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"History of Muslims in South Africa"

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  • "History of Muslims in South Africa"

    In the Name of Almighty Allah
    Most Gracious Most Merciful

    Assalamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu

    [Part 3 of 350 Years of Islam in South Africa].

    1805 - Land Grant for Tana Baru
    The First Muslim Cemetery:

    The first piece of land for a Muslim cemetery - Tana Baru - was granted to Frans van Bengalen on October 2nd, 1805 by the Raad der Gemeente [local authority]. This gesture by the Batavian republic officials followed the granting of religious freedom in 1804, accompanied by the right to build a Masjid. All this was granted to the Muslims only to obtain their loyalty in the event of a British invasion of the Cape. Tana Baru, presently in disuse, consists of several cemetery sites adjoining each other, at the top-end of Longmarket Street in Cape Town. It is situated opposite the site where the Cape Muslims buried their dead for years before 1805. Another site was given to Paay Schaapie [Tuan Nuruman] by General Janssen who was the Batavian Commander at the Cape during 1803 and 1806. More land was given to the Cape Muslims by the British Governor at the Cape, Sir Thomas Napier, during the reign of Queen Victoria, in 1842.

    It was the practice of the 19th century Imaams of the Cape to purchase properties, in trust, for their congregations for the purpose of either building Masaajids or cemeteries. Thus extra land came to be subsequently adjoined to Tana Baru. The cemetery was closed on January 15th, 1886 by Government decree: Section 63 to 65 of the Public Health Act of 1883. Buried within the confines of Tana Baru are the most respected Muslim Settlers of South Africa: Imaam Abdullah ibn Kadi [Qadi]; Abdus Salaam [Tuan Guru]; Tuan Sa'id Aloewie [Sayyid 'Alawi]; Tuan Nuruman [Paay Schaapie]; Abubakr Effendi and others, along with prominent Muslim women of the time who were Saartjie van de Kaap and Samiede van de Kaap. Despite its closure, the Tana Baru has always been regarded as the most hallowed of the Muslim cemeteries in Cape Town.
    1823: Abdul Ghaliel granted a
    Burial site in Simonstown.

    The slave, Abdul Ghaliel, served the Muslim Community of Simonstown, as their Imaam. In 1823 a land grant was made in his favour to be used as a burial site by the Muslim community of Simonstown. Abdul Ghaliel was the first slave to be granted a piece of land in Simonstown.

    1828: Restrictions on Muslim Life.

    Having attained Freedom of Worship, the Muslims, however, faced many social restrictions and political inequality which in turn became the greatest obstacles in the spread of Islam throughout the Colony. The South African Commercial Advertiser of December 27th, 1828 states in its editorial:

    "As to the public worship of Mohammedans, although it was tolerated, no Proclamation of Law, as far as we know, was issued in this Colony, by which it was sanctioned or recognized! Perfect toleration was, however, one of the few praiseworthy principles of the old system. Thus we have seen, that an industrious and peaceable class of inhabitants, whom an enlightened policy would have cherished and perfected, were up to July 3rd, 1828 treated with utmost harshness and ignominy."

    "Their marriages were declared unlawful, their issues degraded. They were refused admission to the rights of Burgership.
    [citizenship]. They could not hold landed property nor remain in the Colony, though born there, without special permission and ample security. They were placed under the arbitrary control of the Burger Senate and the Landdrost - compelled to perform public services gratuitously - punished at discretion with stripes and imprisonment - unable to leave their homes without a Pass - their houses entered and searched at the pleasure of the police. They were liable to arrest without a warrant - and yet they were taxed up to the lips, like the other Free Inhabitants."

    This then is the probable reason why only 20 Cape Muslims of a total of 2,167 [of whom 1,268 were slsves] owned property in 1825.

    1834: Emancipation of Slaves

    The year 1834 saw the emancipation of slaves, by which time, Islam was a flourishing religion at Cape Town. It was not only the Whites who were slave owners. Most of the Vryezwarten [the Free Muslim Blacks] themselves owned slaves.

    1840: Cape Muslim Population.

    By 1840 Islam had 6.435 adherents at Cape Town, one third of the total population of the Colony. This constituted an increase of 4,268 Muslims within a period of twelve years.

    1840: Muslims in Port Elizabeth.

    By 1840 there were 150 "Malays" in Port Elizabeth and by 1849 they had built their first Masjid. Six years later [1855] a need arose for the building of another Masjid in Grace Street. This Masjid was constructed with the financial assistance from the ruler of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Abdul Majid. Eleven years later [1866] the Muslims of Port Elizabeth build a third Masjid in Strand Street.

