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Imam Gassan Solomon

Posted by tahirfarrath on November 25, 2014


Click on photo or here to see full video of Imam on Minbar 


The African National Congress

“Imam Solomon contributed his life to the struggle for a fairer, better, more compassionate world. He was a Muslim leader who transcended religious boundaries; a community leader who crossed geographic borders; and an ANC activist who went into exile and returned to become an MP.”

Desmond Tutu

“There was a time not so long ago when South Africans were forced to live separate lives. This institutionalised separation extended into every facet of our existence. Even our places of worship were divided.

In the mid-1980s, after my appointment as Archbishop of Cape Town, a group of us, religious leaders from the different faith groups, recognising that we had more in common than the apartheid rulers dared to concede, established an Interfaith Movement to challenge the iniquitous system.

One of our leaders was a Muslim cleric from the Claremont Main Road Mosque, an Imam who preached stridently for equal rights, justice and a more compassionate society. He was responsible for mobilising a new generation of young people to act against apartheid.

We marched together, worked together in the UDF, overcame many anxieties and shared many disappointments.

Imam Gassan Solomon was a highly principled and an inspirational human being. When he appeared at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, representing the Muslim Judicial Council, he concluded his input by quoting from the Koran: “And say truth has arrived and falsehood has perished for indeed falsehood is by its nature perishing.”

Imam Solomon understood the value of truth. One of the jewels of the Western Cape has left us for a higher place. He will be sorely missed,

May his soul rest in peace.”

Jacob Zuma

“Parliament has lost a dedicated representative of the people, we have lost a committed leader and stalwart.

“His track record in fighting for liberation and human rights is well-known, his sterling contribution will forever remain etched in our memories,”

Kgalema Motlanthe

On Wednesday 28 October 2009, Imam Gassan Solomon passed away following a protracted battle with prostate cancer. He fought his cancer as bravely as he fought apartheid and later poverty. This was the death of a struggle hero, a Muslim Imam, Member of Parliament, a cadre of the ANC, and a decent human being.

As news of his passing away spread, and his funeral arranged according to the traditions of Islam, the tributes and condolences poured in. Every message pieced together a chronicle of his life that soon was a chronicle of an entire community’s history – the story of Muslims of South Africa, and their struggle over 300 years.

And as this story of a man and the community that produced him unfolded, the mission and purpose of the African National Congress was retold and affirmed. It is correct that the ANC is a broad church because it was this distinctive combination of traits that allowed a unique cadre and his people to find rest in the ANC’s inclusivity after centuries of slavery, exile, criminalisation and oppression – as people, blacks and Muslims.

It is correct that the ANC has chosen a path of non-racism as both a goal and a method of struggle so that Imam Solomon and all Muslims, Coloured, Malays, Indians, etc could reconcile the values of justice, equality and peace with the values of the ANC that has had the historic mission of National liberation and the establishment of a non-racial democracy.

The death of Imam Solomon and the history of the Muslim community causes us to pause and reflect on why he joined the ANC as his political house. Here was a man, at the age of 19, a victim of the Apartheid Group Areas Act that removed his entire extended family in 1964 from the family land in Constantia, which had been bought by his grandfather in 1902.

His political consciousness was further shaped in 1969 when the Claremont Imam, Abdullah Haron, was murdered in detention giving direction to an entire generation of young Muslims, but effectively shocking the older generation – including the clergy – into silence, preferring a retreat into the rituals rather than the activism of Islam.

From among the younger generation of Muslims, Imam Gassan Solomon was thrust with the leadership of the Claremont Main Rd Mosque, and the Mosque became the lodestar for the politicised Muslim youth who experienced the 1976 uprisings. From the pulpit Imam Solomon interpreted the Quran in ways that simplified Muslim Liberation Theology and he quoted the chapter that declares that the true heretic is the one who prays to God but does not fight for the basic needs of the people.

This clarity of vision was allied to a practical strategy that understood that the Muslim masses needed to be mobilised and the key to this was to engender a vision and to inculcate courage into the clergy. It was this strategy that brought people like Gassan Solomon and Faried Essack into the Muslim Judicial Council.

