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ISLAM IN MAURITIUS

BY

PAHARY SHEIK MOHAMMAD YASSER

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CHAPTERS

CONTENTS

PAGES

1. INTRODUCTION

 

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2. LITERATURE REVIEW

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3. FIRST MUSLIMS IN MAURITIUS

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3.1 EARLY MUSLIMS

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3.2 TIPU SULTAN

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3.3 SEPOY CONVICTS

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3.4 INDIAN IMMIGRANTS

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3.5 MEHMAN AND SURTEE

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4. INSTITUTIONS IN MAURITIUS

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4.1 AL AQSA

 

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4.2 JUMMAH MOSQUE

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4.3 ROSE-HILL SUNNEE MOSQUE

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4.4 WORLD ISLAMIC MISSION

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4.5 WAQF

 

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4.6 MUSLIM FAMILY COUNCIL

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4.7 ISLAMIC WELFARE FOUNDATION

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4.8 THE QURAN HOUSE

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4.9 MADAD-UL-ISLAM SOCIETY

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4.10

ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTRE

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5. LITERARY BOOKS

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6. RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS AND OBSERVANCES

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6.1 IDUL FITR

 

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6.2 IDUL ADHA

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6.3 YAWMUN NABI (S.A.W)

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6.4 „URS

 

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6.5 YAWMUL „ASHURAH

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6.6 OTHER RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES

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7. ISLAMIC EDUCATION

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7.1 DARUL ULOUM

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7.2 MADRASSAH

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7.3 ISLAMIC CULTURAL COLLEGE

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7.4 MADADUL ISLAM

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7.5 MUSLIM GIRLS

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7.6 DOHA

 

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8. ISLAMIC FIRQAH

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8.1 AHLUS SUNNAH WAL JAMAAH

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8.2 SALAAFI / WAHHABI / TAWHEEDI / TABLIGHI JAMAAH

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8.3 AHMADIYYAH / QADIANI

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9. MUSLIM PERSONAL LAW

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10. CONCLUSION

 

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11. REFERENCES

 

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Chapter 1

Introduction

Islam has been spread throughout the whole world through the blessings of the holy Prophet (s.a.w) (peace be upon him). No doubt Islam has been introduced in Mauritius by Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (r.a) (may Allah be pleased with him). However, how it was introduced and spread in Mauritius is what will be elaborated in this work. That was the main purpose of this humble exposé.

It was possible through field work and documentary research. This research methodology starts with a literature review on the topic followed by a review on the arrival of Muslims in Mauritius. Chapter 4 will deal with the Islamic institutions as main bodies of Mauritian Islam. The next chapter will enlighten us on the literary books available on the market followed by an exposure of the different religious feasts in Mauritians‟ lives. Chapter 7 will deal with the institutions helping in the propagation of Islam. Chapter 8 will elaborate on the different groups in Mauritius followed by the question of Muslim Personal Law. Chapter 10 will encompass the whole topic of Islam in Mauritius.

We would like to thank all those who helped and collaborated in the framing up of this humble work, especially our lecturer Professor Hossany for his support. Nevertheless, we would like to point out the fact that it was very difficult for us to collect all related field data for compilation, mainly due professional and personal commitments.

Key words:

Islam, Firqah, Idul Fitr, Idul Adha, Yawmun Nabi (s.a.w), „Urs, Yawmul „Ashurah, Mi‟raj, Nisfush Sha‟baan, Lailatul Qadr, Jummah, Al Aqsa, Firqah.

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Chapter 2

Literature Review

This section will deal with the sayings of writers who attempted a study of Islam in Mauritius.

The Muslim Community of Mauritius represents 17 % of the total population of 1.2 million people. Since their arrival in Mauritius the Muslims made lots of sacrifices to preserve their faith and identity. They established mosques, charitable and educational institutions and in 1941 managed to set up a Board of Waqf Commissioners regulated by the Waqf Act 1941.This was made necessary in order to protect the wealth and assets of the Muslim community worth billion of Mauritian rupees.

