The History of Habibia Soofie Saheb Masjid

When Hazrath Soofie Saheb travelled to Cape Town in early 1905 in search of land to build a khanqah, he stayed at the residence of Abdul Ganie Parker in Cross Street, which was later known as District Six. One Friday morning, Hazrath Soofie Saheb requested from his host, who was from Kokan, India, to arrange for a horse and cart so that they could look around for suitable land. After a while, the horse stopped in Rylands, what was then known as Doornhoogte, at the spot where the present institution stands. He got off the cart, accompanied by Abdul Ganie and a few other muslim brothers who had accompanied them on this historical ride. He walked for a while around and then decided to purchase the land.

He stayed for about seven months in Cape Town while the necessary documents were being prepared by his attorneys for the transfer in Trust of the properties concerned. In Cape Town a small wood and iron house was built on this land where the local people came to meet him when news of his arrival spread. He won the hearts of many, including the leading sheikhs, imams and huffaaz, because of his spiritual outlook, character, and his dedication to serve Islam and the ummah. People visited him daily during his short stay. Many entered the fold of the Chistia Silsila. Meanwhile, his brother-in-law, Moulana Abdul-Latief Qadi, who lies in the mazaar next to the mosque, was in charge of the khanqah in Durban during his absence.

After laying the foundation of the present Masjid and completing the madrassa, which was used as a jamatkhana, he returned to Durban. He then instructed Moulana Abdul-Latief Qadi to proceed to Cape Town and take charge of the khanqah that was being built there. He at once set off for Cape Town. He carried on with Hazrath Soofie Saheb’s mission with extreme dedication. He went about his duties following the tariqa of the Mashaikhe Chist. People were being accepted and enrolled as mureeds (disciples) in the Chisti Silsila. They were also given training in Tasawwuf. Thus, the khanqah was fulfilling the needs of the community under his leadership.

Hazrath Soofie Saheb made a trip to Cape Town in 1906 and was very satisfied to find the khanqah complete and functioning well. There was a masjid, madressa, yateemkhana, musafirkhana and cemetery. The Urs shareef of Hazrath Sayed Abdul-Qadir Jilani, Hazrath Khwaja Moinuddeeen Chisti and Hazrath Khwaja Habib Ali Shah were held annually. Ashura in Muharram and all the auspicious nights in the Islamic calendar were observed. After the demise of Hazrath Soofie Saheb on 29 June 1911, and after paying his respects at his mazaar shareef in Durban, Hazrath Moulana Abdul-Latief returned to Cape Town a very broken-hearted man.

Habibia: Old DarbarOn 18 Jamaadul Aakhir 1335 (17 April 1916), at the time of Thuhr Azaan, he passed away. Imam Husain Jakoet of Habibia Soofie Masjid, who was one of his mureeds, gave the ghusl and performed the Janaaza Salaah, as was requested by Moulana.

He was buried in the Darbaar where his mazaar now stands. After his demise, Hazrath Shah Mohammed Yusuf Habibi took over. He went out inviting people to take part in the various activities. Orphans were well cared for. The madrassa was functioning well.  He passed away in 1356   AH (5 August 1937). He was buried near the mazaar of Moulana Abdul-Latief.

After his demise, Hazrath Shah Imam Abdul-Karriem Qadi Siddiqui was given the control and the administration of the darbaar. He was 24 at the time. He was assisted by family members and certain members of the congregation. With the help of the community, he brought changes at the darbaar. In the 1940’s he enclosed the verandah of the original Masjid. He undertook the present extension at the rear of the Masjid in 1964. The madrassa was rebuilt with brick. A shelter was built between the madrassa and the mosque for feeding purposes during functions at the darbaar. In 1986, the present foundation was laid by him and other family members as well as members of the congregation.

Habibia in the 1990s.Imam Abdul-Latief Purkar (Imam Baboo), and his younger brother, Goolam Ahmed assisted Imam Abdul-Karriem in the affairs of the darbaar. From the early 1940’s he was charge of performing nikah, janaza namaaz and other religious needs of the community. He assisted in the various major renovations and extension. 

When Imam Abdul-Karriem passed away in 1986, Imam Baboo was given control and administration of the darbaar. In 1990, Haji Umar Abrahams of Surrey Estate took over the alterations. He asked his brother to help him. Imam Baboo served the darbaar until he passed away in 2004. Moulana Goolam Qutboodin Qadi, the eldest son of Imam Abdul-Karriem Qadi, is presently serving the darbaar. Haji Ganief Adams and Muhammad Saeid Soofie from Durban came to design the dome. All the minarets were built by Husayn Kaffaar after Haji Umar had made the templates. By 1995, the major extensions and renovations were complete.


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