“Another lamp extinguished and deepens the darkness.”
It narrated by Anas bin Malik (Radhialaahu ‘Anhu): We went with Allah’s Messenger to the blacksmith Abu Saif, and he was the husband of the wet- nurse of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet). Allah’s Apostle took Ibrahim and kissed him and smelled him and later we entered Abu Saif’s house and at that time Ibrahim was in his last breaths, and the eyes of Allah’s Apostle started shedding tears. ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf said, “O Allah’s Messenger, even you are weeping!” He said, “O Ibn ‘Auf, this is mercy.” Then he wept more and said, Radhi-Allahu anhu Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.”
The 300 years of Islam in South Africa have seen the influence of Sheikh Yusuf Macasari(Rahmatullahi ‘Alaihi) dominate the first century with the establishment of Islam on these shores. The next hundred years felt the influence of Tuan Guru (Rahmatullahi ‘Alaihi) who saw to the establishment of the first Masjid and Madresa in SA. And the next century was overwhelmingly dominated by the works and sacrifice of Moulana Cassim Mohamed Sema (Rahmatullahi ‘Alaihi), the founder of the first Darul Uloom in SA(possibly the first Darul Uloom teaching through the medium of English in the world), who also had an immense role to play in establishing the work of Tableegh as well as Da’wah among non-Muslims in South Africa.
This glorious sun that was Moulana Cassim Mohamed Sema (Rahmatullahi ‘Alaihi) set on the 9 June 2007. Moulana left this world, leaving behind a legacy of Islam in SA that is unparalleled. His funeral was attended by almost 4,000 people from all over SA, including senior Ulama and students. Moulana was 87 years old and a measure of his acceptance is that he was still teaching in this, his last year of his life. His wife mentions that he only ever missed three Juma in his life, owing to sickness or some other excuse. A measure of his extreme humility which engendered total loyalty and love for him by his students and colleagues was that he accepted invitations from even the poorest of his students, eating in their humble homes. Without a shadow of doubt Moulana Sema was one of the greatest Ulama of SA, a visionary and the Mujaddid (reformer) of the third century of Islam in SA. He was in some way or the other involved in establishing many of the great movements for the preservation and spread of Islam in SA: The Tableegh Jamaat, the Jamiatul Ulama Natal, madresas, Da’wah to non-Muslims, the Darul Uoom, teaching Hadith and Qur’aan in English, the first translation of the Qur’aan into Zulu, the now famous Tableegh Ijtimas and a myriad other works of Islam.
It can be truthfully said that no corner of SA has not felt the warmth of this sun’s rays in some way or the other. May Allah reward Hazrat Moulana Cassim Mohammed Sema on behalf of the Muslims of South Africa and the world. He was a true heir of the Sahaaba and the Prophets dedicating a lifetime to the religion of Islam. May you go well, O Soldier of Islam. Definitely, a sun has set, an era has ended, a chill has crept in, and many are the orphans that have lost a father and a friend.