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Prison Care

وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا

إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنْكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُورًا

“They feed for the love of Him, to the needy, the orphan and the prisoner, [saying] ‘We feed you only for the sake of Allah. We do not want any reward from you nor thanks. ‘”

(8&9:76 Holy Qur’an

In light of the Islamic world view, creation in its essence shares its purity and divinity with its creator. While there is no creation which is evil by its nature, there is no doubt that this nature can be distorted and corrupted. This struggle against corruption of our purity is one which we all have to take part in on different levels. Unfortunately, for some individuals their struggle happens in a context which has overpowered them and as a result of this they have not been able to successfully protect themselves as well as others from this contamination. This does not make them a monster or evil by nature, but rather requires for them to return to their true essence.

In the Islamic Anthropology this return is known as “Repentance - Tauba” and “Reform – Islaah” of which every human is capable regardless of whatever level he or she has fallen. This lost and pure nature can be revealed again by kindling of the divine love in the hearts of sinners. As Imam Zainul Abideen (AS) implores Allah in one of his numerous supplications,

“Thou have said, My Lord, in the firm text of the book. You accept repentance from your servants and pardon their evil deeds and love those who repent. So accept my repentance as thou have promised, pardon my evil deeds as thou have guaranteed and make obligatory towards me the love which thou have stipulated.” (Dua e Tawbah – Shaifa As Sajjadia)

There is no doubt that this journey of the return has to be taken by the person himself before anyone else, however, society also can never shed their responsibilities in this regard.

On the other hand, the same offenders despite being wrong and deviated in their behaviour have some God given basic rights which need to be protected.

We are those Muslims, who proudly take the Holy Household of the Prophet Mohammad (sawa) – AHLUL BAIT as our principal mentors in our understanding of Islam. The Holy Quran describes their consistent demeanour in relation with those who are in need in following words:

“They feed for the love of Him, to the needy, the orphan and the prisoner, [saying] ‘We feed you only for the sake of Allah. We do not want any reward from you nor thanks. ‘”

Needless to say that feeding is not confined in literally feeding, but rather the attitude which will also include spiritual nourishment and contributing in all aspects of rehabilitation and assisting them to embark on the path of repentance.

This is the background and philosophical foundation which describes our mission statement “We are called to care and advice”.

For the last decade, various Muballigheen and active brothers strived to achieve the above aim through organising Islamic courses, spiritual counselling & distribution of Islamic literature etc. in prisons. Also at the same time we looked at addressing the material needs of Shia inmates (like Food, Clothing, Medicines, etc. permitted in correctional centres) in collaboration with relevant authorities and the Muslim Prison Board. Unfortunately due to a lack of cooperation and sectarian behaviour on a regular basis of our brothers, we were compelled to establish an independent care and advise body for the followers of Ahlulbait in prisons (Ahlul Bait (as) Prison Care & Advise Council).

For further details please contact:

Sheikh Ali Masawudu

(+27) 74 929 3816

Alimasod74@gmail.com

Khalifah Olifile Seth Makgotlho (National Coordinator for APCAC)

makgotlhok@ieb.co.za