CAPE TOWN – Emphasizing the spiritual and peaceful aspects of Islam, a South Africa Muslim social cohesion advocate released on Sunday, November 6, a new book documenting the life-time journey of hajj, offering a different image of Islam
“We know that the religion of Islam is tainted, we have been called terrorists, there are a lot of Islamophobic comments,” former journalist and social cohesion advocate Yusuf Abramjee told Cape Times.
“So the whole idea is to share this journey. Normally Hajj makes news for various reasons, but this time we are focusing on the good,” he added.
Abramjee was talking at the launch of his book #Hajj2016: A Journey.
The book emphasizes the spirituality and peaceful aspects of the religion through the lens of the greater Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah.
Muslims from around the world pour to Makkah every year to e perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
At the end of Abramjee’s first Hajj pilgrimage this year, he documented his experience with more than 12 000 photos captured with his Iphone 6 Plus.
The photos have been condensed in an A3-size landscape hardcover, which was launched at the Centre for the Book yesterday.
The proceeds of the book will be donated to the Awqaf South Africa and Crescent Lifestyle for their Hajj program.
Copies of the hardcover will also be donated to libraries in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Catherine Constantinides, who spoke on behalf of Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, said the book provided insight into the lives, desires and journeys of Muslims in South Africa and around the world.
“The book belongs to all and inspires others to build an inclusive society,” Mthethwa’s note stated.
Independent Media chief executive and chairperson of Sekunjalo Investments, Dr Iqbal Survé, said it was important for South Africans to document their own stories.
“What Yusuf has done, he is documenting the stories. Not just the story of the Hajj but his story and the stories of those who went with him on Hajj.
“It is important that we must not forget and always document the memories, the stories of our people. If you do not document it, those in power are going to be the ones who will do the documenting,” Survé said.
The demographics of South Africa encompass about 52 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages, and religions; Muslims comprise just over 1.5 percent of the population according to the CIA World Factbook.
The last census was held in 2011, the next one is slated to take place anywhere between 2016 and 2021.