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
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.

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
'We wanted Patricia de Lille to go, Patricia de Lille went'

'We wanted Patricia de Lille to go, Patricia de Lille went'

DA's Mike Moriarty says this matter is about whether the IEC has powers to make judgements about the former mayor.

Giant ANC billboard with spelling error has social media in stitches

Giant ANC billboard with spelling error has social media in stitches

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have gone viral.

Caller gives Ramaphosa a new name: Dimakatso

Caller gives Ramaphosa a new name: Dimakatso

Listeners weigh in on the president's forever 'shocked' response to situations.

'I just messed up one line, why is it news?' Darren responds to anthem backlash

'I just messed up one line, why is it news?' Darren responds to anthem backlash

Eusebius McKaiser speaks to Kurt Darren about forgetting the South African anthem's lyrics.

Gift of the Givers' Dr Imtiaz Sooliman – angel amongst men – talks about money

Gift of the Givers' Dr Imtiaz Sooliman – angel amongst men – talks about money

"I have no desire for clothes. I have no desire for holidays. I have no desire for outings. All I see is the suffering of people…"

New Ipsos poll shows ANC winning 2019 election, rates Ramaphosa a vote puller

New Ipsos poll shows ANC winning 2019 election, rates Ramaphosa a vote puller

Senior client officer at Ipsos, Mari Harris says President Cyril Ramaphosa's trust index is higher than other leaders.