The fruits were immediately apparent as the MJC declared in 1983, in response to attempts to co-opt minorities into the apartheid system: The MJC “…believes that it cannot divorce itself from the rest of the oppressed and those with the same ideals in the formation of a united democratic front, to oppose a system of apartheid in South Africa.”

This opened the floodgates for Muslim participation in the anti-apartheid struggle, through the United Democratic Front (UDF). Imam Solomon and others immediately understood the need for a vehicle to harness this moment, and in 1984, The Call of Islam was born with Imam Solomon as Amir (President) at a rally of 8000 people in a mosque on the Cape Flats. Imam Gassan inspired Muslims with his oratory into mass action against apartheid that was evident in the way in which mosques, schools and the streets of the Cape Flats reverberated with chants of both Amandla and Allahu Akbar!

But while at a mass level the battle was won by The Call of Islam – now a UDF affiliate – there was intense theological, intellectual and theoretical contestation within the Muslim leadership about whether a democratic state or an Islamic state should be a goal, and about whether Muslims can participate with communists and non-Muslims, and many others. Again The Call of Islam prevailed.

By 1985 the apartheid state understood the Muslim capacity for Martyrdom and sacrifice and acted to deal with the leadership by detaining, threatening, exiling and vilifying them. Imam Solomon went into exile in Saudi Arabia and returned to help build the New South Africa. But the legacy had been established as Muslims swelled the ranks of the UDF’s mass base, the ANC’s underground and Umkhonto we Sizwe, driven by the simple removal of any contradiction between Islam and the ANC as the premier Liberation organisation.

Imam Solomon understood that the ANC cadre carries many responsibilities to win the confidence of the masses. It is this that made him a driving force in the Zakaah Fund that distributes food to the destitute, the Voice of the Cape Radio Station and many other organisations of the people. He was an excellent constituency worker in Grassy Park and a committed Parliamentarian.

Imam Gassan Solomon has done his ancestor, Tuan Guru, proud. He completed a struggle started by Tuan Guru, an exile from Indonesia in Cape Town because of his fight against Dutch colonialism, one of the first prisoners on Robben Island, a man who established the first Mosque and Madrassa in South Africa, a unifier of all the oppressed: slaves from Malaya, the West Coast of Africa, and from among the indigenous people of the Cape. Today, they are all fused into one single community that produced Imam Gassan Solomon.

The ANC mourns with his family. Their loss is our loss. His legacy will not be lost. The ANC is proud that we were able to be his home. His death has shone a light on the values and principles that has made the ANC the home for all South Africans committed to an equal, democratic and non-racial society. We recommit ourselves to these.

Pick up his spear!

>> Kgalema Motlanthe is the ANC Deputy President and Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa


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Cape Muslim Leaders

Posted by tahirfarrath on October 15, 2010

Under construction…

Imam Omar Abdullah

Imam Omar was born on 26/07/1938 in Wynberg to Hoosain and Kulsum Abdullah (Nee Dawjee). He had 2 sisters and a brother.

Imam attended Habibia Primary School until Standard 6 (Grade 8). Thereafter he went to Battswood where he completed his Junior Certificate.  He then went on to do Ghifz fulltime under Imam Ma’awiya Siddiq who was also Sheigh Saliegh Abadie’s ustaad. After 2 years Imam Ma’awiya passed away and then in 1952 he went to do Ghifz under Sheigh Saliegh Abadie. He started from scratch and completed his Ghifz studies in 1958. Imam remained very close with Sheigh Saliegh Abadie for 52 years and he was the one that did the Sheigh’s flight bookings whenever he went traveling. At the time Imam and Sheigh Abduraghiem Sallie were Sheigh Abadie’s youngest students and they had the honour of reciting with senior Ghufaath like; Sheigh Ismail Ganief, Sheigh Ismail Talien, Old Imam Ismail, Boeta Noor Ghafiz, Ghafiz Imam Gasan, Ghafiz Hadjie Yusuf Gabier, Sheigh Uthman Najjaar and Ghafiz Hadjie Sedick Sadien. During the peak of their Quranic recitals, Sheigh Abduraghiem Sallie and Imam used to recite 5 Ajjazaa in 1 hour and 5 minutes. Imam was also a member of the Jameya-tul Quraah Ghifth Jamaa under the auspisus of Sheigh Yusuf Booley.  Imam studied Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) under Sheigh Achmat Behardien and did Imaamat under Sheigh Amien Fakier

Married Life

In 1962 Imam married  Baheya Behardien who was the daughter of Boeta Salie (Nagkersie). They had 2 children, Ebrahiem and Aziza. Ebrahiem got married to Reyhana Samodien and they have 2 children, Maahier and Aneeqah. Aziza got married to Mohamed Zain Allie and they have 3 children, Shahanah (who just completed her memorization of the Holy Quran), Ahmed Azhar and Mohamed Maahir. Imam’s wife Baheya passed away in 1994 and then he remarried a widow, Aunty Shariefa in 1998, who has 3 children.

His career path as an Imaam or Islamic Leader

After completing his Ghifz, Imam Omar led the taraweegh salaah at the Shaafee Masjied in Chiapinni Street in the Bokaap and at the Siddique Masjied in Elsies River. He also helped out with the Imaamat at Siddique Masjied and was instrumental in the appointment of Sheigh Amien Fakier as their Senior Imam. Sheigh Amien Fakier recently received a 50 year service recognition award and is still serving as Siddique’s Senior Imam. Imam Omar had a very close relationship with Al Marghoum Sheigh Nazeem Mohamed who officiated at the Yusufia Masjied in Wynberg. He assisted with the Imaamat duties at Yusufia Masjied on numerous occasions and also served as its treasurer for 21 years. During Sheigh Nazeem Mohamed’s reign as the MJC president, Imam Omar served as its treasurer and together with Imam Yaasien Harries, was instrumental in formalizing the MJC Halaal Trust. Imam Omar started at the Quloobul Moe’mieneen Masjied in Goodwood in 1978 after the demise of the officiating Imam, Imam Fakie Abdul Kader. He served as the Senior Imam until his death on 10th November 2009.

His significant accomplishments and contributions to the community

As a Ghafith teacher Imam was the ustaad of many students and a few prominent ones are; Imam Hasiem Lamara (his 1st Ghafiz student), Sheigh Mieraaj Abrahams, Sheigh Ighsaan Abrahams, Imam Abdullah Agherdien, Ghafiz Nazeem Davids, Ghafiz Ebrahiem Slamang and Ghafiz Ashraf Jikolo (who served as the Assistant Imam at the Quloobul Moe’mieneen Masjied during Imam Omar’s last year as Imam).

Whenever there was a need for a Quranic recital teacher at the Muslim primary schools on a temporary basis, Imam would selflessly offer his services. In so doing he assisted amongst other schools at Mohamedia Primary School, at Douglas Road Primary School and at Salt River Muslim School. When Imam’s close friend, Professor Yusuf Da Costa started Quranic recitation classes at his house for the community of Kensington, Imam was there to assist.

Imam was an active member of the MJC’s Imaara Council and through his nurturing of the younger ulama, many of the Sheighs, Imams and Moulanas who completed their studies locally or abroad had the honour of performing their first ghutbah at the Quloobul Moe’mieneen Masjied in Goodwood.

After the demise of Apartheid, when the community started to move back into Goodwood, Imam re-initiated the Goodwood Madrassa in 1998. During the period from 1998 until 2008, Imam used to teach Quranic recitation on a Sunday morning at the Masjied.

With the merging of the Saturday madrassa, Madrassatul Akhlaaq and the Goodwood Madrassa in 2009, Imam taught Quranic recitation on a Saturday morning, until he became sick in Ramadaan 2009.

Imam was not only instrumental in collecting funds for the Quloobul Moe’mieneen Masjied but also did extensive collections throughout South Africa for Yusufia Masjied, together with the late old Mr Brey (Mustaq and Dr Omar Brey’s father).

Imam Omar was the main supporter in the acquisition of the 2 houses adjacent to Quloobul Moe’mieneen Masjied and did extensive collections for it. He initiated the Building Fund Envelope system which is still in operation today.

The Masjied was Imam’s passion and he took an active interest in its affairs and the administration thereof. Even though Imam stayed in Rylands Estate, he would attend many monthly Masjied Committee Meetings after Fajr on a Sunday until he took ill in Ramadaan 2009.

