Kamaal Allom, South Africa Correspondent
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya South Africa commemorated its annual Religious Founders Day on 13 September 2020 via the Zoom online platform. The theme of the event was the Covid-19 pandemic as an act of God, from a religious perspective.
The event brought together various religious denominations and representatives from the Hindu, Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths. The gathering commenced with the recitation of the Holy Quran and the welcome address by the chairperson, the regional president of the Western Cape Jamaat.
The opening address was delivered by the National President of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya South Africa, Mansoor Ahmad Zaid Sahib, who provided an insightful commentary on the verses recited in relation to the theme and emphasised the positive learnings.
The second speech was delivered by Mr Pravesh Gangaram Hurdeen Singh, President of World Hindu Foundation South Africa, in which he stated that the pandemic has imprinted the opportunity to introspect and reflect on an important matter of living in harmony with all around you, with nature and most importantly with oneself.
The third speech was delivered by Sister Rachael Sara Lay, Leadership of Temple Israel, Progressive Jewish Community in Cape Town spoke about the Jewish message of finding the goodness in people and the wonderful practice of righteousness and acts of kindness, which can be achieved by everyone coming together to heal the world in their own unique way.
The fourth speech was delivered by Pastor Patrick Paulse, Principal of St Joseph’s RC Special school in Montana. Spiritual Care Coordinator of St Luke’s Combined Hospices spoke strongly about compassion and empathy.
The fifth speech was Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya’s view on the theme and it was delivered by Alhaj Ahmad Suleman Anderson Sahib, Vice President of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Ghana. He spoke in depth about filling our houses with the remembrance of Allah the Almighty and the power of prayer. He emphasised the importance of cleanliness and adherence to Covid-19 protocols in avoiding the spread of the virus and explained the hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, about what cautions to take when one faces a pandemic.
The sixth speech was delivered by Sister Kirtanya Lutchminarayan of the Hindu community, in which she emphasised the beautiful virtues of purity of mind and thought and that the purpose of religion is to unite. The speaker touched on our responsibilities towards animals and what we should and should not be eating and to observe respect of the life that we are consuming.
The seventh speech was delivered by Dr Graham Thomas of the Quaker community, who spoke about the beliefs of the Quaker community, how it began in similar circumstances such as we are experiencing today and how these circumstances made people question Christian beliefs about caring for humanity, especially at times of great distress.
The closing remarks were delivered by Rev Berry Behr, Director of Cape Town Interfaith Initiative CTII.
Each speaker was given 8-10 minutes to speak. The speeches were informative, inspiring and well received by everyone present. At the end of these speeches, a slot was scheduled for an online Zoom poll, with the results showing an appreciation of the event and welcomed future collaborative efforts.
A total of 63 people attended and the event concluded with the silent prayer.