As Ramadan begins, take time to find out the history of Islam in SA

With Thursday marking the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, Eusebius McKaiser speaks to a professor in Religious Studies at the University of Johannesburg, Farid Essack to discuss the history of Islam in South Africa.

READ: Love is the hallmark of spirituality & real religion says Dr. Sooliman

Essack begins by explaining the number of times that Muslims go to pray and why they do so.

They pray fives times a day. Because Muslims generally pray. There are five daily prayers, The Sunni Muslims pray at five different times and the Shia Muslims combine the evening prayers and the day prayers and both groups do the early morning prayers.

Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

The professor added that there are approximately about 860 000 Muslims in South Africa.

We have been around for a long time actually. We first came shortly after 1652 to South Africa about a year after Van Riebeeck had first landed. They were brought as slaves because the local Khoi weren't very cooperative. So we come from Salon, Mauritius, Madagascar, and Mozambique.

Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

He said there are two major streams of Islam in South Africa.

So the one arrived shortly after Van Riebeeck and they came from the east - labourers, political exiles. The Dutch were in occupation of the Cape and they were in occupation of Indonesia.

Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

He says the Dutch colonialists considered some of them to be troublemakers in Indonesia, and so sent off to a faraway place at the southern tip of Africa - the Cape Colony.

This stream is known as the Malay community. The other stream arrived as labourers on the eastern coast of Southern Africa, in the area now called KwaZulu Natal.

They came from India in 1860 along with some Hindus. And the descendants of that crowd, they are now in Gauteng, in North West, Mpumalanga, the Northern Province and of cause largely in KwaZulu Natal.

Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

The professor adds that there is one other stream that arrived between 1873 and 1880 He says these were 500 slaves that were liberated and brought to Durban.

They ended up in Durban and they were known as Zanzibaris, they were from Tanzania and Zanzibar. But they had white gowns and they had beards so culturally they didn't fit in with the local Zulu community at all. They did follow the similar cultural and religious practices of the Indian Muslims.

Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

So when apartheid came along, they were proclaimed Muslims.

Until today, you have a community of black Africans living in the middle of an Indian township, Chatsworth, the Zanzibari Muslims.

Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

He also explained the difference between the words Islam and Muslim.

The one is a social-religious community, these are Muslims. And Muslims follow the religion of Islam.

Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

Listen below to hear this insightful history of Islam in South Africa:


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Bomb found at Verulam mosque could be sign of 'feud', says terrorism expert

Bomb found at Verulam mosque could be sign of 'feud', says terrorism expert

Terrorism expert Jasmine Opperman has warned the public to refrain from linking the Verulam mosque attack to terrorism just yet.

[LISTEN] Was the Verulam attack a terror attack?

[LISTEN] Was the Verulam attack a terror attack?

There is a lot of speculation surrounding an attack on three men at a mosque in Verulam on Thursday.

Muslim Judicial Council calls for calm after KZN Mosque attack

Muslim Judicial Council calls for calm after KZN Mosque attack

MJC's Shaykh Isgaak Taliep says it is imperative no witch hunts are conducted after one killed and two critically injured.

Public cautioned against jumping to conclusions over mosque attack

Public cautioned against jumping to conclusions over mosque attack

Foreign editor at Independent Media, Shannon Ebrahim, says the Muslim communities have been living peacefully for years in SA.

Haji Mohamed Dawjee's frank book shares her take on life

Haji Mohamed Dawjee's frank book shares her take on life

Haji Mohamed Dawjee, author of "Sorry, Not Sorry", gets candid about writing her highly praised book on SA life as a brown woman.

[LISTEN] Love is the hallmark of spirituality & real religion says Dr. Sooliman

[LISTEN] Love is the hallmark of spirituality & real religion says Dr. Sooliman

Founder of Gift of the Givers, Dr. Imitiaz Sooliman chats about the misconceptions around the Islamic faith & shares his story.

