Untold Stories Of Muslims In South Africa World History 2
Channel: Abdullah Hakim Quick
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Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. I praise Allah subhanaw taala I send peace and blessings to the last prophet Mohammed Abdullah Abdullah, the seal of the messengers to his family, his companions, and all those who called his way today of judgment, I greet you with peace. Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah
Muslims during the golden age of Islam, between the seventh and the 17th centuries AD, traveled throughout the planet, and had a profound impact upon human relations. And when the Portuguese had finally, overcome the Muslims in Al Andalus, and 1492, we find the last stronghold Granada falling. They inherited a technology that was a combination of the technologies of China and India, in ancient Europe and Africa, and the world. And it is reported that one of the Conqueror is known as an explorer, Vasco de Gama. He rounded the Cape of Good Hope in the 15th century, and he was seeking a way around Southern Africa.
It was not surprising that he was able to do this because his boat was designed by Muslims. And he carried an astrolabe with him and other devices. And moriscos were on his boat and he hired a navigator Ahmed bin magic. And so he found his way around with Islamic help and reached into the Indian Ocean. And the Arab sea failed seafarers were familiar with the Indian Ocean from earliest times. Now, historians and geographers are really realizing that not only did they travel the East African coastline, but they went deep into the South. What is reported is that they actually went around the southern part of Africa. And they made it into the Cape of Good Hope, long before
The first recorded presence of Muslims in the cape, where we actually have written records is coming in, in the Western Cape around the 1650s.
And in what is now known as Cape Town,
the Dutch established a colony on the coastline.
In this colony, they brought slaves and political prisoners from India, from Indonesia, from New Guinea, from Malaysia, from Madagascar, and from East and West Africa. And this base of operations that the Dutch had developed, you could say or is now known as the mother city of South Africa. And within the cape itself, there were a number of early Islamic personalities.
In these personalities, there was one Metatron who was a prisoner on Robben Island. There was also a tuin ramen, and tuin Muhammad, who came from Sumatra in Indonesia.
In 1667, they were able to establish a community in an area of Cape Town that is known as Constantia.
And by 1694 and especially in April 2 of 1694. A special personality comes in
into the cape region. That is Chef Youssef of Mikasa. He arrived as a political prisoner. And he was known to be a very important person within Indonesia and all of the Malaysian lands. He came in with his family and 49 followers. He was related to one of the Sultans of Indonesia. He had made pilgrimage to Mecca in 1644. He stayed in Mecca, and he became fluent in the Arabic language, he memorize the Quran, he became proficient in Quranic interpretation known as tafsir. He studied the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, he studied jurisprudence. He studied the traditional Islamic sciences. And he became a very important person within the culture of the
people of the cape.
He is known to have struggled in Indonesia. And it is through his efforts that a community starts to develop. And we find, again a beautiful blending that is happening within cultures that develops the culture of the people of the cape. The Dutch had used their superior weapons to defeat the Indonesians. They also use division between Amir's and kings and greed, something similar to what happened in Andalusia.
She accused of himself resisted colonization. And with 4000 fighters, he resisted for a long period of time, until finally he was captured and exiled to Sri Lanka, from Sri Lanka, he then entered into the cape. And so, he is recognized as a very important personality within South African Muslim culture. He is looked upon as the father of the Muslims within the cape
in his group, his colony that was set up with 12, Imams, and their wives and their children. And they settled in the mouth of the earth river, and shared use of Mikasa Rahim Allah, he was able to rally the Muslim slaves to conduct religious services. And he spread Islam, to the indigenous white white people who were living in that region. He died in 1699. But he is still known today as the father of the Muslims of the cape. And as a very important figure within Islamic history in southern Africa. He wrote books in three languages, he wrote in ballet, booga, nice and in Arabic. And his memory is cherished by the people of the cape, and recognized as one of the most important
individuals in the history.
By 1725, the cape is now developing, and slaves are being brought in, again, from Indonesia, from Madagascar, from East Africa, from different parts of Sri Lanka and India. And it is reported that 3000 convicts, prisoners of war were brought in specially to work on the harbor itself. And amongst these prisoners of war are people that they call bandit Imams, or exiled imams. And these imams work directly with the people. And what they presented for the slaves at that time was an alternative culture. So you could say in the sense that it was a form of resistance. And that's why the authorities called the bandits although they were highly religious people. But they were giving an
alternative to the alcohol and the adultery. And the confusion that was coming within the predominant our Dutch culture at the time. These imams conducted special gatherings in private homes, especially those that were owned by freed Muslims. And they resistance became powerful, and many slaves as especially those people who were able to come out of slavery to commit themselves and were free entered into Islam.
Another important issue happening in the cape region at the time is that wind becomes an important export. And
the Muslim slaves now did not drink alcohol, but they were involved heavily in education, and they preferred not to drink so they were more sober.
