In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful
The Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) has its headquarters at Darul Arqam, 20 Cashel Avenue, Athlone
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger Muhammad (Pbuh) and those of you [Muslims] who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination” (An Nisa: Q4: 59).
The Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) [MJC] is non-profit organization (NPO) or a faith-based organization (FBO), which was established in 1945. It is one of the oldest, most representative and most influential religious organizations in South Africa and enjoys local, national and international credibility.
Giving full credence to its vision of making the Muslim Judicial Council SA as
“A Home for All ‘Ulama” (Bay-tul-‘Ulama). The Muslim Judicial Council SA:
2.1 Strives to mobilize the potential material and human resources available to realize the ultimate religious and spiritual development of humankind.
2.2 Strives to establish and create the necessary infrastructure and sub-structures within an Islamic Ethos to realize its aims and objectives, as set out in its Constitution and contained in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.
2.3 Strives to protect and preserve the Din (Way of Life) of Islam in all its dimensions.
2.4 Strives to protect the Muslim identity and safeguard Muslims from religious, cultural, political and socio-economic exploitation, abuse, oppression and misrepresentation.
2.5 Strives to contribute positively in caring for and being concerned about the minority status of Muslims in this part of the world.
2.6 Strives to continuously protect and promote the pristine Islamic values and standards, especially the values and standards pertaining to marriage, families, children, women, the youth, the aged and the poor.
To preserve and promote Islam as a practical, divine way of life, resulting in holistic approaches to all challenges and in all spheres of human activity. The Muslim Judicial Council (S.) is a “Home for All ‘Ulama” (Bay-tul-‘Ulama).
4.1 To promote the value systems of Islam and to give guidance to the community, based on the Shari’ah of Islam in accordance with the Holy Quran, Sunnah, Ijmaa’ and Qiyaas, and with due reference to the Four Schools of Jurisprudence which are recognized by the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.
4.2 To work for the fulfillment of the spiritual, educational, moral, cultural, political and economic needs and aspirations of the community.
4.3 To strive for unity of all Muslims.
4.4 To cooperate with all bodies and individuals or groups, without prejudice, provided the ethics and principles of the MJC will not be compromised.
4.5 To provide leadership, which will enhance stability, peace and harmony in the community.
The Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) [MJC] is a Muslim Judiciary whose main functions relate to religious guidance, spiritual and moral rejuvenation, education, Fatawa (Religious Decrees), Da’wah (Islamic Outreach), Halaal Dietary Provisions and Certifier, marriage counseling services, socio-economic development and social cohesion. It is a Muslim Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and a Faith-Based Organization (FBO), but essentially a Non-Profit Organization (NPO), in a country where Muslims are a minority group. The Muslim community comprises approximately 5% of the South African population of 47 million people. The organization adheres to the code of belief of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. It is the most representative and influential Muslim religious organization in the Western Cape, recognized locally, nationally and internationally for its religious, economic, socio-cultural, political, organizational and moral regeneration roles it plays in the Republic of South Africa and abroad.
6. A Brief History
6.1 Founding Members of the MJC
As previously indicated, the MJC was established in Cape Town in 1945. 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.
6.1.1 At the historical inaugural meeting a TEN-POINT PROGRAMME for the Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) was adopted, viz.:
6.1.2 To unite on the precept of the Holy Quran and to reinforce this unity by henceforth holding an Annual Conference of Muslim Religious Leaders.
6.1.3 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.
6.1.4 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.
6.1.5 To register the so-formed Judicial Council in order to ensure its recognition by the Government.
6.1.6 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.
6.1.7 To support any movement, which aims at erecting a Muslim College where students will receive sound religious, as well as, a secular education.
6.1.8 To introduce an enlightened, methodical and uniform system of lectures.
6.1.9 To encourage and contribute towards the publishing of Islamic literature, such as literature to be approved by the Judicial Council.
6.1.10 To persuade the Government to recognize the abhorrence, which Muslims hold for exhumations and post-mortems.
6.1.11 To demand that the Government recognizes Muslim marriages as legal when performed in conformity with the laws of the Holy Quran.
6.2 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. 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.
7. MJC’s Premises
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.”
7.1 Inter-Organizational Relations
7.1.2 The current President  of the Muslim Judicial Council (S.A), Maulana Ighsaan Hendricks, serves as the MJC’s official representative on the United ‘Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA). He is also the national President of the South African Haj and Umrah Council (SAHUC). The former President of the MJC, Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels, currently serves as president of UUCSA. UUCSA represents all the mainstream Islamic organizations nationally; a forum which represents national unity for Muslim organizations and which debates and gives directives on religious issues and otherwise, concerning the national interests of Muslims.
7.1.3 The President of the Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) also represents the MJC on various International Forums, such as being an Executive member on the AL QUDS FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL, and a member of the INTERNATIONAL UNION OF MUSLIM SCHOLARS, established in 2004 and spearheaded by the Internationally renowned ‘Alim (Learned Scholar), Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi, who is currently based in Qatr.
7.1.4 The Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) is also one of the founding members of the National Religious Leaders Forum (NRLF), duly established by the former President, Nelson Mandela, and which serves as a constituted forum for dialogue between government and the religious fraternity. The NRLF meets regularly with the President of our country, the Honorable Thabo Mbeki.
