Friday 10 May 2018 (4 Ramadaan 1440)

Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town

Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider

10 May is a very, very critical date in the calendar of the followers of Ahlul Bait (a.s) and Shia of South Africa and it is extremely crucial and important to remember this day in our calendar.

This is the day when the Imam Hussain (a.s) Masjid in Durban came under attack. The mosque attack was not simply an incident. It is a crucial turning point to analyze.

The Durban mosque incident is the climax of a movement and campaign of hate and violence, with the mission that the Shia and the school of Ahlul Bait (a.s) shall not survive in this country, as Muslims and as part and parcel of the broader society.

While it may be difficult to establish the physical connection between those culprits and those who have been running this movement for a number of years, but there is absolutely not even the smallest doubt about their ideological, spiritual, mental connection and deep link.

It is this hate which was promoted over many years, with every possible tool in their hand, reaching its climax when they became so blind that they did not mind to burn the Holy Quran. They also did not mind to burn down the house of Allah (SWT). They also did not mind to slaughter our brother in that horrible, gruesome manner which I saw personally.

I can never, ever forget that day and that night. It is not simply the loss of one life by the name of Shaheed Abbas Essop. It is the climax of this hate, and at the same time it is very important to note that this is also the anti-climax of the same movement!

It is at the same time a clear, concrete and firm message that the Shia are here and are going to remain here.

وَمَكَرُوا وَمَكَرَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.

Verse 54 of Surah Aal-Imraan (chapter 3 of the Holy Quran)

يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ

They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse.

Verse 8 of Surah Saff (chapter 61 of the Holy Quran)


What they wanted and what happened is clear for all to see. We remember how this incident shook the whole country. We remember how the blood of this martyr Abbas Essop (r.a) left Muslims and non-Muslims shaken, and opened the eyes of the people. It brought the oppression endured by the Ahlul Bait (a.s) and its followers in front of the public and world at large.

We remember how it exposed the power of this school to challenge! In our numbers and resources we are extremely few. People from abroad ask where do Shia stand in the demographics of Muslims in South Africa. I have great difficulty in answering this statistical question, because 0.0001% is perhaps even an exaggeration!

This is the statistic, but Shia thought, Shia ideology and rich culture of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) is not the culture of hate, division, violence or declaring other people as outside the fold of Islam, nor is it the culture of rejection of others. Instead, the culture of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) is one of love.

It is a revolutionary message and culture, which is not one of hate. It is a revolutionary message against the oppressors, but the very fibre of this message is love for humanity. This emerged very clearly through the aftermath of the Durban mosque attack.

Yes we lost this great brother. The family is still enduring that pain. The mosque and the community are still suffering and not out of trauma, but the achievement of this Shahada and this great sacrifice is there, Alhamdu Lillah.


To remember our martyr Abbas Essop is very much crucial. This is the first year that we remember our Shaheed (martyr), and Insha Allah we should keep his memory alive during the years ahead, because the remembrance of a Shaheed (martyr) is the continuation of the path of Shuhada (martyrs).

This is again the culture of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) and the culture of Muharram, whereby we do not forget our martyrs, and shed tears for them. Our tears for our martyrs are not out of pity and sorrow. Not at all, as the tears for our martyrs are our commitment to the martyr and his ideals and values.

Therefore, the enemies of Allah (SWT), and the enemies of Islam, humanity and truth can never extinguish this heavenly light of the Ahlul Bait (a.s). We can see today, that the whole world is on one side, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is on the other side standing for their dignity, Alhamdu Lillah.

We should not even have the smallest of doubt that anyone can damage and harm this great gift from Almighty Allah (SWT). This is not ISIS, Taliban or Khilafah. 40 years after the success of the Islamic Revolution have passed, and the enemies have left no stone unturned in their animosity towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. One cannot believe how on earth they have survived!

I remember one of the great pious scholars said that we think that we sustained this revolution, but no, we did not. There is someone higher up protecting this revolution. Otherwise, it is impossible to comprehend how this revolution could survive and be sustained.

Let us dedicate the Sawaab of our gatherings in the nights of Ramadaan to the soul of our brother Shaheed Hafiz Abbas Essop (r.a) and all other martyrs.