The Malaysians of Cape Town

Islahi Khutbat – Discourses On Islamic Way Of Life – Vol 10 -Mufti Taqi Usmani DB

It was about seven years ago that I visited SouthAfrica. I went to Cape Twon and found that many malaysians lived there. Of the total number of Muslims there, Malaysians formed an eighty percent majority. I was anxious to know how they reached South Africa and was told of an interesting historical fact which, indeed, is worth learning from.

These people were of the stock of those Malaysians who had fought the British Colonisers unsuccessfully and had failed to drive them out of their country because of inadequate weapons of war. The Britishers took them as captives and put them in fetters and brought them to Cape Town as slaves. These white people talk of democracy to day but they had subjugated. innumerable people and chained them at their feet. They disallowed them to offer prayers in aceordance with their religion not even in their homes. They whipped anyone found offering prayers.

‘These people were made to labour hard and oppressed cruely. When their masters prepared to sleep in the night, they unchained these Malaysians so that they could go to their barracks and sleep. But they would sneak out one by one to the nearby mountains and offer they day’s prayers all together in congregational form.

Allah decreed that the Butch attacked Cape Town to seize it. The Britishers had known that the Malaysians were very good fighters and worriors. ‘They were very brave. So, they asked them to drive away the Dutch but the Malaysians said that it made them no difference whether the Britishers had authority of the Dutch, for they were slaves any way. However, they were willing to fight the Dutch on condition that they be permitted to offer prayers in Cape Town and allowed to build a mosque.

We must heed this fact- these people did not demand monetary remuneration. They did not ask to be set free, and they did not put forth any material condition. Their only demand was that they be allowed to build a mosque. Accordingly, they fought the Dutch very bravely and compelled them to retreat. The Malaysians then reminded the Britishers of their demand and were allowed to build a mosque. These poor people built the first mosque in Cape Town in very trying conditions. They lacked proper tools and material and money. They even could not determine the qiblahl with the result that it is off the mark by 20 degree or 25 degree. Today, the prayer mats are spread at the proper angle which leaves misaligned with the walls. These brave people did not ask for a house to live in and they did not demand money. They did not seize the opportunity to demand proper food and drink. Their demand was that they should be allowed to construct a
mosque. This is the history of the Muslim people. They preferred a mosque over everything else and did not omit the duty of building it in their pitiable condition, too.

In fact. it is such people who receive the savour of faith We are the ones \vho have receited the religion without effort. We are born to Muslim parents and had to make no sacrifice for Islam. We have spend no money and put in no effort. The result is that we do not realise the worth of Islam. Only those who have worked for it, made sacrifices and undergone trials, know the real worth of it.


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