Originally published on: Al-Qalam
By Zimasile Shabangu
The recent passing of well-known Da’ee of Durban, Shaykh Ebrahim Mthembu, at a relatively young age has shocked and saddened hundreds of people whom he had guided towards Islam over the years.
Shaykh Ebrahim, (42) who assisted in translating the Quran into IsiZulu, was a Da’ee at the Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI) in Durban for a number of years where he lectured and guided reverts about the fundamentals of Islam. He also served as an Imam at the Inanda Masjid, one of Durban’s oldest townships. He had travelled to many parts of the world to spread the message of Islam.
He passed away after suffering from a long-standing stomach ailment.
Shaykh Ebrahim empowered many of his students and Muslims across the townships of South Africa by bringing them closer to Islam and providing them with the skills needed in the workplace, and to sustain their livelihood.
Mondly Japhet Ibrahim Mthembu was born on the 27 April 1974 in Umzinto. He studied at Ogwini Comprehensive Technical College where he completed his matric in 1993. He then studied motor mechanics at Umlazi Technical College.
Coming from a traditional African religion background, he decided to enrol for Christian theology at the Universal Church Kingdom of God. He then embarked on a journey of discovering other religions. After extensive research on Islam, he grew closer to the religion and reverted in 1999. He went to Darul Uloom in Newcastle to further his studies in Islam.
Shaykh Ebrahim was instrumental in promoting Islam, its values and traditions amongst his fellow indigenous Muslims and reverts in South Africa and neighbouring countries.
Shaykh Ebrahim played a significant role in making Islam accessible to the indigenous communities of South Africa to whom Islam is still perceived as a strange and mystical religion, and one of his most memorable achievements was translating the Quran to the Nguni language.
He was also active in Islamic propagation through a Zulu program on Radio Al-Ansaar. Those closest to him have been left with fondest of memories and spiritually empowered.
One of his former students, Imraan Abosi, has praised “Brother Ebrahim” for teaching him Islam in his mother tongue of IsiZulu with patience. He said: “We will miss him and pray that Allah forgive him and place him into Jannah, Ameen,” he said.
Shaykh Ibrahim leaves behind his wife and a six year old daughter.
Mahomed Khan, liason officer of IPCI, told Al Qalam: “In my opinion, nobody has interacted, taken shahadas, thought Islam to, or dealt with new Muslims, than my dear brother and ustaad Ebrahim Mthembu.
“Wherever we did an outreach programme, be it at a factory floor, garage, public hall or musjid, people took to Brother Ebrahim immediately. People could feel his sincerity instantly when he spoke. I personally lost my right and left hand,” Khan said.