(Mother of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee [daamat barakaatuhum] – Part Four)

Among the many outstanding qualities which Makkiyyah Aapa (rahimahallah) possessed was her compassion and concern for one and all.

She always showed special care and love for those who were weak or slow, and children who had a natural weakness or disability would enjoy her special favour and kindness. She would go out of her way to care for them and bring happiness to their hearts, saying, “Allah Ta‘ala’s help comes to us on account of the weak among us.” In reality, these are the words of a hadeeth in which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “You are provided with help and sustenance because of the weak ones amongst you.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #2896)

A young girl who is unable to walk from birth says that she would love to come and meet Makkiyyah Aapa (rahimahallah) because of the special care and love that she showed to her. She says, “Whenever I came to meet her, she always made me feel very special.” In fact, this was the sentiment and feeling expressed by most of the people who visited her. 

She loved the poor (both family and non-family) and would always try to be with them. Hence, she would attend the weekly ladies ta’leem in poorer areas such as Malukazi, Isipingo Rail and Lotus Park. In this way, she attracted many poor people to Islam. A revert to Islam who had no support from her family says that she was like a mother to her.

As she advanced in age, she seldom went out, on account of her ill health. However, if she heard that a poor person had passed away, she would take the trouble and make the effort to visit the family of the deceased. Towards the end of her life, she could no longer go to visit the sick or console the bereaved. She would thus send her daughters-in-law to the home of the sick and the bereaved, and on their return, she would express happiness saying, “A very important responsibility has been fulfilled.”

She would make a point of supporting the poor people who go house-to-house selling food items to earn a living. Even if she did not require what they were selling, she would buy something just to support them. Likewise, on hot days, she would provide cold water for these people as well as beggars that came to the house.

She was very particular in treating her domestic workers with care and affection. A domestic worker once commented that whenever she went to her home, she always asked her how she was keeping. This would make her feel very special and comfortable.

Many years ago, a certain woman in Isipingo Beach was widowed. She hailed from India and had no children to care for her. Furthermore, most of her family lived in India. Hence, after her husband’s demise, she had nowhere to go. Makkiyyah Aapa (rahimahallah) happily took her into her own home and cared for her like a widowed sister, right until she passed away – despite the fact that she was in no way related to her. In fact, she would even entertain this widow’s visitors without any fuss or complaint.

A certain family member and her husband were fond of eating butter bananas. If she managed to acquire butter bananas, she made a point of sending some for them, even though they lived two hours away. Likewise, she would care for other elderly women and widows by sending fruit, vegetables and other items to their homes.

On account of her caring and loving nature, women found it easy to approach her and confide in her, asking her for advice. When any woman confided in her, she would never divulge her secret, and she would give her such advice that the woman would feel motivated and reassured. Furthermore, her concern for people was such that on hearing of any person’s problem, she would engage in du‘aa and beg Allah Ta‘ala to alleviate that person’s problem.

On one occasion, a certain woman came to her and asked her what she should do when her family held gatherings which were not permissible to attend (e.g. mixed gatherings, etc.). She replied, “Do not attend the gathering. However, in order to maintain family ties, visit the family one day before the gathering or one day after. Excuse yourself from attending, and ensure that you take a gift for them when visiting.”


1. Makkiyyah Aapa (rahimahallah) was indeed an embodiment of the quality of compassion. Hence, she brought an elderly widow into her own home and showed her the same care that she would have shown her own sister. In comparison, people today are sadly ‘dumping’ and abandoning their own parents in old age homes and care facilities!

2. Often, a person may be blessed with a soft heart and the quality of compassion, but he only shows compassion to his family, friends and close associates. As far as Makkiyyah Aapa (rahimahallah) was concerned, she showed compassion to one and all – especially the poor people who are often overlooked by others.  

3. Love for the poor is a quality of imaan. Hence, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) taught us to make du‘aa for Allah Ta‘ala to bless us with love for the poor. Makkiyyah Aapa (rahimahallah) was blessed with this quality, and hence she deliberately went to poor areas to conduct ta’leem, visit funeral homes, etc.

4. Together with the ability to give good, sensible advice, perhaps the reason for many women referring their problems to her was that she would never breach their trust and divulge their secrets to anyone. This is indeed one of the core qualities of a believer – he does not betray those who trust him.