Cape Town’s dire water shortage has prompted local ulema to call on the Muslim community to reflect on the challenges facing the ummah and seek answers through repentance and prayer. Following level 3B water restrictions coming into effect last month, Mayor Patricia de Lille has declared Cape Town a disaster area. With the reality that Capetonians have less than 110 days of useable water left, the Muslim Judicial Council has called for Salahtul Istiqaa – a prayer for seeking rain – this Sunday 12th March at Chukker Road Kenwyn at 7am.
While there are reasonable scientific explanations for the climactic changes in our environment, as Muslims we also believe that all natural conditions occur with permission and willing of Allah SWT and are related to the actions of people. Good actions bring good conditions and immoral actions result in adverse conditions.
Conditions for prayer
As a pretext to the performing of the prayer, the ulema have asked the Muslim community to:
– Consciously abstain from sin
– Increase in asking forgiveness and taubah
– Fasting for 3 days prior to the date of the prayer for rain
“There must be good intention and readiness and willingness to turn to Allah SWT and seek mercy and rahmah. While fasting is not a pre-condition for Salahtul Istisqaa to take place, there must be taubah and the acknowledgement of sin and transgression,” says MJC deputy president Maulana Abdul-Khaliq Allie.
“We must continue to do this and exert ourselves in making good deeds, such as sadaqah and any other a’maan that will draw the mercy of Allah SWT.
“It is how we approach the Salahtul Istiqaa. Our hearts must be in the right condition. It must be a heart that is humbled and able to be filled with kindness and compassion. When we approach our Salahtul Isitiqaa in this way, then we can unite together in prayer.”
Social circumstances leading to drought
According to some Islamic scholars, while all sins have their consequences, there are certain social conditions that give rise to drought and famine. The environmental challenges facing communities today are meant to serve as a reminder of the spiritual and moral void in the contemporary world.
Some of the major sins are:
• Immorality and shamelessness
• Non-payment of Zakaat
The method of Salahtul Istisqa
The appointed imam will lead the congregation in the prayer, which consists of two raka’ahs. The timing for the Istisqa Salah is anytime ‘nafl’ optional prayers are permitted.
Audible recitation will be conducted in both the rakaats. It is preferred to recite Surah Al-A’laa in the first rakaat, and Surah Al-Ghashiyah in the second.
Thereafter the Imam will deliver a khutba. Following this, the imam will face the qiblah and make fervent dua.
The imam will also flip his shawl (upper garment, cloak or sheet) – symbolically as a good omen or gesture) to signify the anticipated change from drought to prosperity.
Dam levels have dropped to 31,5%, which is 1,6% down from a week ago. With the last 10% of a dam’s water mostly not being useable, dam levels are effectively at approximately 21,5%.
The City of Cape Town said this week water consumption has broken through the 800 million litre barrier for the first time to 783 million litres of collective use per day, but they have still not achieved the new collective usage target of 700 million litres per day.
On Friday 3 March, a local disaster was duly declared and promulgated in the Provincial Gazette. The City may now invoke emergency procurement procedures if required to expedite the emergency and accelerated water resource schemes. VOC