    1841: Distribution of Cape Muslim Population

    The first survey for allocation of ecclesiastical grants to community institutions produced the following table of Muslims in the Cape Colony:

    Cape Town 6, 492
    Cape District 400
    Stellenbosch 268
    Worcester 300
    George 100
    Uitenhage 150
    Albany 50
    Swellendam 20
    Beaufort West 20

    TOTAL 7, 800

    1844: Establishment of Nurul Islam Masjid:
    Third in South Africa.

    The third oldest Masjid in South Africa in the Nurul Islam Masjid situated in a small lane off Buitengracht Street in Cape Town. It was founded in 1844 by the younger of Tuan Guru's sons, Imaam Abdol Rauf and is situated about one hundred meters from the Auwal Masjid in Dorp Street. It is not known as to why the need arose for this Masjid to be constructed so close to the Auwal Masjid. In about 1830, the two sons of Tuan Guru Abdol Rakiep and Abdol Rauf together with the three sons of Achmat van Bengelen - Mochamat, Hamien and Saddik got together with Badroen and established the Mohammedan Shafee Congregation with Abdol Rakiep [1834] as Imaam.
    At that time the congregation did not have their own Masjid but their dream was realized on February 27th, 1844 when they took transfer of the property in Buitengracht Street, and converted the front section into a prayer room. This Masjid was the first to be founded by a congregation which developed out of friendly-ties which existed among a group of students who acquired Islamic education under the guidance of Imaam Achmat van Bengelen.

    1849: Establishment of Uitenhage Masjid:
    Fourth oldest in South Africa.

    On the 4th of May 1846 the "Malay Corps" of 250 Cape Muslim volunteers left Cape Town in two boats for the Easter Frontier because of unrest in that part of the Colony. They remained there until September 16th, 1846 when the "Malay Corps" was demolished after the Battle of the Axe in the same year. Those who did not return settled in the Eastern Cape. They were in all probability responsible for the construction of the Uitenhage Masjid. This was the fourth Masjid to be built in the country.
    1850: Establishment of the Jamia Masjid:
    Fifth in Cape Town.

    The fifth Masjid in Cape Town is the Jamia Masjid or the Queen Victoria Masjid built in 1850 and situated at the corner of Chiappini and Castle Streets in Cape Town, adjacent to the disused stone quarry in Chiappini Street where in 1790 the first open-air Jumu'ah Salaat was performed and led by Imaam Abdullah [Tuan Guru]. The Jamia Masjid is the largest Masjid in Bo-Kaap.

    1856: Al-Qawl al-Matin:
    The first in Arabic-Afrikaans
    language publication.

    In 1856, a treatise on Islam in Arabic-Afrikaans, "Kitab Al-Qawl al-Matin Fi Bayaan Umur Din"
    [The Book of the Firm Declaration regarding the Explanation of the Matters of Religion] by
    Skaykh Ahmadul Ishmuniya [Ahmad al-Ismuni] was published by M.C. Schonegevel in Cape Town.
    Professor A. van Selms of the University of Pretoria described "Kitab Al-Qawl al-Matin Fi Bayaan Umur Din as the oldest book in Afrikaans". This, it is said, was the first Arabic-Afrikaans publication. The lithographed copy of this book [25 pages] was published in 1910. Afrikaans was written in the Arabic script [with Afrikaans sounds e.g. "Koel hoe Allah Hoe Ahad"].
    Al-Qawl al-Matin the first printed Afrikaans book, in Roman script, Zamespraak Tuschen Klaas Waarzegger en Jan Twijfelaar, by L.H. Meurant, which appeared almost six years later.

    1858: Arrival of the First
    Muslim workers in Nata;.

    By 1858 the labour situation [with regard to sugar farming] was so serious in Natal that the Umzinto Sugar Company brought from Java some Chinese and Malay labourers. The first Muslims to be brought to Natal were probably "among the fine body of Chinese and Malays brought from Java in February 1858 to work for the Umzinto Sugar Company [on the south coast of Natal]. This introduction marked the beginning of the importation of Eastern labour to Natal".
    [Natal Mercury, Durban].

    1858: Beginning the Cemetery Dispute

    The cemetery dispute at the Cape of Good Hope started with the Municipal enquiry in 1858 and lasted until the establishment of the Observatory Cemetery in 1866, and manifested the appreciable influence of the Cape Muslims of the 19th century. It was once again the Masaajids which were used as rallying points to awaken the consciousness of the Cape Muslims. Here again, the Imaams of the various Masaajids urged the Cape Muslims to act against external interference by non-Muslims in Muslim religious affairs. The early Muslims did not hesitate to confront the State if it threatened the practice of their religion - Islam.

