Mangochi — Muslims across the country on Saturday converged at Mangochi Community Town Hall to celebrate the launch of the first ever version of a Yao Quoran whose translation took a decade to be completed, according to Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM).
A team of prominent 14 Sheikhs selected from different Mosques across the country did the translation which has been hailed as milestone in the history of the Islamic religion as it will help more people across the region with the word of Allah in their vernacular language.
Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency on the sidelines of the launch, MAM Secretary General, Alhaji Twaibu Lawe said the introduction of the Yao Quoran would uplift the Islamic religion.
Lawe observed that Yao was widely spoken not only in Malawi but in neighbouring countries like Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He estimated the percentage of Yao speaking Muslims to be at 70.
"You'll appreciate that the Quoran originally came in Arabic of which not all can comprehend that language and it was felt necessary to have it in local dialect so that more people could read and understand it," he added.
Lawe said the introduction of Yao translated Quoran would promote the promulgation of Islamic religion, confessing that the absence of the Holy Book in local language contributed to loss of members of the religion.
"We lost quite a number of people to other denominations because they could not understand the teachings and virtues of the Islamic religion in foreign language," Lawe admitted.
Lawe, therefore, assured that MAM would consider translating the Holy Quoran into other local dialects like Lomwe, Sena and Tumbuka in a bid to reach out more and propagate the Islamic faith.
"It is the desire of MAM to make Islam widely understood because Muslims who speak Yao are found in other countries like South Africa," he said, adding the introduction of the Yao Quoran was the beginning of better things to come.
Speaking when he presided over the launch as guest of honour, Member of Parliament for Salima South, Dr. Uladi Mussa said the rationale of putting the Quoran in native language was premised on the fact that people get to understand better content presented in their mother tongue.
Mussa who played a crucial role in having the Quoran translated into Yao said he offered his resources towards the project because over 70 or 75 percent of Muslims in Mangochi and elsewhere were of Yao decent and therefore could benefit from the initiative.
He, therefore, advised Muslims to spare time every day to read at least 10 verses, noting that it was not only rewarding spiritually but that it also builds a better understanding of the word of Allah.
Mussa also encouraged Muslims to develop love for personal education enhancement, saying it helps in the socio -- economic development of the country on one hand and growth of Islam on the other.
On this note, Mussa asked Muslims in the country to uphold the constitutional provisions of freedom of worship by co -- existing with people of other religions.
"Islam was the first religion to be introduced in Malawi followed by the Anglican Church. I am making this reference to underscore the point that Islam is mighty," he boasted.
One of the clerics who participated in the translation, Sheikh Omar Kacherenga encouraged Muslims to read the Quoran, observing that by just reading one verse in the Quoran a believer gets 10 more blessings in return. "It is important to read the Quoran with hope and faith," he said.
The first consignment of 20, 000 copies of the Yao Quoran which will be sold at K1, 500 each have been printed with support from the Dubai Charity Association. Meanwhile, former President Bakili Muluzi purchased 200 copies which have since been distributed to women who attended the launch.