Home News Messages of peace and generosity as Alberton opens its first Mosque 80 years after first plans

Messages of peace and generosity as Alberton opens its first Mosque 80 years after first plans

by Zahid Jadwat

ALBERTON – The Muslim community of Alberton, near Johannesburg, has conveyed a message of peace to non-Muslims in the area upon the inauguration of the community’s first mosque.

The Alberton Jummah Masjid welcomed congregants for the first time on Friday (3 December), after years of challenges that prevented the establishment of a mosque in the area.

“Our message to the non-Muslim community is that Muslims are peace-loving, generous and welcoming. We welcome you engage with us and see what Islam is all about. Our Masjid is a centre of humanity and we invite you learn about our religion and faith in the Almighty,” said Ebrahim Laher, the deputy treasurer of the Masjid.

“The opening of the Alberton [Jummah] Masjid is very historic. Muslims settled in Alberton in around 1910. The elders at the time established a Musallah in the Matwadia yard. Later, it moved to the Laher property and Jummah salaah commenced there. Thereafter, the Makda family provided a bigger space and daily salaah was established.”

As the Muslim community in Alberton grew, the original Musallah was extended. The newly-built Masjid now boasts the capacity to accommodate between 500 and 600 worshippers at a time and a ladies’ prayer facility.

The idea to build a Masjid in the area dates back to the 1940s, when Hajee Essop Makda donated approximately 1000sqm of land to the Elandsfontein Muslim Jamaat. However, the introduction of apartheid legislation a few years later became the single biggest obstacle to the Masjid.

“The Apartheid government at the time created uncertainly and wanted the few Muslim families to leave Alberton. This never happened, however, and plans were then drawn up to build a Masjid. However obsticles continued,” said Laher.

Laher explained that several hurdles, such as objections from the local community and legal processes, continued to prevent construction of the Masjid even after the Apartheid era.

“The land that was donated by the Makda family had one single title deed which needed to be split. The dominant non-Muslim population continued to raise objections and the project was delayed as hurdle after hurdle needed to be addressed. It was only three years ago that the green light was finally given to proceed – with significant conditions.”

Abed Karrim from the Al-Imdaad Foundation hailed the mosque’s completion and stressed the importance of establishing da’wah in the community. He said: “Let’s work together as one ummah and let’s invite people to Islam”.

“Watching this all play out today is very rewarding and watching the sense of community is what made us smile today,” said Dilan Couvaras from Spartan Civil Projects.

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