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Newsletter of the Claremont Main Road Mosque · Mi’raj Edition - June 2012/1433

Vol.1 No.4

Al-Isra’wal-Mi’raj: A Pedagogy of Hope & Reassurance Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar There are only three references in the Glorious Qur’an to the extraordinary mystical journey of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) known as al-Isra` wal-Mi’raj. These occur in surah Bani Isra’il, chapter 17 verse 1 and verse 60 and in surah al-Najm, chapter 53 verses 1 through 18. These Qur’anic references, however, are limited compared to the extensive and detailed accounts found in the prophetic traditions (ahadith) and the sirah literature.

Because of the expansive nature of the evidences concerning al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj and moreover because of the extraordinariness of the event itself, scholars of Islam have interpreted it as a rich and multi-vocal experience which contains numerous lessons for Muslims. I would like to reflect on this mystical experience of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), taking account of the historical context of the event as well as the nature of the journey, to draw out a critical message that should inform the disposition of every conscientious Muslim. From the historical perspective, it is paramount for us to appreciate that al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj occurred at one of the most difficult periods in the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), almost exactly one year prior to the hijrah. At this time in his life he had lost his two most important pillars of support. The death of his uncle Abu Talib followed by his beloved wife Khadija was a devastating blow to his mission. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was now left defenceless in the face of a relentless enemy. Because of his precarious position the Prophet (pbuh) decided to leave hard-hearted Makkans and try to preach his message to the people of the nearby city of Ta’if. But the people of Ta’if were no more receptive to his message and encouraged street urchins to drive him out of the city. Traditions inform us that the Prophet (pbuh) was humiliated and stoned until blood was flowing freely from his wounds and dripping at his feet. And as he lay outside the city of Ta’if a forlorn and scorned man, he made one of his most poignant prayers which clearly articulate his anguish and the state of despair he found himself in at this time: O my Lord! I complain to you of my weakness, the lack of my resourcefulness and of my humiliation before the people. O most Merciful of those who are merciful. You are the Lord of the oppressed and my Lord. To whom have you entrusted me, to an unsympathetic foe, who receives me with hostility, or to an enemy to whom you have

given control over my affair? I do not care for anything so long as you are not displeased with me. Your pardon is that which I desire the most. I seek shelter and assistance in the light of your countenance, which dispels all sorts of darkness and which remedies the condition of this world and the hereafter. Within a few weeks of this most difficult period in the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj occurred. Many scholars have therefore concluded that these difficult circumstances provided the impetus for this nocturnal mystical journey (sabab al-Mi’raj). Putting all the evidences together the following picture emerges of the nature of the mystical journey. On the 27th night of Rajab in the twelfth year of his prophethood and one year before his migration from Makkah to Madina, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was accompanied on a nocturnal mystical journey, first to al-MasjidalAqsa in Jerusalem (known as al-Isra’) where he prayed with earlier Prophets of God, such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon all of them). From there the Prophet (pbuh) ascended through the seven heavens to the lote tree (known as al-Mi`raj), where he witnessed some of God’s glorious signs.

“If life is to be sustained,

Editorial This Mi’raj edition coincides with our celebrations of Youth Day on 16 June 2012. As such we have included articles from young and inspiring voices, as well as topics that could resonate with our youth. Ihsaan Bassier’s article provides a thoughtful analysis, from a youth perspective, on the potential that exists within our province to foster economic growth and social equality. The personal reflections of Farah Jawitz on her journey through art, should inspire all young people to seek personal and spiritual growth in all their endeavours, no matter how ordinary it might seem at first. Amina Saban provides a sobering account of the scourge of substance abuse in our society, which is an issue that all of us, especially our youth, must remain vigilant against. It is also in the context of all these articles, that the Mi’raj message from Imam Rashied, of hope and optimism in our lives, is especially pertinent. Finally, we hope the eloquent description of Allah’s Creations by Aman Adams will encourage more young people from the madrasa and our jamat to submit contributions for publication in AlMizan. As the last issue before Ramadan, we want to take this opportunity to wish everybody a spiritually uplifting Ramadan 2012.

hope must remain, even when confidence is wounded and trust impaired.”

Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj as seen from the historical perspective represents a pedagogy of hope and reassurance. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) finds himself at his lowest ebb, yet his faith remains strong, and God, the Most Merciful, through al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj provides the Prophet (pbuh) with the reassurance of His Omnipotence. The Prophet (pbuh) gets a glimpse of God’s glorious signs through his ascension of the seven heavens. Shortly after this uplifting spiritual experience the Prophet (pbuh) left Makkah and was joyously welcomed to Madina where he became the leader of a new society whose destiny was to change the fortunes of the Arabian Peninsula forever. This is also the relevance of al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj in our personal lives as we journey along in the quest for meaning and transcendence. The lesson is clear that no matter what difficulty we may be encountering in our own historical sojourns we

must never lose hope. If life is to be sustained, hope must remain, even when confidence is wounded and trust impaired. Without hope there can only be despair. Notwithstanding the despondency which abound both within and outside our community, it is the responsibility and duty of the conscientious believer to keep the spirit of hope alive in our communities. We need to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit against all odds. There are many Qur’anic passages that exhort us in this regard. The most striking of these come from surah al-Inshirah, chapter 94, verses 5–8: Verily after difficulty there is ease. After difficulty there is ease. And when the difficulty is over still strive, and make your Lord the object of your striving (Q 94:5-8)

