“What about us?”
On 2nd April 1694, a ship the de Voetboeg, arrived at the Cape from Ceylon. On board was a large group of Muslim exiles from the East Indies. The Honourable Shaykh Yusuf al-Taj al-Khalwati al-Maqasari, scholar and Sufi Saint, was one of the exiles, who was accompanied by his wives, a few slave girls, children and friends.
An-Nisa, the women’s forum of Naqshbandi Muhammadi SA, will insha-Allah, in the month of April 2013 embark on an annual programme to honour the very special women who accompanied Shaykh Yusuf on the aforementioned historical journey. These forgotten women, who together with other exiles and slaves in the Cape, supported and helped Shaykh Yusuf shape and strengthen the foundation of Islam in the Cape.
It will be a month of honouring all female slaves of the past too and especially women will be asked to ponder on the fact that perhaps many of us are today still enslaved, still in shackles, in so many ways. An-Nisa cannot allow any woman’ s tears, sacrifices, trials, fears and struggles to go unnoticed. We will ask who these brave women and young girls were. Carecantoe, Carepane, Mu’minah, Na’imah, Asma are but a few of their names, but who were they really?
Shaykh Yusuf da Costa has given permission for an annual An-Nisa programme of remembrance during the month of April insha-Allah. All ladies are invited to part take in this long overdue programme. We kindly request all ladies groups or forums to contact us if they wish to obtain An-Nisa’s formal declaration/dedication to be read at each gathering, insha-Allah, during the month of April.
In the meanwhile a research team will be set up to find more answers, more information, more facts. Any woman who is willing to assist, is most welcome to join us on this exciting mission. All research material will be collated and circulated on an annual basis Insha-Allah for the benefit of all women. An-Nisa feels compelled to undertake this journey. There is a saying : “Every women’s journey is every other women’s journey”. We cannot be calling on women to join us in our efforts to uplift and empower through knowledge and spirituality, but fail to ignore the roots of our spirituality. These courageous women are part of our legacy, part of Islam’s legacy.
Let this be the beginning of a sincere and genuine effort to answer the cry of these forgotten women. We must have answers ready when they perhaps one day will turn to us and ask the question: “ What about us?”
Please contact An-Nisa should you wish to register your support, obtain more information or simply join us in our programme of remembrance. Shukran.