The gap between that small number of South Africans who have material wealth and those millions who have a little is widening. Closing the gap is becoming difficult. Muslims believe that the future is predetermined by Allah Almighty. However, since individual predetermination is unknown, the process allows a person opportunity to manage destiny in a manner of speaking. As a result, the individual is not able to blame the divine when something goes wrong.

For example, to become a doctor requires 8 years of primary, 5 years of high school and another 7 years at university. This is 20 years of study. If you are not steadfast and diligent during your student days, it is unlikely that you will come to be a doctor.

Equally, a plumber, a mechanic or an electrician has to qualify at a technical college. They also need physical and logical strength as their work requires intuition, time and relational skill.

Therefore, when measuring material progress, a quality overall education is imperative. Since a fool and his money are soon parted, parents must ensure that education begins at young age. Even when parents leave wealth in the hands of an imprudent offspring the results are generally regrettable.

Access to this quality education is becoming a problem in Cape Town. A study of the recent matric results reflects the disparity. The best results are generally achieved by the expensive schools in the southern suburbs. The difference between these schools and schools in the townships are massive. A suburban school student has on average a 95% chance of accessing the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch where medicine, architecture and engineering are studied. A township student has limited access to these departments. Even with affirmative action, township students have barriers to overcome when attending university. Expensive schools prepare their students for life and university by inculcating a rigorous discipline. Although township schools are trying to support their students, congested classes, lack of resources and the location of the school are severe challenges.

The reality is that life in Cape Town is expensive and to get ahead cost money. Though common sense suggests that the student is the key persona in the education process, committed parents, and a well-resourced school milieu plays a vital role.  Parents who hope to give their children the best opportunity in an ever more competitive situation must prepare for the financial and other obligations.

In Surah Baqarah verse 30, Yusuf Allie in his English translation describes the scene when Allah Almighty articulated to the angels that “I will create a vicegerent on earth” in reference to humans.

According to the concise oxford dictionary a vicegerent is defined as “a person regarded as an earthly representative of God”. Since Muslims regard themselves as the vicegerents, does this verse infer that Muslims have a divine right to authority and governance? As a result, are Muslims ordained to guide others in the field of politics, science, and technology, business and general social progress?

In light of the idea of vicegerent, why are so many Muslims in desperate need of sponsored electricity, water and housing? Though every case is unique, when thousands of Muslims live on subsidies and grants a lot less pays taxes in comparison, who is liable for building a balanced Ummah? Likewise is the notion of a balanced Ummah purely a religious issue or does it applies to job creation and wealth.

When the vast majority of Muslim in the Western Cape does not vote at all and those who do vote support parties that do not represent broader Muslim community interests, how are Muslim supposed to achieve tangible political influence and the capability to create genuine and required change?

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress