President Joyce Banda has said the 2012 Women Islamic Conference (Ijtima) being held at Katoto in Mzuzu will avail Muslim women an opportunity to discuss issues that can take Malawi and their faith to another level, saying discussing matters that are of benefit to humanity is paramount.
“I would like to appeal to you to initiate some development activities; these can be in terms of business, farming and other activities, which can improve our wellbeing and our welfare. We must strive to contribute to the development and wellbeing of all people of God without discrimination,” said Banda when she officially opened the three-day conference on Saturday.
The Head of State observed that Allah (God) says in the noble Quran, sura 3 verse 104 that “let there be a group of people inviting to what is good and enjoying Islamic orders and forbidding evil. And it is they who are successful”.
She said she was therefore “very thankful to Allah” to join “my dear sisters in faith”, explaining that a gathering of this nature is what Allah commends his servants to be holding, and, according to the verse, “our duty is to call people to what is good and forbid evil acts”.
President Banda emphasized on the need for unity among women of various faith in Malawi, saying the Almighty Allah says in Suna 3 verse 103, “And hold fast all together to the rope of Allah, and not be divided among yourselves”.
She said it is sad that instead of supporting each other, women tend to pull each down. Women must be at the core of fighting hate, greed and self-deceit, rumour mongering, backbiting and jealous, she said, adding that what women need is to understand that they cannot develop if they do not heed to the Quran.
The Malawi leader also emphasized on the importance of education, saying a Muslim’s first duty is to acquire knowledge before everything else.
“To a Muslim, education is a must (Faradhi) and not optional or SUNNA. This is what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) was first commanded when he was at the cave of Hiva in Macca. He was commanded by the Angel Jibril-Gabriel to lead Iqraa. That is why Suralqraa (Read), which is sura 96 in Quran, is a must for Muslim and understand,” explained Banda.
She said women have been at the forefront in acquiring and imparting knowledge, observing that the Prophet’s wife Aisha memorized many Hadith than men and men used to learn from her.
“Let emphasis be made on both what is considered religious and secular education since they complement each other. Learn Quran, Hadith, the citations of Prophet and Islam, so that you can know how to make, select and get deeper understanding of Islam,” said the President, adding that “you are not a Muslim if you are not educated; the Prophet said learn from the cradle to the grave and the best of us is the one who learns and teaches others”.
President Banda said as mothers, they are the greatest teachers for moral and ethics to children and that it is their duty to make sure that children are well mannered and respect elders.
“We must at all costs prevent our children from copying behaviour which is not in conformity to our Deen (religion). This means a lot and we must strive to live as books of wisdom to many especially children,” she said.
Muslim Women Identity
Banda then encouraged Muslim women to be identified by decency and good conduct to your neighbours.
“The Quran and sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) command women to be chaste by putting on hijabu and lowering of voice. Avoid putting on provocative clothes and indulging in vulgar talks,” she advised.
During the function President Banda also donated money amounting to K2 million to the Muslim Women Organisation to be used during the three day conference.
In her remarks Northern region Chairperson for Muslim Women Organisation Lukaya Mambo said this year’s Ijitma Conference theme “Empowering women in development and safe motherhood in Malawi” was in line with Presidents Banda’s efforts of ensuring that women in the country have safe deliveries.
“We realise that as Muslim women we should not be left out but participate in development activities and learn from experts in safe motherhood.
This year’s Women Ijitma Conference drew women from all the districts in the country. The annual conference held every year aims at among other things, encouraging muslim women to be strong in their Islamic faith and discuss other topical issues concerning women.
Other speakers were Fatima Ndaila, Muslim Women Organization Chairlady, Lukaya Mambo, Northern Region Chairperson, Muslim Women Organization, Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad, National Chairperson, Muslim Association of Malawi, US Ambassador to Malawi, Janine Jackson and Deputy Health Minister, Halima Daudi.—(Additional reporting by Sarah Munthali, Mana)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :