"... The second group of Muslims who
came [to Southern Africa] were faced with the death penalty
if they practiced Islam in public. The Dutch word for these
laws was placartan, and that they introduced in 1657. Now
why would you introduce a law right at the beginning of the
arrival of Muslims in Southern Africa? The Muslims came there
as slaves, as political exiles, as prisoners of war. Because
they knew what these Muslims were capable of.
Tonguru - Mister Teacher as its translated
in to Malay language is the name of Shahad al Qadr abul Salat.
He came there as a prisoner in chains with handcuffs on and
leg irons on.
Today when we see the Muslim prisoners
in Cuba, coming all the way from Afghanistan, from Pakistan
and they are taken to a country that is supposed to be communist,
but part of this communist country is controlled by a capitalist
neighbour the USA which is too afraid to take these prisoners
to America so it takes them to Cuba.
Now we Muslims in South Africa, we understand
this - they think they can solve their problems that way,
but truth behaves very strangely - truth does not obey national
boundaries, believe me. When truth surfaces anywhere in the
world, it will eventually find its way to the rest of the
When this prisoner Tonguru arrived there
he had three who were arrested with him in the far east and
brought in chains and put on Robben Island where I spend approximately
eleven years. He was brought in 1781 and he was released only
in 1793. But whilst he was there he wrote the entire Qur'an
from memory because he was Hafiz al-Quran, and he also wrote
many books on Fiqh [Islamic Jurisprudence], these books are
still there in South Africa in the hands of his descendants.
And when he was released from Robben Island
he said the placartan which forbids Muslims from practising
Islam in public must be challenged, so he asked the authorities
permission to hold Jumma [friday congregational prayers] and
they denied him permission. So he went to have Jumma in a
stone quarry, and that quarry is now a childrens playground
in Strand Street in Cape Town, in defiance of this law.
Eventually they bought a small house in
Dork Street in Cape Town and that became Masjid-al-Awwal -
the first mosque in Southern Africa. It is still standing
there and it is still being used.
Therefore the Muslims in South Africa have
have an approach to Islam which says that the whole of life
is sacred, the whole of the Qur'an is important and not just
aspects of it.