(Muslims in Mauritius, Abstract, Najmul Hussein Rassool)

The Muslim missionaries and reformers found the largest support primarily among the educated middle class in the towns, who propagated the purity of Islam. Thus, it is no wonder that the tendency toward Islamic orthodoxy and Sunnification of Islam seems to have affected local religious practices too. A good example for that is the gradual disappearance of the Muharram (`Ashuraa) festival in Port Louis.

(Islam in Africa, Vol 2 No. 3, July 2007)

"References on the Muslims were then and still are scarce and the sources are restricted. However, I was privileged to benefit from the vast knowledge and experience of the late

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GMDA, who not only provided me with his own encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of the Muslims in Mauritius of which he himself was, as a prominent political leader of the Muslims for many years, front rank player but also at my disposal his fabulous personal library to do my research. Atchia, who was at the time at the dusk of his life, showed tremendous interest in the book. However, he would not live to see its publication. He passed away a few months earlier.”

(History of the Muslims in Mauritius, Preface, by Emrith Moomtaz)

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Chapter 3

First Muslims In Mauritius

This section will deal with the different steps where and when Muslims came to settle in Mauritius.

3.1 Early Muslims

According to historians, Muslims‟ presence in Mauritius dated back since 1722. They were artisans, seaman and merchants from India. In 1724, a certain Ally Khan petitioned Governor de Nyon (1722-25) for the freedom of his wife from slavery. During the period 1768-89, there is the mention of only 12 Muslims of Indian origin who were born on the island. In 1758, a group of Indian merchants established in the colony and were engaged in thriving business. The oldest family on record is the Gassy Sobedar. Its presence was in 1791. In the same French colony, families like Dina, Goumany and Sakir were present in Mauritius.

3.2 Tipu Sultan

In India, after the death of Prince Hyder Ali in 1782, his son, Tipu Sultan took over to drive away the British force. He then sought the help of the French. He sent Prince Cassim Ally Khan and Mohammed Ibrahim to ile de France to discuss with Governor Malartic. The outcome we already know. They proved to be treacherous persons. What is important here is that during their stay, they took part in ceremony known as Ashurah and Ghoon, coinciding with their visit.

3.3 Sepoy Convicts

In order to develop the island, Farquhar asked and obtained the help of Indian convicts, who were mostly Sepoys found guilty of military and political offences. In 1815, a first batch arrived with many of them being Muslims. Many of them were banished to Mauritius eternally. Those who became old and disabled were exempted from labour. There was a small building at GRNW Grand River North West which was converted to a mosque and was attended mainly by the old Sepoys. They were quiet and well behaved.

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3.4 Indian Immigrants

When in February 1835 Slavery was abolished in Mauritius, there was a refusal to work on the part of the emancipated slaves. Indian brought his help by sending In Indian immigrants. Among them there were respectable Muslims. They came as indentured labourers to work in the cane fields. In 1851 they were admitted to their rights and privileges. They were always humble but didn‟t want and like to be crushed.

3.5 Mehman and Surtee

The Mehman were the immigrants from Cutch and they were the first to settle in the colony. A few years later, another group, the Surtee coming from Surat settled as different places like Port-Louis, Beau Bassin, Rose Hill, Flac and Poudre d‟Or. They were merchants settling firms and being dealers in foodstuffs and textiles. They also showed interest in their religion. They actively promoted religion among their fellows Indians. They helped build mosque and Madrasah.

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Chapter 4

Institutions In Mauritius

This chapter will enlighten us on how Islamic Institutions can help the Muslim community.

4.1 Al Aqsa Mosque

It is the first mosque which was built in the year 1805. However, it was violently destroyed by a hurricane in 1818. It was repaired very quickly and among its many benefactors was the Sobedar family. In fact, for many years, it was a customary for the Imams of the Mosque to come from the Sobedar family. Hajee Sobedar, who later traced the mihrab (prayer niche) of the Jummah Mosque at the time of its construction in 1851, was a prominent member of the Muslim community of Camp des Lascars. On his death, which occured on April 29, 1881, he was buried in the compounds of the Camp des Lascars Mosque, which is today officially known as the Al-Aqsha Mosque. It has undergone considerable changes over the years to meet the needs of a growing congregation. It is no longer the small lime-washed structure it was during the days of French rule. It has been expanded and renovated regularly over the years to satisfy the growing demands of an ever-growing congregation that continues to plod its way daily to its old beloved roof for worship and meditation. However, the site the Mosque occupied is the same.

