LILONGWE – In an attempt to take Islamic knowledge to all nations, the Muslim community in Malawi through Islamic Information Bureau (IIB) has extended its operations to its Southern African neighbors, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“The growth of Islam in Zimbabwe and Zambia has not been as a robust as it’s been here in Malawi,” Sheikh Dinala Chabulika, IIB National Coordinator, told OnIslam.net.
“It’s for this reason that we have been compelled to open branches there, so that, we should be able to educate Muslim converts on salient issues about Islam and enlighten other faith groups on what Islam is and is not,” he added.
Through these offices, Chabulika said, Muslims in the remotest parts of the two countries were able to access knowledge on Islam.
“Knowledge is very vital in the propagation of Islam. People should fully understand what Islam is, before they make a decision to embrace it,” he said.
“It is part of our mission to take Islamic knowledge to all nations. We would like therefore through this initiative to enable our brothers and sisters in the two countries to appreciate the beauty of embracing Islam. If we make the knowledge available to people, we will have so many of them embracing our religion.”
“And as long as there is adequate knowledge, people of other faith groups, will be able to know what Islam is and is not. In that way, we will avoid cases where Islam is put in very bad light.”
Both Zambia and Zimbabwe are official Christian nations. Only 2% of Zimbabwe’s 15 million population are Muslims. While in Zambia, a country with 13.1 million, only 1% of population are Muslims.
“In most parts of Zambia, Islam was almost non-existent, but since the bureau was introduced here, we have witnessed many people embracing Islam,” Suzgo Zimba, President of the Islamic Supreme Council of Zambia, told OnIslam.net.
“After reading and understanding what Islam is all about, many peole have been converted to Islam. This is one of the success stories of the bureau herein Zambia.”
Zimba said the establishment of the bureau in the country has been very vital to the spread of Islam da`wah campaigns.
“If the bureau was here before, the population of Muslims here could have been far greater than it is today. However, I’m very optimistic that with passage of time, the population will grow,” he said.
In Zimbabwe, Sheikh Abdul Rahman, President of Islamic Da`wah Movement, attributed the current status of Islam in the country to the introduction of the bureau.
“The growth of Islam here had stagnated over the years. We have had a dwindling population of Muslims in the country, but following the establishment of the bureau, there has been a rise in the number of Muslim converts,” Sheikh Abdul Rahman told OnIslam.net.
“This is a development we greatly cherish about the bureau here in Zimbabwe.”
Appreciating their effort to spread the message of Islam, Zimbabweans praised the role played by their Malawian brothers in their country.
“Malawian Muslims are highly regarded in Zimbabwe, because they are among those who introduced the religion to this country,” Sheikh Abdul Rahman said.
“Therefore, the bureau is a milestone in the propagation of Islam in the country. The bureau is just solidifying the foundation already laid down by our forefathers.”
The arrival of Islam in Zimbabwe dates back to a millennium when Muslims established emirates on the coast of East Africa.
But a significant Muslim population only entered Zimbabwe during the colonial period, primarily coming from the Indian subcontinent.
Other Islamic migrants came from the Yao tribe of neighboring Malawi. There are a very small number of North African and Middle East immigrants.
Islamic Information Bureau was established in 1990 to provide knowledge on issues about Islam to both Muslims and non-Muslims. It has offices spread across the country.
Unlike in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Islam in Malawi has witnessed unprecedented growth over the years. Muslims in the country account for 36% of the 16 million population. It is the second largest religion after Christianity.
“We are very committed to take Islam to all part of Africa,” said Chabulika.
“We will make sure that knowledge is made available to all people regardless of distance. We are massively investing in knowledge.”