The non Muslim people who were there who were working in the region. And so large numbers of people accept Islam. And upward mobility is actually developed through accepting Islam. And the Dutch authorities, although they hated the resistance in the Muslims. They wanted to have Muslims working, because they weren't drunk. They were honest people, and they prayed. And that is a benefit for somebody who's controlling an area and needs strong, sober, sustained help. When the British abolished slavery, and they freed African people in a number of their colonies, about 5000 of these Africans came into the region between 1808 and 1856.
They came mainly from Mozambique. And when they came into the region, they actually saw Islam as the best alternative for their lives. So they entered into Islam in large numbers, and they boasted the Muslim community and strong addresses start to develop, so that by the year 1780, individuals are rising up, one of them known as one guru, in the Malaysian language, or Mr. Abdullah, even tardy Abdul salam, he comes out, he emerges as the strongest personality at that time, he was banished to Robben Island, the same place where President Nelson Mandela suffered during the apartheid regime to end guru was banished to Robben Island. And finally, when he came out in 1793, he wrote the code and
the whole court and from his memory, and this text is still found today in the first mosque, that was established in Cape Town. And this Masjid that was established around 1834, is known as a well, Musk. And so it is the first mosque to be established in the cape. The Imam, of course, coming out of the tradition of Turin guru,
and right in line with these teachings,
helps the people to come into Islam. So what happens is that to end guru and the others who follow Him, then convert many people, not by force, not by violence. But people come into Islam through education.
People see Islam as a means of raising this status in life as a means of understanding what is happening in the world. And it is reported
that those who are still in ball and chain slavery, those who who could not move around in the evening because of the chains would get up in the middle of the night, and pray tahajjud prayer with chains, they would get up in the middle of the night, and read the core and in chains. This is a powerful part of the history of Muslims living in the cape. And this is part of the important understanding, which is now arising out of the cape region that shows the connection between Muslims in southern Africa with Muslims living in East Africa, Madagascar, Malaysia, Indonesia. And we find from the writings and the teachings of the scholars, that the Muslims in South Africa in the early
period, were also connected with the Muslims in Arabia, they are leaders and studied in Mecca. The teachings were coming from traditional Islamic sciences and the the the the culture that develops becomes connected directly to the Muslim world. Let's take a break now. And then continue on with our understanding of the Muslims living in the southern part of Africa in Cape Town.
Welcome to this new episode of focus points. The new generation is has the good the habit of reading more than before.
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The Muslims in southern Africa, living at the Cape developed a beautiful culture, which was another blending of Islamic cultures and the indigenous languages and understandings of the region. And this is in line with what happened with the Swahili youth, who developed a culture based upon Arab merchants who are coming into East Africa, and intermarrying with the indigenous people of East Africa. In this case, we have
slaves and political prisoners, who are coming from the east, coming from Indonesia and Malaysia, from Sri Lanka, from Madagascar, from East Africa, and even from West Africa, all coming into the cape, and they are being controlled by the Dutch, they are also living within South Africa and the leading of the major indigenous group or the hoy people and so, their language, the indigenous language, now mixes with Malaysian languages, and then mixes with the Dutch language. And from out of this comes a new language and this Dutch base language is called Afrikaans. And so, basically, what it is is a creole form of Dutch, but there is so much influence from Malaysian languages and
some touches of hoy also, that it takes on a new form. And what is interesting about Afrikaans is that it is expressed by the people in a local way, and also it is written in the Arabic script. So that what we are finding is that in the same way, that in Al Andalus, that Spanish was written in Arabic script.
Also in West Africa, we find that mandinka languages the song guy language, the Fulani language, Wolof, the language is
also written in the Arabic language, we find that Persian is expressed to the Arabic language, Turkish is expressed through the Arabic language. So we find that Arabic becomes a lingua franca, it becomes a language of education, a language of culture, a language of even transmitting our non Arabic expressions. This is a powerful testimony to this language. And at that point in history, Arabic was still dominating much of the world.
