The Africa Federation Honorary Secretary, Alhaj Hussein Karim visited The Jafari Muslim Association (JMA) in Lilongwe, the capital of Republic of Malawi. This being the first ever visit by an AFED Official to this Centre. The purpose of the visit was to meet members of the Association (Jamaat) and familiarize with their activities especially as they are in the expanding phase and in the process to acquire their own Centre, presently they are using a rented place.
Malawi is a country south of Tanzania and west of Mozambique, its long and narrow, north-south distance of 850 km and east-west of only 250km at the widest, hence its divided as north, central and southern. There are three major cities: Mzuzu in the north, Lilongwe in the central and Blantyre in the South.
Lilongwe is the current administrative capital, while Blantyre is the former capital but also the commercial capital. (very much like Dodoma and Dar respectively)
There are three Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaats in Malawi – Lilongwe with 42 registered members – total 140 heads including female and children, Blantyre with about 12 families (35-40 people) and Mzuzu with 4 families (10 people).
Only Lilongwe Jamaat is formally registered under the name of Jafari Muslim Association and has rented premises for Majlis and Namaz while other hold functions like Majlises at individual residences.
The growth of the Shia Ithna-Asheri Community in Lilongwe has increased in the last 10 years and it is estimated that if the current economic situation continues its very likely to grow further. This is based on the fact that there are 2500 to 3000 other Asians from the Subcontinent who already have big Mosques and facilities like sports club etc. There are also Shia Lebanese Community of about 15 families (50-60 people). Our Community members are mostly importers and others are professionals like accountants etc.
JMA was formally registered with the Ministry in 2011 after long efforts to register. The current facility is a rented house, and cannot accommodate all members for Friday prayers or during large gatherings. The resident Aalim is also staying in the same house, and some other rooms are used by ladies for Majlises etc.
During the Joint Meeting between the Hon Secretary and the Managing Committee of JMA, discussion was held on the acquiring of the property next to the present rented one for which JMA has paid 65% of the value and is soliciting assistance to pay off the balance of 35% by Mid-January 2018 when the Property will be handed over to them.
The plan is to renovate the Property and make a hall, build an extension hall on the side, and in the backyard build 4 Madressah classrooms on ground floor and 2 small flats on the upper floor for the Resident Aalim.
JMA has shown interest to become a member of AFED, the Hon. Secretary explained the Officials of JMA on the requirements and the process for membership application.
The Hon Secretary also had an opportunity to interact and address the members on Thursday, 8th December 2017 where he gave them a brief outline of the activities of the Africa Federation and its various Boards.
There are some local African Shia Centres being run in addition to an Iranian run Shia Centre. There is a Shia Kabrastan (Cemetery) for utilization by all Shia Communities in Malawi.
The Secretariat is thankful to the Jafari Muslim Association Chairman, Alhaj Kazim Raza Devjiani and his team members for a fruitful meeting and for sharing the details of their future plans. We are thankful for the warm hospitality accorded to Hussein bhai Karim and for all the arrangements made during his visit.