The Muslim Judicial Council (SA) was established in Cape Town in 1945.

Historically, the MJC has always represented the Muslim community and supported the struggle for liberation, but always retained its political independence, as an organization, by being politically non-party aligned.

Sixty-two (62) Founder members attended the MJC’s inaugural public meeting on the 10th February 1945 at the Cathedral Hall, Queen Victoria Road, Cape Town. Subsequently, an Executive Committee comprising nineteen (19) members was elected on the 17th February 1945.

The Executive Committee comprised the following Sheikhs and Imams: Achmat Behardien, M. Shaakier Gamieldien, Igsaan Gamieldien, Abdullah Gamieldien, Ismail Edwards, Mogamat Salih (Abadie) Solomons, I. Moos, M. Tape Jassiem, M. Moos, M. Abbas Jassiem, I. Taliep, Abdullatief Parker (Imam Babu), Abdullah Behardien, Muawiyyah Sedick, Abdul Bassier, Sulayman Harris, Abduragman Salie, Armien Mustafa, Ariefdien Manuel. Br. Hashiem Edross was the General Secretary.

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Many of its members were directly involved and participated in the struggle for liberation. Some of its members have served as Ministers and Members of Parliament (MP’s) in the government structures. One of its senior members, Sheikh Abdul Hamid Gabier, has served as the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia for the period 2003 to 2006.

Noteworthy, is that the late Imam Abdullah Haroun who was killed in prison was also a prominent member and chairperson of the MJC. The legacy of the late Sheikh M. Nazeem Mohamed, a former president of the MJC, is well documented in the history of the MJC and in the hearts of the S.A rainbow nation. He was also a personal friend of Madiba Nelson Mandela, the first “black” President of South Africa. For more than 350 years members of the Muslim community were active participants in shaping a unique heritage and culture, especially in the Western Cape Province.

Out of an estimated 2.3 million Muslims throughout South Africa, about one million Muslims live in the Western Cape. Cape Muslims have been and continue to be an integral component of the socio-economic and political development and infrastructure of the City of Cape Town.

Remarkably, the Muslim community’s limited infrastructure and [financial] resources were acquired through many decades of self-sacrifice and hard work. To-date, the Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) and more than 97% of the Masajid (Mosques) and Madrasas (afternoon Muslim Schools) throughout the country, especially the Western Cape have not received any International/Foreign Funding for developing and maintaining their respective infrastructures.

At the historical inaugural meeting a TEN-POINT PROGRAMME for the Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) was adopted, viz.:

To unite on the precept of the Holy Quran and to reinforce this unity by henceforth holding an Annual Conference of Muslim Religious Leaders.

To elect a Judicial Council from among the members to attend conferences, in which all religious matters could be referred for solution; such decisions of the Judicial Council shall be final and binding.

To elect a committee from among those serving on the Judicial Council or from those present at the Conference to investigate delinquency in all its forms and to make annual reports on the ways and means of counteracting same.

To register the so-formed Judicial Council in order to ensure its recognition by the Government.

To introduce a uniform and more methodical system of Islamic education in Muslim schools; members of the Judicial Council to supervise such education by, at least, annually inspecting the Muslim schools.

To support any movement, which aims at erecting a Muslim College where students will receive sound religious, as well as, a secular education.

To introduce an enlightened, methodical and uniform system of lectures.

To encourage and contribute towards the publishing of Islamic literature, such as literature to be approved by the Judicial Council.

To persuade the Government to recognize the abhorrence, which Muslims hold for exhumations and post-mortems.

To demand that the Government recognizes Muslim marriages as legal when performed in conformity with the laws of the Holy Quran.

The Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) has its headquarters at Darul Arqam, 20 Cashel Avenue, Athlone, Cape Town. These premises, formerly an African church, were legally acquired in the 1970’s and officially occupied in 1984.

Prior to this, the first official premises for meeting and other purposes were the Nurul Islam Mosque, Buitengracht Street, Cape Town, then the Rahmaniyah Primary School in District Six, thereafter the Azzavia Mosque in Walmer Estate, Cape Town and at the Muir Street Mosque, District Six.

Thereafter, meetings were held at the MJC’s offices at Amelia House (currently known as Wembley House), Belgravia Road, Athlone. Some of the senior MJC members fondly told us:

“Minutes were kept in the boot of the Secretary’s car. We used to have meetings in the basement of the Masjid and there was no money for stationery or even to provide tea for the members attending the meetings.”

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