His last years

Imam was very active in his last years at the Masjied and would never stay away on any big night or day. Even though he stopped leading us in taraweegh salaah for the last 3 years, he still attended every night, except for Ramadaan 2009 when he became ill. Being a senior ghufaath, he would always rectify any mistakes that the ghufaath made when leading the taraweegh salaah. He was so dedicated to his Madrassa duties that Imam would be the first teacher to arrive at the Masjied and he would often have to wait for more than 1 hour before classes would commence. Even on his sick bed in hospital, he would tell the nursing staff to discharge him as his students were waiting to be taught by him. As donations came in for the acquisition of the 2 houses, Imam offered to do all the Society’s banking and he religiously did this until he was hospitalized. He would then check on the balances of the Building Fund Account in order to assess the shortfall and raise the necessary funds for payment thereof. During his last 10 years at the Masjied Imam took Ghafith Sheigh Ebrahiem Tofa, a young graduate from the American University in Cairo, under his wings. He mentored and nurtured him into one of the leading Sheighs in the Northern Suburbs.

Sheikh Muneer Abduroaf

1. Sheikh Muneer Abduroaf is the officiating Imaam of Masjidur-Raoof, Highlands Estate, Cape Town (2005-Present). He holds a Diploma in the Arabic language, a BA Honors degree in Shariah Law, an LLB in South African Law, and is currently doing his LLM in International Law.

2. Sheikh Muneer began his studies in Islamic Law under his father, Sheikh Abduroaf Abduroaf at a young age through attending his morning Fikh classes after Fajr Solaah daily.

3. He later became the President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) (1997) at Oaklands Senior Secondary and the President of the Muslim Student Association (1998-1999) at the above school.

4. During this time he also attended hifth classes in a local madrasa in his neighborhood where he then completed a third of the Quran.

5. After completion of his matric examinations (1999) he traveled abroad to further his knowledge in Islamic Law.

6. He began his journey in pursue of knowledge in various institutions in Damascus, Syria (1999-2000). Here he focused on Arabic grammar and Tajweed.

7. He then enrolled himself into the Islamic University of Medina (IUM), Saudi Arabia, where he completed a Diploma in the Arabic Language (2000-2001). He thereafter completed a four year BA (Honors) degree (2001-2005) in Islamic Law in the Faculty of Shariah. His lecturers at the University included Sheikh Moegsien Abaad Albadr who is also a lecturer in Hadeeth at the prophets (saw) holy mosque in Medina. He also regularly attended classes conducted in the Masjid an Nabawi which include the Tafseer classes of Sheikh Abu bakr al Jazaa’iree. He performed the Holy pilgrimage five times during his studies in Medina. He also held various positions on the (South African Medina Students Association) during his studies. These include that of Secretary and Ameer (2000-2005). He also headed the student delegation helping the Consulate General during one of the holy pilgrimages.

8. After completion of his studies in Medina he returned to the shores of Cape Town and enrolled at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) for an LLB Degree in South African Law (2006-2009). During his studies he assumed various positions on the Muslim Students Association at the University of the Western Cape (MSA-UWC), which includes that of Vice President and President (2006-2009). Sheikh also held the position as 1st Deputy President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) (2008-2009) at UWC during his studies there.

9. Sheikh Muneer Abduroaf is currently enrolled for an International LLM (Master in Laws) degree at the UWC and Germany University.

10.  Sheikh Muneer has featured on various programmes on Radio Voice of the Cape (The Friday Naseekah hour programme), Radio 786, SABC1 (Reflections of faith) and on Satellite TV.

11. Sheikh Muneer endeavors and constantly strives to live a life in the satisfaction of Allah Almighty. He is the coordinator and one of the educators of the Madrasatur-Raoof school in Highlands Estate. He also conducts Quran, Hadeeth and Fikh classes at Masjidur-Raoof.  He conducts the weekly Jumua’s at the said Masjid and appears as guest speaker at various masaajid. He provides counseling in the field of family law, reconciliation, and arbitration and offers expert advice in the fields of Shariah Law and South African Law.

Shaykh Yusuf Booley

Sheikh Yusuf Booley was born on 28 December 1930 in Pontac Street District Six. He was born to Achmad and Rabia Booley. At the age of 15 years it was decided that he follow a career and study to become a wood-carver. It was during this time that the decision was made, for him to persue and read Quranic studies in Makkah.

During 1946 he was introduced to his Ustaadth Sayed Abdurrahmaan Al-Maliki. The eminant teacher was one of the foremost Hafith teachers in the Arabian Region and a person of high stature in the Quranic community. He played an important role in Sheikh Booley’s learning and was a great inspiration to him. On completion of his study of all Qurraa’ of the area, he was invited to attend the graduation ceremony. Two months later the honour was bestowed upon him when he became the first Capetonian to perform the Salatut Taraweeh in the Holy Haram in Makkah. This was the spring board of his Taraweeh career and crusade that continues up till today.

Immediately on his return from Makkah during the year 1951 he started a Madrasah in his birth place and for the next 4 years performed Taraweeh Salaah in the town of Tongaat in Natal. During the year 1956 he was appointed as Imam of the Grey Street Mosque in Durban where he started his first Hafith School. Even though he only spent five years in Durban, he successfully taught forty boys and girls Hafith. This resulted in spawning the teachings of Hifths in Durban.

Sheikh Yusuf Booley’s reputation as a leader in Hifths stems not only from achievement as a Hafith, but more from the exacting standards he has established as a teacher of Hifths. He believes that when one teaches the Kalaam of Allah, one must adhere to strict discipline, strive for excellence and approach the task of committing the Quran to memory with devotion, sincerity and humility.

The Sheikh’s ideals and concern about the preservation of the Holy Quran has kept him involved throughout his Hifths career and presently although he is of ill health he remains unfettered in his striving towards excellence in Quran-reading and teaching.

Returning to Cape Town during the year 1961 found him contemplating the situation of Quranic education and at the end resulted in the formation of THE JAM EYYATUL QURRAA’ QURANIC INSTITUTE (The Society for the promotion of the Holy Quran).

Even though Sheikh Yusuf has a string of tributes to his name and more recently the tribute from the Ahmedi Mosque Society in Grassy Park he prefers to tread this path without seeking any material gain. Sheikh Yusuf has also been the instrument of bringing many famous Qurraa’ like the late Sheikh Abdul Basit and more recently Dr Ahmad Ahmad Na-inaa’ to the shores of South Africa.

At present Sheikh Yusuf is not only the Life President of JEQ, but also the driving force of this Society and he remains a tireless servant in the service of the Holy Quran.

With this vision in mind, Shaykh Booley, together with Shaykh Moosa Goder and others founded Jam`Eyyatul Qurra Hafiz Institute in 1973. There was no start up capital and the school was mainly funded through donations from the public. Despite the lack of funds, classes commenced in the Mowbray Mosque under the able guidance of Shaykh Abduraghiem Salie (one of Cape Town’s renowned SharÌ`ah scholars). The first Hafiz student to graduate from this school was Hafiz Muhammad Adams. Approximately 12 students eventually graduated from this school. Due to financial constraints the school was eventually closed and Shaykh Booley started teaching from his home, but he never gave up on his dream. Many years and many successful Huffaz later, his dream was to become a reality.

His ultimate ideal is the establishment of a Hifths School in Faure, or elevates it to a dynamic Islamic Centre near the tomb of Sheikh Yusuf of Macassar, with complete boarding facilities. Even though this seems to be a dauntless task, Sheikh Yusuf remains unfazed knowing that this would be a milestone achievement not only for the Huffaath but also for the Muslim Ummah in the Southern Hemisphere.

Shaykh Mohamed Saliegh Dien

by Dr Mogamat Hoosain Ebrahim

Early Life

Shaykh Mohamed Salie Dien was born in Wynberg, Cape Town on January 13, 1920. His father’s name was Abdurahmaan (Manie) and his mother’s name was Ayesha. His mother was the daughter of a German priest, whose surname was Coert. The Coert family resided in Caledon. Shaykh Dien is the fourth eldest child of seven brothers and four sisters. Their names are; the eldest Abduragman, Ebrahim, Amien, (Salie), Sulaiman, Yusuf, Mogamat Allie, Isma`il, Fatima, Gadieja, Amina, Salega and Aisha. Shaykh Dien’s father who was a businessman moved from Wynberg to settle in Grassy Park – where he eventually died.

