JMS Newsletter


1. Editorial - Muallim Abdullah Mayet

As the sun sets on 2021, it is the perfect time to look back on what this year has brought for all of us at Johannesburg Muslim School.

At the risk of sounding cliché, 2021 has had its ups and downs. In fact, one could go so far as to say that the nature of these ups and downs were felt on the far side of each spectrum. Nevertheless, this has been a year filled with emotion, albeit not always pleasant. From the heartbreak felt at the passing of our beloved stalwart Marhoom Moulana Harun Laher (RA), to the excitement of the tree-planting ceremony at the new premises; this year has had it all.

Speaking of intense emotion, it brings me great excitement to present this year’s newsletter. We have some excellent content in store this year, starting off as always with a message from Mudeer. The tree-planting ceremony will certainly take root in our minds after the report from Muallima Saadiya Makda, and Muallima Waheeda Mangera will add to our already teeming anticipation, by taking us through the progress made at the new premises and what can be expected at its completion.

At Johannesburg Muslim School, we are always proud of the work done by our learners and spare no opportunity to showcase their brilliance. Therefore, we are thrilled to present two of our grade 11 learners’ poems. As you peruse through the newsletter, you will find captivating articles from each of our academic and Islaamiyat departments. From mental health awareness and keeping a good mathematical mindset, to how to spend our time effectively, this year’s newsletter has it all.

With the holidays upon us, our humanities and science departments will keep us informed on how to spend this time efficiently, whilst appreciating all that our beautiful country and its equally amazing weather have to offer – so don’t add those travel magazines to your shopping carts just yet!

As mentioned earlier, the heartbreak felt by all of us was unparalleled when we learnt of the passing of Marhoom Moulana Harun Laher (RA). Muallima Saadiya has written a beautiful tribute to him, and every word of it will be worthwhile.

Every year, our Islaamiyat department is never short of amazing achievements, and 2021 has been no exception. Our grade 9 learners achieved the incredible feat of completing the recitation of the holy Qur’aan, and Muallima Faheema Bham will articulate for us the noble events of that day. Two of our Hifdh class learners have also managed the incredible task of committing the Quraan to memory – our very own Ml Yusuf Bhabha was the master of ceremonies and will outline for us the events of that beautiful night.

From all of us here at Johannesburg Muslim School, we would like to wish our dear parents and learners a restful and invigorating holiday. Remember to stay vigilant and safe, may Allah SWT protect one and all. Before we apply that sunscreen and head for the salty waters or mountain tops, let us not forget to take a moment to thank our creator, Allah Almighty, for the countless blessings consistently bestowed on us. Alhamdulillah!

Until next year, Fee Amaanillah

2. Sho’t left during Summer - Muallimah Fatima Laher

HOD Humanities

South Africa is known for its wonderful subtropical climate. Our rainbow nation experiences hot summers which are perfect for relaxation, whether it is a picnic in the city or a week away along South Africa’s vast coastline.

South Africa is uniquely positioned and has different climates and physiographic terrains throughout the country that makes visiting each part of the country fun, exciting and different. The Western coast has cold ocean waters that come from the South pole coupled with white sandy beaches and some rocky shores which make up a picturesque scene perfect for watching the sunset. On the opposite East Coast we find the warm oceans perfect for swimming, building sandcastles and catching the tallest wave for surfing after watching the sun rise over the horizon as the cargo ships dock into the nearby harbour.

In between our coastal tourist hot-spots we have the flat plateau, also known as the highveld- perfect for a Johannesburg Stay-cation. There are many picnic areas, dams, botanical gardens and hiking trails in the heart of the city.

South Africa’s inland comprises of the arid Karoo regions as well as the tall, cool mountain ranges that make up the escarpment. These areas have amazing resorts and many activities amidst the lush green vegetation and fast flowing rivers which meander down into the coastal plain.

Lets not forget the many deep caves that hold interesting formations that have lasted the test of time or the numerous cultural spots and museums with trendy coffee shops nearby. A popular choice for many who love the outdoors are the nature reserves that are home to many unique and diverse animal species in their natural habitat.

There is so much to see throughout the country that one need not visit overseas but remember to wear your mask and sanitise to protect yourself and loved ones during the holidays

3. A path to Paradise - Muallimah Faheema Bham

On a beautiful Thursday morning, graced in the presence of esteemed teachers and a guest-speaker, the grade nines commemorated their Quraan Khatam ( completion) . Between renditions that expressed the beauty and perfection of the Quraan and ahaadeeth, qoutes and impresssive words spoken about the Quraan, there were reminders of the completion being a distinguished achievement: which is to successfully read the Quraan correctly with all its applied rulings in grammar and morphology.

