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Islam in Ukraine (Part 1)

Three couples from Kwa Zulu Natal (Durban), South Africa left for Kiev on the 28th July 2011. They will be spending Ramadhaan there. Below is a letter from a brother in Pietermaritzburg, Kwa Zulu Natal regarding what they observed in Ukraine.

“We arrived in Kiev on Friday evening around 6pm. Alhumdulillah many brothers were at the airport for our istiqbaal and they had sufficient vehicles. We peformed our salaahs at the jamaat khan (musallaa) in Threshna, and met various people. The next day we were taken to meet Shaikh Ahmad Tamim. He is originally from Lebanon but Alhumdulillah he has migrated to Ukraine for the sake of Deen. He was very pleased to meet us. The Shaikh then sat with us for quite some time and explained to us in detail the conditions of the entire Ukraine and how should work be done.

As was decided from South Africa, Moulana Abed (my fellow aalim) was to remain in Threshna, a suburb of Kiev, Qari Nazeer (my third fellow aalim) was to go to Kharkov, which is around 500 kms away, and I was to go to Odessa, also around 500 kms away, in a different direction. Alhamdulillah the brothers of Odessa and Kharkov were there to receive us at the station. They arranged for us comfortable accommodation, however it is quite a distance from the masjid, approximately 20 minutes drive. It was difficult to find something near the masjid.

It is extremely sad to see the condition of Deen in this country. There is absolutely no environment of practical Islam. We are in the country for so many days, but we are yet to find someone in sunnah libaas, with beard, topee (kufiyyah), amaamah, etc. It also seems as if our wives are the only women in the country at the moment who are dressed in full purdah (niqaab and hjaab). That is why wherever we go, people look at us in amazement.
The country consists of Muslims from different areas, namely Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Palestine and local Ukranians. The total population of the country is approximately 46 million. Statistics have it that the total Muslim Population is 700 000, but Allah knows best what the correct figure is.

Odessa has approximately 6 masjids and Jamaat Khaanas (musallaas). The Afghanis have built their own masjid , many Indian and Pakistani brothers go there for salaam. I am based in Sheikh Hussam’s Masjid. Shaikh is from Lebanon and has now settled down in Odessa. 97 % of the musallees in this masjid are local Ukranians, Uzbeks, Turks, Chechniyans, Azerbaijanis etc. Only 3 or 4 musallees are from India/Pakistan.
Shaikh has agreed that I join him in teaching the students Arabic, Surahs, Du’aas, etc.
It is summer here at the moment, temperature ranges from 30 to 40 degrees. Zuhr is at 1:20 pm, Asr Salaah is at 5:30 pm, Maghrib Salaah is at 8:30 pm and Esha Salaah is at 10:30 pm. We finish Taraweeh Salaah around midnight.

What we found extremely sad here is that 90 % of the people who have moved here to do business, from places like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc have married the local women, some of these women have converted to Islam and some are still non-muslims, and the people who have moved here have become completely eaten up by the environment. There is absolutely no sign of Deen left. The womenfolk also have no sign of Islam in them and this has passed on to the children also.

It is sad indeed that in the mubaarak month of Ramadaan, we find our muslim brothers in the bazaars eating and drinking like normal, the atmosphere everywhere is such that people get caught up in the sin of casting lustful glances. One pakistani brother complained to us and said we have no choice, the environment here is rotten, that is why our day and night is in womanizing, and eating and drinking like normal, during the month of Ramadaan.
There is also no aalim living here that these people can relate to and turn to, somebody who is from their background and speaks their language. If ever they need to know any mas’alah (question about Islam,etc), they ask anyone and everyone, even if it doesn’t conform to their math-hab, and they just take what is easiest for them and carry on with life.
The people here are extremely thirsty for Deen, they are ever willing to learn, and they are in dire need of coming into an Islamic environment.

The people are also grateful that Hajee Abdus Samad Chohan (from Durban, South Africa) starting the system of sending Ulama to this country for the month of Ramadaan. The first aalim being Qari Saalih Pek, who made the initial sacrifice and came to this country year in and year out, before the jamaat khana (musallaa) of Threshna even came into existence. We have carried a huge amount of English and urdu bayaan cds, Quraan cds, Nazams (Islamic songs without music), etc to distribute to whoever we find suitable, so that they have something good to listen to in their cars and home. We have also carried good Islamic kitaabs (books), Dua kitaabs (prayer books), Qur’aans, Fadhaa-il Aamaal kitaabs, finger tasbeeh counters, miswaaks, burqas, cloaks, long dresses, etc.

Insha Allah after I have met a good amount of people and I have a good amount of contact numbers, I’m thinking of inviting these people for a meal, and then giving them da’wah to Islam…”

We continue with the letter in our next post Insha’allah.

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