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"It is imperative for the Sunni Community to focus its attention on the education and training of their children. The home should be converted into an environment, colourfully rich in the Sunnat -e-Rasool (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). These dangerous and delicate times dictate that the Ulema cast aside their quest for personal power and prestige, and work towards furthering the Cause of Islam, lest they be held accountable to the Almighty Allah for the decadence in the Ummah."

This is the message of Allama Azhari, the Khateeb of the Jamia Masjid of Port Louis, Mauritius to the Imam Ahmed Raza Academy, Durban.

Allama says that communities throughout the world have become weary of the dangerous influences of materialism and its consequences, which has resulted in a despondent youth population that has adopted a suicidal path in life. Over the period of the last two years, Europe has recorded with shock, not only an increase in events relating to juvenile crime, but also an increase in the number of youth committing suicide.

It is therefore incumbent, now more than ever before, for the Muslim Ummah to concentrate and focus strongly on individual progress in acquiring Islamic knowledge and strengthening their spiritual ties with the Creator, Almighty Allah. In doing so, the elders could become convincing guides and examples to the youth.

The Ulema and the Mashaa'ikh ought to provide the necessary leadership and guidance with absolute selflessness and sincerity. Every effort ought to be made to contemplate ways and means of turning the attention of the youth towards the wholesome and pure values in life as shown to us by the Noble Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).

The role and responsibility of the Khanqahs and masaajids in these times is very important. In reviewing the present day status and arrangement of masaajids, religious institutions and Khanqahs, Allama Saheb states that these places which once housed Spiritual centres are now sadly in the control of materialistically inclined people who have neither the feelings for Islam at heart, nor the true ability to contribute spiritually or morally towards the well-being of Muslims in general. The masaajid, madaaris and Khanqahs ought to be run by sincere Ulema in mutual consultation with, and assistance from, religiously God-fearing individuals.

It is a grave moment of confusion and concern when the leadership of the Ummah passes into the hands of those who lack God-fearing qualities and possess no conscience.

May Almighty Allah protect us all from all forms of materialism and depravity. AMEEN.