JUSA’s Position on the Calls for a National Shutdown and the Need for Introspection
A COMMUNITY STATEMENT
(For Immediate Release)
The call for a national shutdown on Mon 20 March 2023 has been the talk dominating discussions in the country this week. Protest action is part of socio-political life of our country and continues to be a feature of the democratic order embraced by South Africans. Those calling for the shutdown are therefore within their rights to do so.
Equally important is the respect of the rights of others who may not participate in the protest action. They should be free of intimidation. Their persons and property should be safe from harm, loss or damage. Similar calls for a national shutdown in the recent past led to loss of lives, injury, destruction of commercial as well as public infrastructure, and widescale looting. The tensions that were created by the incidents during the July 2021 violent unrest left some communities at odds with each other and on the brink.
It is a responsibility of the promoters of the protest action on Monday, to ensure that it is done peacefully, by neither stoking violence nor creating a state of lawlessness. State agencies also have their constitutional responsibility to protect everyone by maintaining law and order. We urge communities to take appropriate steps to maintain security for their neighbourhoods.
It is our view that the challenges facing our nation will not be overcome by inflammatory and reckless rhetoric but through sustained and concerted efforts towards genuine transformation. We therefore pray to Almighty that the country remains safe and that outcomes of political processes favour and protect everyone, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.
According to a tradition recorded in Jami` at-Tirmidhi, the Prophet r proclaimed: “I know words that will cause Allah to remove one’s distress. These are the words (of supplication) of my brother Yunus u.” Yunus u had said while in the belly of the fish (Qur’an 21:87):
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
La ilaha illa anta, subhanaka, inni kuntu minadh-dhalimin.
[There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.]
Introspection requires us to acknowledge our shortcomings and cry out to the Almighty, just like Yunus u, so that Allah frees us from fear, apprehension and the anxieties current circumstances have created within us.
We encourage an engagement in devotions in homes such as the recitation of the Qur’an, dhikr and the seeking of forgiveness [istighfar]. Under adverse circumstances the Prophet r would seek Allah protection using the words:
اللَّهُمَّ إنَّا نَجْعَلُكَ في نُحُورِهِمْ، وَنَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شُرُورِهِمْ
Allahumah innaa naj-aluka fiy nuhurihim wana-‘udhubika min-shururihim
[O Allah, we make Thee our shield against them, and take refuge in Thee from their evils.]
The Executive Committee
Jamiatul Ulama South Africa
23 Shabaan 1444 / 16 March 2023