    1859: Establishment of the Shafee Masjid:
    The 6th Masjid in Cape Town.

    The Shafee Masjid, situated in Chiappini Street was the 6th Masjid to be built in Cape Town. Initially, a piece of land for this Masjid was acquired on September 3rd, 1859 by Imaam Hadjie
    [d 1869 in Makkah], acting as a Trustee of the Muslim community, who took transfer of the land.
    The Shafee Masjid [referred to as the Masjid of Imaam Hadjie] emerged from two separate Masaajids which were almost adjacent to each other. With the eventual merging of the two Muslim congregations, the Shafee Masjid was established.

    1860: Arrival of the first indentured Muslims, including
    Hazrat Badshah Peer [Rahimahu Allah] in Durban.

    The first batch of indentured labourers from India landed at the South Beach [Port Natal, later Durban] on November 6th, 1860. They arrived on board S. S. Truro. Records indicate that of the 342 indentured labourers only 24 were Muslims. Of these 24 only 9 remained in the Colony after completing their indenture. Among the 9 Muslims to remain was Sheikh Allie Vulle Ahmed [b. 1820 in Madras], aged 30, who it is said was the Sufi saint Hazrat Badsha Peer [Rahimahu Allah] [d 1894]. aged 74, who lies buried at the Brook Street Cemetery in Durban. Immigration records of Sheikh Allie Vulle Ahmed show the following entries:-

    Coolie Number: 282
    Name: Sheik Allie
    Father's Name: Vulle Ahmed
    Age: 30
    Sex: Male
    Arrival: 16th November, 1860
    From: Madras
    Assigned to: H.G. [surname illegible]
    [several labourers were
    [assigned to H.G. Mack]
    Date of Assignment: 28th November 1860
    Transferred to: F.Salmon
    Date of transfer: December 1861.
    Licence to quit Colony: 18th July 1873

    Between 1860 and 1861 five more ships with indentured labourers arrived at Port Natal from India. They consisted of 1,360 men and women. The percentage of Muslims on board each ship was roughly 12%. The grave of Hazrat Badsha Peer was located in 1859 by Hazrat Soofie Saheb on his return to Durban. During the same year Hazrat Soofie Saheb built the first Mazar on the Qabir.

    To be continued - Insha'Allah
    Was Salamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.

    Abdul Hamid


    (1) "History of Muslims in South Africa"
    A Chronology 1993.
    by Ebrahim Mahomed Mahida
    .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
    نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
    دولة الإسلامية باقية

  • #2
    In the Name of Almighty Allah
    Most Gracious Most Merciful

    Assalamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu

    [Part 4 of 350 Years of Islam in South Africa].

    1861: Purchase of land for a Masjid in Paarl

    Muslims came to Paarl [60 kilometers from Cape Town] over two centuries ago. They established a small community at Ou Tuin, the area surrounding the two Masaajids, stretching from the Western Banks of the Berg River to the foot of the Paarl Mountain. A piece of land originally purchased by Jakoef du Toit in 1861 was resold to "The Church Wardens, Malay Church, Paarl" for 25 pounds sterling [plus minus R200.00], in whose favour of the two erven was passed on November 8th, 1887. The Muslim community began to consolidate after the emancipation of the slaves. The Breda Street Masjid was the first to be built in Paarl in 1888. Shortly thereafter, the Nurul Islam Masjid was also built in the centre of the town. For almost a century these two Masaajids provided the nucleus round which the activities of the Muslims of Paarl revolved. At present these two Masaajids lie in a somewhat abandoned state owing to the effect of the notorious and satanic Group Areas Act of the 1960's which caused great grief and was the main cause of scattering the entire Muslim community to the outlying areas of Paarl. In 1917 a single rectangular hall was built on the second erf as a Madrasah. In 1923 the building was renovated and used as a Government-Aided Mission School. A full-time Arabic teacher was employed whose salary was paid by the Cape Provincial Administration. His sponsorship by the Administration was terminated in 1931. Part-time Khalifas' were then employed at the school whose salaries were paid for by the community.

    The school was closed after the satanic Group Areas Act was passed. No consideration whatsoever was given by the architects of the evil Apartheid system for the provision of Islamic Education in these newly created Group Areas. Instead, Christian National Education, with a bias towards "Coloured" schools was propagated and continued until this system of Satan suffered its bitter end after freedom came to our most beautiful country. In 1926 an imposing Minaret, widely regarded as an architectural masterpiece, and extensive renovations to the main hall of the Masjid were completed. A second Masjid was built in Waterkant Street by a separate Jama'at.
    In 1980 work began on the establishment of the Mahdul Islamic Institute. The first phase of the project was completed a year later at a cost of R300,000.00 [Three hundred thousand Rands] The institute included a Masjid,
    Madrasah, classrooms, kindergarten as well facilities for community activities. In 1982 the Paarl Muslim Jammah opened the doors of its premises to pupils seeking after-school Madrasah education with one full-time and three part-time instructors.

