by Zaid Dante
Posted on May 25, 2021
If the history of our town began with settlement by a group of Javanese fishermen on the white dunes of Mostert’s
Bay, then the core of this community has consistently been its imams.
From Imam Abdus Samad of Semarang, to Imam Railoun, Imam Moosa Karaan, Imam Taliep Cassiem, Imam Noor
Wentzel, Imam Jaylani Baderoen, my late father Moulana Yusuf Karaan, and now our most recent loss, Moulana
Ghosain Rhoda: these were the men who defined and shaped our town, generation after generation. May Allah
envelop them all, the ones mentioned and unmentioned, in His special mercy.
The survival of Islam in this part of the world, under what can only be described as adverse and unfavourable
circumstances, will remain one of the miracles of this beloved land. The key to that miracle has been the continuous
existence of men in our communities who made it their life’s work to preserve the legacy and teachings of our Nabi
sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam.
Ours was never a particularly wealthy community. What it was able to offer its imams was naturally limited. And
there was never a lack of offers from wealthier communities. And indeed, the young man who I first met when my
father sent my late brother and me to call him from Aunty Aisa’s house down the road in Fifth Street when he had
just freshly returned from studies in India, always had the option of taking a better position elsewhere.
Whether he ever considered those offers we might never know. But what we do know is that he continued serving
this community for close up to 50 unbroken years. It is a point of special pride to our community that almost all its
imams served such long terms.
But serving a long term is one thing, and doing so without ever losing your good cheer and gentle manner—now that
is an outstanding achievement! He was one who could mingle with his people on cricket pitch or soccer field, and
never lose his dignity or virtue. And many are those who can testify that he could administer a goeie pak slae and go
back to being the gentle soul he was the very next moment.
Most importantly, whenever mimbar, mihrab, madrasah or community called, he was there. Unfailingly,
unflinchingly, unreservedly. Adorning the unforgiving grind of his labour with the beatific smile that became his
hallmark, and eyebrows half raised, almost as if in constant amusement.
Moulana Ghosain was our imam, and of that we are immensely proud. What we as a community demanded from
him and his family was always given willingly. And with it was imparted, with the gentle kindness that he so
absolutely personified, the gift of Deen to a new generation. It is because of men such as he that our community
Ya Allah, receive him with the honour due unto those whose lives were spent in the preservation of Your Deen.
Envelop him in Your limitless mercy and forgiveness. And in death, treat him with the same gentleness which You
made his signature quality in life.
Moulana Taha Karaan
Mufti of the MJC (SA)