The Karamats of Cape Town
In the Spring of 2008 I had the pleasure to travel to Cape Town, South Africa in the company of a Cape Town native, Shaikh Nusrah Cassiem, Saleem McGroarty from Edinburgh, Scotland and Firas Al-Khaffaf from London England.
The four of us had set out from Johannesburg a few days after the conclusion of the ASK Conference to engage in a spiritual journey that had been prescribed and organized by Shaykh Cassiem as an added bonus to the three day conference held at The Rasooli Center whose theme had been: Life, Death and the Hereafter in World Religions and Culture.
After having been immersed in such a heady and thought provoking gathering, this trip to Cape Town would prove to be in many ways an unexpected addendum to all that was discussed earlier at the conference. In addition many of us who have been attending the lectures of Shaykh Fadhlallah Haeri over the years have heard him say on numerous occasions:“Africa is the Land of Wali’s.” Each one of us was to find out firsthand what the Shaykh had continually alluded to in his talks.
We four travelers were to be the recipients of spiritual blessings (Barakat) that came about through the rigors of Ziyarrat and the spiritual hospitality extended to us from the four entombed friends of Allah whose graves we visited.
I must admit that after this journey I can say with absolute conviction that anyone looking for spiritual healing needs to consider a visit to Cape Town. It has been proven to this most unworthy student that there is no place that is devoid of Allah’s Mercy and the truth of the old saying: ‘When the student is ready the teacher will appear.’
Cape Town is a city that lies at the very southern tip of Africa and has in its midst what might be considered one of the worlds best kept secret: The Karamats. And one might be inclined to ask: “What are the Karamats?” And I would be forced to answer in no uncertain terms that the Karamats are to Cape Town what The Blue Mosque is to Istanbul or the Taj Mahal is to Agra – they are in no uncertain terms spiritual Oases.
Many are hidden away in the lush pockets of Cape Town’s unique mountainous forestry. A few of the Karamats are to be found in hard to reach remote areas of the Cape where several hundred years ago the Muslim warriors both men and women defended their faith and their freedom from the invading Europeans.
You will find at each Karamat a tomb or a grave, which contains the body of a Muslim Saint. These saintly beings are called ‘Wali Allah’, meaning ‘Intimate Friend of God’ –many of these men led their congregations of runaway slaves which were made up of a