Humble, inspiring, knowledgeable and compassionate.
A well-known Islamic scholar and educator, social-welfare crusader and humanitarian, Moulana Muhammed Saloojee puts the needs of the helpless and destitute above anything else. Growing up in Zakariyya Park, Lenasia, he was sagely influenced by his father, the widely respected and admired Moulana Shabbier Saloojee, who founded the Darul Uloom Zakariyya over 30 years ago, where Muhammed also completed his Aalim studies. The father-of-two pays homage to his own dad, whose valuable contribution to Islamic academics and far-reaching relief work has been instrumental in shaping his mindset, and making him aware of the plight of those less fortunate.
With famous politicians, world leaders and noble academics being regular guests at the Saloojee household, Muhammed was introduced to many interesting people and concepts from as early as 6 years old. His widespread aid work and unique travel experiences as a young adult allowed him to see the world through new eyes, although these expeditions were far removed from the glamorous tourist perspective we may have.
In 2005, he travelled to Wajir in Kenya, which also borders Somalia and Ethiopia. At the time, the area was victim to a severe drought. Here, he made a harrowing acquaintance with the tragic consequences of life without food or water. The shattering sight of dead animals and people lying desolate and disregarded on the ground was a huge eye-opener for him. It made him more determined to make a difference in the life of others. After this trip, he came back to South Africa to source donations and supplies, and thereafter travelled to Nairobi, where his local friends assisted him with a secure passage back to Wajir. Since then, Muhammed has left no stone unturned with regards to global relief work, also working with the Al Imdaad Foundation for a few years.
He was actively involved in the calamitous Syrian crisis, assisting with setting up container villages and bread bakeries, as well arranging and distributing food and medical supplies to widows and orphans. He related one of the most gut-wrenching stories during his time there; a poignant meeting with an 11-year-old boy, who had just walked 350km, escaping the unconscionable wrath set upon his hometown. Security forces had raided their homes, viciously slaughtered the males in front of their families (his father included), then mutilated and burnt the bodies. The boy narrowly escaped also being attacked on the way.
Muhammed’s first-hand experiences of the war are heart-rending; seeing a 6-month-old baby paralysed, and his visit to a hospital where 40 semi- and fully-paralysed children, who were shot by snipers on their way home from school, were being nursed. This is the sad reality of the crippling civilian ramifications in the Syrian conflict, which he endeavors to make an improvement to, however possible.
On the local front, Ml. Saloojee has lent his charitable advocacy to facilitating various feeding schemes, arranging for cataract operations for those unable to afford it, assisting in the aftermath of the Marikana upheaval and organising school uniforms and winter warmer campaigns for the underprivileged.
His advice to others aspiring to do philanthropic work is to be honest and go ahead and just do the work. His hope for the future is that South African Muslims play a larger, more significant role in improving education in the country and also, attempting to get people off the social grant system.
When asked why he supports Proudly Muslims of South Africa, Ml. Saloojee responded that it’s good to convey a positive image of different charitable activities Muslims are doing across the country. There’s a lot of good work is being done, and this needs to be transmitted to masses.
When asked how he would like to be remembered, with immense humility he states: “If a person is good and good to mankind and the creation of Allah (God) SWT, then people and Allah SWT will always remember you.”
His life motto: “Assist wherever possible.”
We concur with his last three words because we all have the capabilities, whether big or small, to make some difference in the life of another human being. Moulana Saloojee is the epitome of virtuousness and integrity; his inspiring charity and relief work has given hope to the hopeless and a second chance to those on their last leg. He has helped hundreds, if not thousands, in just his three decades on the planet. Imagine how many more lives he has yet to touch.