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Mkhize family’s heritage, rooted in Islam

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This weekend will mark a historic event within South Africa when the Kingdom of Mkhize, which is located in Nkandla, officially declares it’s acceptance of Islam as one of the clan’s religions. While most members of the clan ascribe to the Christian faith, for the past 60 years numerous members of the clan have dutifully observed the tenants of Islam. Despite being Muslim for many years, the Muslims within the clan have not enjoyed the formal acknowledgement of their religion by the Mkhize king nor clan elders. As the backbone of the Zulu culture, the Mkhize clan’s acknowledgement of Islam is expected to have a profound impact on the growth of Islam within African clans throughout the country.

Titled, the Nkandla Mega Muslims Event, the ulama of the Mkhize family hosting the Mkhize king and elders, explained the religion of Islam to the clansman and showed to them the startling similarities between the faith of Islam and the Mkhize culture.

Speaking to VOC, member of the Mkhize clan and Islamic scholar Maulana Moosa Abduragman said Islam will be declared in front of the king as part and parcel of the clan.

The king will declare the religion of Islam as one of the faiths that the Mkhize and other clans should accept.  As a result of the Mkhize clan’s undertaking, in due time, all other clans are expected to formally accept Islam.

“The spin-off will be that many people will start taking an interest in Islam and living that kind of Islamic lifestyle. So this is a huge thing for this country to start taking a different turn.”

In light of the growth of Islam within South Africa, Abduragman said at least 560 people of Makutu in the Eastern Cape took shahada recently.

Abduragman says that the Makutu reverts have indicated that their reversion was done in order to adopt the way of life of Islam, a mechanism through which they have discovered themselves.

“Ever since then, that place has changed completely; it is one of the most peaceful and progressive areas. When I asked the Makutu priest why he thinks this a good way of life for him, he said that the presence of Islam reinforced who the people of Makutu actually is.”

Back to their origins

Abduragman explains that while the Mkhize people originate in Nubia, which is an area along the Nile, the nomadic nature of shepherd life took clansmen to a place in Mozambique that has a high Muslim population – a fact that caused clansmen to question their religious roots.

“We questioned the idea that maybe we were Muslim, because we came from an area that was Muslim to an area that is Muslim. And then the Portuguese moved us further down to Nkandla, where we were the only kings until we sent for Shaka’s father to take over. Shaka was backed by our clan from the beginning to make everyone keep the Zulu nation under him.”

Abduragman further notes that within Africa tawhid has long been a cornerstone of the people of the continent.

He says that when the matter of declaring the acceptance of Islam was discussed with clan elders, the elders questioned what the difference between their way of life and Islam is, since the similarities are startling.

Abduragman asserts that since African cultures are the only non-polytheist cultures to have previously existed, the close nature of the Nguni people and the religion of Islam became more evident.

“People misunderstood when the new religion was shown to them. So they wanted the religion to be explained to them so that they could accept it and declare it, because it brought back [the memory] of who they actually were and where they come from.”

The event takes place in Ntini in Nkandla at 10am on Saturday.

VOC (Thakira Desai)

 

 


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