Juma Masjid

In August 1881 Aboobaker Amod Jhaveri and Hajee Mahomed Hajee Dada purchased a site in Grey Street (renamed Dr Yusuf Dadoo Street) from K. Moonsamy for £115, for the construction of a mosque. In 1884 the two founders enlarged the existing brick and mortar structure to create the Juma Masjid, which was the first mosque built in the colony of Natal. Adjoining property was subsequently added due to a sharp increase in numbers of worshippers and the first two minarets on the Grey Street mosque were constructed in 1904. The mosque was entirely rebuilt in 1927 and is a unique blend of Islamic decorations and strong Union period vernacular style. As an important place of worship for a large part of the Islamic community, social and political activists from the mosque congregation fought against racial discrimination. From the time of its establishment the mosque provided space for fruit and vegetable vendors, known as the “squatters market”, used by Indian traders who could not legally trade elsewhere in the city. Muslim leaders contested any laws which targeted Indians unfairly and limited any economic and political rights they were entitled to as British subjects. Charitable work supported by the Juma Masjid included the creation of the Madressa for educational purposes, while worshippers contributed generously to the poor, needy and destitute. At one point the Grey Street mosque was the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere, accommodating 7000 worshippers on three levels.

Location

Address: corner of Denis Hurley St and Dr Yusuf Dadoo St
GPS Points: -29.85286, 31.02419
Site Contact Details: Steven Kotze
Durban Local History Museums
steven.kotze@durban.gov.za
031 311 2239

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