The death of Imam Erefaan Joseph will leave a huge void in the hearts of those who loved athkaar in Cape Town. Imam Erefaan, the imam of the Vos Street masjid in Bo-Kaap, passed away on Wednesday night at the age of 68 years old. Imam Erafaan has had years of ill health, but remained passionate about the tradition of thikr in the Cape.
Born to Mogammat Cassiem and Galiema Joseph, Imam Erefaan was a son of Bo Kaap, rooted within the Islamic traditions of the community. According to a biographical account of his life, published by Boorhaanol Islam Movement in 2013, Imam Erefaan grew up during a time when gadat was compulsory on a Thursday night and moulood and arwaag were important social engagements.
At the age of 21, he joined the Geiraatul Giesaan Ghatam Jamaah and remained a member until his passing. In 2007, he was appointed as the officiating imam at Vos Street masjid and had served faithfully until his demise. During his early thirties, he started a thikr group in his own circle of family and friends, which developed tremendously over the years.
The Vos Street Jamaah became a popular thikr group on VOC and their thikr recordings were constantly requested by listeners. Imam Erefaan also led many thikrs at the VOC’s Ahlan Wa Sahlan programme over the years. He was awarded by VOC in 2015, for his contribution toward Islam at the Cape.
Coordinator of the VOC Ahlan Wa Sahlan outreach, Ebrahim Arnold, who had known Imam Erefaan for many years, described him as a “pillar” of the AWS initiative.
“He has been at every AWS programme, except when he fell ill in 2011. Even thereafter, he would come with his walking stick,” he recalled.
Imam Erefaan was composed, even in the most difficult situations.
“He had a beautiful voice and we could always rely on him for his repertoire of athkaar…he would ensure that we ran smoothly on air. He was a humble, respectful and unpretentious person. People always looked forward to seeing him at the various programmes we had.”
He was always concerned about the increase in the Cape tradition of athkaar and ensuring that young people carried forward this legacy.
“The combination of Imam’s humble demeanour, exceptional pronunciation and beautiful laagu (tune) has endeared him to thousands of admirers over the years,” said the Boorhaanol Islam Movement.
“When he was approached to lend advice to the producers of the Ramadan Recitals CD, not only did he unhesitatingly avail himself despite his frail presence, but also assisted with the tajweed and pronunciation of the mosque groups who recited on the CD. Such inspirational leadership underlines the essence of this humble man who has spent his life as a servant of deen,” said the Boorhaanol Islam movement.
May Allah SWT grant Imam Erefaan Joseph and all deceased the highest abode in Jannah and forgive any shortcomings, Ameen. VOC