Photo by [The Fordsburg Independent Newspaper]
“The cemeteries are our responsibility. If it were not for the respect of the deceased, then Islam wouldn’t have ordered us … To make sure that our cemeteries are well kept, to make sure that emotionally and psychologically we assist the Ummah and to show that level of compassion”, said Moulana Tahir Saloo speaking on behalf of the Fordsburg Muslim Youth Organisation (FMYO) where he is an advisor.
Roughly two months ago, FMYO started a cleanup and maintenance initiative at the Newclare and Westpark Muslim cemeteries. It began due to the lack of upkeep, which caused the cemeteries, specifically Newclare, to fall into disarray.
SMread| Deportation of Thabo Bester and associates from Tanzania is possible
What Has Been Done So Far at the Cemeteries?
The head of the Burials and Qabrstans (cemeteries), Mohammed Moosa Laher, said they had removed substantial amounts of rubble and managed to maintain the previously untamed environment.
With the help of donors and the Muslim community, they were able to erect fencing around the cemetery, making it safer for families to pay their respects to the deceased. In addition, they have paved the roads and managed to secure more ground for burials.
After engaging with the city council, Laher concurred with Moulana Saloo’s sentiments that the responsibility to ensure the cemeteries are kept and secured lies with the Muslim community, as people cannot entirely rely on the city council to do it.
“It’s up to us and the organisation to see that we maintain and upkeep our [cemeteries]. We can’t afford it to be neglected because the more we neglect it, the greater the destruction of the qabrstan. So we have to upkeep the qabrstan at all times and at all costs. That’s where we need the public to come in and assist us in the upkeep and maintenance.”
SMread| SA ‘ticked the wrong boxes’ in Gupta extradition request
Cemeteries are the Responsibility of the Muslim Community
Islam promotes the cleanliness of one’s mind and one’s body. This teaching applies to our surroundings and outside environment as well.
Moulana Saloo said it is not enough for Muslims to complain and place their faith in third parties to solve problems. The lack of upkeep affects the Muslim community directly, so it becomes their duty to do something.
“If the cemeteries are well maintained and are well kept, it makes everything so much easier for everybody. So, at the time of burial, coming into the cemetery, it needs to be something that is not sore to the eye. As Muslims, it is our responsibility to make sure that we maintain the cemeteries and also to make sure that it stands out because that also depicts a very huge part of Islam.”
If something is unclean, such as the cemeteries utilised by the larger community, it then falls on the community to ensure its good working condition, ensuring that families have ease of movement and utilisation.