‘What do you do with the life you have?’ – Hafidh Imraan Choonara

By Nontobeko Aisha Mkhwanazi

“We are on this planet for a purpose. What do you do with the life that you have? That’s the question asked by Hafidh Imraan Choonara, Director of Africa Muslims Agency during an event in Durban entitled Making A Difference.

At the event at the Exotic Centre, Choonara highlighted the significance of fulfilling one’s purpose in life. He said many people were under the belief that one’s purpose in life was only about the rituals of prayer.

“If that was the case then he would have made us angels because they worship Allah perfectly and a hundred times better than humans. Now, he made us humans and we are imperfect. Allah placed us in this world with different races, religions, backgrounds, personalities, etc. He further placed us with animals and the environment. So surely our purpose in this life involves the service of human beings, the animal kingdom and the environment,” said Choonara.

Choonara said the AMA teams had vast experiences with alleviating the suffering of the poor in Africa and other parts of the world.

“While learning about their life, we found out that some households go to bed hungry because they had absolutely nothing but they were still content with Allah. They did not question HIM but continued to be thankful for the life he has given them,” said Choonara.

During an exhibition entitled “Beyond Border”, guests were shown a powerful 3D film of how children in Africa suffered with poor infrastructure at schools.

There was another 3D film of Syrian refugees in a camp in Lebanon.

The film was terrifyingly realistic as the producers of the film showcased life in a refugee camp in Lebanon with falling corrugated iron and a toilet just near the bed.

This exhibition had a mirror for a 3D effect for guests to feel and imagine the hardship of those in camps. A live cross over to the camps was also done during the event.

“Winter is approaching Lebanon and during this time last year, we witnessed babies dying of cold because in Lebanon during winter it snows,” said Choonara.

An AMA representative in the refugee camps in Lebanon took guests through the camp. There was no proper housing, water, schools or any form of sustenance. “Most of the women in these camps find it hard to survive because they are expected to pay rent, look after the children and also provide food for them. This has lead to an increase in prostitution, crime and many other socio-economic issues,” said Choonara.

Nasreen Ibrahim Manjoor, who is among those who attended the event, said the event was amazing and it was eye-opening. “It was an eye-opener, especially for teenagers to be exposed to the trials that people in different parts of the world go through – and it brought awareness to their plight.”

Azra Allies, another attendee, said the event was important especially for South Africans. “We often take the struggle of others for granted because we get most of the things others find it hard to get easily. The event also made me appreciative of what Allah has granted me,” he added.

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