Lifta at the cessation of hostilities.

We explained that these lines are exactly what they were meant to be according to international legal definitions: “Armistice Lines represent where the hostilities between the parties ceased until the warring parties reach final agreement.” This is in accordance with international law and the Geneva Convention.

In its response dated 1 November, the WMF wrote:

“World Monuments Fund is a private, not-for-profit organization that undertakes the World Monuments Watch as part of advocacy work on behalf of heritage around the world. We are not an intergovernmental organization that must abide by international conventions …” (emphasis).

However, the WMF is part of the United Nations, listed under the “Official Relations” section of UNESCO. By definition, therefore, it is required to respect international law (“UNESCO - World Monuments Fund).

But as is usually the case at the UN, rights take a back seat to politics. The US State Department’s “Diplomacy In Action” section created the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, which has donated over $2 million to the WMF. In view of the fact that the US has punished UNESCO for admitting Palestine as a member on 31 October 2011, the political link between the State Department funding and the WMF cannot be underestimated.”

They further stated that the village’s fate seemed to be directly relevant to the organization’s work:

“Bonnie Burnham, the WMF’s president, in a 2006 interview with the National Trust for Historic Preservation: “Time, war, and politics are destroyers of monuments. Which is the biggest threat? In a global context, unquestionably, the biggest is war. In addition to destroying buildings, armed conflict destroys the entire national capacity to deal with heritage” (“The Short Answer: Bonnie Burnham”).

If the WMF was prepared to address that threat, surely it would be acting to save Lifta.”

If the ILA’a plans are approved, a Jewish community will thrive in Lifta, a Palestinian place that neither belonged to them nor given to them, but stolen from Palestine- history and land. The early biblical depiction of harmony and peace between Christians and Jews may never be remembered, but the prevalence of the colonial Zionist regime will always be remembered.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Iqra Logo Ideas

Below are some logo's to boost your imagination :) 

(Please don't use any of these directly...that's not creative and may infringe on a little thing called copyrights)

Deadline: 15 June 2012

Cool Concept but can't be used as a logo.

How to get in touch:

Twitter: @MSA_Union

Monday, May 28, 2012

Islam and Education

Al Azhar University - Cairo , Egypt
All of us are (or should be) familiar with the quote "seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave" , this is quite important and it must be noted that the first word revealed to the Prophet (S.A.W) was 'Iqra' or read.

Through Islamic history we find a strong link between the Masjid and the pursuit of knowledge . Education began at the Masjid. The word university is 'Jamiah' in Arabic .the word ' Jami' means Masjid. Basically what that means is the word university in Arabic is the female version of Masjid.Masjids in Islam form part of the earliest universities. Perhaps one of the most widely known Islamic university is the Al - Azhar university in Cairo. This institution is over 1000 years old.One of the first universities in history is In Morocco, known as Al- Qarawiyin . This was built in 841 CE by Fatima Al Fihri .This institution was a community based one beginning with religious instruction and eventually to all subjects. Subjects included Quran , astronomy, theology, law , logic , arithmetic , geography , and medicine.

In baffles me when people make statements like 'secular' and Islamic education , why is there differentiation between the two? Islamic history shows how well it is able to be intergrated! Another thought comes to mind, why is it that the Masjid has only become a place to read salah? Is it not supposed to be a community centre , a place of broad learning , a place where academic discussions should take place?

I believe that a major mind set change has to occur, gaining knowledge in all spheres should become highly sought after.The solution is clear, we as a community need to go back to the values of the great leaders during the golden era of Islam , and develop ourselves holistically in the divine and applied sciences. We need to work together , unified in order to make education and the Masjid the focal point of our community.

( facts above was based on the book '1001 inventions of Muslim civilisation' )

Sunday, May 27, 2012


We are fortunate to be Muslim. I know it sounds cliché and people say it so often the privilege we have had bestowed upon us often loses its gravity in our minds, but as you grow older and get exposed to more of the world and the terrible truths which exist in it one realises how lucky we really are to be Muslim. To have a guide in every single aspect of our lives, and that too a guide so flawless as exemplified by the Quraan and the Sunnah is a feat that should not be taken lightly. We should be honoured that Allah (S.W.T) has chosen us to be the Ummah of his beloved Nabi (S.A.W), and in accordance should try and uphold that honour to the best of our abilities. As students, a particular and important way of showing our appreciation of having Islam in our lives is by endeavouring to be the best that we can be.

Whatever field you may be studying and interested in; learn more, achieve more, be more! Use campus and the freedom we have not only to increase our knowledge in terms of studies, but in general as well. There are countless Ahadeeh, instructing us to acquire knowledge in every possible way. A significant one reads that the Nabi (S.A.W.) stated: “That person who shall pursue the path of knowledge, God will direct him to the path of Paradise; and verily the superiority of a learned man over an ignorant worshipper is like that of the full moon over all the stars.” Allah has created a magnificent world for us to live in; with details so intricate and mechanisms so perfect it is sometimes difficult for the human mind to comprehend. It is therefore obligatory for us to appreciate the greatness of our Lord by observing, learning and using the knowledge that we gain to help further the course of Islam. Let us all strive to excel in what we are studying, and truly propagate what we learn only for the pleasure of Allah (S.W.T) Ameen. Remember:     “Knowledge in youth is wisdom in age”.

Written by Aayesha Soni

(This article was published in the Wits MSA newsletter 16 May 2011)

Friday, May 25, 2012


I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers." Khalil Gibran

In life, we are bound to come across many different types of people. Each person we meet, whether we know it or not, leaves an imprint on us. We are all teachers in our own way. Surely we would not want to be among the teachers whom people are ungrateful for. I.e. An example of what not to be. What worries me about our society today, is the fact that our respect for each other has dwindled. We often undermine the importance of a mere greeting.  "When two Muslims meet (give salaam), and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they part (with each other)." (Abu Dawud) Ultimately, all that we really seek, is acceptance from one another. Yet, more often than not, in our quest for countenance, we are met with judgement and standoffish airs. We are all guilty of having felt superior or even inferior to another person at some point in our lives. This is probably due to our obscured perception of what is admirable and what is not. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:"You are not better than people unless you excel them in piety "That pretty much sums up what I have been trying to say. Piety being the key word. Modesty is a sign of faith and good character. I do not see the words 'status' 'money' or 'beauty' included there. Hence, those factors should not determine how you portray yourself to the world.

Be the best you can possibly be. And most importantly, be kind. Everyone you meet is surviving the past. May Allah grant us all understanding. Ameen.

Written by : Farah Ayob
 *This article was first published in the Wits MSA newsletter , 14 March 2011