Sherif Wahby came to Cape Town on a mission to do an intensive Silat training program for 6 weeks from May 1st - June 10th, 2017. We asked him a few questions at the end of his stay here.
1. At a glance, anyone would wonder why you chose Cape Town as your destination to learn Silat. Why not Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore?
Sherif: It is the will of Allah to come here. Like I said I contacted several schools but Allah chose Cape Town for me and I honestly believe that I wouldn't have had the same experience anywhere else. Especially when it comes to fulfilling the spiritual and islamic part
2. Can you briefly explain what attracted you to Silat and have you studied other martial art systems?
Sherif Wahby: I have practiced very briefly BJJ with a muslim brother and I experienced what it feels to practice among muslim brothers with the intention of following the sunnah. It was an amazing experience but the risk of injuries was always a concern for me. I also practiced some krav maga which felt like it addresses real life scenarios on the street and has very practical applications. So I thought if there was a martial art that could combine both the islamic and practical aspects it would be great, and this is what I felt when I researched Silat.
3. Which part of your training did you enjoy most and was it challenging or easy. what would you say was the hardest part.
Sherif Wahby: Practicing with partners during the classes and getting to test ones skills in executing the moves was my favourite part. I am sure sparring would have been great as well but unfortunately due to my early departure I didn't get the chance to do it. The hardest part for me was overcoming the mental barrier and telling yourself 'yes I can do it' and pushing yourself.
4. Now that you have been exposed to Silat, would you consider going to Malaysia to meet the real Silat Gurus?
Sherif Wahby: Without a doubt, meeting the Silat gurus would be an honour and a great experience
5. Spirituality is a very personal thing so how have you found Silat to be spiritually motivating?
Sherif Wahby: I found Silat to be very spiritually motivating because Islam is at the centre of everything you do. Training begins and ends by remembering Allah and making duaa, and remembering that the hurmat is not just a set of moves that you do, it actually means something, it means you have no intention for harm or aggression, only self defence and only to be exercised with caution when there is no other option and when all else has failed. Breaking for salah and not forgetting that as humans we were created to worship Allah, thats out ultimate task.
6. We living in a time where muslims are being seen as war loving, violent terrorists. When people see muslims training martial arts, this could raise their suspicions. How do we use martial arts to contribute to a peaceful society and show non-muslims that their suspicions are wrong?
Sherif Wahby: I truly believe that by striving to be the best muslims we could possibly be everyday is the strongest marketing campaign for islam, and if non- muslims attended 1 day of a Silat training they will be able to see fir themselves how we interact with one another and how we respect the balance between the physical and spiritual aspect and how respect and peace is reflected in everything we do. I don't believe that there is any place for violence amongst true muslims.
7. You stayed at the silat training centre for 6 weeks. Do you think that this experience had some positive effects on your life and how.
Sherif Wahby: Absolutely. I feel a lot more confident and I know that there is no limit to what one can achieve if you invest the time and effort. I am also a lot more conscious of my diet and what I eat which is a great achievement.
8. What were your expectations of the Malay community in Cape Town? Were you shocked to know that the culture is quite different to the Malay communities elsewhere?
Sherif Wahby: I haven't had the chance to experience the Malay culture elsewhere but my expectations where positive because I have only heard good things about this culture and about Cape Town. So I can only say that it has been a truly amazing experience and an inspiring one, especially learning about the history and how this culture was established in cape town.
9. Do you have a life motto?
Sherif Wahby: Yes, respect can only be earned.
10. Cape Town is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. We also have a very unique history. Can you tell us a bit about the places you visited and what was your best experience as a visitor?
Sherif Wahby: I wish I had more time to visit more places. Everywhere I have been was amazing. I visited museums, parks, beaches, safaris, restaurants, kramats, masajid. Its hard to nominate one activity as the best, but I can say the outdoor activities, food and the spiritual side (masajid and kramat) tops the list.
11. Would you reveal your age and why at this age have you decided to untertake such a journey?
Sherif Wahby: My age is no secret I am 45. I don't believe that there is an age limit to learning. The prophet SAW was 41 when sayedna jibreel came to him with the revelation. The journey to learn and improve must never end for anyone of us, and as muslims we should strive to better ourselves everyday. Our beloved prophet's journey lasted 23 years until the last day of his life.
12. Will you return to Cape Town and would you encourage your fellow Brits to do the same?
Sherif Wahby: InshaAllah I hope to return again to cape town, and I encourage everyone to visit this amazing city.
13. After being exposed to Silat, would you join up with the Silat community back home?
Sherif Wahby: I would love to, but I need to find the right school and environment to do that. InshaAllah that will be my task when I get back.
14. A final word of advice to us, our youth and fellow pesilats?
Sherif Wahby: Keep on doing what you are doing and don't forget the unlimited blessings that you have, thank Allah for them everyday and thank him for the greatest blessing of all, Islam and being from the ummah of the best of creations, our beloved prophet Muhammad SAW. Try to be a better muslim everyday, and you will see the difference in your lives and the lives of those around you inshaAllah
15. Terima Kasih for sharing with us Abang Sherif. Travel safely and we hope to meet soon InshaAllah.
Sherif Wahby: Shukran abang Faheem. May Allah grant you success and baraka in all what you do. Ameen
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