O level Notes : FRS - Distribution and Membership of Islam
Most Muslims are business people and are found in big cities near their businesses. In Zimbabwe, towns and cities are the strongholds of Islam because mosques are located near these towns.
Distribution of Islam in Zimbamwe
Just like the Jews, most Muslims are business people and are found in big cities near their businesses. In Zimbabwe, towns and cities are the strongholds of Islam because mosques are located near these towns. These cities and towns include Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe, Chiredzi, Masvingo and Gweru. Islam is also witnessed in Chinhoyi, there are about six mosques in Chinhoyi. This clearly shows the penetration of Islam in the area. Both Muslims of Arab and African origin are found in these areas because they came for business creation and seeking employment respectively. Some of the prominent Muslims in the business sector in major towns are Ali and Khan of Masvingo, Muhammad Musa of Harare and many others.
It should be noted that, many indigenous followers of Islam in Zimbabwe are of Malawian origin who were mainly employed in mining towns. It is because of this reason that Islam is found heavily concentrated in mining towns like Mhangura, Renco mine, Zvishavane, Bindura and Buchwa area among other places.
Although Islam dominates in most mining towns, it has also been spreading into rural areas. Islam is making in-roads in rural areas such as Chinyika in Gutu where they have constructed a school. Zaka in Masvingo has also an Islamic centre which shows the influence of Islam in Masvingo rural. In Mvurwi, Islam has also made some inroads where they have constructed schools, an orphanage centre and a youth trainingcentre. Mosques have been built in the areas where Islam has been launched. Evangelism has played a major role in the distribution of Islam in rural areas. In Goromonzi, Islam is also having an impact as evidenced by the construction of a mosque.
Membership of Islam in Zimbabwe
The Muslims arrived in Zimbabwe and settled around mining areas and some have settled in towns and cities like Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe, Chiredzi and Masvingo just to mention a few. It is slowly infiltrating rural areas like Gutu, Zaka and Mvurwi. There are about 50 000 - 500 000 Muslims in Zimbabwe. Islam is recorded as the third largest religion after Christianity and IR in terms of membership.
Worldwide, Islam is growing but membership in Zimbabwe is not growing as fast as in other countries. This maybe a result of stiff competition from IR and Christianity.
The other reason for slow infiltration is because of negative attitude towards Islam because of its fundamentalism which lead to Holy wars (Jihads). As a mitigation measure, Islam has established schools in various communities like Chinyika and Mvurwi to make people appreciate its religious values and practices.
Furthermore, information centres have been established to educate people about Islam and vocational training centres have also been established through the Direct Aid Africa Muslim Agency in places like Gumbo in Zaka and Mvurwi to increase membership of Muslims in Zimbabwe. This shows that Islam is a religion like any other religion which does not only cater for spiritual needs of people but also for the development of the society in which it operates in.