Early Education

Shaykh Dien attended E.C. Primary School in Grassy Park until Standard 6 and thereafter continued his secular studies at Battswood Secondary until Standard 8. Thereafter, he registered with Battswood Teachers Training College in Wynberg for two years, completing a teacher’s training course. Being an energetic young man, he spent one year at Wesley Training College doing a Physical Culture course. Shaykh Dien undertook a correspondence course completing his National Senior Certificate successfully. After completing the teacher’s course at Wesley Training College, Shaykh Dien acquired his first teaching post at Lotus River Primary where he taught from 1942 to 1947.

Islamic Studies

Shaykh Dien commenced his Islamic education privately after completing standard six. His first teachers were well known servants of Islam at the Cape like Shaykh Muhammad Salie Abadi who resided in Park Road Wynberg and Imam Mu`awiyya Sedick. Shaykh Muhammad Salih `Abadi taught him Qur’anic recitation and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). Thereafter, he travelled every day to Strawberry Lane, Constantia by bicycle where he further studied Qur’an under the tutelage of Imam Allie Cornelius.

Studies in Cairo

Despite being now a qualified teacher, Shaykh Dien never lost his desire to pursue Islamic Studies abroad. He made firm his intention to study in Cairo, arriving there in August 1947. For his studies, Shaykh Dien received a bursary from the Moslem Progressive Society (MPS) who granted bursaries to high school and university students annually.

Shaykh Dien first entered the general section of the famous Al- Azhar University when Abdurahman Hasan was the acting Head of Al-Azhar. He initially undertook a four year basic Islamic studies and Arabic course which was conducted in the mosque.  After Shaykh Dien was examined by the Dean of Islamic Studies, he was subsequently admitted into the University’s Usul al-Din College for two years, where he specialised in preaching and spiritual edification.

During this period Shaykh Dien registered with the American University in Cairo attending afternoon and evening classes where he passed the Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. Thereafter, at the same university, he completed a Master of Arts degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He also studied privately under a retired judge of Al-Azhar, Shaykh Sayed Nawwar, at the School of Oriental Studies. There he studied History of Islamic Jurisprudence, Fiqh, Arabic Grammar, and Tafsir [Quranic commentary]. Thereafter, Shaykh Dien privately studied Islamic mysticism under the Sufi Muhammad Habib Al-Maghribi and through him he was initiated into the Sayed al-Ahmad al-Badawi Sufi order by Shaykh Muhammad al-Tukhi who was the doyen of all the Sufi movements.

While Shaykh Dien studied in Cairo he did a two-year correspondence course in elementary Herbal Medicine through the College of Herbalist in London and a Diploma in Metaphysics and Psychology through the Institute of Life Science in London. On July 18, 1954, while Shaykh Dien was still in Cairo, he married Zainab Ismail Surt. His eldest Nabeal and Sihaam were born in Cairo while Salwa, Nadir and Safaa were born in Cape Town.

Shaykh Dien’s Return from Egypt

Shaykh Dien arrived in Cape Town by air with The Sky Coach in 1956. Shaykh Dien was 26 years of age when he left the shores of Cape Town and was 35 year old when he arrived from Cairo. He was very well received by the large crowd who welcomed him at the airport. It was customary in the former years for the `ulama’ (Islamic scholars) to welcome a student who studied abroad and to grant him the official status of Shaykh after several discussions and questions.  Shaykh Dien made an impact on the congregation when he addressed the congregation with his eloquence in the English language which was not generally spoken of by the community at the time.

Shaykh Dien’s Involvement in the Community

In 1956 Shaykh Dien assisted Imam Rahbini who was imam at the Jamestown Masjid in St. Athans Road, with the Friday sermons and led the congregational prayer for a short period. In 1957 he acquired a teacher’s post at the Siddique Primary School, teaching there for a year. In 1958, Shaykh Dien was offered another post at Rahmaniyyah Primary School, in Douglas Road, Wynberg, when Abdurahman Orrie was principal of the school. There he taught for five years and a further one year at Muhammadiyyah Primary when Ismail Solomons was principal of the school.