40-42 Main Road, Claremont, 7708 • 021 683 8384 •

Chairperson’s Message Yusuf (Jowa) Abrahams

age after a very successful It is an honour for me to submit a mess on the 18 March 2012. Annual General Meeting of the mosque held 1854, and is the sixth in lished For the record, this masjid was estab in 1980 under the held was AGM n know first oldest in the country. The leadership of Imam Gassan Solomon. reports that were given I wish to highlight the following aspects from at our AGM: ngst board members on • There have been regular consultations amo all policy matters relating to the mosque. d meetings has been the • One of the features at our general and boar a more comprehensive ded provi e Thes s. head reports of the portfolio for us is to ensure that all overview of the activities and the challenge ities. activ Board members are involved in these s and the general increase • We are encouraged by the Friday collection in the contributions of members. ms which should ease the • The treasurer has introduced new syste ices. pract g financial control and accountin a new dynamism to the • The general secretary has brought all stakeholders takes place administration and communication with on a regular basis. needed administrative • Nurjehaan Watson continues to provide much support for masjid and madrasa work. evidenced in this issue of • The social responsibility programme as ue activities and our mosq of part rtant Al-Mizan has been an impo wonderful work. thanks to Mariam and Imam Rashied for the ssly to strengthen our tirele • Imam Rashied has also been working adan programme Ram the to ard forw khutbah platform and we look he is planning in consultation with others. to ensure that the madrasa • A renewed commitment was made by all M. CMR continues to be a vital project of workshop was held on the A comprehensive Board strategic planning a full report will be given at 3 June 2012 to map the way forward and the next general meeting. ing Board members: I wish to pay a special tribute to the follow Omer who stepped down Shahieda Jacobs, Aleem Saban and Ekram in the administration part at the AGM. They have played an important continue to play a will they that trust rely at the mosque and we since -Allah. supportive role at the masjid in future Insha tude to Imam Rashied, grati rest since my ss expre to wish I Finally, their excellent work for bers mem d Imam Shaheed, and all Boar the support and by ed urag enco ly great are and dedication. We a very positive play to nue contributions of many stalwarts who conti ities. role in all aspects of the mosque activ placed in us! Shukran to all for the confidence you have


Imam’s Message Imam Shaheed Gamieldien By the Grace of the Almighty, my wife, Adiela, and I were granted the opportunity to perform ‘Umrah for the first time in late March and April 2012. This momentous journey really took me on a special expedition that will not be easily erased from my memory. Ever since my return from this spiritual and physical journey I am eager to do things to improve myself in the eyes of my Creator. As a first timer to two of the three holiest masjids of Islam, the adrenalin and anxiety began to enter my body as we approached Medina. The tears of joy rolled down our cheeks whilst passing the Prophet’s (saw) grave and making du`a. After a few days in Medina, we were en route to Makkah AlMukarramah. I still remember vividly how I asked my wife whilst donning my ihram “how do I look” she replied jokingly “u look fine”. It was only afterwards that I realized the real importance of this particular garment. It is not how you look but how you interact with your fellow human beings. Ihram strips you of your status and standing in society, to make you just one of the many pilgrims who submit to only One Creator. As we entered Makkah the sweat was running down by back, anxious to have a glimpse of the Ka’bah. The moment of reality struck me as I lay eyes on the Ka’bah. As I started the tawaf (circumambulation), I realized the magnitude with all the other pilgrims, chanting Arabic phrases, glorifying Allah’s (swt) name “O Allah here I am, O Allah here I am”, as the Ka’bah represents one Creator, so too the Ummah represents one. Without doubt the sa’i (running between the hillocks of saffa and marwa) was for me the ultimate test. As I approached the last lap I felt as if my legs were caving in on me. As I struggled with the incline my memories took me back to that incident of Sayyidatina Hajar (ra), how she searched for sustenance for her son Nabi Isma’il (ra). It was at that point that I found new strength to complete my sa’i. This particular ritual has inspired me to be more aware of the needy and the poor as the current winter months are with us. This journey has also taught me to have a lot of SABR. After this momentous experience my message is simple: We need to be grateful and thankful for what Allah (swt) has given us. We need to respect and appreciate each other and assist each other in goodness. May Allah (swt) accept all our `Ibadah and grant us good health to complete the fasting and other great acts of worship of the forthcoming blessed month of Ramadan. May Allah grant our elders who are not feeling well, their health and strength. To those who have departed to the hereafter: May Allah have mercy on their souls and grant them a high place in jannah. Amin

