16-year-old Muhammad Cajee from Klerksdorp in South Africa’s North West Province bagged a free Umrah trip at youth development group ‘The Deen Team’s Fajr First Awards Ceremony’ in Johannesburg on 26 November 2019.
The innovative campaign ‘Fajr First’ called on Muslim teenagers from 7 Masajid to be punctual with the compulsory morning prayer over a 40 day period, with monitors at community mosques taking register for those who attended.
The initiative aims to establish congregational prayer amongst the youth, and create an atmosphere of encouragement through incentive rather than reprimand.
About 100 youngsters between the ages of 13 and 19 signed up for the programme, with 82 successfully completing it. Successful participants were invited to attend an awards ceremony at the Image Lifestyle Centre in Johannesburg to honour their achievements.
As a gesture of 100% attendance of the morning prayer from 8 October 2019 to 16 November 2019, successful participants were presented with a R750 gift voucher to use at a popular store of their choice, including a sports store, a fishing tackle store and a clothing store.
Youngsters could also opt for a monetary voucher off their next youth camp, organised by ‘The Deen Team’.
In a beautiful display of enthusiasm, all participants engaged in dua and recitation of the Talbiya at the gala awards ceremony, hoping to be the fortunate winner of the umrah grand prize.
Following a draw, it was Cajee who won the fully paid trip to the Holy lands in Saudi Arabia.
“Being a student of Hifz, I used to read Fajr but also used to oversleep on Sundays and a few other days. After learning about this initiative from my teachers, I made an intention to be punctual and Alhamdulillah, I never missed the morning prayer with Jamaat since. I really hope to continue,” said Cajee.
The teenager has never been to the Haramain and is looking forward to his journey.
Long-held philosophical, spiritual and even scientific research shows a period of 40 days is essential in the formation of habits, while awarding gifts and prizes for acts of righteousness was common in the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and in Islamic learning centres across the world.
Prominent South African scholar Mufti Zubair Bayat, attended the awards ceremony as a guest speaker and praised the efforts of The Deen Team.
“Communities and learned scholars are making great efforts in motivating the youth to fill up the masajid. This healthy competition to do better is encouraged,” Mufti Bayat said.
Hafiz Shaakir Bhyat, head of ‘The Deen Team,’ a non-profit youth development organisation, said: “We hope to revive the importance of praying in congregation, create lasting change for the establishment of prayer, and hope Muslim teenagers form bonds with their Imams for their spiritual wellness.”
“We also thank all those who support the work we do, especially the Africa Muslims Agency, Awqaf SA and Ashraful Aid that ensured the success of this campaign,” Bhyat added.
The Deen Team was established in 2016 and aims to provide a variety of programmes to Muslim youth, for schooling teenagers and university students.
The youth group encourages faith-based initiatives and programmes for Muslim youngsters to ensure they develop holistically and contribute meaningfully to society.
Learn more about the work of The Deen Team at: www.thedeenteam.org