Al Qalam Correspondent
Local NGO AWQAF-SA has donated 190 000 Qur’ans to the community as part of its Quran4Soul legacy project that began late 2018 to December last year.
“The spirit of the Quran4Soul legacy project is driven by our burning desire to see every Muslim household throughout sub-Saharan Africa owning a copy of the Holy Book,” remarked Akhtar Thokan, director of the project.
“No believer should ever be excluded from access to God’s word. So, we hope to ensure that Muslims who read Arabic can have a copy of the Arabic Qur’an, and that those who can’t, have a copy of an accessibly transliterated Qur’an – something which will enable them to memorise its noble verses for prayer, meditation and spiritual growth.”
Thokan said that AWQAF SA also aspired to make the Qur’an available to people of other faiths in their home language, thus spreading the word of Islam to all, and facilitating a broader understanding, as well as a deeper appreciation, of its inspired words.
“Research shows that many people worldwide are embracing the faith just by reading translated copies of the Qur’an. This is important so that those ignorant about Islam can interact with its primary source in order to counter the false narratives,” he said.
Thokan said that the project commenced in the latter part of 2018 but had to be temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 related lockdowns at the beginning of 2020.
“The moment the authorities eased restrictions, the project resumed with numerous Islamic organisations joining us in the distribution drive,” he said.
To this end, AWQAF-SA had partnered with The Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI), the Central Islamic Trust (CIT), the Suleiman Nana Memorial Trust, the Jamiatul Ulama of South Africa, the Islamic Dawah Movement (IDM), the Jamat Ibandla of Soweto, Message Africa, Masjid-ul-Islam, and various mosques and volunteers from all corners of the republic, as well as those from neighbouring SADC countries.
All these people ensured that deserving communities, from even the most isolated parts of the country, received free copies of the Qur’an in their own language.
“This long-awaited initiative is extremely crucial to us. The reality is that Islam doesn’t have linguistic or racial barriers and the people of South Africa must understand this. Our message is of tolerance and peaceful co-existence” commented Moulana Yunus Kawanga, secretary of the Message Africa Foundation.
Thokan said that the need for translated and transliterated Qurans could not be over emphasised, particularly in diverse countries with growing numbers of Muslims.
The fact was that many people only find Islam in adulthood, and struggle to learn to read Arabic due to their age, work commitments and other responsibilities.
Rasheed Bhekhi Mntambo of the Jamat Ibandla in Soweto said that most who embraced Islam did so from their late teens upwards, some already parents.
“It’s not easy to attend madrasah when you have to work, raise children and deal with other life issues. As a result, many of us are unable to read the Arabic script, therefore, the need for Qur’ans in transliterated Latinised Arabic is just great,” said Mntambo.
“Alhamdulillah, thanks to Allah, the Quran4Soul project has been a resounding success. AWQAF SA, with the help of its generous donors and distribution partners, has managed to provide 190 000 Qur’ans ‘beacons of light’ to the community in just over a three year period,” said Thokan.
Thokan concluded that a lot still had to be done in South Africa and our under-resourced neighbouring countries. He encouraged people to invest in the project from as little as R40 as a Sadaqat ul-Jariya, a noble charity whose rewards are long-lasting.
Through its Qur’anic Waqf, or endowment, the AWQAF SA Quran4Soul project is under-pinned by a sustainable investment core that will be able to fund Qur’an distributions for generations to come.
The Waqf is a Prophetic institution established in Allah’s name in perpetuity. Supported by an ethical capital base, a Waqf is designed to ensure long-term transformative, sustainable community developments that eliminate poverty, improve education, promote economic development, develop institutions, and capacitate people.
AWQAF SA, founded in 2000, is an independent, non-profit organisation established for the empowerment of Muslims, as well as all historically disadvantaged communities in South Africa.