Living in Allah’s Presence Nazeem Manuel

Wherever you turn is the face of God (Q2:115) During every Friday sermon, Muslims are exhorted by the imam to have taqwa (ittaqullah!). Taqwa has beautifully been rendered into English by Muhammad Asad as God-consciousness. Living with taqwa, as the title of this article suggests, is to live in Allah’s presence. As a simple and very practical din, Islam suggests ways and means for believers to gain closeness to Allah. As Muslims we do not always recognise this bounty, so I would like to suggest some practical ways for us to achieve this. •Salah: What a gift! Each day we are given the opportunity to come into the presence of Allah. The beautiful simplicity of salah is explained in the following hadith: “When you stand for the prayer, make the takbir and then recite what you can from the Quran. Then bow until you attain calmness and then come up again until you are standing straight. Then prostrate until you attain calmness in your sitting, and prostate until you attain calmness in your prostration. Do that during all of your prayer” (Bukrari & Muslim). The “attaining of calmness” is the essential thing in salah. It is a movement of the heart. Without that it is an empty ritual. The content of the prayer is remembrance of Allah. •Dhikr: Dhikr or the remembrance of Allah is the essence of Islam. Dhikr is essentially contemplation of the Supreme Name, Allah. And this can be done during the course of our daily grind. Return to the invocation of the Divine Name at every opportunity during our daily life. It is dhikr that is maintained in everyday life that is most transforming. There is no need that anyone be aware you are doing this inner prayer. It is a personal, inward invocation of Allah, established in your own personal relation to Allah. •Muraqabah: Muraqabah is the practice of meditation on the Qur’an. It consists of directing one’s thoughts to the full implication of these verses; absorbing them, internalising them, taking into our heart, making it real. As a great contemporary scholar told us at a student conference many years ago: we must read the Quran as if it is revealed to us in that moment! •Tafakkur: In today’s world of rampant materialism, and the destruction of the environment, Islam requires us to meditate on nature. The Quran is a book of signs (ayat), and much of these signs are about the natural world. Tafakkur requires us to live in harmony with nature, to evaluate how we can live more eco-conscious lives, and what we can do to turn the tide on our destructive modern lifestyles. •Du’a: Du’a is simply conversation with Allah – either by words or by heart. It is therapeutic, because instead of carrying the burdens of life alone, we take them to Allah in prayer. There are countless prayers in Islam; from the Qur’an, Prophetic prayers, and saintly prayers from the sages of Islam. Most importantly, du’a comes from the heart. We come to Allah to express a word, a thought, a request, a blessing or concern, about anything and everything in our life that we want to share with our Rabb (Sustainer), who created us and who is ‘closer to us than our jugular’. Salah, dhikr and du’a all present to us moments of solitude. Solitude is a Prophetic practice and can be a time of reflection on the happenings in our lives. The obvious question is, how are we able to find solitude in our busy lives filled with work, things to do and people who need us? The answer is to intentionally choose to make time for solitude to occur. When travelling in the car, for example, turn off the radio. At home, turn off the TV. We are not created to live ascetic lives. Islam places emphasis on community. As Muslims we are called to share life in community to experience the presence of Allah. Living in the presence of Allah then is best experienced and most authentic when it is lived in community. “The Hand of Allah is with the community” said the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) (Tirmidhi). This also provides us with an opportunity to share the bounty of Islam with others. Just as rain revives the barren earth, meditation (dhikr, muraqabah and tafakkur) revives the soul. The indispensible ingredient is a heart that is open to Allah. In a hadith related by Sayyidah Aisha (ra), the Prophet (pbuh) said “My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake’!” (Bukhari).


MASJID A Islam For Beginners

Between January and April of this year the Claremont Main Road Mosque ran a successful 14 week Islam for Beginners course which was facilitated by Imam Nur Salie. Although primarily aimed at embracees, the course was also recommended as a refresher on the basics of Islam. The course content was largely based on the book, Islam - An Introduction by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood and was specifically and thoughtfully constructed to include topics such as The life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), The Quran and Sunnah, The Rites of Passage, Halal and Haram, Human Rights and Ethics, Friendship, Hospitality and Green Islam. Around 40 participants from various faith traditions registered for the course & every week the class brimmed with the most

interesting questions, ranging from misunderstandings about the concept of Jihad to polygamy & divorce. The Islam for Beginners class was also fortunate to have two inspiring guest speakers - Dr. Sadiyya Shaik, who spoke about Women in Islam and Bashir Sacranie who shared his insights on the life of our beloved Prophet (pbuh). At the final class on 24 April 2012, Imam Nur briefly summarised the vast number of topics covered during the course after which one of the participants embraced Islam in what was a beautiful and inspiring ceremony. It is our wish to continue with more adult and youth education programmes in the future Insha-allah.

Shahieda Razak We found the course really enlightening and thoroughly enjoyed the content. Most appealing about the course was that it appealed to the reasoning and interest of youth. Topics such as Dress Code, Women in Islam, Marriage, Divorce and Death were of particular interest.

Moegamat Hendricks Although I’m not a revert but algamdulillah, the course was very interesting to listen to the reverts, how they did their own research and asked questions about what we as born Muslims do not even think about.