    1862 Abubakr Effendi: his arrival and stay in Cape Town

    Abubakr Effendi
    was the founder of the Hanafi School in this country. The effect of his teaching and influence on the culture of the Muslim community at the Cape was tremendous: the wearing of the Fez [toppie, Kifiyah, Koefiya] by men and the Hijab - covering of the head by Muslim women. The coming of Abubakr Effendi to Cape Town was preceded by two factors: firstly, the continual conflict in the Masaajids with regard to succession
    of the Imaams [e.g. the Palm Street Masjid in 1860] and secondly, the request by Hadjie Medein for a spiritual guide. The Cape Parliamentarian, P.E. de Roubaix, approached the British Government for assistance who in turn requested the Uthmani [Turkish] Ambassador in London for a religious instructor to be sent to Cape Town. Thus in 1862 Abubakr Effendi [then 27 years old] was sent to the Cape and his stay in this country was financed by the Uthmani [Turkish] Government. Abubakr Effendi was born in Khashnaw, Shehrizpur [Kurdistan], Turkey, around 1835. He was of an aristocratic Quraysh family of Makkah settled in Kurdistan. His Islamic education began at a Madrasah in Shehrizpur, continued in Islambol [Turk: City of Islam; contemporary Istanbul] and completed in Baghdad.

    The Muslim community at the Cape were unaware of Abubakr Effendi until two days after his arrival in the Mother City. A reception committee consisting of all the Imaams and Muslim dignitaries, went to meet him. Abubakr was well schooled in Islamic Law and had a thorough working knowledge of all four schools of jurisprudence. In practice he adhered to the staunchly Hanafi Madh'hub. This was to bring him in conflict with certain exclusive Shafi'i Muslims of the Cape. Immediately upon his arrival, he set up a school for higher Islamic theology in Wale Street, Cape Town. The introduction of the Hanafi Madh'hub and its rulings made him a controversial person. For example, his evidence on the dispute regarding the succession of Imaams at the Palm Tree Masjid [1866] was given from a Hanafi point of view; again his evidence as chief witness in the Court with regard to Abdol Rakiep, Imaam of Nurul Islam Masjid, [1867] who had performed the Jumu'ah Salah whilst disregarding the Shafi'i rule regarding the presence of 40 worshippers, was again given from a Hanafi aspect. In 1869 he encountered his first dispute with the Muslim community when he ruled that crayfish and Snoek were both Haraam.

    Despite all this, many young Muslims studied under Abubakr Effendi, including two grandsons of Tuan Guru. He had a flare for languages and within a very short time learnt the Afrikaans language. He was concerned about the lack of Islamic literature in the vernacular [Afrikaans]. His book, Bayanuddin [The Explanation of Religion] was completed in 1869 in Arabic-Afrikaans. This work is a treatise on Islam based on the Hanafi school of jurisprudence. Hand-written pages of the book were circulated in the Cape from around 1869. In 1877 it was printed by the Turkish Ministry of Education in Islambol [Constantinople, later: Istanbul], capital of the Ottoman Empire and consisted of 354 pages. Thus it became the second publication in Arabic-Afrikaans in the country and was presented as a gift from the Ottoman Government to the Cape Mslim community. It is also claimed to be the third publication in the Afrikaans language.

    Abubakr Effendi died on the 29th of June 1880 at the very young age of 45 and was buried in Tana Baru. He left behind a wife and six children, two of whom played a prominent role in the community. Achmat [Ahmed] Ata'ullah, the elder son, settled in Kimberley, where he established the Ottoman School for religious Studies in 1884. He vigorously supported Abdol Burns in the cemetery dispute during 1885 - 1886. In 1894 he contested for a seat in the Cape Parliament but the white racists South African parliamentarians were determined in keeping him out. Abubakr Effendi's second son Hisham N'imatullah ran a Muslim School in Port Elizabeth for a number of years. It was also under Abubakr Effendi's influence that the first Muslim School for Girls was established in Cape Town.

    1866 Disputes over succession and /or
    Appointment of Imaams.

    Over the years the Cape Muslim 'clerical' order developed with the Imaams wielding appreciable power. The status of the Imaams, together with economic security and in many cases prosperity was due to the generous monetary donations and gifts by the congregation. Between 1866 and 1900, over twenty cases pertaining to Masaajids in the Cape peninsula were heard in the Supreme Court with regard to the positions of the Imaams and their succession. Practically every Masjid at the Cape in the 19th century faced this problem.

