Introducing STEPS – Shi’i Theology, Ethics and Practice Series. Click here to watch a trailer about this new initiative which aims to provide comprehensive answers to pertinent issues
When someone says ‘Muslim country’, Myanmar is not a country that would normally spring to mind. Also known as Burma, this South-East Asian country, with a population of around 60 million individuals, with an incredibly small Shia minority of approximately 20,000, is an emerging hub for Islamic Education.
In Muharram 1434 AH, through sponsorship from The World Federation, Shaykh Jamal Hussain, a young local Hawza student from Myanmar who has spent the last 13 years studying in India and Qum, carried out a variety of Tableegh activities in Myanmar. One such activity was delivering 13 lectures on the topic of ‘Objectives of the Uprising of Imam Husayn (as)’ in the native Burmese language in Taungyyi, a city in Myanmar. He educated the congregation on many aspects relating to Islamic laws (Ahkam). He also travelled to Rangoon, where he lectured in Urdu.
Another task that The World Federation undertook in this attempt to further Islamic education in Myanmar, which took place in Muharram 1434 AH, was the sponsoring of the publication of a book in the Myanmar language on Imam Husayn (as). After the success of this Venture last Muharram, The World Federation sponsored yet another activity with the aim of furthering Islamic education in Myanmar. This time, Shaykh Jamal Hussain held a seminar in Mawlamyine in Burma (Myanmar) on Imam Hasan Mujtaba (as). Approximately 250 people attended this seminar, listening to a variety of content, including the biography of Imam Hassan (as), the sirat of Imam Hassan(as), and the importance of Imamate. And the success continued. The following comment from a participant is testament to this, ‘It was for the first time, I was listening to the comprehensive biography of Imam Hassan. The fact that Imam Hassan was grandson of prophet is unknown to many Muslims.’
The spread of Islamic Education in the world is an important thing, especially in countries where this knowledge is little known. As Shaykh Husain states: “Shias require the special attention of the wider Shia communities in the world for their economic, religious, cultural and social upliftment. If this does not happen then there will not remain much hope for the progress of Shias in Myanmar. Other Muslim groups have worked well in the region, and we have seen the benefits of their good organisation and their strategic planning, along with financial support. We need to increase our Tableegh, social, and cultural projects.”
This is an amazing endeavour and The World Federation is committed to the continued work to spread the message of the Ahlul-Bayt (as) to rural areas and even further, via majlises, books etc.
Head of Islamic Education, Shaykh Kumail Rajani comments:
"Myanmar has a good potential for Tabligh opportunities. Shaykh Jamal is a vibrant dedicated scholar who has been an influential scholar for the local people. The whole idea of delegating scholars in this region is to preach the message of peace of Islam"
Once again, I emphasise the importance of the propagation of Islam, and due to this importance, I urge you as the community to donate to this very cause.
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said: “Paradise shall be (the abode) for one who conveys to my ummah a teaching, which serves to establish a (good) custom or break an innovation.” Bihaar al-Anwaar, vol. 2, pg. 152.
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The External Tableegh department of the World Federation organised screenings for Muharram lectures in Bosnia as part of its Tableegh activities in the West.
As I contemplate on how to pen down my experience as a mentor for the recently concluded WF girls’ youth course, my thoughts run to the time when I was a little girl and yearned to go out and explore the world, similar to these girls who were bubbling with exuberance, vitality and an insatiable thirst for learning new things. My mentoring experience to these girls was exhilarating and a source of enlightenment.