Jihad Against Poverty 2012 Blanket Distribution The Claremont Main Road Masjid’s Jihad Against Poverty campaign was revitalized in May 2012 with a blanket distribution campaign ahead of the Cape winter. Close to 400 blankets were distributed to needy individuals in diverse locations such as Khayelitsha, Blikkiesdorp, Elsies River as well as our neighborhood Haven Night Shelter. A few blankets were also given to the Social Justice Coalition for distribution to Khayelitisha shack dwellers whose homes had been burnt down in the past month. The highlight of the campaign was once again the opportunity provided for members of the CMRM jamat and their children to join in the distribution programme to further cement CMRM’s growing relationship with these township communities. The Khayelitsha programme included a jumu`ah khutbah on 25 May by Imam Rashied Omar at the Sayyidina Bilal Masjid. On Sunday 27 May CMRM members were welcomed by the Blikkiesdorp Women’s League who arranged for the distribution of 100 blankets and about twenty meat parcels and clothes. CMRM wishes to sincerely thank the generous donors and commend all of those who joined us for the blanket distribution campaign. May Allah, the Most Generous, bless you all for your generosity.


Nurjehan Holt Shukran to one and all for the most informative classes and for the sheer dedication of Imam Nur and the team.

Quanita Davids We have been attending the IFB course and it has been fundamental in our lives, truly inspiring and enjoyable. Being exposed to various teachers over the course has made this experience even more profound.

ACTIVITIES Empowering Through Reading Mariam Ismail Baderoen Children have a right to read. It is a right which stems from our country’s constitution and it is our shared responsibility to create the opportunities and conditions that enable them to read. The Vulindlela Reading Club is a community literacy initiative coordinated by the Project for the Study of Alternative Education (PRAESA). It is a place where people who love stories and books meet regularly to read and to have fun. The main aims of the club are to create communities that read for enjoyment, to provide children with access to good quality story books and to foster a love for stories and books in an informal, creative and nurturing way. The Claremont Main Road Mosque is delighted to support the Vulindlela Reading Club because it believes that education plays a fundamental role in poverty alleviation which in turn leads to positive social change - and because a socially responsive vision of Islam compels us to get involved. Reading is one of the most empowering tools we can give a child. It not only helps to develop their creativity, vocabulary and sharpen their language skills, but also leads to more critical thinking and a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them. For the past 2 months CMRM volunteers have consistently volunteered in this wonderful programme and we would like to urge more members of the jamat to get involved by volunteering some of their free time on Saturday mornings or by offering financial or other assistance. For more information kindly contact Najwa Norodien-Fataar at OR Mariam Baderoon at



Message from the Principal Shafiek Abrahams

mid-year examinations Our learners are currently extremely busy with their the best with their all them wish We assa. madr the both at school and at been focussed on our also studies and results, Insha-Allah. Our attention has ate National Youth emor comm to Faure education excursion to the Kramat in Day on 16 June. honouring those students June 16 is commemorated as National Youth Day, nts uprising, fighting stude to Sowe 1976 who sacrificed their lives in the On 16 June 2007, the ls. schoo in ans Afrika of ation ment the forceful imple (kramat) of Shaykh shrine madrassa had a very successful excursion to the once again comto ed decid unity comm Yusuf in Macassar. The madrassa life and sacrifices the to rs learne our ing expos by 2012 memorate Youth Day madrassa (staff, entire The . of the pioneer of Islam at the Cape, Shaykh Yusuf parents and guests) 16 June 2012. went on this educational excursion on Saturday, tional and fun activities Teachers and learners engaged in various educa of the shrine. The guest ty vicini the in Yusuf regarding the life of Shaykh shared with us the history of who a, Rhod im Ebrah Mr was day lecturer for the kramat. Mr Rhoda is an exthe of early Islam at the Cape as well as the history sive research on early exten doing been ment principal and has since his retire Principal Archival the also is He area. d Stran the ially Islam at the Cape, espec Research Adviser for the National Archives. e gratitude to the wonderI want to take this opportunity to express my sincer nstrated their interest in ful response from the madrassa parents who demo the madrassa by taking over this and making it their own. project from the madrassa management and staff many more similar projects Their enthusiasm and dedication is indicative of . being undertaken in the near future, Insha-Allah

Important Dates: 23 June 2012 - Parent-Teachers Meeting - Second Term Fees to be settled 21 July 2012 - Start of the Third Term


Unpacking the Western Cape

Ihsaan Bassier* South Africa is a wonderful country: as part of the BRICSA emerging markets, it is the biggest economy in Africa. However, Apartheid has marred the population with unemployment and poor government service; moreover, the recent recession has struck a resounding blow to the economy. Analysing the Western Cape in this context, it needs diverse growth and equality. In addressing this, a brief anatomy of the province will be sketched, followed by suggestions for future policy. The Western Cape has fared well compared to the rest of South Africa. It contributes a consistent 15% to GDP, while only housing 10% of the population. It also boasts a 0.7% higher growth. Characteristically, the province is favoured with diverse sectors, promoting competition and less dependence. In the primary sector, agriculture and construction are everpresent; the secondary sector holds a strong manufacturing industry and the tertiary sector is growing, with a vibrant business environment. Unfortunately, though, being better relative to South Africa is no feat – there are still vast economic problems, not least of which is the 19% unemployment rate. Three other areas are of economic concern to the province. Firstly, internal: the recession and Euro-crisis have cut out markets; the weak Forex rate has made imports more expensive; and long-term BEE policies have been slow to rectify inequality. Secondly, competition: other provinces are growing previously Western Cape-monopolised industries, like grape farming; and the province is allocated a relatively smaller provincial budget due to its prosperity. Lastly, skill: incoming are the unskilled workers, primarily from the Eastern Cape, that need to be provided for; and outgoing are the educated for better opportunities overseas.