    1869 Arrival of Muslims from Gujarat and Kathiawar

    Since 1869, Muslims from the Indian States of Gujarat and Kathiawar arrived in South Africa and were referred to as "Passenger" Indians by the authority. These immigrants paid their own travel expenses, and came with the specific purpose of trading and commerce. They served as wholesalers and retailers in urban towns, backward rural towns, coal mining areas and also in several developed white centres in Natal and the Transvaal. They called themselves "Arabs", probably because they wished to be identified as Muslims. These "Arab" traders from Western India possessed sufficient resources to establish themselves as traders in staple imported from India, such as rice, ghee, dhall, [lentils] tamarinds, dried fish, etc. Within two decades, they captured a large share of the local trade in the rural areas of Natal and the Transvaal. This displayed the White displeased the White racist traders and so in the 1890's - legislation was passed placing further restrictions and growth on the Indian traders as a whole.

    1870 Establishment of the Juma Masjid in Johannesburg.

    The Juma Masjid or the Kerk Street Masjid was originally a marquee-tent erected in Kerk Street, Stand Number 1424, Johannesburg in 1870. It was the very first Masjid of the Golden City. The Masjid was built in 1888 and renovated and enlarged in 1918 due to the increase in Musallis [worshippers]. In 1990 the Juma Masjid could accommodate about 230 worshippers. The Masjid was declared a national monument by the National Monument Council "because of its historical, aesthetic and cultural value". After much negotiation, the Council in 1991 granted permission for the rebuilding of the Masjid. The Juma Masjid can now accommodate 1,200 Musallis. The land for the Juma Masjid was purchased by Juma Masgied Society [registered under the Company's Act 1909 (Act No. 31 of 1909)] on May 16th, 1913; two of the Society's office-bearers being A.A. Karodia and Goolam Mahomed.

    1870 Arrival of Aboobakr Amod [Jhavery].

    A notable Muslim philanthropist, Aboobakr Amod [Jhavery], [b.1850] from Porbander, India, arrived in South Africa [probably via Delgoa Bay, now Maputo] from Mauritius in 1870 where he traded for a short while before establishing himself as the first "Arab" trader in Natal. He had settled for a short while in Lydenburg, a small town in Eastern Transvaal where his relatives resided. In 1871, he moved to Natal and settled in the Verulam-Tongaat area on the North Coast of Natal - dealing in new and second-hand goods. As the first Muslim merchant to arrive in Natal, he purchased a site for a Masjid in Verulam. Today, the "Verulam Mohammedan Mosque" stands on this site in the centre of the town. The transfer Deeds of the Masjid show that the land was donated by Aboobakr Amod [Jhavery].

    Aboobakr Amod eventually moved to Durban where he purchased a property for business in Durban Central, on the corners of West Street and Plowright Lane in 1875. He had owned a business house in Calcutta, an agency in Bombay, a company in Durban with branches in the Transvaal. Amod, with Abdullah Karim Haji Adam and Joosub Abdul Carim set up the firm Dada Abdullah and Company at 427 West Street [ street numbers have since changed]. By 1890 they had 15 branches in Natal and the Transvaal and two steamers commuting between Bombay and Durban.

    To be continued - Insha'Allah
    Was Salamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.

    Abdul Hamid


    "History of Muslims in South Africa"
    A Chronology 1993.
    by Ebrahim Mahomed Mahida
    .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
    نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
    دولة الإسلامية باقية


    • #3
      In the Name of Almighty Allah
      Most Gracious Most Merciful

      Assalamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu

      [Part 8 of 350 Years of Islam in South Africa].

      1904 Dr. Abdullah Abdurahman:
      Cape City Councillor

      Dr. Abdullah Abdurahman,
      hailed from an esteemed Cape Town family. His paternal grandfather, Abdul Jamalee, had been a slave who managed to purchase his own freedom and thereafter that of his wife, Betsy.
      Jamalee was a thriving greengrocer who by 1862 had an asset of over Five Thousand Pounds Sterling. Abdul Jamalee sent his son, Abdurahman, to study abroad; he spent four years in Makkah and subsequently a few years in Cairo at the famous Al-Azhar University. Abdurahman in turn sent his son, Abdullah, to Scotland, to study medicine. Abdullah attended the Marist Brothers College where he completed his secondary education, after which he was admitted to the South African College [now the University of Cape Town}. Soon thereafter Abdullah was admitted to Glasgow University in Scotland where he took his medical degree [MBCM] in 1893. In Scotland, Abdullah Abdurahman married Helen, daughter of John Cummings James, a Solicitor of Glasgow.

