A miniature replica of one of Durban’s well-known mosques was completed this week in time for this month, Heritage month, and is on display at Mini Town.
The 1:24 scale model of the Mazaar Shareef of Hazrath Badsha Peer – which is situated at the Brook Street Cemetery – is the work of Desmond Deonarain of Mini Town and took the craftsman about a month to build.
It is made of ABS plastics, perspex and wood with brass screws and there’s a week’s work in its painting.
Deonarain built the model, referring to site plans and photographs of the mosque.
Heritage Month is a time to recognise aspects of the country’s culture, both tangible and intangible. This includes creative expression such as music and performances, our historical inheritance and languages.
The mosque holds great sentimental value to the Muslim community.
Hazrat Sheik Ahmed Badsha Peer arrived in Durban from India in 1860 as an indentured labourer to work on a sugar cane farm on the North Coast.
He was given an honourable discharge by the authorities when he was discovered to be a mystic.
Peer induced local Muslims, many of them traders, to improve the quality of their Islamic life and warned them of the appearance of a spiritual guide in the near future.
Peer was buried at the Brook Street Cemetery in 1895.
In the same year, Hazarath Soofie Sahib arrived in Durban by boat from India.
Sahib found Peer’s gravesite and informed people of Peer’s great spiritual knowledge.
A modest wood-and-iron structure was erected over the gravesite in the year it was discovered to give shelter to people who came to pay their respects and ask for his guidance.
Over the years the simple structure has undergone a number of renovations, making it one of Durban’s tourist landmarks.
An Urs Shareef (prayer) is held annually in Peer’s remembrance in the Badsha Peer Square.
The miniature model of the Mazaar Shareef of Hazrath Badsha Peer was sponsored in memory of the late Tayob and Zuleikha Mokaria by Joosub and Halima Ismail of Pretoria and Moosa Tayob Muhammed and family of Laudium, near Pretoria.