Friday, July 10, 2015


July 10 2015 marks Al Quds Day – commemorated on the last Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, declared by the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as “an international day of struggle against Israel and for the liberation of Jerusalem."

On this day, as the MSA Union we reiterate our solidarity not only for the people of Palestine, but for all oppressed Muslims around the world.

May Allah ease their suffering, deliver them from oppression and grant relief to them.

We rounded up some info and stats about a few nations in which Muslims remain oppressed


  • In 2014, Israel embarked on a 50-day full-on onslaught of attacks on the Gaza Strip called operation Protective Edge which resulted in the death of almost 2400 Palestinians – primarily civilians – and the destruction of more than 18 000 homes. The damage is beyond repair, and it will take years for Gaza to recover.
  • The Rules of Israel’s military occupation in the West Bank state that the age of responsibility starts at 12. The injustice continues even for the children of Palestine.
  • The European Union:  “Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied territories”
  • June 2015 marks eight years since Israel’s tightening of blockades on Gaza. Crippling land, sea and air blockades have been in place since 2007 on the Gaza Strip, affecting more than 1.8 million indigenous Palestinian inhabitants. While Palestinians in Gaza face a 45% unemployment rate, Israeli companies profit from a monopoly on the supply of goods to Gaza, from which they made $375-million in 2012 alone.


  • The Rohingya people are an ethnic minority in Myanmar and have been persecuted by the Buddhist majority government.
  • They are labelled illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and since 1978 military operations have been conducted against them
  • The United Nations has described the Rohingya people as the most persecuted minority in the world.
  • They are denied citizenship and classified as Stateless people – no state will recognise them.
  • Because of their status as stateless, they are denied access to education, healthcare, require permission to marry, have their reproductive rights restricted and are subject to numerous abuses such as forced labour.
  • Myanmar's President Thein Sein says refugee camps or deportation is the "solution". They are faced with threats of rape and mass killing on a daily basis.
  • Countless Rohingya die drowning every year while trying to escape the persecution – in 2015 alone, more than 700 Rohingya have died at sea while trying to escape to neighbouring nations of Thailand and Indonesia
“This [Rohingya persecution] is truly systemic. It's part of Myanmar's legal and social system to discriminate against the Rohingya on the basis of their ethnicity … all the facets of life are affected by a system that codifies and makes lawful their persecution and discrimination."  - Benjamin Zawacki, a Myanmar researcher for Amnesty International

A group of South African organisations are currently collecting humanitarian aid for the Rohingyan people. See our blog post for more: 


  • In July 2012, the International Red Cross labelled the violence in Syria a civil war.
  • Estimates of the death toll of the war are at 210 000, as of 2015, with half of the total casualties being children – in reality though, the figure is likely to be higher.
  • The United Nations estimates that the conflict claims as many as 5,000 lives per month. Nearly 1 in 3 Syrians are refugees or displaced inside the country, and there are 6.8 million Syrians in need of urgent assistance.
Syria is part of that mubarak land (Shaam) for which Nabi SallAllahu 'Alayhi Wasallam made the Du'aa: Allahumma Baariklana fi Yamanina wa fi Shaamina (Oh Allah bless our Yemen and our Shaam).

Those wanting to support Gift of the Givers’ continuous attempts to assist Syria can do so by making a deposit into their account:
ACCOUNT NAME: Gift of the Givers Foundation
BANK: Standard Bank
BRANCH: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


  • Population: estimated 10 Million people
  • Rough statistics:
-          Estimated Killing: 91 865
-          Women raped: 9708
-          Civilians missing: 10 000

  • Since 1947, after the Indian Subcontinent gained independence from British Rule, both India and Pakistan have engaged in an ongoing and unresolved conflict over Kashmir – which has a majority Muslim population.
  • Kashmir remains dominated by Indian control over police and Parliament

So, what can you do?

  • Educate people around you on the situation
  • Attend marches and protests
  • Read up some more. Scour the internet, speak to experts – keep yourself updated about what’s going on
  • Encourage your local MSA to have seminars, debates and more events to educate students on local affairs
  • Volunteer at organisations in assisting them in making a difference! Get involved

      For Palestine: Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS South Africa)
          @BDSSouthAfrica on Twitter and BDS South Africa on Facebook

       For Rohingya : Protect the Rohingya
        @ProtectRohingya on Twitter

Move beyond principally acknowledging a crisis, and become actively involved in creating awareness!

Want to get involved with MSA Union’s Politics committee? Email

Thursday, July 2, 2015

An introduction to Dhikr in the form of Gadat

By Aslam Bulbulia

In the Name of Allāh, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Peace and Blessings upon our beloved Prophet Muḥammad, his family and his Companions.

A short introduction to Dhikr in the form of Gadat:

On Saturday the MSA will be hosting a Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah at the Auckland Park Masjid from 14:30-15:30.

The Prophet (SAW) said in a Ḥadīth: “Allāh the Exalted and Transcendent stated: ‘‘I am near to the thoughts of my bondsman (servant) as he thinks about Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also Remember him in My Heart; and if he remembers Me in an assembly, I Remember him in a better Assembly; and if he draws near to Me by the span of a palm, I draw near to him by a cubit; and if he draws near to Me by a cubit, I draw near to him by the space of two hands; and if he walks towards Me, I will rush (run) towards him”” recorded in the books of Bukhārī, Muslim, Tirmidhī and Ibn Māja

The dhikr on Saturday is commonly known as a Gadat. Growing up as a Muslim in Johannesburg, the first time I attended a Gadat was at the 21st birthday of one of my friends who had grown up in Cape Town. It was a beautiful experience and although I was familiar with the words being recited, the style of recitation was new to me and I have been curious about it ever since - trying to attend them at every opportunity.

I recently had the opportunity to experience dhikrs in Morocco and Toronto and was amazed at the similarities between the Gadat and other dhikrs practiced. The wording of the dhikr originates from the Ratib al-‘Haddad by Imam 'Abdullah ibn 'Alawi al-Haddad from Tarim in the Valley of Hadramaut, Yemen.
What is recited is a collection of verses from the Glorious Quran, the beautiful names of Allah, praise for the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) and common prayers to Allah.
He was an eminent scholar that placed a lot of emphasis on Islamic spirituality (sufism) but this can sometimes seem a very mystic thing. In simple terms, the way I understand it, he focused on trying to cure some of the illnesses of the heart which would include pride, greed and arrogance through the remembrance of Allah. The more we remember the power of the Almighty, the significance of Him in relation to our own lives, the purer we will be in our intentions and actions leading to more whole individuals and a better world. This is in addition to the direct reward that would be received for the recitation of the dhikr.

In many ways the Gadat  has become a very South African expression of Islamic identity. The Gadat style is more particular to South Africa because the style of recitation is called the tokang and jawap system - the only style of dhikr in the world that uses a 'statement' and 'answer' system. For those who have heard it, it would be as follows: the leader, or Galiefa, would recite the opening verses of a Surah and the congregation would 'Jawap' or respond with the following verses.

To hear a more standard recitation of the Ratib: 

To hear the South African Gadat: 

More on Imam ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad:

Translation of the Ratib al-Haddad:

About the author
Aslam is an MSA Alumni, having served on MSA Wits and MSA Union committees in the past. Aslam is currently completing his Masters degree in Development Planning at Wits University in Johannesburg.