The Reclamation: Discovery of Key Cape Muslims
Posted by tahirfarrath on January 8, 2010
(History of Muslims in South Africa)
The Circle of Islam foretold…
Robben Island (?) – Sayed Abduraghman Motura was regarded as a very learned and religious man. He made wonder cures and was a comfort to his fellow prisoners. Legend indicated that he walked across the water to visit friends in Cape Town. Tuan Matarah died on Robben Island. His shrine was contructed by the Apartheid Prison authorities in 1960. (This is confusing because Hadjie Matarim died there in 1755.)
Bakoven (?) – There are numerous graves with at least four known graves in this area. The fourth grave is that of Sheikh Muhammad Zaid. It is claimed that he was a Sheikh of the Alawiah Tariqa who was banished to the Cape by the Dutch. There is also the grave of Sayed Jaffer that was discovered at the end of the nineteenth century.
Camps Bay (?) – The grave of Sheikh Ali (Sayed Bassier) is located here. Nothing is known of the history of Sheikh Ali.
Constantia (1667 ?) – Political prisoners of high standing were exiled to the Cape. Many were sent to work in Company’s forest in Constantia. Sheikh abdul Mutalib possibly lies buried here.
De Waal Drive (?) – Many graves are found on Devil’s Peak that have not been identified. Oral tradition claims that several pious people are buried on these slopes and one such grave is that of a mysterious Sheikh Abdul Kader. The location of the Sheikh’s grave was only known by a select few who kept it a secret. Those who related this also speculated that the Sheikh was the divine guide as referred to in African folklore.
Deer Park (?) – This forest would have provided a convenient hiding place for runaway slaves. There are at least five graves through the park at the foot of Table Mountain. Oral sources indicate that they are Sayed Abdul Haq al-Qadri, Sayed Jabaar, Sayed Haq al-Qadri, Sayed Muhammad and Sayed Mohammad Illahie. Sayed Abdul Haq’s shrine is situated in a mountain ravine. This all that is known of Sayed Abdul Haq.
Muizenberg (1687 ?) – Very little is known of Sayed Abdul Aziz. Could he have been a runaway slave of the Steenbergen mine? An oral narrative states that his grave was relocated after it was discovered on the Muizenberg beach.
Oudekraal (1715) – Sheikh Noorul Mubeen was banished to the Cape and escaped from Robben Island by unknown means. A legend claimed that he swam across the Atlantic Ocean and was discovered by slave fishermen who nursed him to health. Another version was that he walked across to the mainland. He is buried here but others believe it is one of his followers’ grave.
Signal Hill – Two of Shaykh Yusuf’s followers and his daughter elected to remain at the Cape. Oral reports state that Sheikh Mohamed Hasen Ghaibie Shah al-Qadri and Tuan Kaape-ti-low (Jawhi Tuan) are buried here. There are other known graves as well of Tuan Nur Ghiri Bawa (Tuan Galieb), Tuan Sayed Sulaiman and Tuan Sayed.
Simonstown (1779) – Although the precise identity of Tuan Ismail Dea Malela and his son Tuan Dea Koasa could never be verified, oral reports have unanimously declared that they are buried in Simonstown. A Kitab written in ancient Sumbawanese idientifies them as Imam Abdul Karriem bin Imam Jalil bin Imam Ismail of Sumbawa in Indonesia to the Dea royal family of Pemangong and Sultan Kaharuddin.
Vredehoek – The only Sayed Abdul Malik who is buried here arrived as a slave to the Cape from Batavia towards the end of the eighteenth century. He married Ruska, a freeborn woman. He was listed as a Malay Doctor and Priest who administered spiritual medicine and was involved with Tuan Guru in the establishment of the Dorp Street Madrassah.
Mowbray (1909 ?) – Sayed Moegsien bin alawie al-Aidurus from Hadratul Mout near Eden, Yemen actively pursued his missionary calling and departed for Cape Town. Later, he married Khadija Kamrudien Parker and Sharifa was born. Two spiritual events of many miracles were attributed to him. Among his noble acts was the discovery and identification of the graves of Nuurul Mubeen and Sayed Jaffer. He lies buried at the Mowbray cemetery.
Observatory – Sheikh Abdurahmaan ibn Muhammad a-Iraqi was an emigrant to the Cape who came from Basra. He is accredited to scribing numerous volumes on the teachings of Islam in Arabic-Afrikaans. The Sheikh lies buried in the Observatory cemetery.
Athlone (1904) – The cementing of links between Muslims and consolidating the Muslim community from different backgrounds were among the accomplishments of Moulana Abdul Latief who was sent by his brother-in-law, Hazrat Goolam Muhammad Sufi (Sufi Saheb). Sufi Saheb came to Cape Town and purchased land at Doornhoogte, and on his return to Durban, requested that the Moulana proceed to Cape Town (after having visited his aging father in India) to establish a Mosque and Islamic Centre. He endured living in a wood and iron shack without running water and other necessities with the sole purpose of serving his spiritual mentor. A year later the foundation of the Habibya Mosque was laid. The Moulana died in 1917.
[Cape Mazaar (Kramat) Society]