      Dr. Abdullah Abdurahman, with the backing of the Afrikaaner Bond, gained a seat on the Cape Town City Council, living and practicing medicine in District Six. He served as a Councillor till 1910. After the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, Dr. Abdurahman served for twenty-five years as a member of the Cape Provincial Council, until his death in 1940. The African Political Organisation [APO] was established in Cape Town in 1912 with Abdurahman as chairman. He played a prominent role in the education and welfare of the community and was a key figure in the activities of the African Peoples Organisation.

      1904 Construction of the Minaret on Grey Street Masjid

      In 1904, the first of two Minarets was constructed on the Grey Street Masjid, Durban; two shops were built adjacent to the Masjid to provide income for its maintenance. A second Minaret was added to the Masjid structure in 1905. These Minarets were two of the highest structures in the City of Durban at that time, the Grey Street Masjid became a landmark of Durban by the beginning of the 2oth century. During the same year, several rooms, toilets and shower facilities were also added at the rear of the Masjid for use by Musaffirs [travellers] to the city. Rooms were also built for the Mu'adhin. All the dwellings had to be removed when the Juma Masjid Girls School [Cathedral Road] was built by the Juma Masjid Trust adjacent to the Masjid.

      Ever since the establishment of the Grey Street Masjid, the entire administration and affairs of the Masjid were in the hands of generous members of the "Memon" community of Durban, especially the family of the late Aboobkr Amod [Jhavery]. The Masjid was well maintained and enlarged due to the needs of the increasing Muslim population, for there were [1904] forty Indian Schools in Natal, ten of which were privately run by the Muslim Community.

      1906 Pretoria Mohammedan Congregation

      The Pretoria Mohammedan Congregation [PMC] registered under Section 21 of the Companies Act, 1973 was established in 1906. Land for a Masjid in Queen Street, in the heart of the Capital City, was purchased in 1887. At first a small Masjid was built, was renovated in 1928 and in 1984 the Masjid was totally renovated at a cost of Ninety Two Thousand Rand. The Pretoria Mohammedan Congregation changed its name to Pretoria Muslim Congregation on July 8th, 1981.

      1906 Cape Muslim Population Census

      The State census revealed that there were 22,575 Muslims in the Cape Colony.
      The census referred to Muslims by the erroneous appelation of "Mohammedans."

      1906 Hamidia Islamic Society

      The Hamidia Islamic Society [HIS], a benevolent organisation, in Johannesburg was established in July 1906. It was founded by Haji Ojer Ally who became its first president. Hamidia Islamic Society was primarily a Muslim merchants organisation following the passive resistance tactics of the Natal Indian Congress. Haji Ojer Ally, married to a 'Cape Malay', had been involved in "Coloured" politics in the Cape in the early 1890's, was a prime mover in organising mass meetings which were held on Sundays, attended by several hundred people. His was supported by Haji Habib [chairman, British Indian Association, Pretoria Branch] and Maulana Syed Ahmed Mukhtar [Imaam of the 'Surti' Masjid, Johannesburg]. The Society was opposed to all forms of injustices and racial laws of the country, and was most effective institution in the Transvaal for mobilising merchants and workers. The Hamidia Islamic Society became the the backbone of resistance movements during the early stage of the people's struggle in the country.

      1909 South African Malay Association

      Soon after the demise of the South African Moslem Association, Muhammad Arshad Gamiet [d +1990] founded the South African Malay Association in 1909 with the aim of furthering educational and social advancement of the Muslims of Cape Town . M.A. Gamiet, a teacher at a religious school since 1902, was aware of the disadvantaged Muslim children in the field of education. On April 5th, 1920, M.A.Gamiet, President of the Association, testified before the Fremantle Education Commission, saying:

      * that the Malays were also conducting their own schools and would welcome
      financial assistance from the state.

      * that besides being instructed in Arabic and English at religious schools,
      "it was the desire of our people to have the children taught in Dutch as well."

      It soon became evident to the Commission that Gamiet was not pleading for the type of non-sectarian school that the School Board Act envisaged. Gamiet emphasised that Muslim children and their education were to have a moral orientation as well, and insisted on the Arabic language and Islamic instruction be included in the school curriculum. Gamiet said that transmission of Islamic culture and values would be the primary motivation for Muslims establishing and maintaining their own schools. Gamiet's modest request to the Commission was the appointment of a State-paid teacher of the Dutch language in Muslim schools.

      M.A. Gamiet's appeal to the Fremantle Education Commission in 1910 seemed to have realised in 1913 when:-

      * formal recognition of a Mission School for Muslim children was granted
      to the Rahmaniyeh Institute as Cape Provincial Administration Class B
      from January 1st, 1913.