4.2 Jummah Mosque

In 1852, Haji Joonus Allarakia, Casseem Hemeem, Jornmb Satardeenah, Elias Hadjee Hamode, Hajee Abdoollah Essack, Hajee Ab doorahim Allanah, Ismael Ibrahim and Omar Yacoob purchased two properties situated in Queen Street, Port Louis. On one of the properties the foundation of the future Jummah Mosque was thus laid. Ismael Jeewa led the prayers. The following year, that is, 1853, a beautiful Mosque of a limited size was built and solemnly consecrated.

4.3 Rose Hill Sunni Mosque

By 1863, due to the increase number of Muslims, there was the need of a mosque. Ismail Jeewa bought on behalf of the Muslim community a plot of land on Remono Street and

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a mosque was built. Expansions were needed and possible in the years 1893, 1912 and 1915. At the turn of the twentieth century, Rose Hill was like a centre for religious debates. These debates were known as Religious Repartees. This attracted big crowds. These debates served as a healthy exercise as they helped bring people of different faiths and beliefs together socially and helped foster tolerance and understanding among the communities in Mauritius.

4.4 World Islamic Mission

The World Islamic Mission was formed in 1972 by Sunni Dignitaries from countries worldwide in Makkah Mukarramah. The World Islamic Mission has grown to serve muslims across Europe, the United States of America, North America, Africa and Asia. The World Islamic Mission is a leading Islamic-Socio-Benevolent Organisation. The Head Quarters of World Islamic Mission is in Bradford, England. The President and Chief Patron is His Eminence Mawlana Shah Ahmad Noorani Siddiqui al Qadiri al Madani. World Islamic Mission (Mauritius) was established in February 1975.

4.5 Waqf

A Waqf is a permanent donation of property made by Muslims in the name of Allah, to the community for charitable and religious purposes in keeping with the teachings of Islam. The number of properties in Waqf in Mauritius has always been extensive. In 1938, the government acceded to the request of the Muslims and introduced legislation in council defining the rules and functions of a Board of Waqf Commissioners. On April 25 1941, the Waqf act became law. In 1959, when the government decided to grant a subsidy to all religions that were until then not subsidized in Mauritius, the Board of Waqf Commissioners was chosen as agency through which the subsidy will be distributed to the mosques.

4.6 Muslim Family Council

In 1990, Sir Aneerood Jugnauth, the then prime Minister, proposed new amendments to the civil status acts that gave legal status to the Nikah and provided to the creation of the Muslim Family Council (MFC), which would be empowered “to keep a register of all marriages celebrated in accordance with Muslim rights” and at the same time “to make rules governing marriages celebrated in accordance with Muslim rights and the dissolution of such marriages.” The MFC which is an official government social agency for the Muslims, besides conducting marriages, is also empowered to provide counselling and guidance services to Muslim families.

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4.7

Islamic welfare Foundation

The Islamic Welfare Foundation (IWF) was founded in 1969 by a group of enterprising Muslims intellectuals who became concerned with the sense of disarray that seemed to grip the Muslim community. Accordingly, the IWF was created with the following objectives: to give assistance, financial or otherwise, to relieve distress; to give advice and counselling in social and other welfare matters; to encourage learning; to award scholarships, make donations, grants, and loans; to promote Islamic education; and to publish and / or encourage the publication of books, periodicals and magazines etc which will be of benefit to Muslims.

4.8 The Qur’an House

The Qur‟an House is a socio-cultural complex run by the Islamic circle, a religious organisation founded by Prof. Mohammed Hussein Malik in 1959. The Islamic circle is the oldest Islamic movement in Mauritius. Its activities span religion, education and culture particularly aimed at improving the Islamic standard of Muslims life in Mauritius and at preserving their Islamic identity as a community. It also disseminates information on the teachings of Islam across the island and endeavours to foster better understanding and cooperation between Muslims and Mauritians of other faiths. It comprises a mosque the Sayyidah Khadijah Mosque which is a first in Mauritius, comprising facilities to Muslim women to offer daily prayers. It has a public Islamic Library.

