South Africa's Apartheid government may have succeeded in physically removing people from certain suburbs, but failed in having those people cut all ties to the area. The town of Mowbray is one such example. Rich in history, it once served a committed Muslim community at the heart of which was the mosque in Queens Street.
Following the Group Areas Act of the 1960s, families were forced to relocate as far afield as the Cape Flats and beyond. Congregants, however, continued to frequent the place of worship, even if it meant having to commute quite a distance from outlying areas. Today, third and fourth-generation descendants of those first congregants continue to frequent and oversee the mosque.One of those descendants is Thabiet Adams who currently sits at the helm of the Mosque Committee. The chairman’s great grandfather, Imam Abbas Adams, was one of the first Imams of the mosque.
The Deed of Sale for the property on which the mosque was to be built was signed on 15 July 1891, and 15 Sterling and 3 Shillings paid for it. Construction of the mosque was completed in the same year.The agreement was signed on behalf of the Mosque Trust, then known as the Mohamed Congregation of Mowbray, by Jamie alias Jaman Jamans, Kalamdien Baserdien and Hadjie Jamalie Adams.
Masjid Ar-Rashideen, as it is known today, has a momentous standing in history for being the first venue of learning for the renowned Jam Eyyatul Qurra Academy for Qur’an Memorisation. Under the leadership of the esteemed Shaykh Yusuf Booley, Shaykh Abdurraghiem Sallie and Shaykh Moosa Goder, the school was established in 1973.
The mosque, which was fully renovated in 1999, saw a tenfold increase in capacity – from approximately 150 to 700 congregants. The congregation today represents the diversity within the Muslim community, with many congregants hailing from other African countries such as Somalia.
Weekly classes run by Moulana Irshaad Sedick and Imam Yusuf Pandy ensure the mosque is a centre for learning.
Traditions such as Rampies Sny as part of the Mouloodan Nabie celebrations are kept alive too.
As journalist Shafiq Morton notes:
The mosque is a peaceful oasis in a busy neighbourhood. It is a solid reminder of a community that refused to away, despite the ravages of apartheid.
Since 1975, the masjid has been lead by our very beloved Imam Yusuf Pandy.
Imam Faghi Fakier
Imam Abass Adams (great grandfather of current chairman)
Imam Achmat Jamie
Imam Abdullah Adams
Imam Abdurahman Karriem (served from 1955)
Shaykh Moosa Goder (1966 – 1974)
Imam Yusuf Pandy (co-imam from 1966; imam from 1975 to date)
Co-Imam: Shaykh Gasant Pandy (2000 to date)
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