      * Arabic joined the official languages of English and Dutch as curricular components.

      * State assistance was granted on condition comparable to those of the Christian
      Mission Schools.

      1910 Extension of trusteeship of Grey Street Masjid

      The Supreme Court of Natal in 1910 ruled that the Trusteeship of the Grey Street Masjid in Durban be extended to other Muslim groups, that is, groups other than the "Memom" community. Thus today, the life long elected Trustees of the Masjid representing their groups are as follows: four 'Memoms', two 'Surtees', one 'Cockney'. one 'Colonial' born, etc.

      1911 Establishment of Al-Jamia Masjid
      Al-Jamia Masjid in Stegman Road, Claremont, Cape Town, was built in 1911. It has flourished in spite of the close-knit Muslim community around it being forcefully removed by the dreaded Group Areas Act in the 1960's. The Area surrounding Al-Jamia Masjid was one one the first to be effected by the Group Areas Act and its impact devastated the entire Muslim community. With most of the houses, shops, schools and parks demolished, the Masjid today is surrounded by up-market shopping centres, soul-less car parks and high-rise office blocks. The early Muslims who were descendents of the Colony slaves first arrived in the then rural areas of Claremont in the 1840's. The first Masjid built in the area was the Claremont Main Road Masjid. Haji Sullaiman Shahmahomed was instrumental in the renovation of Al-Jamia Masjid in the 1920's. In 1956 Imaam Abdullah Haroon became Imaam of Al-Jamia Masjid and he served the Masjid as well as the Muslim community until his "death" in 1969.

      1913 Establishment of Rahmaniyyeh Institute

      The Rahmaniyyeh Institute was established in Cape Town, and provided a working model for a Muslim Mission School. This, the first Muslim Mission School came into existence almost 125 years after the first Masjid-School had opened its doors. It was expected that those who were to teach at the Islam-oriented school should have the ability to teach, not just professionally, but should also follow the Islamic code to effect within the school a characteristic Islamic ethos. Dr. Abdullah Abdurahman who played a prominent role in the Institute, appointed Ahmad Gameedien [Jamil al-Din], the first male to qualify as a teacher at the Zonnebloem College as principal of the School. Abdullah ibn Al-Hadj Taha Gamieldien a prolific writer and also former student of the Zonnebloem College and graduate of Al-Azhar University of Cairo, was entrusted with the task of teaching Arabic at the School.

      1914 Publication of the Indian ViewsThe Indian Views was founded by Mahomed Cassim Angalia [d 1952] in 1914 in Durban. Angalia was opposed to Gandhi's passive resistance stance as a weapon of struggle against oppressive and unjust government policy. He felt it was provocative and counter-productive; instead he preferred direct negotiations and first hand consultations. The Indian Views covered news and views of special interest to the Muslim community in both the English and Gujarati languages. In the 1920's the Ebrahim Jeewa family of Durban acquired the Views with Hajee Ebrahim Amod Jeewa [d 1953, aged 58] as manager. In 1927 Moosa Ismail Meer became its manager and in 1934 its proprietor as well. Under him the circulation of the Indian Views increased tremendously, reaching all parts of southern Africa. Moosa Ismail Meer, who edited the newspaper for 34 years, died in 1963 and was succeeded by his eldest son Ismail Moosa Meer as editor. The Indian Views was last published in 1972, serving the community for 56 years.

      1917 Madressa Anjuman Islam Trust, Durban

      The Madressa Anjuman Islam Trust was officially established in 1917 in Durban. Earlier with the establishment of the Anjuman Islam Juma Masjid Trust [West Street Masjid] in 1885 it had been an integral part of the Masjid Trust, and the first Madrasah was established at 379 Pine Street, Durban. The building, now considerably renovated, is used to this day to house an Islamic kindergarten school, offices of the the Jamiatul Ulama Natal and Muslim Darul Yatama wal Masakeen. The minutes of the Trust carefully written in Gujarati until 1936. In 1938, the first generation of the founders of the Madrasah saw the need to teach secular subjects alongside religious teachings. Among those who encouraged an integrated system were A.I. Kajee, M.A.H. Moosa, A.S. Kathrada and others. But there was a small opposition to this idea in the community. Until 1946 there existed no Government-Aided Islamic Religious Schools under exclusive Muslim control.

      To be continued - Insha'Allah

      Was Salamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.