The revered Moulana Rumi (R.a) stated " you are not a drop in the ocean, but the entire ocean in one drop". He cited these words, reminding us all that we are because of so many others. This is certainly the case with our learners, who year after year pass through the loving hands of individual Quraan teachers and vibrant classrooms, starting with basic phonics of Arabic transcript, eventually being capable of actual recitation. This extraordinary accomplishment culminates from dedicated pre-school, primary and senior phase teachers. Finally, after approximately a decade, the entire Quraan, from Surah Fatiha right up to Surah An-Naas in the final chapter is completed (in recitation/mushaf). In essence the celebratory, though humbling moment is for every teacher that has seen learners through a well-drawn out and paced system.

The actual purpose though of Quraan learning and teaching is to procure from various blessings and rewards attached to the Quraan, as it is a daily link to Allah (swt). There is a need create a lifelong habit of confident recitation, so that one may benefit beyond their scholastic days. Ulama understand that to learn the Quran, excel at it, and then teach it to others is imperative if one desires to be among the best in Allah's eyes. Through various narrations it is realised that the holy Quraan raises the status of the reader and even acts as an open dialogue with Allah (swt). It will intercede for you on the Day of Judgment if you need an intercessor, as substantiated through the authentic Hadith, “Read the Qur'an, since on the Day of Resurrection, it will act as an intercessor for those who recite it.” [Hadith | Muslim Sahih] What could be more appealing than that? Is there a greater incentive?

One of the most honorable acts of worship is preoccupation with the Quran; in the hereafter, the reciters of the Holy Quran will be in the company of the Noble and Obedient Angels. “Indeed the one who recites the Quran beautifully, fluently and correctly, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.”[Hadith | Al-Bukhari and Muslim] .

Contemplating on the Quraan completion makes one cognize that the Holy Quran is a way to paradise and salvation, therefor taught and learnt diligently in our school. As a final message we pass on to our learners: the Noble Quran was revealed for the benefit of all mankind. To prosper in this life and the next, one must return to it and apply it in every aspect of life.

4. Tribute to Ml Haroon Laher - Muallima Sadiyya Makda

The 10th Muharram holds a special place in the hearts of every muslim. It was the day that Allah chose to end the tyranny of Firawn as well as the day that saw the martyrdom of Hussein (RA). It is also a day when our families are spoilt a little extra.

The 10th Muharram 1443 will also be remembered by us as the day that Allah chose to return our beloved Moulana Haroon Laher to His mercy.

The departure of Moulana is not simply a loss of an educator or staff member, it is also the loss of an anchor and foundational pillar of J.M.S.

Moulana joined our institute in 1993. At the time, the concept of Islamic Schools was fairly new. He grew not only with the school but grew with the vision of what Muslim schools were anticipated to be. He adapted to the needs of an institute that was growing at a rapid pace. He was one of the founders of the Johannesburg Muslims School’s Hifdh classes and was amongst its first Asaatidha. Moulana served his term as the Head of Department of Islaamiyat with extreme excellence. He was always hands on and interactive with those who were part of his team. He provided regular workshops to help his educators improve and grow, always positively reinforcing and giving them assurance and encouragement.

The magnanimous nature of his contributions over the 28-plus years at JMS cannot be condensed into one article. As vast as these contributions are, they are more than matched by the gentleness and Ikhlaas that Moulana embodied, not only towards his job, but in his interactions with parents, students, and the staff compliment.

His remarkable Adab and Akhlaaq is something that so many have testified to, especially his students. Learners, both current and alumni, reminisced about his diligence, punctuality and absolute care he had taken in delivering meaningful lessons, not only for serving acedemic purposes, but also in a way that encouraged you to practice what was taught. His anecdotes still bring a fond smile to his students. Moulana had a warmth and genuineness towards each person who crossed his path. He made you feel important and was always prepared to lend an attentive ear to your troubles and thereafter offered sound advice. His concern was not limited to his advice, he had made a concerted effort to find a solution for your troubles.

He constantly reminded his colleagues to fear Allah in carrying out their tasks. When we felt demotivated, he would lift us by reminding us that the purpose of an educator is to serve the learners above all else.

