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Can I just be black and Muslim in South Africa?

Can I just be black and Muslim in South Africa?
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Hawa Mayere | Salaamedia – Opinion | 20 February 2016

Black Muslims living in South Africa face a lot of criticism. Especially if you are living in a non-Muslim dominated community where people lack knowledge about Islam as a religion. For me there’s a feeling of being isolated when wearing my hijab or head covering. Ever-so-often I’ll be asked if I’m married to a South African of Indian decent or a non-South African all together (which by the way, is not a bad thing).

But can’t I just be black and Muslim without any additional title?

Some would go to the extent of saying that, “you have joined the evil religion whose members of the church are murderers”. It tends to get more difficult and painful when people around the townships look at you as if you are mad or have been possessed by demons. They question why are you following other gods? Why are you following Indian culture? Why do you dress the way you do, even if it’s hot? What went wrong in your life to such an extent that you ended up being a “Muslim”?

It even reached a stage where I was told that Muslim women have guns hidden under their headgear. But its not just us simple black Muslims who happen to be the subject of curiosity and at times despise by fellow blacks. Well known politician, Mandla Mandela, and grandson to Nelson Mandela tied the knot on Saturday, 6 February 2016, to Muslim bride, Rabia Clarke. The traditional chief of the Mveso clan has been deemed as a traitor and one who has lost all respect of his ancestors because of his religious change and subsequent marriage.

Has South Africa been able to really accept freedom of religion as an intrinsic human right?

It’s been said that Mandla’s ancestors will be angry with him and nothing good will follow his path, that he can no longer be a leader of his clan simply because he changed religion. With all these questions that Mandla and the black Muslim face every day, do you think they are welcomed by their own people?

What happened to freedom of expression if you’re afraid of being attacked for wearing the hijab? Zahra, a friend of mine and new revert to Islam had this to say: “There is no name that I haven’t been called – Al- Shabaab, Boko Haraam , terrorist. Family members will make things worse by saying you have forgotten where you come from, which is discouraging as a revert to Islam. This makes it very hard to practice the religion and do things that you need to do as a Muslim.”

Despite the negativity and hatred towards the religion, one has to admit that the Mandla Mandela situation has made it clear that Islam has no race and it doesn’t belong to a certain group of people. We are determined to chose and live by our own choices.

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Comment(10)

  1. Stay strong. Use the power of your pen to shed light on this matter, that many others too face on a daily basis. May Allah make it easy for you, in sha Allah.

  2. I think we need to ask ourselves what is the course of their ignorance, I have summed it up to us being the course of non Muslims ignorance, we have kept the religion to ourselves and are not prepared to interact and give proper dawa to them, we are happy to call them names like kufaar, people who don’t do istinja and people of jahanaam, sadly we might be the people of jahanaam cause we haven’t done our duty of making sure that each and every soul gets to know what Islam is, Rasoolulah Sallalahu Alay Wa Salaam was concerned about us, his brothers and sisters, He prayed for us day and night, and by us I also mean the people we daily call Kufaar.

    Our conduct leaves much to be desired, just to let a screw out, the people who are opposing Mandela are not opposing his reverting but opposing Indians and Malay, as some of this two Nations have caused a lot of pain to the Natives and that has also damaged the credibility of our beautifull deen, now what do we need to do to save our Native brothers and sisters from all this humiliation they experience everyday.

    Let’s open our Musajieds to aeveryone, let all those days who are interested to know about Islam learn what Islam is from us not from pastors, let the organizations educate Natives on proper dawa, connect the South African Natives with other African Muslim not stooges, allow them to run their own affairs in the township without any interferences as that will give credibility to their efforts of dawa.

    Let those who have been given resources by ALLAH share them with the Natives, not as a show but from the heart, let’s help the underprivileged from the Natives without taking pictures, let’s take some to school, but most importantly let’s build good akhlaaq on our kids and ourselves.

    Masalamah

    Mzwandile Zayd Maphumulo

  3. Peace be upon you my sister. I make dua to Allah Almighty to grant u the strength during this jihaad of yours and everyone else thats experiencing this. We too make dua to Allah swt to grant those who is without the knowledge and understanding of islaam to be blessed with hidayaat. I often wonder why black people think badly about hijaab when them themselves wear hijaab in their cultural garments. When there is a death they cover up head to toe. Certain Ceremonies they adorn hijaab .. hijaab comes from even ancestors if one read and understand the history …… “JST saying “this is my thoughts

  4. Sister hang in there. This is your jihad. I think many people are critical of Muslims because of ignorance. In addition, the media poetrays a very distorted image of Isalm. If people in the townships really understood Islam I am certain they would react very differently. See this as an opportunity to educate and inform people about Islam. Your personal journey should be an inspiration to many people.

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