What, then, can the province do? In rectifying these problems and promoting growth, there are two broad suggestions: prioritisation, indicating where the focus should lie, and government delivery, analysing how this should be implemented. Prioritisation of industry is important because resources are limited. Without it, funds are either randomly allocated (minimising economic potential) or given through favouritism. Prioritisation focuses the government and ensures maximum economic gain. Three industries stand out as showing the best trade-off between potential for economic impact and cost. One, call centres – cheap with enormous economic impact. Current international trade supply chains work across many time zones, demanding unreasonable working hours from corresponding distant economies. The Western Cape should take better advantage of this niche, considering its global geographic positioning relative to the USA and Europe. This, combined with the high English literacy rates within the province, presents call centres as an easy avenue for employment of the unskilled at low cost and high profit.

“The destructive protests and marches of late have made many aware of just how fed up especially the poorer citizens are of service delivery.” Two, Small-, Medium- and MicroEnterprises (SMMEs). These are currently the biggest source of growth, with the appeasing advantage of targeting the unemployed as well as being diversified in nature. Not only should SMMEs be financially incentivised, the government should also provide basic training courses to help them proliferate, for example in computer literacy. These courses can greatly increase the efficiency of business while opening opportunities for expansion. Three, tourism. Even though this industry is costly, it has flourished in the Western Cape with 150% times the growth of other sectors. This should be encouraged. The type of investment in this sector should be nuanced, though: tourist demand has evolved from simple sight-seeing to a much more wholesome package. The Western Cape should offer more than natural beauty, perhaps frequent cultural events or an intriguing film industry.

The second broad policy suggestion is in government delivery. The destructive protests and marches of late have made many aware of just how fed up especially the poorer citizens are of service delivery. There is good reason for the despicable state of affairs: departments tend to not spend where funding is needed and to neglect the most important methods of doing so. Solving this may come about through better communication and accountability. Information is thus critical. Public forums need to be held, digging into the grassroots of citizens’ needs. Part-funding of smaller initiatives should also be explored: profit gives a stronger market indication of addressing the right needs whilst improving productivity. Accountability has been tainted by the huge goals that are set, but never materialise. To force this on government officials, it should be mandatory to provide a detailed, focused, longterm plan. Dedicated personnel should be allocated to each task in order to pinpoint responsibility. And there should be publicly declared support for these measures: after all, the community cares the most about service delivery and so will be most keen to hold these officials accountable. An example where these principles could apply is in education. Its current state is disastrous: 80% of schools are dysfunctional, yet even the R120 billion annual government expenditure has led to little improvement. Education is imperative for skilling the population, creating a more employable workforce. Accountability is equally important: teachers are on average inexplicably absent for 40% of lessons. Basic attendance would do wonders for struggling pupils. Communication and accountability would see a much more effective translation of government spending into service. South Africa has come a long way from Apartheid. Weathering the economic storm, too, was a marvellous sign. But there are still significant problems. This province needs growth – prioritisation is the fastest way. It takes advantage of what the province has and what it is good at. This province needs equality – service delivery achieves that. Tightening the link between the government and the people will result in vast improvements, starting with education. This province has enormous potential – it should be unlocked. *Ihsaan won a national Nedbank Award for this essay, for Grade 11 students in the field of economics.


My experience working with substance abusers in treatment

Dr. Amina Saban


I recently spent 2 years of my research working daily in three private inpatient substance abuse treatment centres. No amount of prior reading could have prepared me for my eye-opening experience, some of which I share in this article. The three treatment facilities differed greatly from one another: One had medically-trained personnel who followed a medical model in a hospital environment; the second provided counselling, and homeopathic treatment, in a half-way house sponsored by Muslim community members; the third employed recovering addicts to counsel substance abusers in a caring Muslim-based home environment. Many of the patients were familiar with all three institutions. I occasionally encountered the same patients at different treatment centres, after they had been discharged from one and re-admitted at another. Most of the patients were male (90%). In comparison, females seemed to encounter more obstacles to entering inpatient treatment (including increased social stigma, more severe financial constraints, additional domestic and child-care responsibilities). The patients were predominantly Muslim. However, this might not have reflected only a substance-abuse problem amongst Muslims, since Muslim families seemed to prefer treatment facilities with an Islamic ethos. Patients were admitted mainly for abuse of heroin or crystal methamphetamine (tik), though many also abused cannabis and cigarettes. Alcohol and illegal substances were prohibited during treatment, but unmonitored cigarettesmoking was generally allowed. This

would mean that, even if the substance abusers would become drug-free, they could still face a future of severely compromised health because of tobacco abuse. Inpatient admissions often increased during holidays. The reason appeared to be that families were keen to free themselves of the worry and disruption caused by their substance-abusing relatives during holidays. In response, the substance abusers appeared to be conflicted and ambivalent about the actions of their families, and frequently vacillated between expressing feelings of anger, guilt, shame and abandonment. I also found that, even though treatment centres recognised that continued care was paramount for positive treatment outcomes, follow-up treatment of substance abusers was usually regarded as the responsibility of the patients themselves. Treatment facilities seemed to have limited resources to follow up their patients, especially if the patients did not voluntarily return as outpatients.

