The Muslim Judicial Council has urged Imāms to read the following statement of support and reflection on the life of Imām Abdullah Haron (Raḥimahu Allāh), to mark his birthday on Friday 8 February.
This year marks the 50th year in which Imām Abdullah Haron was killed by the former
apartheid state of South Africa. He was killed on the 27th of September 1969 after having
been detained for 123 days. He was arrested on the 28th May 1969, which was the day the
Muslim community celebrated the birth of our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣallallāhu
Álayhi Wa Sallam).
Many of us may recall or may have heard about the tremor that shook the Cape Town area
with its epi-centre in the small town of Tulbagh. This tremor occurred on Monday, 29
September 1969, coinciding with the exact evening Imām Abdullah Haron was buried.
Throughout the 1960s, the Imām was among the few Imāms who were politically involved
and worked with various political groups such as the Pan African Congress (PAC) that was
very active in Cape Town, and its surrounding townships. Imām Haron was also involved
in Dáwah activities. As the Imām’s activism increased in the African townships, he was endearingly called mfundisi (priest). He was loved by children and elders alike as a result of
his kind and gentle nature. The generosity of spirit was indeed one of the Imām’s well-
known characteristics. Imām Haron knew how to work with others despite having political
and theological differences; this is a true hallmark of good leadership.
One of our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣallallāhu Álayhi Wa Sallam)’s greatest practices
was to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. Imām Haron was one of those individuals who
regularly fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. He did this since his return from Makkah
where he was a student of the respected Shaykh Alawi (Raḥimahu Allāh). Upon the Imām’s
return, he continued his studies under our learned scholar Shaykh Ismail Hanif Edwards
Apart from the Imām’s steadfastness on this important practice of fasting; Imām loved
reciting the Glorious Qurān. His regular fasting and continuous recitation of the
Qurān reinforced his consciousness and faith in NO one else but Allāh, and this is
indeed a vital lesson that we should all learn from him and his legacy.
Another lesson that we can draw from the Imām’s short, but rich life is the fact that when
he was detained, he fasted for most of the 123 days in detention! Can one imagine
going through torture and on top of that fasting? He did this in dedication to Allāh and
seeking solace because he stood up against an unjust state that oppressed most of our
Imām Haron was a dedicated and loyal member of the MJC; during the early part of the
1960s. He served for one term as its Chairperson and he carried out his duties diligently.
We should also state that Muslim News and MJC records contain many reports of the Imām
along with Shaykh Abu Bakr Najjaar (Raḥimahu Allāh) and Shaykh Nazeem Mohamed
(Raḥimahu Allāh) travelling the length and breadth of the county to meet other Úlamā. The
reasons for these important travels were:
• To discuss ways of unifying the Muslim communities across the country,
• And to work out a unified method of issuing Ḥalāl certificates
With this brief insight into the Imām’s life, we the MJC (SA) wish to pay our tribute to him for
having laid down his life in pursuit of establishing a just society for all South Africans. As a
community, we still face many challenges. We should continuously honour the Imām and
our earlier forebears who sacrificed their lives so that we could have better opportunities in this part of the world in this temporal life of ours.
The MJC (SA) is kept fully briefed of the commemorative events that are planned by the
Imām Haron Commemoration Committee. The MJC (SA) encourages the community to
support their efforts. We especially call on the Ḥuffāẓ in our community to take part in the
recitation of 123 Khatams and dedicating it to Imām Abdullah Haron (Raḥimahu Allāh).
May Allāh bless the souls of the great leaders of our community by granting each of them Jannah tul Firdaus, Amin