4.9 Madad-ul-Islam Society

Commonly known as Madad, it is one of the oldest charitable organisations in Mauritius. It was founded on January 22, 1902. Its main goals were to provide benevolent services to its members and to promote cultural, religious and social growth of the Muslims at large through the establishment of schools and colleges; the offering of scholarships to deserving Muslim students to pursue higher education; and the creation of an Islamic library for Muslims and non-Muslims to help them learn about Islam and Islamic culture and civilisation. In 1960, it was merged with the Nasratoule Islam Society, which was founded in 1898, having the same goals.

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4.10 Islamic Cultural Centre

The Islamic Cultural Centre (ICC) was created in August 1987 to satisfy a long-felt need of the Muslim community in the country. The Islamic Cultural Centre Trust Fund Act was proclaimed on 15th December, 1989 and subsequently amended in 1991, 2000 and 2001 to reinforce its membership and activities. The objects of the Fund shall be:- to preserve and promote Islamic Art and Culture; to promote study of Arabic and Urdu; to collect, publish and disseminate valuable information pertaining to Islamic Art and Culture through the establishment of educational and welfare institutions affiliated to the Islamic Cultural Centre; to organise lectures, seminars, workshops, exhibitions and any other activities which will lead to a better understanding of Islamic Art and Culture; to create facilities for documentation and research on Islamic Art and Culture; to provide training in relevant fields of study; to establish useful links with organizations engaged in similar activities locally and internationally; to deal with matters relating to the organising, facilitating, monitoring and supervision of Islamic pilgrimage to the holy places.

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Chapter 5

Literary Books

Coming up with the literary work, the following paragraphs will enlighten us.

Since the introduction of Islam in Mauritius, many dignities from many different countries with a variety of horizons visited our island and left their contribution for the betterment of our community. Among them we have those of Arabic language () and Urdu Language (Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqi (r.a)) who came for serving Muslims. We have a variety of books left to the community. For example, “A Shavian and a Theologian”, “The forgotten path of knowledge”, “Divine Harmony”, “The quest for true happinesss”, “The Universal religion” are the different books written by Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqi (r.a). the following is a list of Arabic, Urdu, English, French, Creole books on the Market:

Arabic Books

Tafsir Abdullah Ibn Abbas

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Tafsir Jalalain

Tafsir Qurtubi

Tafsir Rouhoul Ma‟niy

Tafsir Rouhoul Bayan

Swahih Sitta

Riyadus Swalihin

Qisaasul Ambiyaa

All the above books of Tafsir exist in Urdu. But when it comes to English and French Language, only Tafsir Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Ibn Kathir, Jalalain, Swahih Sitta, Riyadus Swalihin, Qisaasul Ambiyaa exist. There are many more books in Arabic but they are not on the market for the public.

We also have many local writers, authors like Luckhoo, Imam Joholee, Sabir Chowtee, Parwez Kureeman, Karamtally, Mawlana Shameem Azhari, Mawlana Fayaz Naimi, Hafiz Qaari Mansoor Lalasaib, Mawlana Haaroun among others. All of them are contributing in a way or another for the religion of Islam. Among them, a very known person in the name

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of Hafiz Qari Mansoor Lalasaib was ranked fifth among those doing Da‟wah in the African continent. Among his contribution, the following can be noted:

Mi‟rajul Mustapha (s.a.w) – 1995

Injustice au nom de l‟Islam – 1999

Noorul Islam 1998

Yawmun Nabi (s.a.w) 2001

Darsul Hadith 2000

Tafsir Al Qur‟anul Kareem – 2005

La question de bid‟ah – 1995

Hayatul Ambiyaa 2008

Uloumul Qur‟an – 1992

Baharish Shari‟ah – 2008

The following are different books by different authors:

