The Ahlul Bayt DILP presents Islamic resources on Al-Islam.org in more than 25 languages. One of these languages is Kiswahili, which serves as a second language in several parts of East African countries. Al-Islam.org hosts more than 250 resources in Kiswahili, and this was largely made possible by the efforts of Al-Itrah foundation
Al-Itrah Foundation is an Islamic organization that was established in October of 2002. Although the organization is based in Dares-Salaam – Tanzania, its activities are definitely a great inspiration to Muslims worldwide. Below is a brief interview with the founder of Al-Itrah Foundation, Br. Mahboob Somji, who has enlightened us about Al-Itrah and its activities.
1) What primary goals does Al-Itrah seek to achieve?
Our primary goals are:
- To promote divine values.
- To spread awareness about the Holy Prophet (saw) and his progeny to Muslims as well as non Muslims.
- To bridge the gap between Muslims and non Muslims.
2) Please enlighten us about Al-Itrah’s main activities that are currently running.
The main activities of Al-Itrah Foundation are:
- Translating Arabic & English resources into Kiswahili language; we have so far translated more than 200 books into Kiswahili and recently translated the first Shia Tafsir of the holy Quran into Kiswahili.
- Educating and promoting Islamic awareness through the media and specifically through Al-Itrah’s own TV channel: IBN Television
- Spreading awareness through Maarifa Radio channel.
- Running a full time library in the local area in the city which is known as Maktaba Mustaqeem.
3) Please tell us something about IBN television. What programs are broadcasted through it?
IBN television is the first Islamic channel in Tanzania that broadcasts in three different languages, mainly Kiswahili and English. Various kinds of programs are broadcasted through it, such as, talk shows, Islamic lectures from renowned scholars, highlights on the current political situation of the Ummah, interfaith programs and various other programs related to social life, health and general lifestyle.
4) Although Al-Itrah is based in Tanzania, does it also send out books throughout the world or does it only seek to serve specific areas/regions?
Yes we do ship out books that are ordered through our website (http://alitrah.info/) around the world, however it also depends on the number of orders.
In addition, we distribute free books in Kiswahili to more than 50 centers in East Africa. Only sample copies are sent to Qum for the authors to have copies for their archives. We do send copies of all our publications to National Libraries in Tanzania and Universities
5) What are some of Al-Itrah’s future plans?
Future plans are to expand the media resources (ie IBNTV and Maarifa Radio) to reach the entire country of Tanzania so that everyone has access to IBNTV. We also intend to start Kiswahili Newspaper known as Kipambanuzi which will be published on a regular basis once we have successfully stabilized the ongoing projects such as IBN television and Maarifa radio.
6) What obstacles or major challenging aspects (if any) does this work entail? Please feel free to share your experiences.
Major challenge for us is to find human resources in the field, but Alhamdulillah, whatever progress you see is due to Allah’s mercy, and we hope this to continue inshaAllah. Another setback is that we have not publicized this institution to outside world and due to this reason we lack financial support from the donors. InshaAllah as we grow further, and along with the help of our dedicated board members, we will start making improvements in these areas.
9) A message that you would like to share with the Ahlulbayt DILP team?
DILP team is doing wonderful job mashaAllah! I don’t have any words for their commitments and dedication, they are doing a superb job. My only wish is that if we can develop same Al-Islam.org with all the Swahili resources so that in the long run when internet is easily accessible to every individual in this part of the East African population, these will be very helpful and it will promote the True Faith in this area easily. Let’s hope this can be achieved.
10) A message that you would like to give to our readers at Al-Islam.org?
Our message is that all our resources globally should be working in developing the True Islamic System based on Wilayah in all the areas, be it political, social, economical, educational, cultural, spiritual etc. Allah (swt) has given us time, resources and opportunity and I feel we should take full advantage of such opportunities and continue developing ourselves and our communities in all areas.
My other humble advice is that all those working for Al-Islam.org take some time out to read the articles and resources available on the Mashrabe Naab website. I hope that we will continue education ourselves to learn about the true teachings of Islam as taught by the Holy Prophet (s) and his progeny (as).