Islam in Mauritius
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|Islam by country|
Muslims constitute over 17.3% of Mauritius population. Muslims of Mauritius are mostly of Indian descent; however, there is a growing number of converts to Islam from the general population known as Creole and from Sino Mauritians as well [from Chinese origin] These conversions have diversified the Muslim community and enriched its culture.
Since Mauritius is a multi religious and a multi cultural society, the population is used to live together in peace and harmony. The Government sees to it that the whole population practise their religion without any prejudices. A public holiday is therefore granted on Eid-Ul-Fitr to allow Muslims to celebrate this auspicious day. Every Friday, Muslim men are allowed to attend Salat-Ul-Jum'ah during working hours. The adhan [call for prayer] is recited in every masjid. In some regions the adhan is recited in the microphone while in some residential areas, Muslims are sermoned to recite the adhan without the use of a microphone.
Dawah The Tabligh jamaat is constantly active and has helped many non practicing Muslims to come back to Islam and also many non Muslims to accept Islam. In those regions where live only few Muslims such as Albion, Pointe aux Sables and Petite Rivière, the Tabligh jamaat has established Salat-ul-Khanah [which stands as place of prayer]. They also visit Muslims on a regular basis as a means of reminder and social gatherings.
This conventional dawah has been extended to street dawah in the recent years by other groups of Muslims. The population is therefore well-aware of the teachings of Islam as a peaceful way of life. Islam is not seen as a passive religion as people continue to embrace Islam each year. Scholars are aiming to promote Islamic knowledge through tuition, sermons, conferences media talks.
The Muslim community counts many intellectual men and women. There are many Muslim authors both male and female who have written books on Islam and various relative topics. Muslims are also active in disseminating Islamic knowledge. There are madrassas, pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary Islamic schools. Arabic and Islamic Studies are taught in various institutions up to HSc levels.
The vernacular language is Creole while the older generation are well acquainted with Urdu/Hindi.
The largest group of Muslims are the Sunnis. Sunnis are divided among various factions such as the Salafis, the Sufis, the Tawhidis and the Tabligh jamaat. While the majority adheres to the Hanafi school of thoughts, there are other factions that follow the Shafe'i school of thought. There are also Muslims who follow the Ahmadism or Shi'ism.
Within the Muslim community, there are three distinct ethnic groups that exist, notably the Memons and the Surtees (who are rich merchants who came from Kutch and Surat province of Gujarat in India), then the "Hindi Calcattias" who came to Mauritius as indentured labourer from Bihar. Humeirah, a novel by Sabah Carrim, is a story about the Memons and the Hindi Calcattias, set on Mauritius.
Other languages include Bhojpuri, Gujarati, and Tamil. Among the Shia minority, some have their origins in different parts of South Asia, while others are adherents of the Shia Ismaili sect from East Africa. The majority of Shias are Ithna 'ashariyah with a small Ismaili sect. There is also an Ahmadi minority.
The first purpose-built mosque in Mauritius is the Camp des Lascars Mosque in around 1805. It is now officially known as the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Jummah Mosque in Port Louis was built in the 1850s and is described in the Ministry of Tourism's guide as one of the most beautiful religious buildings in Mauritius. There are many mosques in the towns and villages. The highest concentration of Muslims is found in the capital Port Louis, predominantly in the Plaine Verte, Ward IV, Valle Pitot and Camp Yoloff neighborhood. There are also a high percentage of Muslims in the Plaine Wilhems precisely Phoenix.
The Islamic Authority recognized by the Government is Jummah Mosque Port Louis.
Conversion to Islam
The number of conversion is increasing in Mauritius. Many men and women are accepting Islam through faith or by convenience. Convenience conversion occurs when someone marries a Muslim partner. He/she accepts to embrace Islam as his/her way of life. Since there is no compulsion in religion, the non Muslim partner must accept voluntarily and freely to adhere to Islam after having researched the Deen [way of life].
Those who accept Islam through faith, do so based on intellectual reasoning.
Conversion is done by reciting the Shahadah. The Shahadah is divided into two parts: 1) belief in Allah as Supreme and Unique Creator and Lord of the universe 2) Prophet Muhammad [peace and blessings be upon him] as the Last messenger of Allah
The function of imamat is recognised by the law and imam of masjid are paid a montly salary. The nikkah is also recognised as a Muslim marriage and the father has the right to file a declaration of paternity for his children. Upon the death of the husband, the wife has the right to receive a monthly allowance as well as the orphans. Converts have the right to change their names and family names due on religious basis. Mauritian Muslims can travel to Saudi Arabia for Umrah and Hajj every year.
The Jummah Mosque Halal Council and the Halal Research Committee are concerned with halal food issues and to issue licenses
- "Resident population by religion and sex" (PDF). Statistics Mauritius. p. 68. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- Constitution of Mauritius, First Schedule, section 31(2)
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.