Decades ago, I heard in a Jummuah that “Muslims are a unified global community and that a genuine Muslim anywhere in the world must want for their fellow Muslim what they want for themselves”.

Since I was noticeably troubled by the growing drug addiction in our community, the late Sh Nazeem Mohamed leader of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) often reminded me of the importance of our work in the Social Welfare Department (SWD). He also fortified me with the words “if you spend your youth in the service of Allah, Allah will take care of you in your old age”.

While I did not entirely understand his words 25years ago, over the years, working in the SWD, I had many blessed experiences. Since MJC wages was always low, it was the generous Baraka (blessing) in the money that mattered. Reflecting on my early career, I often wonder how I managed with R1500 a month working from 8:00am until 2pm.

After a few years at the MJC, I revived “Ad-Dawah” newspaper which was started by the late Imam Hasan Solomon who joined parliament. With selling of adverts and a small budget from the MJC my salary increased. I also provided research support to Imam Saban with “Happy families in Happy Homes” on Voice of the Cape. With the research, marketing and counselling work, I often worked 10 hrs a day. While my university peers who used their qualification in government and private sector were earning four times my salary, my MJC years were the most blessed time of my working career.

Example, one hot day I told Imam Saban that I was exhausted from selling adverts as my jalopy did not have air-con and the windows did not work properly. He advised I buy a better car and promptly escorted me to sign as surety at Al Baraka bank. Also shortly before marriage, I visited Hilite Job Buyers and Boeta Joe without me asking for discount, gave 50% less. A cousin also built my kitchen and room cupboards and then refused payment for his labour and material supplied.

In appreciation of the historic and unexpected gratuity I received in my earlier career, I have responded by donating over R300 000 over the past 3 years from my Councillor salary to several community activities. Much of the money was spent with Mosque and Quran memorization activities.

From years at the MJC I learnt that the more you give, the more you receive and that does not only suggest money. Often people require some-one to listen or give advice or just a make dua, a good word. Also I am not sharing this because I need credit. I want to share how, earlier in my career, people like the late Sh Mohamed, Imam Saban and Moulana Karaan shared their valued time and experience. Since I am certain that there are people who have much more value than I have in this community, I want to encourage them to share their time and skills etc. People need to believe that others care. If each one can give more than what we take from others, can we imagine the progress?

To enable progress, Muslims must learn to help each other when required to ensure collective progress. May Allah open our minds so that we can learn how to benefit our community?

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress