Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News (31-07-12)
Palestinians are striving hard to make Masjidul Aqsa a hive of Islamic activity this Ramadan.
Although Makkah and Madinah have traditionally been the preferred destinations for Muslim pilgrims in the Holy Month, Islamic authorities in Palestine say there is no shortage of spirituality at the Third Haram during this blessed period.
On a whirlwind visit to South Africa this weekend, Dr Sulaimaan Ikhbariyah and Muhammed Rabah, senior representatives of the Islamic Movement in 1948 Palestine, appraised Cii on a variety of projects undertaken at Masjidul Aqsa. They were in the country to commiserate with Moulana Igsaan Hendriks of the MJC and Al Quds Foundation, who has not been enjoying the best of health recently.
Rabah said the Islamic Movement catered for 1000 Iftar meals at Masjidul Aqsa daily and provided in excess of 2500 meals at weekends. He said preparations for Laylatul Qadr, which he described as the most important annual event at Masjidul Aqsa, were already well underway. “(On that day) there is no place for even an extra footprint at Masjidul Aqsa,” he explained. Rabah added that more than 50 000 Iftar meals were prepared for distribution on Laylatul Qadr.
According to the visiting officials, activities to enliven Masjidul Aqsa are not restricted to Ramadan. They say the stimulus for many of the ongoing activities at the distinguished mosque has been the clarion call emanating from the leader of the Islamic Movement in 1948 Palestine, Sheikh Raed Salah, that Al Aqsa was in danger(Al Aqsa fi Khatar). “Since 1994 the Muslim movement led by Sheikh Raed Salah continued to create an holistic platform for religious activities in Masjidul Aqsa,” said Rabah.
The most important element of the initiative is a mass mobilisation to encourage Muslims from across historic Palestine to attend Salaah at Masjidul Aqsa regularly. More than 100 buses are deployed daily by the Islamic Movement for this purpose. Rabah says visitors are also encouraged to support the local economy of Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem as they represent the first line of defence for Masjidul Aqsa and play a pivotal role in confronting Israeli attempts to completely colonise the Holy City.
Initiatives at Al Aqsa have been developed to cater for men, women and youth of all ages alike. Rabah says Palestinian youth are encouraged to initiate charities of their own in support of Masjidul Aqsa. “Every year we have our conference for these youth – we bring them to Masjidul Aqsa, more than 20 000 children and youth come to Masjidul Aqsa.” An organisation called Umarul Aqsa has also been established to we facilitate the continual presence in the precincts of Al Aqsa of more than 1000 Muslims daily, from the times of Fajr through to Isha.
Women too have their own fraternity to serve the Masjid. Muslimaat min Ajril Aqsa assists women to become volunteers in all activities of Masjidul Aqsa. Amongst other tasks, a dedicated group of women painstakingly clean the carpets and toilets at the mosque regularly. Circles of learning also assemble at various locations within the compound of Masjidul Aqsa led by the Ulama of Islamic Movement, attempting to rekindle a glorious era of Islamic scholarship at the Masjid.
Another truly novel concept according to Rabah is a campaign encouraging couples to perform their Nikahs and conclude marriage agreements at Masjidul Aqsa. He says deciding to activate such an important agreement at the Third Haram is truly significant. “That the first step for their own wedding is coming from Masjidul Aqsa – (it is our) hope that (this will lay the foundation for) a future generation that can create a new sustainable society to take care of Masjidul Aqsa and take away this occupation.”Al Quds, Ebrahim Moosa, Jerusalem, Masjidul Aqsa, Occupation, Palestine, Palestinians, Ramadan, Zionism