The Jami‘atul ‘Ulamâ (JU) was established in 1923 to service the religious needs of the Muslims. It was originally founded by Moulana Mohammed Waliullah (RA) but was later revived by Moulana Muhammad Mia (RA), Mufti Ebrahim Sarijalvi (RA). Many Ulama, too numerous to mention, spent their lives serving Islam and the Muslims through the Jami‘atul ‘Ulamâ Transvaal. As the needs of the Muslim community grew, the JUT correspondingly responded. It was in the 980s, that more branches and representatives were needed to service the ever growing and geographically diverse Muslim population. Alhamdulillâh, today the JUT has six fully operational branches and six zonal representatives operating in six of the nine provinces in South Africa.
Whilst the JUT paid attention to the overall Dinî needs of the Muslims, its initial emphasis was on education. So, as early as 1961, we find the JU drawing up a syllabus for the entire Transvaal. Correspondence, as early as 1940 on the suggestions of various ‘Ulamâ like Moulana Ahmad Hathurani on the improving of the then syllabus, is well documented.
In the late 1950s, the JUT arranged the translation of Mufti Kifayatullah’s (RA) widely acclaimed basic fiqh book called Talîmul Islâm for implementation in its affiliates.
Under the auspices of the JUT, a number of books were published. As early as 1927, the JUT published its first book designed for Shafi’î students and adults guiding them in the manner of performing Salâh.
Engaging the Government
In the 1950s, the JU took up the cudgels with the Nationalist government against the Group Areas Act and succeeded in defending our Masâjid and Madâris from demolition. In the 1970s and 1980s, the JU interacted with the government on Muslim affairs, Muslim Personal Law etc.
The new dispensation did not prevent the JU to forge links with the democratically elected government. If anything, the interaction has increased tremendously. In 1994, a JU delegation met with President Mandela, who gave ~is personal assurance that his government would ensure that all obstacles are removed in the path of Muslims in implementing Muslim Personal Law in South Africa. Among the many researched memorandums, which the JU submitted to the government, include the issues of pornography, abortion, the introduction of religious education in state controlled schools, capital punishment.
The 1980s is noted for the role the JL1 played in the infamous Qadiani case in the Cape along with the Muslim Judicial Council.
The 1990s inaugurated the JU into a completely new era: an era of rapid change, expansion, and diversification. It was a founding member of the United ‘Ulamâ Council of South Africa, a national ‘Ulamâ body representing Muslims on national issues. The council has seven ‘Ulamâ bodies as its members.
This piece is taken from the website of Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Muslim Theologians), Johannesburg.
See on-line at: http://www.islamsa.org.za/profile/history.htm