Guide to Muslim Personal Law Dr Hashim Mahdi

Hijra Dr Hashim Mahdi

Gardons notre conscience en etat d‟eveil – Dr Hashim Mahdi

Muhammad (s.a.w), the beloved Prophet of God Dr Mawlana Syed Aleem Ashraf Jilani

Miladun Nabi (s.a.w) Dr Mawlana Syed Aleem Ashraf Jilani

Tasawwuf Dr Mawlana Syed Aleem Ashraf Jilani

Tahaarat Mawlana Fawaz Ahmad Naimi

Namaz Mawlana Fawaz Ahmad Naimi

In addition to the great variety of books that we have in Mauritius, there are translations of many other books originally in Arabic and Urdu.

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Chapter 6

Religious Festivals and Observances

What will follow is an analysis of the different religious festivals and observances in Mauritius. It is worth to note that this work is not meant to elaborate on the meaning and significance of these festivals and religious observances, but to show when they were introduced in Mauritius.

6.1 Idul Fitr

In Mauritius, since 1961, it was a public holiday. However, since 1985 its celebration has gained national dimension. The government has allocated a plot of land located in the scenic slopes of Valee Pitot, in Port Louis, to the Sunni Razvi Society International for the creation of an Idga‟ah to enable Muslims to perform the Id Namaz in the open air as recommended by the holy Prophet (s.a.w). The society launched its souvenir magazine on that especial day. It was Mawlana Mohammad Ibrahim Khustar was presided the ceremony.

6.2 Idul Adha

In the 1920‟s and 1930‟s, it was customary with the wealthy merchants and traders of Port Louis to host on Id day a dinner on the grounds of the Arabian Docks and at the Taher Bagh. They would invite Muslims from across the island and treat them to a meal. Unlike Idul Fitr, which is a public holiday, Idul Adha is not. However, it is a religious event where Muslims are allowed to take the day off if they choose.

6.3 Yawmun Nabi (s.a.w)

The first time it was celebrated in Mauritius by the Sunni Surtee Madrassa, in Corderie street Port Louis, was on July 28, 1931. However, the first time it was celebrated on a large scale and in the open was on the 3 rd May of 1939 by Hazrat Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqi Al Madani Al Qadiri (r.a). In 1932, it was recognised as a public holiday. However, in 1961, it was proclaimed as a national holiday along with Idul Fitr and Idul Adha. But in 1982, Idul Adha and Yawmun Nabi (s.a.w) were dropped from the list of public holidays in Mauritius.

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6.4

‘Urs

There had been many scholars and Mawlana who had visited the island. The oldest one may be Hazrat Syed Peer Jamal Shah bin Murtaza Shaq (r.a) (in 1848). He died on the

12 th August, 1858 at the age of 45. He was buried behind the Jummah Mosque, the specific

place where he used to retreat himself for additional prayers and remembrance of Allah. After

his death, people from all walks of life and faiths visit his shrine. There is no question of praying to them but to benefit for the blessings of the place. His „Urs was then conducted.

6.5 Yawmul ‘Ashurah

The 10 th day of the month of Muharram is known as Yawmul „Ashurah. This is according to Islamic concepts. But when it comes to a celebration known as Ghoon, Tazi‟a or Yamseh, this is not in accordance with the religion of Islam. It does not exist and acceptable. It was first present and celebrated in the year 1765 and it was the first public religious celebration by Muslims. At first it met with strong opposition from the Christians. In 1798, it was celebrated with great uncommon pomp and glitter when the two envoys from Tipu Sultan reached the island. Now, it is disappearing due to acquisition of knowledge.

6.6 Other Religious Observances

There are other religious observances like Mi‟raj (the night journey of the holy Prophet (s.a.w)) in the month of Rajab, the Nisfush Sha‟baan (the night of salvation) in the month of Sha‟baan and the Lailatul Qadr (the night of power) in the month of Ramadhan. All of them were observed as from the first year of existence of Muslims on the island. All these are important to the Muslims for their salvation and spiritual progress in this world, in the grave and in the Hereafter.

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Chapter 7

Islamic Education

In this chapter, we will elaborate on the different Islamic institutions in Mauritius involved in the spreading of Islam.

