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Experience Islam in native languages this Heritage Day

by Zahid Jadwat

South Africans from all parts of the country will gather this weekend to celebrate Heritage Day in their own unique ways. The Poortjie Islamic Centre, Johannesburg, will offer visitors the opportunity to experience Islam explained in their native languages on September 24.

“This Heritage Day, we are making it easy for all South Africans because South Africa is a beautiful country with diversity. Being in the programme, you’ll have the ability to understand Islam in your own language because it is a day when we celebrate our identity and also our
Heritage,” said Fazeela Chiwele from the Poortjie Islamic Centre.

The Heritage Day programme will host guest speakers who will address attendees in isiZulu, isiXhosa, Swati and Sesotho.

She said the variety of speakers from different ethnic backgrounds is meant to make it easier to understand Islam.

“It is very important that we concentrate on the fact that people need to understand who they are before they can understand whatever you’re going to be relating to them. When we relate to Deen, of course being in South Africa and having a lot of people who don’t know about Islam, using their own kind of [language] makes it much easier for them to understand the Deen.


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Dropping the language barrier on Heritage Day

Islam is a universal language, Chiwele explained. However, she said, its roots in Saudi Arabia have for centuries influenced the way it has been taught and understood among adherents.

Chiwele said the fact that the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic does not mean others should be excluded. One of the aims of the Poortjie Islamic Centre’s Heritage Day programme is to allow African Muslims to immerse themselves in Islamic knowledge in their native languages.

“It doesn’t mean that if you are not from Saudi Arabia or if you don’t speak Arabic then you cannot be Muslim. One thing that we should understand is that Islam is a religion for mankind,” she said.

Chiwele emphasised the importance of understanding that Islam and its teachings are meant for all of mankind, regardless of race and background.

“When people get to understand that, then they get to understand that it is not only for Arabs; it is not only for Zulus or Sothos. It is a message revealed to all of mankind,”

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