Ulama Profiles: Imam Jalaluddeen

In this series, we look briefly at the life and achievements of the Ulama and Mashaaikh of PE/Uitenhage. The profiling is in no particular order.

Name: Jalaluddeen Ismail
Born: 1932 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Imam Jalaluddeen is married with 5 children. He left school at the age of 14 to support his mother as his father had died before he was born. Imam Jalaluddeen worked for 23 years at a shoe factory and another 27 years at Plascon paint before retiring. In between, Imam Jalal (as he is known) found the time to be a pioneer in the preservation of Islam in Port Elizabeth.
He was instrumental in founding the first (and possibly only) Baitul Maal (public treasury) in South Africa in the 1960’s. This was eventually incorporated into SANZAF. He also helped set up the Eastern Cape Islamic Congress and assisted with the running of the Religious Affairs department.

Among his early teachers was Sheikh Aameen at Pier Street Musjid. Thereafter, Sheikh Jameel played a great role in furthering his Islamic studies, teaching him the basics of Arabic and Islamic jurisprudence.

Imam Jalal served as the first Imam of Musjid Saabireen for 16 years from 1993 until his retirement this year due to age. He, in fact, suggested the name for the Musjid. Imam also had the honour of going on two Hajj, in 1976 and 1998. Imam Jalal has played a great role in fostering relations between all segments of the Muslim community.