Photo by [GroundUp]
The Second Deputy President of the Muslim Judicial Council, Shaykh Riad Fataar, said the organisation was overwhelmed at the amount of support they have received from other organisations, media houses and people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
“People in positions of influence have rallied forward and said, we do think that the President should take note of your request.”
A few days ago, the MJC directed a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, requesting them to suspend load-shedding on the day of Eid this weekend. Shaykh Fataar confirmed the office of the president acknowledged the letter. Furthermore, the letter was accompanied by an online petition marked by thousands of signatories, not started by the MJC.
However, according to reports, Presidential spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said the request to the president was inappropriate as he “does not regulate, nor is he operationally responsible for, the management of load-shedding schedules”.
Load-shedding Suspended on Religious Holidays
Previously, load-shedding has been suspended or placed on much lower stages to accommodate religious holidays such as Christmas and, most recently, the Easter weekend.
The MJC President, Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams, acknowledges the justification of the exemption in his letter as millions of South Africans celebrated those days. However small the Muslim community may be in comparison, the request seems to be a fair one.
“The Muslim community of South Africa expects to spend this time of Eid unbridled by the implications imposed by load-shedding.”
Shaykh Fataar said exemption from load-shedding over the weekend is not only for Muslims’ benefit. Millions of South Africans are nearing a breaking point regarding the energy crisis, and any reprieve is lauded.
Apart from that, Eid is a day in which Muslim households cook an abundance of food for their families and relatives and the rest of the community.
“Eid is a day of joy. It’s a day of spiritual culmination of the month of Ramadan. It’s the day when families cook meals, when families get together and the joy is shared. In actual fact, it is also a day where Muslims cook so many pots of food throughout South Africa to distribute, not only to Muslims but also to non-muslims. There’s a lot of activity and community involvement that is taking place.”
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Awaiting a Final Answer
Load-shedding is something which all South Africans have had to endure. Throughout the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims have had to prepare their meals on gas stoves and open fires. They have had to take early mornings and late nights without any power.
Though load-shedding is a collective struggle, Shaykh Fataar mentions, not once during the course of the month did Muslims request an exemption in power cuts. With the possibility of Eid being on Saturday, the 22 of April and the confirmation of multiple breakdowns leaving the country on stage 6, the chances of relief are slim.
However, Shaykh Fataar is hopeful for a positive outcome. If it is not the case, he urges the Muslim community to remember the teachings of Islam and to endure with patience and perseverance.
“We are taught by our Deen to be a people of patience and perseverance … We will wait [God willing] to see what is happening. Our hope is in Allah, and we will not be crushed or anything … If the request is no, then [Praise be to God] nothing will happen except by the will of Allah, and we carry on with our lives.”