The first day of Ramadan started off on a high note in Macassar on Sunday, where the first leg of the 2014 Ahlan Wa Sahlan outreach project kicked off. 200 people attending the mass iftar at Masjid us-Sabireen and expressed their gratitiutde and appreciation for the efforts by VOC and its partner, local NGO the Gift of the Givers (GOTG).
According to the project’s coordinator Ebrahim Arnold, the initial idea stemmed from the radio station’s aim toward uplifting those communities in and around Cape Town, who live in impoverished conditions.
Upon entering the community of Macassar, it was evident that the residents were in fact living in abject conditions. Most residents reside in shack-like homes while they wait for government to attend to their requests for RDP houses.
The farm area has a growing Muslim population. However, the GOTG’s Gawa Sayed said very little of the community’s Muslim residents are attending prayers at the mosque.
“We have realised that not only are we able to have iftar and share the breaking of our fast with the communities, we also intend to use this program to try and get more members of the community involved at the masjid. We want to remind them of the beauty of Islam. This is not only a place of worship but it is a place where one can find assistance with whatever hardship they might be experiencing in their lives,” Sayed explained.
Identifying the plight of the poorest in communities and getting a sense of which areas require some assistance; are but a few of the reasons why the Ahlan Wa Sahlan program was initiated.
“This program not only gives us an opportunity to interact with the community, but it also affords us with the chance to understand the needs of a community. Thus giving us a better idea of what we as can do to help and assist,” Arnold added.
In the hours leading up to the iftar, young men and women attended the Khatmal Quran and recited several ajaza. Thereafter, the GOTG provided warm plates of delicious akhni along with refreshing cool drink. Iftar packs were distributed and chocolate treats were also given to those attending.
Resident imam of the masjid, Maulana Rashied Alexander told of the many challenges the people of Macassar face on a daily basis, but most of all, touched on the hopes he has of revamping the entire mosque to draw in more musallees not only for the month of Ramadan but for all the waqts during the day.
In conclusion a resident of Macassar shared a duah for the ummah doing this holy month. In the moments before breaking his fast, Shaheed Brown asked the community of Cape Town to not forget those in need, especially during this cold month of Ramadan.
“It is very difficult, there in Macassar as a lot of people don’t have work. We are grateful for VOC and GOTG who remembered us on the first day of Ramadan. I just want the Muslim community to come together and share in both food and duah with others less fortunate Insha-Allah,” Brown added.
The next Ahlan Wa Sahlan program is scheduled to take place at Masjid-ul Irshaad in Woodlands, Mitchells Plain on Sunday 6 July. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)