Moulana’s imprint is bold and encompassing, even though he preferred not attracting attention. We are all impacted by his subtleness and devotion to a cause. He was especially known for his deep care and consideration for the school and its affairs.

Moulana Haroon Laher’s manner is a definite lesson in sincerity and dedication for the pleasure of Allah.

May the All-Mighty elevate his ranks and accept him amongst the righteous, the martyrs and the pious servants. Aameen

5. How much is your time worth?

We often hear the phrase: "Time is money". Well, if that is the case, then the spending of money and time are each mutually interchangeable and equally true. Or are they?

Those who are broke or unemployed will argue that they have all the time in the world yet have no money. Conversely, there are those who are grossly busy earning money. With ever-present deadlines to meet they will argue that they just dont have enough time. Or do they?

It would seem that you just could not have your cake AND eat it too. Or can you?

Perhaps this is the appropriate time to take a step back and prioritise the importance of both time and money. You would be fortunate to strike a perfect balance and live a life fulfilled. Well, could you?

A point to ponder: The quality of time spent, even if it is but little, is what truly buys you happiness. More so than the quantity of money spent, even it is a lot.

Whilst you can save money- for later- by not spending it, you cannot do the same with time. So use it wisely.

6. Johannesburg Muslim Schools Tree Planting Day - Muallima Sadiyya Makda

After weeks of fund raising, from ice cream sales to commemorating Heritage Day with boerewors rolls the J.M.S team were motivated to raise as much funds as possible to purchase trees for our new premises.

Our eagerness to adorn the new school with a terrace of trees was shared by all stakeholders of the school.

The day was met with an abundance of cheer and eagerness to explore the facility. Each envisioning what this new home would enable them to achieve. For some it was the overwhelming learning atmosphere that the premises boasted, for our younger learners is was the space that would allow them to play, for our elder learners definitely finding the best bunking spots. For every educator it was the various learning experiences they could create.

Amidst the candyfloss and ice cream pop ups and the sheer delight each member of the J.M.S family seen endless possibility.

Marking this new era of J.M.S with a tree planting ceremony cultivated different emotions within each of us. It had connotations of hope, aspiration, and a sense of immense gratefulness. It was finally time to harvest the efforts that took years of effort and nurture, a dream that too often felt very far out of reach.

For our current staff and students, it was not simply about planting a tree. It was about keeping firm our roots that were spread over the last 30 years. We know that to aspire we need to be grounded. Everything we are as an institute started from sowing the seeds of a community based Islamic educational institute. It is from our roots that we draw our provisions. As we turn over this new leaf, we need to be anchored with a value system that echoes our muslim identity. As educators of this institute, we wish to equip our learners with a strong moral and intellectual treasure box that will allow them to spread their branches high. We hope that these young minds entrusted to us will bloom and blossom. And we pray that the fruits they reap will strengthen the ummah. Aameen

Amongst the trees that were planted was the wild olive tree. An indigenous protected tree. It is ever green with a dense spreading canopy of glossy dark green leaves providing shade all year round. It bears sprays of lightly scented flowers during summer which is followed by fruit which ripen purple-black.

Allahs messenger peace be upon him said " There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows a seed, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but it is regarded as a charitable gift for him. "

On behalf of Johannesburg Muslim School its board of governors, Mudeer, educators and learners we would like to thank every person who contributed to our tree planting event. May Allah accept from you and make it a means of sadaqah-e-jariyya.

A special mention to all the planting committee members for their efforts in making the day a memorable one.

We ask the All-Mighty to shower his blessings on our school and allow it to benefit just like the olive trees that now envelop our school.


7. Faith - Fatima Muhammad and Fatima Diallo, Grade 11D

this earth is all we know of today,

flourished with good and bad

with fear in our hearts

we refuse to look beyond

we lie as we proclaim

we do not fear death

we do not live for this world

we live for the after

making others hate us

but faith is all we have to save us

for it is promised

after every hardship there is ease

clean your hearts from hatred

feel the fear of your last breath

repent because HE calls

for the actions on this plane

affect us all.

8. A Healthy Mind Marathon - Muallimah Bilqees Badat

Health is wealth and modern day mental health can be seen as weighty as gold. Our bodies and minds are the most complex, yet most precious machines given to us. We live in a world where people are too busy being busy and our machines are not refueled timeously.