What Hashim Amla's fascinating story illuminates about South African society

What Hashim Amla's fascinating story illuminates about South African society

Writer Niren Tolsi says SA cricketer Hashim Amla is the living embodiment of a nation trying to express itself while healing.

Young Capetonian artist wins big!

Young Capetonian artist wins big!

Winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award Igshaan Adams says that the award came at a time when he was at his lowest.

Yusuf Cat Stevens SA tour gets sold out within 6 hours in Cape Town

Yusuf Cat Stevens SA tour gets sold out within 6 hours in Cape Town

Singer and songwriter Cat Stevens, also known as Yusuf Islam, will be performing for the first time at Kirstenbosch in November.

Cape mosque attacks should be loudly condemned in public spaces - SAIRR

Cape mosque attacks should be loudly condemned in public spaces - SAIRR

In a second incident, the Masjidul Jaamia in Kalk Bay was splattered with blood and holy scriptures were damaged on Monday.

Malibu High Muslim learners served pork at matric ball

Malibu High Muslim learners served pork at matric ball

Parents of Muslim learners at Malibu High School are incensed that the school served children pork.

Contralesa upholds freedom of religion, says EC chair

Contralesa upholds freedom of religion, says EC chair

Contralesa has denied reports that it called on Mvezo Chief Mandla Mandela to step down following his recent conversion to Islam.

Does it matter that Mandla Mandela married a Muslim woman?

Does it matter that Mandla Mandela married a Muslim woman?

Contralesa's statement addressing Mandla Mandela's marriage to a woman of Islamic faith has sparked national debate.

How can democracies deal with ISIS threat?

How can democracies deal with ISIS threat?

702's John Robbie and Stephen Grootes explore the effect of the Islamic State (ISIS) and on democracies around the world.

Ramadan and food

Ramadan and food

Sam Cowen looks at the meaning behind Ramadan as well as the treats that come with Eid in this week's food feature.

Jordanian double-execution, Malamulele violence condemned, Mugabe and the EU

Jordanian double-execution, Malamulele violence condemned, Mugabe and the EU

The day's big talkers in one

What a snowman in Saudi Arabia has to do with the Charlie Hebdo cartoons

What a snowman in Saudi Arabia has to do with the Charlie Hebdo cartoons

The connection between Saudi snowmen, Islam and Charlie Hedbo depictions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

'Open Mosque' set to open in CPT despite opposition

'Open Mosque' set to open in CPT despite opposition

A 'conceptual' mosque that's divided strict Islam adherents from the generally curious is opening on Friday.

Popular articles
Former Nedbank Chair Reuel Khoza opens up about money, farming and music

Former Nedbank Chair Reuel Khoza opens up about money, farming and music

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Khoza about his attitude and beliefs about money (plus successes and failures, etc.)

Everything you know about success is (mostly) wrong

Everything you know about success is (mostly) wrong

Allon Raiz on “Barking up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science behind Why Everything You Know about Success Is (Mostly) Wrong”.

[LISTEN] Father shares how he shot the man who raped his daughter

[LISTEN] Father shares how he shot the man who raped his daughter

Johannesburg father, Chris says he had just come back from work when he walked in on an employee raping his 17 year old daughter.

Bokke can become a world-beating squad - Ashwin Willemse

Bokke can become a world-beating squad - Ashwin Willemse

The former Springbok and current rugby commentator gives his perspective on Saturday's game against the All Blacks.

UPDATE: Chilling WhatsApp from Marli van Breda's ex-boyfriend read out in court

UPDATE: Chilling WhatsApp from Marli van Breda's ex-boyfriend read out in court

Marli van Breda's ex took the stand in the trial of triple murder accused Henri van Breda.

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

Wits associate professor of economics Christopher Malikane speaks to Azania Mosaka about the term that is being bandied about.

Competition Commission investigates five companies to stamp out price-fixing

Competition Commission investigates five companies to stamp out price-fixing

Commission says investigation into food and agro processing companies is important because of high levels of inequality in SA.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?