7.1 Darul Ulum

Literally, darul uloum means the house of knowledge. In Mauritius we don‟t have many of these spiritual schools and institutions. Few of them are Darul Uloum Aleemiah, Darul Uloum Majlis Raza and Ahmad Raza Khan Academy.

The Darul Uloum Aleemiah was founded by Hazrat Mawlana Abdul Aleem Siddiqi al Madani al Qadiri (r.a). It was later on that the college Aleemiah was built. It has two wings, one for the boys and one for the girls. There is no intermingling in between them. The darul uloum was the initial project. The Darul Uloum Majlis Raza was founded by Mawlana Jeawoody and Qari Mansoor whereas the Darul Uloum Ahmad Raza Khan Academy was founded by Hafiz Qari Mansoor. It was and still meant for the training of young Muslims to become teachers of Islam as Hafiz, Mawlana, Imam and Mufti.

7.2 Madrassah

Also known as Maqtab, it is the place where Muslim children learn the basic principles of Islam. This includes the reading of the holy Qur‟an, the five pillars of Islam, the rights of human beings, in summary the religion of Islam. In Mauritius, it is a common thing to see that the Madrassah is attached to the Mosque and it started right there. Classes are either conducted early in the morning or in the afternoon. It is a free service and done out of the benevolence of people. However, there is an urgent need to educate and upgrade these teachers of Madrassah as often it is noticed that they don‟t possess any relevant certificate and training practice and experience.

7.3 Islamic Cultural College

At the outset, this institution was a boarding school for boys. It was the first of its kind in Mauritius. It was converted to a college situated at Curepipe on May 9, 1949. At first there were only 35 students. Now its approximately 2500 taking into account of its two other

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departments at Belle Rose and Cite la Cure. In 1954, it was transferred to Port Louis. The idea of propounding the study of Urdu, Islamic Studies and Arabic was taken up by proposing a common curriculum as other colleges.

7.4 Madadul Islam

This college was founded in the year 1965 through the initial idea of the Madadul Islam Society. After a modest beginning, it weathered successfully thanks to its members and the public in general. The idea behind its creation is to offer to Muslim girls an opportunity to learn Islam in an Islamic environment. It thus emerged as a viable and creditable institution for girls in Mauritius.

7.5 Muslim Girls College

Previously, it was a primary school and when it was handed over to the government in 1962, the college was built. It opened its doors in 1964. It is a two-storied building in Port Louis. It was a donation from a certain M.I. Kathrada. Here also, the basic aim of its creation was to procure an Islamic environment for Muslim girls. It was open to all those interested. It contributes significantly not only to Muslims but to all Mauritian girls.

7.6 Doha

This is a new institution founded in 2003 at Eau Coulee, Curepipe. It was and still is financed by the government of Qatar. It has its own pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary departments. It emphasises a lot on the Islamic and Arabic language knowledge. It also gives formation to those interested in the Da‟wah field – to spread Islam. The population of all the above mentioned departments reaches the 1200 students, comprising both boys and girls.

The following pages will present three tables which will give you an example of the level and progress of the languages of Arabic and Urdu, and Islamic Studies in colleges. It will be seen that there is an increase in the number of students opting for the three subjects. It is important here to note that data for the year 2007 was unavailable.

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School Certificate and Higher School Certificate for Arabic (1999 2008)

 

S.C

 

H.S.C

Year

No. Of Pupils

%

Pass

Year

No. Of Pupils

%

Pass

1999

89

70.8

1999

7

57.2

2000

83

83.1

2000

7

71.4

2001

108

 

75

2001

8

37.5

2002

107

84.1

2002

10

 

50

2003

124

89.5

2003

18

61.1

2004

138

84.1

2004

16

62.5

2005

119

83.8

2005

12

85.7

2006

149

90.3

2006

18

81.8

2007

-

 

-

2007

-

 

-

2008

207

91.3

2008

36

91.7

School Certificate and Higher School Certificate for Islamic Studies (1999 2008)

 

S.C

 

