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Noble Legacy of Sporting Unity - Jamatul Ghieratul Giesaan

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“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren.” (3:103).

This is the inspiring story of two groups of people who, despite their fierce sporting rivalry, joined hands for the cause of Islam. When they discovered the Love, Baraqah and Mercy that emanated from such a noble venture, not only did they rejoin those hands the following year, but established a body solely dedicated to what

wasto become an annual highlight on the Cape Muslim calendar. Thus for the past 45 years during the month of Muharram, this band of men and women religiously organized an exquisite rendition of the Quran by the top Ghuffaath at the Cape. Indeed, our beloved Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said that the best of actions, however small, are those which are performed regularly over an extended period of time.

It all began in 1961 when the Stars and Callies Rugby Charity Board realized that their 25th Anniversary was upon them. To their eternal collective credit they decided to mark the milestone by hosting a Ghatamal Quran recital. Thus the inaugural Ghatamal Quran took place at Mosque Shafie in Upper Chiappini Street in Bo-Kaap on 3rd September 1961 and proved a resounding success. It prompted a bold decision by the Board members to host a similar event on an annual basis. In 1963, they decided to form a Ghatam Jamaah, to be known as the Jamaa-tul Geiraa-tul Giesaan Ghatam Jamaa which means “Die Staanvastigheid van die Goedigheid”.

The founder members of the Jamaah were :
Ismail (Mylie Jood) Cader (Chairman)
Abubaker Kamies (Secretary)
Boeta (Dik Dienie) Esmael
Noor (Tjoet) Samuels
Toyer (Gaidien) Abrahams
Mogammat (Gamatjie) Micheals
Boeta Cassiem Joseph (Treasurer)
Imam Maantjie “Gaidien” Abrahams
Faatieg Moos
H Achmat “Jock” Bassier
H Abububakar (Boetie Kaa) Dramat
H Abdul Gamiet (Blind) Davids
Imam Abduraghmaan Adams (father of Imam Dr Saleh Adams)
The only surviving founder member is H Abuba-ker Kamies.

The Jamaah's first meeting was held at 136 Church Street, the residence of Boeta Cassiem and his wife Galiema Joseph (parents of Imam Erefaan and the late Imam Fadiel Joseph). At their insistence, all subsequent meetings of the jamaah have been hosted by the Joseph family at their residence. We pay tribute to their years of sacrifice and dedication, along with the only surviving female member, Hadja Soda Abrahams, wife of the late Boeta Toyer “Gaidien” Abrahams. While Mosque Shafie was the venue for the first 6 years, thereafter all subsequent recitals were held at the Jameah Mosque in Lower Chiappini Street, Bo-Kaap. The spiritual highlight of any Ghatam programme is the melodious recitation of the Holy Quran by renowned Ghuffaath. Amongst those who have been :

Sh Armien Soeker, Imam Ismail Soeker, Sh Salie Abadie Solomons, H Yusuf Gabier, H Aziz Gabier, Imam Omar Abdullah, Imam Gasant Abduraghmaan, Imam Ismail Taliep, Sh Ismail “Tarien” Moos, Imam Shamsuddien, Sh Abubakr Najaar, and Imam Achmat Talap. Notable Ghuffaath who are still alive today include Imam Omar Abdullah, officiating Imam at the Goodwood Mosque, and Sh Armien Soeker who unfortunately is bedridden.

The current exco would like to pay tribute to everybody who played a part in the history of the Jamaah, especially the founders and the Ghuffaath. To the deceased, may Allah (SWT) grant all of them Jannatul Firdous, Insha-Allah. To the sick and infirm, may they be granted Shifaa and good health, Insha-Allah. May the Almighty bless this jamaah to go from strength to strength for many more years.


Comments (1)
Hidden Bokaap histories - Challenge to Community Historians
1 Wednesday, 23 December 2009 08:07
Mogamat Kamedien
The author of this brief historical account of the Jamatul Ghieratul Giesaan must be commended for bring this rich hidden, untold, unrecorded cultural history into the public domain via the LIVING ISLAM digital social media platform.

Have happy childhood memories of the Callies & Stars annual "RAG" at the (Green Point) Track, but never realized that the Jamatul Ghieratul Giesaan is a "living legacy / living tradition " to the same sporting members of Stars and Callies Rugby Charity Board.

Similarly, the social history of the other Quran recital / Qiraat groups formed by other established sports clubs to celebrate their club anniversaries must still be brought into the mainstream for the public. Young community historians on the Cape Flats must still take up the challenge to follow in the pionering footsteps of the late al-marghum Dr Achmat Davids, the Bo-Kaap social historian in uncovering fresh, untold "peoples' history" stories.

It will be interesting to know how many Qiraat groups are closely allied to some of the oldest Rugby & Cricket clubs which will be give indication of the extensive social networks / social capital of the Cape Muslim community which reflect the depth of social cohesion that exist within local communities.
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