During this period Shaykh Dien commenced lecturing at the Masjid al-Salaam in Belgravia Estate, the Siddique Mosque in Elsies River, Habibia Mosque in Rylands and at the Shafi`i Mosque in Bo-Kaap . Shaykh Dien lectured different subjects at the above mentioned mosques. He also travelled extensively in South Africa and abroad where he lectured in Islamic Studies and delivered papers on diverse topics (abroad). He specifically concerned about propagating Islam to very underprivileged black communities and according to oral tradition his lectures in these communities were well attended.

In 1959, Shaykh Dien was officially appointed as Imam of Masjidus-Salaam.  His duties also included heading the educational department of the institution. This institution was based in Belgravia Estate and served the large Muslim community there. When Shaykh Dien first arrived, he found this community very unstable due to the “Group Areas Act”. They had been devastated by this act and, coming as they did from different backgrounds, suddenly had to build new associations and relationships. Further, their different cultures and traditions wre a times a complicating factor.

Gradually, Shaykh Dien who was tolerant, patient and had wisdom helped bring a new of sense stability  and community into the area. The Shaykh has now served this community for more than 50 years.

Shaykh Dien was also responsible for the establishment of the Islamic Welfare Society (IWS) in 1959. This body served the underprivileged of the area. From this body he became one of the pioneers and President of the Muslim Assembly when it was established. He is currently the Honorary President of the Muslim Judicial Council. He also served on several other charitable organisations.

Shaykh Dien was very much concerned how the oppressed people were treated by the “Apartheid” government. His Friday congregational sermons and lectures were mainly focused on the unjust system of “Apartheid”.  On a Thursday evening of 1985, while Shaykh Dien lectured about the conditions of the oppressed in South Africa, 1700 people were held under siege at the Masjidus Salaam. Roads were blocked by Casspirs and police vans. Outside the mosque Abdul Karriem Fridie was shot by the police and died in hospital. Thereafter, Shaykh Dien was on many occasions interrogated by the security branch.

Shaykh Dien wrote several articles for the Muslim News – and 1966 and 1967 he wrote and published “The Islamic Renaissance” which consists of Islamic History, Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Jurisprudence. In 1995, he published a commentary of the first and part the second chapter of the Qur’an in English specifically for children.

Honorary Doctorate for Shaykh Dien

The University of the Western Cape bestowed an Honorary Doctorate on 90-year-old Shaykh Mohamed salie Dien at his bedside the 10th June 2010. The ceremony was unique in that it was held at the ailing Muslim leader’s Athlone home and was officiated by UWC Rector Prof Brian O’Connell and UWC Registrar Dr Ingrid Miller, replete in their academic regalia. Members of the Muslim Judicial Council, friends, family and the UWC leadership, including & UWC Chairperson of Council Brian Williams, gathered to mark the conferring of a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa). Emotions ran high among those who crowded into the Lacelles Street house when the bed-ridden, highly respected Muslim teacher reached out and kissed O’Connell’s hand – a cultural gesture reserved for acknowledging a great teacher.

Sheikh Faaik Gamieldien

An advocate of the High Court of South Africa, started his academic career when he graduated from the University of the Western Cape in the Social Sciences. From there he proceeded to Al-Azhar University, Cairo to study Arabic and the Islamic Sciences. He now holds an LLB degree, in Law and Shariah from the International University, Islamabad and a Masters degree in Law and Shariah from the International Islamic University, Malaysia. He holds a number of honorary positions in Islamic organisations and is a member of the South African Law Commissioner’s Committee for the recognition of Islamic Marriages and related matters.

Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels

Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels was born and bred in Claremont As a result of the Group Areas Act, he was forcibly moved to Primrose Park Ext.17 near Surrey Estate where he as a younq man met up with his Ustaath, Imam Ismail Johnstone, who was a great Inspiration to him and urged him to study Arabic and the Deen of Islam. With great motivation and support from his beloved parents, he decided to further his studies in the city of our beloved Prophet (Pbuh), Medina.

He studied for nine years in Medina and graduated from the Faculty of Shariah in the year 1987 and holds a BA Degree in Theology. He also considers it a great honour and privilege to have studied under the tutorshlp of Sheikh Mog Armien Fakier, Sheikh Mog Salih Abadie and Sheikh Mog Ganief Moos.