“There appears to be no single risk factor that precipitates substance use initiation, nor a single resilience factor that protects against substance use.� As a mother of young adults, my experience was often heart wrenching. One 21-year old patient who looked no older than 16, had had 10 admissions in five years. The cost of her treatments was borne exclusively by her parents, bankrupting them. This bears testimony to the desperation and hope of parents to find assistance for their children, and the faith that they place in facilities dedicated to providing such assistance. However, this also highlights the issue of accountability, with substance abusers regarded as responsible for their own plight, while treatment providers are absolved of any responsibility regarding the outcome of the treatments they offer. Substance use and abuse have been linked to several problematic behaviours (including sexual risk behaviour and school dropout), and adverse social consequences (including homicides, motor vehicle and fire accidents). Suggested risk factors for substance use have included poverty, lower educational levels, single-parented households, genetic predisposition, and friends or family members who abuse substances. Factors that appear to protect against substance use include harmonious domestic and family relationships, adult supervision of children and adolescents, intelligence level, problem-solving ability, and supportive family. However, in conclusion, there appears to be no single risk factor that precipitates substance use initiation, nor a single resilience factor that protects against substance use.

CMRM Events

In Celebration of...

Boeta Layman Abrahams - 80 years old was also able to learn about my family’s heritage, about living in Claremont, about Primroses, Claremont Main Rd Mosque and the emergence and influence of Imam Haron.

Khalid Galant I am indeed honoured to pay tribute to Boeta Layman on the celebration of his 80th birthday, celebrated on 11 May 2012. For those who do not know Boeta Layman, the following words aptly describe the many dimensions of his life and personality: Claremont; Stalwart; Loyal; Very humorous; “Skaap”; Primroses. These words associated with Boeta Layman will invariably bring a smile or laugh to those who know him, because to talk about Boeta Layman, is also to recall some humorous story associated with him.

Boeta Layman to me, has also been a Griot. A Griot is a storyteller in West African tradition who perpetuates the oral tradition and history of a village or family. Claremont of the past, was certainly different from what it is today. It was not really a neighborhood in the traditional sense but more of a village, which lived and embodied the ethos of “it takes a village to raise a child”. Boeta Layman and his late wife, Aunty Faiza, took on the responsibility of raising his niece whose mother died a few weeks after chilbdirth.

sheep. Initially most of the qurbaans were performed on their property. As someone who is known for his sheep slaughtering skills, Boeta Layman always stresses the importance of compassionate treatment of the animals prior to the sacrifice and also during the slaughter. Interestingly, Boeta Layman is not really a meat-eater. Boeta Layman has always been closely associated with the Primroses rugby and cricket clubs. Initially he first played for Green Roses and Violets and then Primroses. Since then he has become one of the club stalwarts. Of rugby and cricket, he has more of a soft spot for cricket and prefers watching rugby and cricket at Rosmead, rather than being a spectator at places like Newlands. Finally, I would like to acknowledge Boeta Layman as a respected elder in our community who provides a window to our past and to our heritage. We pray that Allah grants him his health and that our jamat may be blessed with his presence for many more years Insha-Allah.

It was narrated by ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The best of righteous deeds is for a man to keep in touch with his father’s friends after he dies” (Bukhari). It is within the context of this hadith that I am especially honoured to pay tribute to Boeta Layman. My relationship with Boeta Layman stretches back to my earliest childhood memories. Boeta Layman was one of my late father’s (Sedick Galant) closest friends growing up in Claremont. They lived close to each other and although a few years apart in terms of age, went to the same schools (Talfallah Prim, Stephen Reagan and Livingstone HS). Boeta Layman has lived through PreApartheid SA, Apartheid SA and now a Democratic post-Apartheid SA. Over the past few years, Boeta Layman has regaled me with many stories, often humorous, about Claremont. The value of these stories allowed me to not only learn about colorful characters in stories but, I

Boeta Layman was the last person to be forcibly moved out of Claremont due to the Group Areas Act. He left Claremont in 1983 to live in Lotus River. He willingly recalls events and re-tells the history of this area without bitterness but with humour and affection for those he grew up with. I was especially intrigued to find out how Boeta Layman came into the business of selling and slaughtering sheep. The property his family owned and where he grew up in Claremont was a big lot where they had goats, horses, chickens and other farm animals. As such, they were the most appropriate people in Claremont to approach for qurbaan and


Masjid Affairs CMRM Board 2012

Guest Speaker Profiles Bashir Sacranie

Back (l-R): Wasiela Agherdien; Jeff Jawitz; Jaamia Galant; Achmat Peters; Mariam Baderoen; Shafiek Abrahams Front (l-R): Yusuf (Jowa) Abrahams; Khadeeja Bassier; Imam Rashied Omar

Board Member

Brief Resume

Yusuf Abrahams (Chairperson)

YA is a retired Educationist/ Director at CPUT. Currently Marketing Executive at Essential Office Supplies in Plumstead.