      Abdul Hamid


      (1) "History of Muslims in South Africa"
      A Chronology 1993.
      by Ebrahim Mahomed Mahida

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      • #4
        Re: "History of Muslims in South Africa"

        slam in South Africa

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        Grey Street Mosque 1900


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        Although history has recorded that the first influences of Islam was brought into Southern Africa overland by the Southern migration of Africans through the influences of Arab traders, the current Muslims arrived in two waves by sea from foreign lands in the main. The first wave of Muslims arrived as slaves of the then dominant Dutch power from the Colonies of Java and Malaysia in 1652.
        The second wave of Muslims were brought to South Africa by the British Colonial powers from India in 1860. The British who settled in the Eastern Coast of South Africa in the early 1800's, had conquered the Dutch in the Cape and defeated the mighty Zulu nation, soon recognised the fertile coastal land as ideal grounds for the growing of sugar cane. [1]

        17th Century History

        TimeLine 1658 - Jan Van Riebeeck responsible for the stay of the Mardykers 1667 - the ship Polsbroek arrives with three Sumatran political prisoners . They were Orang Cayen of the Malay-Indonesian Sultanates. Sayyid Mahmud and Sheik Abdurahman Matebe Shah 1694 - the ship Voetboog arrives with the 68 year old Sheik Yusuf of Makasar. He was confined with 12 scholars, 2 wives, 2 slaves, 12 children and :14 followers to a farm called "Zandvliet" in False Bay, now called Macassar 1743 - Vryezwarten (Free Blacks) came to construct a breakwater in Table Bay 1744 - Tuan Sayyid `Alawi and Sayyid Abdurahman Matarah were exiled from Mocca Yemen to the Cape. They were imprisoned in Robben Island. Sayyid died whilst in prison, and Tuan was eventually released 1770 - Confirmation of Muslim community by the British traveler George Foster "a few slaves" regularly met in the home of a "free Mahommadan to read, or rather chant, several prayers and chapters of the Qur'an" 1780 - Imam Sayyid `Abdullah ibn Qadi Abdus Salam (known locally as "Tuan Guru" or "Master Teacher") a Tidore prince from Tuan Guru was exiled to the Cape and transfered immediately to Robben Island . Tuan was released in 1793 1862 - Arrival of Sheikh Abu Bakr Effendi sent to the Cape as a Qadi at the behest of the British [edit]
        Islams growth in South Africa

        "The numbers have gone up dramatically if you look at the census figures ... there is massive growth especially in the (black) townships," said Dr Shamil Jeppie, an expert on Islamic history in Africa at the University of Cape Town.
        The indigenous Black South Africans had in general viewed Islam as a religion of the Indians, and Malays. The influx of African Muslims (see Muslim Refugees in South Africa )have brought with them an "Africanised Islam more in line with black South Africans'identities than the religion practiced by followers with closer links to Asia."
        "In the townships people see the confidence they bring. The confidence of the African Muslim," Jeppie said. "There is going to be a different texture, (the balance of followers) is definitely going to change."

        Demographics of Muslims in South Africa

        Currently, some 650,000 South Africans or less than 2 percent, are Muslim. They are mostly members of the country's Indian and Coloured (mixed-race) communities
        In 1991 there were an estimated 12,000 African Muslims in South Africa, now there are more than 75,000, a near 600% increase. [2] [3]

        Islamic Architecture in South Africa

        Grey Street Mosque The Grey Street MosqueMuslimMosque was established firstly as a Musallah or Jamaat-Khannamosque was rebuilt entirely in 1943 (except for the minaret of 1903) [4]
        Habibia Mosque The foundations for the Habibia Mosque were laid in 1905 by Moulana Abdul Latief. Abdul Latief was an imaam at the Islamic center on the Umgeni River Natal. He was sent to establish a mosque in Cape Town and to bring the Malay and Muslim community together. The Mosque has been extended to include a
        • juniorMadressa and
        • The Islamia Primary school
        See for more mosques in South Africa

        Famous South African Muslims

        Muslim Organisations in South Africa

        Non Governmental Organisations Jamiatal Ulama [6] Islamic Propogation Centre, Durban [edit]

        Mahida, Ebrahim Mahomed. History of Muslims in South Africa: A Chronology. Durban: Arabic Study Circle, 2003.
        Pages from Cape Muslim History. Pietermaritzburg: Shuter and Shooter, 1994.
        Shell, Robert. The Establishment and Spread of Islam at the Cape from the beginning of Company Rule to 1838. BA (Hons) Thesis, UCT, Cape Town, 1974.
        Taraweeg Survey 2002, Boorhanol Islam Movement, Cape Town
        Davids, Achmat and Yusuf de Costa. Pages from Cape Muslim History. Pietermaritzburg: Shuter and Shooter, 1994
        Islam by Country Islam in Africa



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