Sheikh Irafaan Abrahams was recently elected as fourth president of the Lansdowne-based Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), which has been in existence for 72 years.
The 57-year-old was born in Surrey Estate and left South Africa in 1978 to study in Medina, Saudi Arabia. After graduating in 1987, he became part of the MJC after having led the Darul Islam mosque in Surrey Estate. One year later he accepted a post at Portland Mosque in Mitchell’s Plain.
He currently lives in Surrey Estate, is married and has 13 children.
Mr Abrahams continued to serve on the MJC’s executive council for 29 years and on the senior council for the past two years.
Having served under three presidents – the late Sheikh Nazeem Mohamed for 13 years, then Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels for six years, and lastly Moulana Ighsaan Hendricks, for 10 years, Mr Abrahams is ready to take on the “mammoth task” of leading the MJC.
“Being elected as president of the MJC is indeed a great honour and privilege. It is indeed the highest position an individual can achieve at the MJC. I am grateful to our Almighty Creator who has chosen me to lead such an esteemed, illustrious and honourable institution. Also, I thank all my colleagues for the confidence and trust they have in me and for voting me into the position of president.
“However, this position comes with huge challenges and responsibilities,” said Mr Abrahams.
He recalled that he was 10 years old when he befriended Mr Gabriels and when they grew older, the two assisted the MJC with events or things that needed to be done around the office.
“One of the most important things is to take the MJC to the people through outreach programmes which will include using our media, bringing back the MJC newspaper, AD-DA’WAH, rotating ulemah (scholars) to different mosques, engaging, workshopping and guiding our youth at primary and high schools and tertiary levels and bonding with them, getting more women to be involved in MJC activities and getting more female membership.
“MJC needs to play a pivotal role in our downtrodden communities as well as in our townships,” he said.
In 2015 Mr Abrahams started a programme in the Voorberg Prison in Porterville. He said he would also like to form an independent advisory committee, comprising men and women with different skills and who work in different fields, to advise the president’s office.
“I thank Allah Almighty for His guidance. I am thankful to both my parents, especially my mother who gave me and all my siblings a very good and solid upbringing.”