Achmat Peters (Vice-Chairperson)

AP is a retired professional electrician who worked at Fine Chemicals.

Wasiela Agherdien (Treasurer)

WA is Financial Manager at Cecil Nurse Furniture in Woodstock.

Jaamia Galant (Secretary)

JG is an academic and works as a researcher at UCT in the Department of Education.

Mariam Baderoon

MB is a qualified teacher and serves on the Council for the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative.

Khadeeja Bassier

KB is a qualified actuarial scientist. She is currently a Product Development Specialist at Investec Asset Management.

Jeff Jawitz

JJ is an academic and works at UCT in the Centre for Higher Education and Development.

Rashied Omar (CMRM Imam ex-officio) Shafiek Abrahams (CMRM SM Madrasa Principal ex officio)

RO is a Research Scholar of Islamic Studies and Peacebuilding, at the University of Notre Dame, US. SA is the principal of Phoenix High School in Manenberg.

Bashir Sacranie is a retired professional management consultant. He wrote and published the “Ishq of Jallal‘uddin Rumi” in 2007. He is engaged in personal study and research in pursuit of knowledge about Islam and the ‘Way of the Prophet’ and their relevance in present times.

Ameen Amod

Ameen Amod is a qualified auditor, and studied Tafsir at the International University, Islamabad. He also lectured in Tafsir at ICOSA between 1993-1998.

Shaykh Abdur-Rasheed Brown

Shaykh Abd al-Rasheed Brown is a well known Qari and Hufaaz in Cape Town. He has been the Director/ Principal at the Ibn al-Jazary Institute in Penlyn Estate, since 1999.

Imam Afroz Ali

Iraqi Delegation Imam Afroz Ali is the founder of the al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development, a founding member of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, recipient of the International Ambassador for Peace award & an Australian Ambassador for the Charter for Compassion.

Dr. Hisham Al-’Alawi

On Friday 1 June 2012, the pre-khutbah lecture was delivered by Dr. Hisham Al-`Alawi, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to South Africa. Dr. Al-`Alawi was accompanied to jumu`ah at CMRM by an Iraqi delegation that included, Mr. Jabbar Al-Kanani, a member of the Iraqi Parliament, Mr.Samir Adnan and Mr.Walid Khalid, advisors to the Iraqi Prime Minister, and Ms. Thurra Safa, a diplomat in the Iraqi embassy in Pretoria.


Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to South Africa. Dr. Al-’Alawi is a doctor by profession but has been actively involved in Iraqi politics for the last 25 years.


Tribute |

Kassiem Omar (22 March 1928 – 30 March 2012) Many of his friends and family benefited from his employment in these businesses as he persuaded managers and bosses to hire those seeking work.

Jihad Omar Kassiem Omar (fondly known as Amie Kai) father of Imam Rashied died peacefully at his home in Salt River on 30 March 2012. He had just celebrated his 84th birthday a week earlier on 22 March. He is survived by his wife Latiefa (Aunty Tiefa), 4 sons, Rashied, Anwar, Lutfi and Zaid, 14 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Amie Kai (or Dede to his family) grew up in the bustling and vibrant working-class enclave of Salt River. By many accounts he was a bright and active boy with a penchant for the surreptitious hoax and a shrewd ability to sidestep chores and any hard labour. His elder brother, the late Haji Gasant Omar would relate many a story in which the “baby” Kai would mischievously sway their mother, Mama Maryam, into allowing him to play while he hauled goods off to their shop. Amie Kai was well known in the Salt River community and was very involved in many of its social activities. A keen sportsman in his youth, he soon after became a founding member of Blackpool soccer club, Squares cricket club and the Chairman of the Jonge Studente Sing Koor. He enjoyed the company of others and when in his element was irresistibly charming and distinguished, with a superb memory, attention to detail and work ethic. For many of his working years he was a tailor and worked at Bertish and Rex Trueform clothing factories. In the 1970s he worked as a salesman in the clothing department of Makro Wholesalers in Milnerton. He was also briefly employed at the Koeberg Nuclear Station when it was still run predominantly by the French.

Amie Kai’s love for work and sport was only surpassed by his dedication to his din and family. His pilgrimage to Makkah in 1968 at the age of 40 was a life-transforming experience and one of its legacies, which many can attest to, was his steadfast punctuality in observing his daily salahs. He served as a committee member of the Muhammadiyya Masjid in Tennyson Street Salt River, under the chairmanship of his elder brother and was often seen walking from his home to the mosque. In 1979, after his son, Imam Rashied, was asked to lead the tarawih prayers at the Claremont Main Road Masjid, by his close friend Haji Cassiem (Dannie) Sadan, he began patronizing the masjid and remained an active member. While his formal education was limited he was always eager to learn and would often be heard weighing in on religious disputes or edicts which erupted in Cape Town.