7.1.5 The Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) is furthermore actively involved in
various interfaith initiatives, like the NRASD (the National Religious Association for Social Development) and the Interfaith Commission on Crime and Violence in the Western Cape, spearheaded by Archbishop Ndungane, the Archbishop of Cape Town. The MJC has also joined hands with a very recent establishment, known as the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRLF).
7.1.6 In addition to the aforesaid, the Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) has strong collaborative relationships and networking with various political initiatives or structures in the Western Cape and Nationally, whilst retaining its religious autonomy and being politically non-party aligned. The MJC has developed similar collaborative relationships and networking with various FBO’s and NGO’s through interfaith initiatives and relations, which are currently bedrock in the Western Cape.
To this end, the MJC fully supports the processes of peace, reconciliation, nation building, social capital, social development and social cohesion. The MJC believes that religion should play a pivotal role in South African society and endeavors to propagate Islamic values as a meaningful contribution towards nation-building and building a morally conscious and a spiritually rejuvenated society.
7.1.7 The MJC advocates and promotes proactively cooperation and dialogue with the ANC-led government and other Faith Based Organizations (FBO’s) concerning matters in the general and best interests of society.
7.1.8 The MJC, furthermore, serves primarily the Muslim community (+one million Muslims in the Western Cape) through a network of Masaajid. There are currently 160 Masaajid throughout the Western Cape. This provides the MJC with an enabling environment in its quest to address nation-building, social cohesion, social development, and the encouragement of social capital initiatives through processes of moral and spiritual regeneration; socio-economic development; cultural and educational upliftment of our rainbow nation.
7.1.9 The MJC is committed to the preservation of Islam, and to the development of Muslims in South Africa to become “Proudly South African”, whilst retaining their pristine Islamic identity. The MJC strives continuously to highlight Islam’s call for cooperation, sharing, caring, peace, equity and striving for excellence; and for the rejection of decadence, immorality, violence, corruption, unfairness, discrimination, racism, Xenophobia, bigotry, injustice, fanaticism, etc. thus lending credence to the Prophetic Teaching: Religion is Sound Advice.
7.1.10 Moreover, the MJC strives to remain committed and influential in its quest to assist in the alleviation and possible eradication of many horrendous consequences of contemporary socio-economic, ethnic and cultural problems, immoral and anti-social behaviour, and social ills, viz.: poverty, HIV/AIDS, unemployment, child and women abuse, prostitution, gambling, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, etc. In order to address these issues/problems constructively, the MJC has established various departments.
Two of these departments are the Department of Muslim Personal Law Services, better known as the Social Welfare Department and the MJC Halaal Trust, which caters for the dietary needs of the Muslims. As a mobilizing vehicle to address the social ills and sins, thus striving to create an “exemplary society”, the MJC has launched in 2006 the “40-Day Campaign”.
8. Organizational Aims
8.1 To promote the value systems of Islam and give guidance to the community, based on the Shari’ah of Islam in accordance with the Holy Quran, Sunnah, Ijmaa’ (Legal Consensus) and Qiyaas (Analogical Deductions), and with due reference to the Four Sunni Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, which are recognized by the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.
8.2 To preserve and strengthen Islam through education and exhortation toward personal and spiritual development.
8.3 To promote the ideal of unity amongst all Muslims, specifically targeting the leadership amongst Muslims.
8.4 To encourage and work towards the diverse skills-development and leadership programmes for community enhancement and empowerment.
8.5 To provide religious guidance and consultation on socio-moral, cultural and economic issues, which affect Muslims and non-Muslims.
9. Operational Methods
9.1 To supervise the administration and execute functions relating to the provision of essential services and religious affairs of the Muslim community in conjunction with various organizations and in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah based on the Four Sunni Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence.
9.2 To work in co-operation with other FBO’s, NGO’s, NPO’s and other organizations and/or groups of individuals with similar objectives, for the general upliftment of the community.
9.3 To establish and maintain links and working relationships (i.e. networking) with Muslim and Non-Muslim organizations, and institutions locally nationally and internationally, whilst retaining its Islamic Ethos.
9.4 To develop a business arm, based on Islamic Principles, Ethics and standards, for the purposes of self-sustainability and to sustain other projects and initiatives with similar objectives, which are also poised at development and growing the economy of the country.
The membership of the Muslim Judicial Council (S.A) comprises of ‘Ulama (Theologians) and A’immah (Religious Leaders) of Mosques and Muslim organizations/institutions. Associate membership is extended to individuals, experts and institutions whom the MJC identifies as being able to contribute to its mission and objectives.
11. Operating Structures
The MJC consists of three organs of administration to ensure organized execution of the general and departmental/project functions and duties of the organization, viz.:
11.1 The Imarah.
The Imarah comprises the most senior members of the MJC and serves as the conscience and custodians of the MJC, as well as, the Appeal Board of the Arbitration Committee. The President and his two Deputies also serve on the Imarah.
11.2 The Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee consists of the President, the two Deputy Presidents, the Treasurer, the Secretary-General, the Administrator, and five elected members. The EXCO is responsible for the general administration of the MJC and the implementation of decisions made at the General Majlis.
11.3 The Majlis.
It is the General Assembly of the MJC, which consists of all its members as stated under Membership. The membership is comprised of religious leaders and associated members, as determined by the Executive Committee.
This piece is taken from the website of the Muslim Judicial Council South Africa.
See on-line at: http://www.mjc.org.za/index.php/aboutus