He is the former President of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) and currently the President of the United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA). He also holds the post of Imam at the Portlands Mosque in Mitchell’s Plain for the past 19 years and is the President of the Darul Arqam Islamic High School in Mitchell’s Plain.

He loves to teach and work amongst people especially in the disadvantaged communities. Some of the areas he taught in are: Hanover Park, Bonteheuwel, Tafelsig, Manenberg and Parkwood Estate.

He is very much committed to the plight of the. Palestinian people who are suffering under the yoke of an oppressive, repressive regime, in the struggle for justice and freedom.

Shaykh Abduraghiem Hasan Sallie

A scholar at heart, Shaikh Abdurraghiem began this journey of dedicating his life to the Din-ul Islam, in his birth town of Vrededorp Johannesburg.

Shaikh Abduraghiem Hasan Sallie is most probably best known outside his own community as presenter of the first-ever programme on Islam on the SABC’s (South African Broadcasting Corporation) Afrikaans radio station, RSG (Radio Sonder Grense translated as Radio Without Borders).

Born on July 25, 1944, the second eldest son of Hasan and Amina Sallie’s family of seven children, Shaikh Abdurraghiem was taught hifth (the memorisation of the Holy Qur’an) from a tender age under the tutelage of of Imam Abdul Hamid Mallick, originally from Cape Town as well as Qari Abdul Qader.

At age 12, Hasan Sallie decided his son, by then 12 juz hafith, was to leave for Cape Town where he spent the next eight years under the wing of Shaikh Muhammad Salie Abadie Solomon, studying hifth full time.

In 1959, the young Abdurraghiem, then 14, accompanied Shaikh Abadi and his wife to Makkah, Saudi Arabia.  There he found himself studying the Qur’an at the feet of Shaikh Abadi’s own teacher, the esteemed scholar, Sayed al-Rahman Al-Maliki, in the Haram al-Sharif, the Grand Mosque in Makkah.  Shaikh Abdurraghiem was the only student of Shaikh Abadi to be afforded that honour.

After two years, their time in Makkah ended abruptly, after King Saud issued a decree ordering all foreigners to leave the kingdom.

Back home, Shaikh Abdurraghiem intensified his studies of the din.  Various teachers quenched his thirst for knowledge.  Amongst them were Shaikhs Ahmad Behardien and Muhammad Taha Gamieldien who taught him Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) and Arabic.

In 1974, Shaikh Abdurraghiem began his tutelage under Shaikh Muhammad Shakir Gamieldien, the only Al-Azhar University graduate at the time in South Africa.  For the next 22 years, Shaikh Shakir was to have the most profound effect on his thinking and understanding of the din.

More than 60 students completed their hifth studies under Shaikh Abdurraghiem, renowned for his strict emphasis he places on recitation with Tajwid.

Shaikh Abdurraghiem later on in his life, at age 50, journeyed to Egypt, where he studied under the tutelage of Dr Taha Abdul Aziz Abu al-Fadl, an Al-Azhar University professor.

From 1996 to 1997, Shaikh Abdurraghiem issued fatawa in response to enquiries that readers sent in to the Saudi Gazette, the largest English newspaper published in Saudi Arabia. The regular feature in the paper was called ‘Questions of Faith – Answers by Sheikh Abdurraghiem Sallie’.

Launched in 1996, ‘Islam in Fokus’ drew a large audience of non-Muslim listeners and was successfully broadcast for many years.  Within the Muslim community in South Africa, particularly in Cape Town, Shaikh Abdurraghiem is lauded for the invaluable service he continues to provide in the propagation of Islam as a teacher and Imam.

Shaikh Abdurraghiem continues to serve the community by giving lectures officiating as Imam at Mosque Shafi’i in Bo-Kaap and presenting a fortnightly programme on Maintenance and Child-Care on Radio 786, a Muslim community radio station in Cape Town.

A service spanning more than 39 years, saw him establishing a wealth of madaris and educational institutions especially in the impoverished areas, including a boarding school for students from outside of the Cape who wished to memorise the Qur’an. At the same time, Shaikh Abdurraghiem authored 28 books on various aspects of Islam such as Tauhid, Islamic Jurisprudence and Muslim Personal Law, including Marriage, Divorce, Inheritance and the Evolution of Islamic Legislation. etc.

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