My memories of Dede have about them one particular inaccuracy. No matter how old I am, in my recollections of Dede he always appears to be the same. Calm, wise with a full head of snow white hair. This wisdom was often imparted in unassuming ways, through the display of devotion and love for his wife and family, his care for being on time at work and appointments, the memorable stories or songs he sang to little children or his vigilant consideration of finances. Kassiem Omar’s philosophy of life was simple: “Be yourself without pretentions”. His wisdom and dry humour will be sorely missed by the jamat and his family. We make dua and pray that Allah grants him a high place in jannah, Insha-Allah.

Masjid Kursi

To honour the memory of their father, Imam Rashied Omar and his brothers, Anwar, Lutfie and Zaid have dedicated a Masjid Kursi – a Chair of Teaching and Learning – as a sadaqa jariya to the Claremont Main Road Masjid. The chair was constructed by a master craftsman in Cairo and shipped to Cape Town. It is their hope and prayer that this gesture will inspire others to also honour the memory of their deceased parents through sadaqa jariya contributions to this masjid and other masajid. A masjid kursi adorns many masajid all over the world and it symbolizes the vital educational role that the masjid serves.

In Memory of All Deceased In the past few months, many CMRM members have lost loved ones. We pray that Allah grants all the deceased a high place in jannat, and puts sabr in the hearts of their families and friends, Insha-Allah. We think particularly of the Ajam family, Wagiet family, Martin & Behardien families, Omar family and Allie & Razak families.


My Journey With Art Farah Jawitz

in Islam (and other cultures) and the act of covering up skin.

My decision to take Art as a school subject was due to my love of drawing and painting. My family and I were however, in no way prepared for the kind of spiritual development it would grant me. I was never particularly good at art in primary school but after looking through some of the art I did as a small child I am still amazed at the use of drawing as a medium of communication. I believe that the beginning of my breakthrough came in Grade 10 when I explored the vibrant architecture of the mosques and houses in Bokaap. My mom and her family grew up there, and although I didn’t, I was slowly starting to feel that I could identify with the community. Once I had completed the practical, my grandmother told me that the “no-parking” sign outside Boorhaanul Mosque was very special because my grandfather had moved it into the road before Jumu’a every Friday without fail. No one had told him to; it was his self-assigned duty and pride in taking care of the mosque community. I had just included the sign because I thought it looked good in the photographs. Through this, the painting became more than a school project: it became a tribute to Pappa.

I slowly began to understand that painting, like the other art forms – dance, music, drama – was more than the final product. It tells a story about the identity of the artist and, how the artist views the world. To share something so personal is therefore quite a daunting task. I slowly began incorporating signs and symbols that referred to me as a Muslim, something I’d never thought of doing in art before. The fact that we had to motivate every piece we did meant that I was continuously exploring and questioning how best to portray my experience as a Muslim and whether this was a valid representation. As you may imagine, this led to spiritual growth on many levels. My favourite matric practical caused quite a stir at school. Although the brief was “Skin”, and many in my classmates focused on the classic nude art works, I explored the veil

I found it humbling to sit surrounded by the noise and the chaos that often makes up an art class, and focus on the detail and the theme of modesty in my work. This taught me patience and contentment in my space and what I stood for. To be honest, I was surprised by the amount of encouragement and support I received from my non-Muslim art teacher who at one point suggested I choose an Islamic theme over a non-Islamic one. She clearly saw what I was good at, what I was inspired by, even if she couldn’t relate to it, and challenged me to push myself.

“I was continuously exploring and questioning how best to portray my experience as a Muslim and whether this was a valid representation.” Art has given me a lot more than I expected. I was allowed to do it as a matric subject on condition that it remains nothing more than a hobby. Neither my parents nor I realised how much I could get out of it as it was always a question of how much time and energy it would take away from more “important” things. Art gave me the space to reflect and to grow and learn from all the research and exploration I had to do.

CMRM Ramadan 2012 Highlights

• Tarawih by Shaykh `Abdur-Rasheed Brown, Hafiz Ihsaan Bassier, Hafiz Ismail Moses, Hafiz Dr. Shuaib Manjra and Guests • Post-Tarawih Talks: Qur’anic Reflections by Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar and Shaykh Sadullah Khan and Guests • Commemorating August Women’s month with Post-Tarawih talks on Famous Women in Islam • Sunday Morning seminar programme will focus on the work of Imam Abu Hamid Ghazali (d.1111) • Youth I’tikaaf programme on the last weekend of Ramadan • Extended evening programme on Laylatul Qadr that will include Tilawah, Dhikr & Qira’ah, with Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar, Shaykh Sadullah Khan & Shaykh `Abdur-Rasheed Brown

Allah (SWT) says in the holy Quran in surah Hud, chapter 11, verse 115: “Be patient (in adversity); for, verily, God will not let the reward of the righteous be wasted.” If there is one message I would like to leave you with, it is that if we all seek the patience and determination within us, we can turn what may seem to be ordinary activities into something truly rewarding. If we remember the child within us who saw the world through colours, we may be able to bring a new spirit to our everyday lives. May we be filled with positive energy and inspiration to bring something special to the people around us.

NEXT ISSUE OF AL-MIZAN 19 August 2012 ‘Id Al-Fitr

Al-Mizan Vol1No4  
Al-Mizan Vol1No4  

Newsletter of the Claremont Main Road Mosque