H.S.C

Year

No. Of Pupils

%

Pass

Year

No. Of Pupils

%

Pass

1999

466

87.1

1999

76

90.8

2000

469

87.6

2000

69

91.3

2001

487

85.6

2001

73

93.2

2002

506

83.5

2002

92

93.5

2003

526

82.7

2003

89

87.6

2004

632

83.1

2004

109

88.1

2005

593

 

80

2005

104

88.9

2006

653

85.2

2006

139

86.9

2007

-

 

-

2007

-

 

-

2008

703

85.2

2008

206

78.2

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School Certificate and Higher School Certificate for Urdu (1999 2008)

 

S.C

 

H.S.C

Year

No. Of Pupils

% Pass

Year

No. Of Pupils

% Pass

1999

248

88.7

1999

40

97.5

2000

282

94.3

2000

35

100

2001

284

97.6

2001

45

100

2002

298

96.2

2002

54

100

2003

308

96.1

2003

72

100

2004

305

97.4

2004

76

98.7

2005

332

98.2

2005

81

98.8

2006

364

96.3

2006

105

97.2

2007

-

-

2007

-

-

2008

417

95.2

2008

114

96.5

From the three above tables, it can be deduced that the population of students opting for Arabic and Urdu Languages and Islamic Studies are increasing day by day. This can be explained due to certain reasons as follow:

1. It is a request from their parents for their sons / daughters to opt for these subjects.

2. There is a sudden interest of people for the religion of Islam.

3. These three subjects are thought to be easy and scoring subjects.

4. These subjects come, in many cases, to fill in the combination of proposed subjects for S.C and H.S.C.

However, it is the duty and responsibility of the parents to encourage and motivate their children to opt for these three subjects. But this is not the case. Most Muslim parents are not aware of their importance and they often consider these subjects as third grade subjects. Personally, these parents are deprived of Islamic knowledge.

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Chapter 8

Islamic Firqah

This chapter will deal with the different religious and Islamic groups prevailing in Mauritius.

8.1 Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah

This Islamic party was founded right from the start and coming of Muslims on the Island. This is so due to the fact that all parties known in Mauritius were not yet created before the year 1722 where there was the first sign of Muslims. The Sunni creed emphasises mainly on the two books that the holy Prophet (s.a.w) left, that is the holy Qur‟an and the Hadith. Explanation and elaboration of these two books are obtained in the various Tafsir of Ashab and Ulama. Moreover, there are other religious concepts like Wasilah or Tawassul, Tasawwuf, Isaaluth Thawab and the celebration of Yawmun Nabi (s.a.w), „Urs and Mawlood. Its principles are revived by Hazrat Mawlana Ahmad Raza Khan (r.a) who is considered as the reformer and reviver of Deen during his time.

8.2 Salafi / Wahhabi / Tawheedi / Tablighi Jama’ah

These four above listed groups appeared on the land of Mauritius in between the year 1965 and 1970. They were brought here thanks to Ulama of Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Their main doctrine is the worship of Allah alone (which is an undisputable fact). They practically reject all concepts from any other countries except from Saudi Arabia (not to say they reject all Indian and Pakistani concepts and accept only Arab concept).

The Salafi, taken the name after the Salaf those during the golden age profess to follow the holy Qur‟an and the Sunnah and the pious ones. But what is interesting to note is that they are not open to discussion and dialogue.

The Wahhabi, originated from their leader Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Najdi, propound the deep study of the Qur‟an. Much emphasis is laid on its principles. However, its leader was of the view that all Muslims must accept his views and anyone rejecting and opposing him and his ideologies must be killed. He put his words into practice when he was still alive. Thanks God, the Wahhabi here in Mauritius are not of that same ideologies.

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The Tawheedi, following one of their main leaders, have as leader Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah. This group was revived by Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Najdi, having practically the same doctrines as the Wahhabi.

The Tablighi having Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas as its founder is well present in Mauritius. Their main point of concentration is the holy Qur‟an. Their activities can be divided into the following: 3 days a month in a mosque, 2 times visiting the Muslims of the locality, 40 days a year in a mosque and 4 months in a lifetime in a mosque. It was revived by Zakariyya Kandahlawi.

