Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News (17-07-12)
Plans for South Africans to spend the last ten days of Ramadaan in I’tikaaf at Masjidul Aqsa are well on track, organisers of the annual initiative have told Cii.
South Africans have been frequenting the Third Haram during Ramadaan for the past five years, and interest from the public continues to grow. Co-ordinator Zaheer Saley says the number of participants this year is expected to reach 200, a marked increase from the 27 which began the initiative in 2008. “This year we have observed many families who have signed up to come along. Lots of people, who are unable to perform the complete I’tikaaf are also opting to sit for Nafl I’tikaaf,” he said.
Saley said it was the dream of the organisers to bring as many people to Masjidul Aqsa during Ramadaan, a period wherein many would traditionally frequent Makkah and Madinah. He cited a Hadith of Mohammed SAW as the incentive for the initiative. “‘The Prophet SAW said, “Do not make a special journey except to three mosques: the Masjid al-Haram, the Mosque of the Messenger SAW and the Masjid al-Aqsa,” – We want to bring people back to Masjidul Aqsa.”
He reassured participants that the I’tikaaf experience at Masjidul Aqsa was not too difficult. “Take the I’tikaaf in Madinah and and I’tikaaf at home – I’tikaaf at Masjidul Aqsa is not as easy as being at home, but also not as difficult as performing it in Masjidun Nabawi,” he explained.
According to Saley, attendees from previous years all returned home with indellible memories. “In Ramadaan you get to meet many more Palestinians than at other times of the year. Most visitors are so oblivious of the reality of the Palestinian situation, but whilst there you realise how suppressed these people actually are. You will hear from people whose permits forbade them from entering Al Aqsa, or others who had to jump walls to reach our first Qiblah. You get a first hand appreciation for their plight.”
Participation in this years I’tikaaf is still being encouraged, and the organisers have set the end of July as a deadline for joining the trip. A special website has also been set up to guide the public through the logistics of the journey.Ebrahim Moosa, I'tikaaf, Israel, Masjidul Aqsa, Palestine, Quraan, Ramadaan, Zionism