Welcome to the Muslim Youth Movement
The Muslim Youth Movement (MYM) of South Africa played a critical role in the development of Islamic thought in South Africa in the latter part of the 20th century. Motivated by the values and ideology of Islam as embodied in the Holy Qur’an and the life of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the organisation maintained a commitment to an Islam that is responsive and relevant to the South African socio-political context.
Responding to the call of the Qur’an in Sura 3, Al Imran, verse 104, “Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is evil; they are the ones to attain success,” the founding members of the MYM were a group of youths who were committed and were willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the lives of all people. In the then apartheid South Africa, the act of heeding the call of the above quoted verse was in itself a revolutionary move.
The MYM’s launch event, after its formation, during an Easter weekend youth convention grew to become the flagship activity of the movement, evolving to a vibrant Islamic Tarbiyyah Programme (ITP) that became a training ground for many of the Muslim community’s activists. Cutting edge thinkers like Dr Ahmad Sakr, Dr Rushiddin Malik from the USA, Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ansari from Pakistan, Dr Jamal Badawi from Canada, Fatima Heeren from Nigeria and Prof Farish Noor from Malaysia are among some of the guest speakers that have, over the years, graced the events of the MYM.
During the 1980’s, the MYM was already entrenched in the Muslim community with many of its offshoot organisations, like SANZAF, IMA, IDM, AMAL etc. having developed into major role players within the broader community of Muslims. It is perhaps enough tribute to the MYM that the strong foundation upon which these organisations were built continues to carry them and they operate independent from it. It is therefore fitting that as we celebrate four decades since the formation the MYM that we look back and tap into the strength of those foundations in order to chart a way forward for the organisation and Muslim community.
The challenges that we face today as a country need strong and innovative leadership and the MYM is better placed to fulfil that historic role. As we celebrate, we should keep in mind the call of the above quoted verse that inspired a generation to take it upon themselves to lead invite to all that is good, enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil.