The Muslim community in Cape Town has reacted with shock at the loss of one of its most beloved sons, after the untimely passing of Shaykh Abd al-Rasheed Brown. Tributes have since come in from far and wide, especially amongst fellow shuyukh and students that have sought to remember him fondly.
A highly educated individual, Brown held a bachelor’s degree in Theology, as well as diplomas in Management, Counselling & Conflict Management, HR Development, and IT. In terms of his Islamic education, he studied religious studies at UCT as well as privately with reputable Islamic scholars.
Shaykh Brown’s passion and love for the Quran was channelled through the Ibn al-Jazary Institute of Qur’anic Sciences, of which he was founder and director. This saw the establishment of the Imam Hafs Qur’an Academy, and more recently, he served as a lecturer of Tajwid and Fiqh at the Madina Institute.
Close friend and colleague, Sheikh Ismail Londt conveyed his, and the condolences of the Muslim Judicial Council’s (MJC) Quranic Affairs department to the family of the late scholar, expressing his personal shock at Brown’s death.
“We’ve lost a special son, brother, educator and a beautiful orator. He was a unique thinker and servant of the Holy Quran,” he said.
Londt’s relationship with Brown began at the tender age of 13, when they were introduced by former MJC president Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels. Both had a mutual love for the recitation of the Holy Quran. Londt said the environment Brown was brought up in focused on total service to the Quran.
“You would enter their house during different times of the day and you would hear recitation of the Quran, on the reels and on the cassettes…
“He was one of my first role models. The tall gentleman with his unique charisma, who was always very encouraging,” he noted.
Another good friend and colleague at Madina Institute SA, Shaykh Fakhruddien Owaisi, paid tribute on Facebook.
“Our beloved brother will be dearly missed by us. His voice, his melody, his humility, his ambition and his love. A man of the Qur’an, of ilm, of tasawwuf, of khayr and nur. We pray to reunite in Jannah….where we can praise our Creator and our Prophet (SAW), in a gathering of light, together again,” he wrote.
Hafith Mahmoud Khatib said Brown had left an indelible mark on the Muslim community in Cape Town, with a dark cloud now hanging over the community at the loss of such an influential character.
“Because of his beautiful nature and his participation in providing hope, growth and opportunities for everyone, as well as working in the sigma of the deen, you will find everyone is today sad and depressed. We don’t know how to deal with the shock and sorrow and this multitude of emotions,” he stated.
Khatib recognised the scholar’s extensive work in educating the youth of Cape Town, calling on the community to add additional fervour in continuing his life’s work.
“It is very important in these times that we do not only remember him on his day of janazah, but his family members who will be going through trials and tribulations,” he urged.
Sayed Ridhwaan Mohamed Ziyaee of the Cape Town Islamic Educational Centre said the institute has greatly benefited from Shaykh Brown’s knowledge and efforts. The centre will host a special thikr in memory of the scholar on Thursday evening.
“He was a man known for his immense piety and devotion. He was the person who led the gatherings in praise of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). One of Shaykh Brown used to say that whenever something serious happened, he sought Allah’s help. Shaykh always stressed that we should focus on giving education to the youth, as there is a need to continue supporting the nation through education. May Allah have mercy on him and forgive his shortcomings and accept his great deeds.”
Shaykh Sadullah Khan, under whom Brown studied at Masjid al-Quds and later shared the stand with as the mosque’s co-imam, said his former student had been known at a very young age for his excellence in the recitation of the Quran, and later as one of those at the forefront of Islamic education in the city.
He also described it as a sad day in the sense that the community and the quranic fraternity would be losing one of its own at a relatively young age.
“It is really like a portion of oneself that is gone …It is in a very esteemed circle of Quran, of qasidah, of praising the Rasool and remembering Allah, of being in the masjid and being in the leadership of the community that Sheikh Abd al-Rasheed Brown will leave a vacuum,” he added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)