Studies have shown that a fit mind resides in a healthy body and with that being said, exercise plays a key role in how we go about living our lives. The mind is the control centre and keeping our minds fit means always keeping our bodies active. A sedentary lifestyle breeds long term illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, depression, and high blood pressure. Imam Ibn-ul-Qayyim stated that movement helps rid the body of toxins which removes what we experience as “brain fog”. Movement is the mother of all habits. If running on a treadmill seems to be too mundane, then opt for an outdoor walk to release those feel-good hormones. The 21st century has bred “couch potatoes” that are distracted by many forms of entertainment which encourages laziness and induces ill health. All work and no “exercise” will make Jack a dull boy. Cognitive functioning in learners plays a huge role in how work is being absorbed. Physical activity is seen to improve cognitive functions by enhancing a learner’s concentration level.

Islam’s holistic approach to life offers us the ability to remain strong and healthy. One of the five pillars of Islam requires a Muslim to be in sound health. Prayer is the greatest form of consistent exercise that feeds the body, mind and soul. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said, “A strong believer was better than a weak believer.” Daily prayer encompasses prescribed movements which involve various muscles and joints in the body. The concentration levels required in conjunction with these movements relieves mental stress.

The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master. Exercise is seen to have a positive impact of overall mental health, these benefits include:

The release of feel-good endorphins which makes you happy.

Controlling of cortisol levels which helps manage stress.

A boost of endorphins which increases energy levels.

Knowing we did something good for our bodies makes us feel more confident.

A restful sleep.

We need to accept the reality that change internally will manifest outwardly and vice versa. So next time you choose to laze around, just remember that your body and mind are your most prized possessions, and that you are only workout away from a good mood.

9. Five steps to ensure a positive mindset towards Maths - Mathematics Department

“I cant do maths” is an expression of frustration all too familiar to mathematics educators.

At J.M.S we are committed to changing mindsets from a fixed mindset, believing that qualities such as intelligence are born with, to a growth mindset, where we would like our learners to see that effort and commitment contribute to success.

1. To change mindsets, we need to first understand them. Past interactions with mathematics often dictate our attitude towards it. Often, poor maths marks in previous grades create the “maths is only for smart kids” attitude that many of our learners have adopted. We need to help our children reflect on their maths experience. When we reflect, we open our mind to the root (no pun intended) cause of the problem and once a problem is acknowledged and processed growth can begin.

2. Talking Positively About Maths.

Maths is a universal language. It is not uncommon for adults to reinforce a fixed mindset by unconsciously using negative language when talking about maths. Consider negative phrases like, “I was never good at maths neither is my child” or, “my child just doesn’t get maths”. Now imagine if we turned these around to growth mindsets like “it’s ok to find maths tough, however it doesn’t mean that you bad at maths, you simply need to keep at it a little longer”. We could also say, “mistakes help you learn as long as you’re understanding your error and make an effort not to repeat it”

3. Celebrate Mistakes.

In a world where our children are accustomed to instant gratification, looking up the solution to a problem instead of sitting with it seems to be the more attractive option. We should not compartmentalise answers into “Correct and Incorrect”, rather we should focus on the journey of getting to the answer and explore the mistakes we have made and conceptualise why we have made those errors. If we know why we made the mistake, we realise the error in our understanding and can thereafter figure out how the problem should have been approached. Mistakes help grow the brain.

4. Praise the effort and hard work instead of the result. Praise your child for spending time with the subject and for steady progress. Afterall, we don’t STUDY maths, WE DO MATHS!

5. Talk about learning.

Ask your child:

What did that mistake teach you? instead of asking “how many did you get incorrect?”

What time suits you best to practice maths? instead of asking “why didn’t you study for maths?”

What have YOU done to facilitate YOUR journey of learning? Instead of saying “let me find you a tutor”

10. Life is an experiment, always test your hypothesis! - Muallimah Yumna Jassat

Just as in science where we constantly carry out experiments by beginning with a hypothesis or an educated guess, so too in our lives do we use specific predictions to determine which path to take.

These hypotheses do not always have to refer to big life-changing events, instead it can also help to improve simple things, such as deciding where a family could spend their holiday. Having good decision-making skills would only assist in making these experiences more enjoyable.

An interesting way in which we can integrate science during our holiday-making plans is by following the scientific procedure. This can be done by predicting whether the holiday would be enjoyable (making a hypothesis), listing the necessary documents and making bookings (required materials), obtaining these documents (following a method), going on the holiday (carrying out the experiment), making a pro/con list afterwards (observing the results), and deciding whether your original hypothesis is acceptable (conclusion).

