The Claremont Main Road Mosque (CMRM) espouses a comprehensive vision of Islam (shumuliyyat al-Islam) that embraces the intellectualism of the mutakallimun (theologians), the juristic pragmatism of the fuqaha and usuliyyun (jurists) as well as the spiritual inspiration of the ahl-al-tassuwwuf (the mystics). It is a dynamic and socially responsive vision of Islam that was forged in the crucible of the struggle for creating a more human and caring South African society. It is a vision of Islam that was first formulated by Imam `Abdullah Haron in collaboration with the Claremont Muslim Youth Association and articulated in their newsletter “The Islamic Mirror” in the late fifties and throughout the sixties. We at the Claremont Main Road Mosque have sought to nurture and expand this vision of Islam.
The Claremont Main Road Mosque (CMRM) has an established reputation of critically reflecting on and engaging with issues that affect us as Muslim citizens, locally and globally. Many people have been drawn to this mosque over the years because of its strong commitment to the anti-apartheid struggle and its compassionate vision of Islam. Our mission is to build an institutional legacy for future generations, of bearing witness to Islam that upholds the virtues of social justice and compassion. CMRM’s mission includes four key dimensions:
CMRM acknowledges the valuable role which our youth have played in the struggle against Apartheid injustices and more importantly we recognize the great potential which they have in shaping the future of our country. Young people are uniquely placed to open up our eyes to the signs of the times. For they truly live at the cold face of the real and rapidly changing world.We have an established tradition of incorporating our youth in mosque programmes and empowering them through different types of activities, such as, leading prayers and dhikrs and delivering talks and khutbahs. To facilitate CMRM’s youth empowerment mission, the mosque has revitalized the Claremont Muslim Youth Association (CMYA).
CMRM advocates the view that poverty alleviation is not the sole responsibility of economists or public officials, but rather it is an integral part of what it means to be an engaged Muslim. From an Islamic perspective, we believethat poverty is not limited to a lack of food or drink. Poverty encompasses the lack of all basic human needs, such as clean water, nutrition, sanitation, health care, education, clothing and shelter. To this end the CMRM congregation has been actively engaged in social justice programs which aim to make a modest contribution to poverty alleviation in our city. These programmes form part of our jihad against poverty mission.
CMRM is committed to the struggle for the equivalence and full dignity of women within our comprehensive vision of Islam.With respect to this dimension of our mission we support the struggle of women for full dignity and honour in our country, our homes and most importantly our mosques. CMRM has an established tradition of participation of women in mosque governance and delivering of lectures. In addition CMRM is one of the few mosques where women are accommodated for prayers on the main floor of the mosque alongside men. The gender jihad is a defining feature of the CMRM mission.
Another significant dimension of CMRM’s mission is that of interfaith solidarity and bridgebuilding. CMRM embraces the enduring values of pluralism and co-existence and regards human diversity not as incidental and negative but rather as representing a God-willed, basic factor of human existence.CMRM is renowned for its contributions to and participation in interfaith forums and has a rich tradition of inviting guest speakers from other religious traditions and worldviews. This dimension of our mission seeks to celebrate human diversity through (ta’aruf) recognition and affirmation of each other through intimate knowledge, and not mere toleration.