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Ml Karaan, a learner till the end

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Scholars who worked with and under the late Maulana Yusuf Karaan have shared special anecdotes reflecting the character of the former imam of the Jamia Masjid in Strand. Maulana Karaan passed away on Sunday morning following a long illness, with ulema and community members coming out in their droves from across the country to pay their respects to him. He was laid to rest at the Strand Muslim Council Cemetery.

Imam Moutie Saban, who worked closely with the scholar within the ranks of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), said his duas would be with the wife and children of the late mufti of the MJC. Having worked together for nearly 35 years, Saban said the Muslim community had lost one of its most senior figures.

“He was a man that I regard as a great alim. He was a father and teacher, the imam of the Jamia masjid in Strand, a councillor and adviser, a friend and confident… he was just about everything that you can say. May Allah (S.A.W) grant him a very high place in Jannah,” he said.

His sentiments echoed those of many other members of the ulema, who described Maulana Karaan as ‘a man of many talents’. Most eulogies sought to place importance on his great depth of knowledge with regards to Islam.

“I regarded him as a farm where there are many fruits, and you take your baskets with you and you pick them full. I used to open up the door to his office every single day and take an empty basket there, and I would walk out of with the basket loaded,” said a crestfallen Saban.

Maulana Irshaad Sedick was amongst those to have worked under Karaan within the MJC’s Fatwa Committee. He said his interactions with the learned scholar were ‘but a drop in the ocean’ compared to those more senior than himself. Despite this, he was eager to stress that Cape Town had lost one of its greatest legends, one who add been around since the early days of the MJC.

“Maulana Yusuf Karaan was at the end of the day the mufti of Cape Town, and today we have lost him. Allah (S.A.W) will not remove knowledge from this earth by making the scrolls or books disappear, but rather by taking the lives of the great scholars. He was a man who was constantly reading and studying, and he never considered himself done with learning,” he said.

Another former colleague, MJC secretary-general Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie said Maulana Karaan’s impact had reached a vast range of communities, and not only in the Strand in which he resided. He described his life as one of dedication, commitment and loyalty in the path of Allah (S.A.W).

“His services to the MJC was phenomenal and exceptional, there is so much that we can speak about. This is a moment of deep reflection and thought, great pain and grief, but at the same time a moment to reflect on his life and identify the legacy he has left, so that we may take that and nature it further,” he stated.

Karaan’s passing marks a second significant loss to a Strand community still reeling from the passing of his daughter, VOC stalwart Munadia Karaan. She passed away in February 2014 after a long battle with cancer.

Maulana Yusuf Karaan was 79 at the time of his passing. (Mubeen Banderker)

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