The above is just one example which shows us that even the simple process of making holiday plans can be seen as an experiment. By simply starting with testing a hypothesis and following the example, we may apply it to other aspects of our lives. In this was we will be able to make our ordinary lives: extraordinary.

As Rosalind Franklin said: “Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.”

11. Is Afrikaans in danger of “Dying Out”? - Muallimah Bibi Fatima Byat

Afrikaans (English meaning: African) – a west Germanic language spoken in South Africa, which has evolved from the Dutch vernacular of Holland spoken by the European settlers and their slaves in South-Africa. During the course of the 18th century, Afrikaans gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics.

Afrikaans was adopted as an official language in South Africa, in 1925. There are approximately 10,3 million Afrikaans native speakers in South Africa. Clearly there are a lot of people who speak the lingo and, more importantly, it is also well-represented overseas with upwards of 15 million speakers across the planet. Countries with significant numbers of Afrikaans speakers include Zambia (96 000), Australia (43 700), New Zealand (27 400), the USA (23 000), eSwatini (17 000), and the Netherlands (14 300).

Language plays a crucial role in how cultures are constructed, their histories preserved, and their identities within these cultures are formed. For older generations, Afrikaans still symbolises the brutality of the Apartheid regime and a time they would rather forget. The controversy surrounding Afrikaans’ use as a tool of exclusion and racist discrimination continues. Can Afrikaans ever truly shake the legacy of its deeply divisive past and just become “one of the 11” in the eyes of South-Africa’s majority?

Many Afrikaans speakers are optimistic about the language’s future. Afrikaans survived South Africa’s transition from Apartheid but lost the privileges of power. Will it cope with the challenges of a changing world?

In our diverse and democratic South Africa, Afrikaans is a language that should sit comfortably alongside other languages and cultures.

12. Hifz Jalsa 2021 - Ml Yusuf Bhabha

Alhamdulillah, on the 22nd of October 2021, two students of the Johannesburg Muslim School had achieved an incredible milestone which was the completion of the Quraan by memory (hifdh).

The completion ceremony took place at Mayfair Jumuah Masjid between Maghrib and Esha Salaah. The ceremony was mastered by me. A portion of the Quran was recited by one of the school’s alumni, Hafidh Uwais – ul – Islam. A heart rendering nashedd was sung in the Urdu language by another of the school;s alumni, Muhammad Ismail Yusuf.

The keynote speaker of the event was Qari Abdur Rahmaan Ish’aq, who is a well known orator and the imaam of Masjid -ul – Huda in Robertsham. He had addressed the crowd regarding the importance of attaching oneself to the Holy Quraan.

The stars of the evening were the two graduates: Hafidh Ahmadullah bin Muhammad Saeed Ravat and Hafidh Khalid bin Seid Aribo, who had completed under the expert tutelage of their teacher (and a stalwart of Johannesburg Muslim School itself) Ml Mazharul Haq Kaka.

The event was well attended by the families of the two graduates as well as the staff and alumni of JMS, and by the community at large.

May Allah make it a success for the school and all those involved. Ameen.

13. Realising the Vision - Muallimah Waheeda Mangera

The eagerly awaited inception of the new JHB Muslim School campus is close to being realised.

JHB Muslim School, with the establishment of a modernised facility, supports the environment of a multifaceted and ever-changing educational sector. The new home of JHB Muslim School is a refined set-up that offers capacious classrooms bordered by sizable windows, ensuring the ample filtering in of natural light. These well-lit classrooms are spaces that are conducive to learning and teaching. In addition, the opening of the new campus brings with it the launching of a brand-new school uniform.

In keeping with the ever-changing technological landscape, the classrooms are capable of supporting technological advancements, allowing for a melding of traditional and modernised teaching techniques. Additionally, there are well-equipped specialist rooms, laboratories, and a spacious fully fitted library. The establishment of specialist classrooms allows for a varied curriculum that has the potential to support new subjects, which may include: EGD, IT, and Robotics. The new campus will support extra-curricular activities and various sporting activities with the laying of an Astro turf court and other sporting facilities.

With any new beginning comes new opportunities. The debut of the new campus is no different; it brings with it the potential for growth and achievement, ensuring a strong foundation for all JHB Muslim School learners to achieve success and foster an appreciation for lifelong learning.