8.3 Ahmadiyyah / Qadiani

Personally and based on Ulama‟s Fatwa, the Ahmadiyyah and the Qadiani are not considered as Muslims. For more information, see below:

Fatwa of Muslim Scholars and Organizations Regarding the Qadiani (Ahmadiyya) Cult. The 1974 Declaration of Muslim World League: Qadianism or Ahmadiyyat:

It is a subversive movement against Islam and the Muslim world, which falsely and deceitfully claims to be an Islamic sect; who under the guise of Islam and for the sake of mundane interests contrives and plans to damage the very foundations of Islam. Its eminent deviations from the basic Islamic principles are as follows: 1. Its founder claimed that he was a Prophet. 2. They deliberately distort the meanings of the verses of the Holy Quran. 3. They declared that Jihad has been abolished.

Fatwa of permanent board of Inquiry and Fatwa (Saudi Arabia): In the gathering of the Muslim Scholars (Rabita A‟ailm-e-Islami) in the year 1394 A.H. (1974), a written statement was drafted to explain the true principles of this group, how and when they started, and so on. Very briefly, this group has declare that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, an Indian, is a prophet who has received revelations from Allah and that no one will be correct in his Islam, unless he believes in him (Mirza). He (Mirza) was born in the 13th century, but Allah (SWT) has told us in his Book (Quran) that prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) is the last of Prophets; all Muslim scholars have given an unanimous ruling that whoever makes the claim that after him (s.a.w) there can appear a new prophet is a Kafir (non-Muslim), because he will be lying about Allah‟s Book and about the Hadith of the holy Prophet (s.a.w)

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which states that he(s.a.w) is the very last of the Prophets. In addition, this would be contrary to the consensus of the Muslim Ummah. Member Member Vice Chairman Chairman Abdullah bin Ghaud Abdullah bin Ghedian Abdulrezagh Afifi Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Baz

Based on the above-mentioned facts, we

can say that Qadyaniyyah is a deviant group that has nothing to do with Islam. Muslims are to be aware of them especially after they have been branded as Kafir by all scholars.

Fatwa of Islamic Fiqh Academy, Egypt:

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Chapter 9

Muslim Personal Law

What will follow here is a brief analysis of the situation of the Muslim Personal Law (MPL) in Mauritius.

Since long, the Muslims of Mauritius wanted to incorporate the Shari‟ah in the Mauritian Law, at least applied to them. But the government was too slow to move on their request. In 1932, a delegation of the Mauritius Council of Government left for England to discuss with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Rt. Hon. Cunliffe-Lister. Hon. Goolam Muhammad Dawoojee Atchia accompanied the delegation. But nothing happened. In 1965, at the all-Party Constitution Conference held in London, Hon. Abdool Razack Muhammad raised the issue and it was decided that something should be done to introduce the Muslim Personal Law in Mauritius. In 1976, the then government decided to move on the question of MPL. It was on June 16, 1981 that the religious marriage known as Nikah was acknowledged as a legal and recognised marriage. In 1990, Sir Aneerood Jugnauth, the then prime Minister, proposed new amendments to the civil status acts that gave legal status to the Nikah and provided to the creation of the Muslim Family Council (MFC). But till this day, there is nothing concrete on the MPL.

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Chapter 10

Conclusion

Islam has been spread throughout the whole world thanks to the holy Prophet (s.a.w) and his Ashab. Their endeavour was primordial in this task. Islam landed to Mauritius with the coming of Indian people. And Islam landed in India through Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (r.a). However, all those who came to Mauritius wanted to bring their contribution to the Deen of Islam. What is the most important fact is that we, Muslims are still able to profess our religious creeds and beliefs and put them into practice at any time of the day and night.

Islam in Mauritius is a gift from God; one through the variety of books on the market and secondly through the visits of many religious personalities from around the whole world. Both the theoretical and the practical parts of Islam are beautifully adhered in Mauritius.

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Chapter 11

References

1. Emrith M, 1994. History of the Muslims in Mauritius. Editions Le Printemps, Vacoas

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