Muslims were the first to write Afrikaans, in Arabic script. And so the early expressions of Afrikaans are coming out within Islamic texts. So we find, for instance, books on arcada, on faith, books, on grammar of Arabic, on interpretation of the Koran, and on the traditions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. They are written in Afrikaans, but it's an Arabic script. So these textbooks, actually now are considered to be one of the most important aspects of the written heritage of Southern Africa. And it is now being brought together in the African Union, to to make part of the rich culture of the African continent, which brought together people from different
continents and different languages. And again, it is so interesting that Arabic is at the basis of this. And Muslims are the agents of bringing together different nationalities and also raising education to a high level within society. So this young Muslim community, living in the bondage of slavery, then becomes liberated when slavery is abolished. But Following this, a
terrible period of colonialism is developed in South Africa, which eventually leads into what is known as apartheid. And that is where people are separated based upon their color, and based upon their nationalities. And so within the apartheid system, the white complexion people live in a separate area. They live on the high grounds, and they get the best area, the middle people called the collets. The people who are mixed are living in the middle regions and they usually work as artisans and they
Work as domestics and some semi skilled jobs, and the African people are living on the bottom, and are working in the gold mines, and the diamond mines. And the most menial jobs within a society itself. Muslims find themselves in the middle, they find themselves not in the top dominating classes, and not in the lowest, most oppressed class. But they were oppressed and put into a very strategic position. So many of the Muslims were involved in the struggle against apartheid. They use their their education, they use their their their intelligence, to try to bring the oppressed people from out of a state of oppression, from the time of to end Google, you go back to the 18th century,
and even before that, to the time of Shaq use of lacasa. Back in the 17th century, Muslims were providing upward mobility through Islam, that people who did not know how to express themselves, through written languages, could not read, textbooks carrying science and literature, were introduced to writing through the Arabic language to the reading of the court. And they were able to then go into the revelation, they were able to learn the sayings of the great alaba, who came out of the Middle East and out of much of Africa. And so Muslims provided this upward mobility for the oppressed people through the religion of Islam, and through the learning of Arabic, and the
memorization of the Quran. And the great writings of the Allah, who came from all parts of the Muslim world.
The cape Muslims were able to travel out of South Africa. And it is reported that from way back in the 18th century, some of them managed to actually reach Arabia, and they made a pilgrimage to make to Arabia. So from the 18th century, into the 19th century, they had a term they called the Muslims of the cape, a little calf, which we would know as the people of the cave. And there's a chapter called sort of calf, or the chapter of the cave in the court, and maybe the Meccans considered the cave, Muslims to be so far away, to be like in a cave or to be in a distant place. And they call them a little calf. And they came into Mecca, and they made the pilgrimage and settled down in
Arabia. Later on, during the colonial period, where Muslims were involved in
being artisans and semi skilled labor, they became excellent tailors. So they made excellent suits, and excellent clothing to the point where the ones were able to go to the pilgrimage to Mecca. And they started to sew clothing for the people of Mecca, they became the tailors of the Ashraf, Ashraf, and the tailors of the Sultan's, and they lived in Mecca, and they intermarried with the people in that region. So they make a vibrant community. And what develops from the apartheid is a negative and a positive. The negative is that Muslims are separated from other people. And they are oppressed by a strong racial regime. But the positive is that Muslims are forced to come together to live in
collectives, and this form type of mini Islamic State. So within the regions, especially in Cape Town, where you come into the Muslim sections, you find the man being called openly, all of the shops are selling halau food. The women are dressing according to Islam. Children are playing around and they're mostly Muslims. And so it is a strange phenomena that happens. Muslims are forced together. But through coming together in a state of Islam, they are able to actually preserve their faith and to raise themselves to a higher level.
So what develops out of this is that within the 20th century, Muslims then come to Cairo. They come to Medina and Mecca, and they start to learn to read the Koran. What develops out of this is a type of Kira. It is a level of the recitation of the Quran, that becomes world class and some of the great hall files coming out of Egypt. Some of the greatest of the Quran, readers would go down to the cape and read for the people in the cape, and they would involve themselves in Quranic competitions. And this continues up until today, to the level of the people of the cape is one that is recognized.
by people throughout the planet, also the struggle, because the history of Cape of the cape is one of struggle. The struggle then is is recognized not only within South Africa, but without South Africa. So keep Muslims from the cape also are very much involved in the issues within the Muslim world. And they have a very powerful voice. And although their number is small, their voice is heard throughout the world. So, this culture of the cape is a beautiful blending and the capetonians who are known as Malays, the terminology is using Malay, but actually it is a beautiful blending of Asian, of African, of Indian,
of Turkish, all types of blood of European, all types of blood are mixed together within the capetonian community. And also different foods are found within their culture. So again, is it is another beautiful blending of the cultures of the world. And that is one of the great blessings that Islam has for the world. The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, was surrounded by people of all nationalities. The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him did not submit to Arab nationalism, but taught that the best amongst the Muslims is the one who has faith. It is not based upon the color of your skin, nor is it based upon your class, or your lineage. So the Muslims of the cape continue in this
tradition, and they are able to build over 150 masjids within Cape Town and its facility itself, they are also able to export. There are Quran readers around South Africa around the southern hemisphere. And they are being benefited from in many parts of the Muslim world today.
This is part of the legacy of struggle, and from the early times, Sheikh Yusuf of Mikasa, to end guru, and all those who were struggling to maintain the Arabic language, those who would get up in the middle of the night and perform tahajjud prayer. Those who will read the Koran even though they were tortured to the point of death. It is through this struggle that Islam continues and thrives and that Muslims are able to participate in the struggles of other people in other parts of the world. And so, we again, open up this gem of wisdom and Untold Story of Islam, and Untold Story of world history. I leave you with this in peace. Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh