Cape Town on Foot: From the Slave Lodge to Bo-Kaap
Stop here, next to the red 'Open House' structure on your left.
Feel free to walk up the steps, so that you can get a better view of the Hanafee Mosque, on the opposite side of the street.
Turn to look at the mosque. Many Muslims lived in the Long Street area before moving uphill towards Bo-Kaap. This is the seventh oldest mosque in South Africa and was built in 1884. It is directly linked to the arrival of the respected Turkish scholar and teacher, Abu Bakr Effendi, in the 1860s.
It was around this time that a religious dispute erupted in the Cape Muslim community, which adhered to the Shafee School of Religion. A young imam, named Abdol Rakiep, had transgressed against the Shafee tradition which demanded the presence of forty worshippers before a Friday service could be held. In his youthful enthusiasm he ignored this ruling and delivered a sermon with less than forty worshippers in attendance. The resulting feud was settled in the Cape High Court, which is now the Slave Lodge Museum.
The judgement went in favour of the young imam, who was defended by the eloquent Abu Bakr Effendi. Effendi was an adherent of the Hanafee School of Religion. Nobody at the Cape had yet heard of the Hanafee School, but through this judgement, it began to take root here.
The verdict incensed the Shafees and the resulting rift led to the establishment of the Hanafee Mosque.
If you happen to walk around here on a Friday at 13:00, don’t be surprised to find the street blocked by worshippers, because the mosque is too small to accommodate everybody.
Climb down from 'Open House', turn left and continue walking along Long Street.