Westville formerly known as Jarrman (German) Place and approximately 20 km away from central Durban, is situated on a hilly location. At the turn of the century there were many Indian families living here (including Muslims), most of whom were ex-indentured labourers engaged in farming and supplying the local market in Durban with fresh greens, vegetables and fruits.
In 1904 Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA visited the Westville area and after meeting the local Muslim inhabitants purchased two pieces of ground from a Shaik Ally, which were put into the Trust by Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA. He built a mosque and madressa, and a cemetery was opened. At the entrance to the institution a wood and iron house was built for the Imam and Muezzin. He placed one of his six khulafas, Hazrath Yusuf Ali Shah RA, here.
Among the institutions built in Durban, Westville was the furthest away from central Durban.
Transportation was difficult in those days and the area was snake-infested. Hazrath Yusuf Ali Shah RA worked extremely hard to establish the Darbar to run smoothly. He purchased goods daily because the poor, the destitute and the wayfarers were fed. He performed the duties of the Imam in the Musjid and also taught at the Madressa.
The following Trustees served here:-
1. Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA - the founder 1904 - 1911
2. Hazrath Shah Mohamed Ibrahim Soofie RA 1911 -1954 (legal matters)
3. Hazrath Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie RA 1911 - 1947 handled legal matters
4. Hazrath Yusuf Ali Shah RA 1904 - 1951
5. Hazrath Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Sani RA 1947 - 1978 (legal matters)
6. Hazrath Shah Abdul Majid RA 1951 - 1982
7. Hazrath Moulana Shah Abdur Raoof Habibi - 1982 up to the present
Hazrath Yusuf Ali Shah Chisti, Nizami, Habibi RA
He was born in 1882 in Nausari, a village in Gujerat, India. He came to South Africa in 1898 with his two elder brothers, Ismail and Ishaq who were cloth merchants.
One week end he visited Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA at Riverside because he had heard so much about him. He was immediately fascinated by his spiritual outlook, so much so, that he now thirsted for spiritual knowledge and without hesitation he became the mureed of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA in 1900.
In 1910 Hazrath Yusuf Ali Shah RA married Aziza Bibi, the daughter of Hazrath Abdul Majid RA who was the younger brother of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA and had passed away in 1900 during a visit to Mecca Shareef. Two children were born from this marriage - Abdul Majid and Ameer Bi. He lost his wife three years after his marriage and the children grew up in the Darbar at Riverside.
Hazrath Yusuf Ali Shah RA was a very patient man, following the simple way of life of the Mashaikh of the Chistia Order. He always slept on the floor and he always walked barefeet in the entire Darbar of his Shiekh at Riverside due to extreme love and respect for him.
Visitors and travellers (especially those travelling to and from Pietermaritzburg) were always welcome at the Darbar. He was given permission by his Pir O Murshid to organise Meelad-un-Nabie and Urs functions, which were held over a weekend.
According to information available from his passport which was issued on 11 April 1924 at the Point, Durban, it was valid for Arabia and Egypt. He visited Palestine which was dated 28/8/24 by entering through Port Tewfick on 27/8/24. He also visited his village Nausari in India and visited the city of Ajmer and Hyderabad where the Mazaars of the great Chisti saints, Hazrath Khwaja Moinuddin RA and Hazrath Habib Ali Shah RA are respectively situated. He left Bombay on 2/12/24 for Durban by ship.
Hazrath Yusuf Ali Shah RA performed Juma Khutbah and Namaaz for a number of years at the Musjid of his revered Sheikh but not before making arrangements with Kaleh Miajee for Juma Namaaz at the Darbar in Westville. Lunch, consisting of dholl and rice, was also fed to the Musallees.
The health of this humble mureed who was one of the six Khulafas was deteriorating. Although he was given permission by his Sheikh to be buried behind the mosque in Westville, a few days before his demise, he advised his son, Hazrath Abdul Majid RA to bury him at the Darbar, Riverside. It was on Thursday, 24 Shaban 1370 AH (31/5/51), while Maghrib Salaah was being read, this humble Khalifa breathed his last after serving the community at Westville faithfully for four decades. He was laid to rest in the cemetery in Riverside according to his wishes.
Hazrath Hajee Shah Abdul Majid RA
He was the only son of Hazrath Yusuf Ali Shah RA, who was from Nausari Village, Gujerat, India. His mother, Aziza Bibi, from the village of Ibrahim Pattan, Ratnagir, India, was the daughter of Hazrath Abdul Majid Siddiqui RA, the younger brother of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA. He was born in 1911 at the Darbar, Riverside, where he grew up and attended Madressa. Subsequently he enrolled for further education under Hazrath Moulana Ahmed Mukthar Siddiqui RA from whom he learnt Pharsee and Arabic.
He married Badroonissa, the third daughter of Hazrath Shah Abdul Aziz Soofie RA. Three children were born from this marriage - Abdur Raoof, Zubeda and Thyra.
He taught at the Darbar at Riverside and performed as Imam for a number of years, first prior to his marriage and later, after the demise of Imam Ariff Miajee RA. He also served at the Darbar at Pietermaritzburg for 5 years, and Greytown for 5 years. He taught in Durban at May Street Madressa and the Anjuman Madressa Pine Street in the 1940’s with Moulana Basheer Siddiqui, Imam Abdus Samad and Munshi Kader Mia. May the blessings of Almighty Allah be upon them.
Hazrath Abdul Majid returned to the institution at Westville due to the illness of his father in early 1950, as Imam and teacher. In the early part of the day he taught at Orient School from 1961 to 1980.
According to information derived from his passport he performed Haj in 1946. In the same year he visited India. In Ajmer Shareef he visited and lived with Hazrath Shah Mohamed Ibrahim Soofie RA, the eldest son of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA, who was his uncle also. He visited Delhi, Hyderabad and Bombay before returning home in Durban on 11 April 1947.
He used to sweep the entire Darbar at Westville daily by himself. He was very fond of gardening. Visitors to the mosque were pleasantly greeted by the sweet fragrance of flowers especially roses which also presented a colourful sight to behold. The cemetery was well kept. He personally assisted the labourers. In early 1980 he completely renovated and extended the Musjid with the help of the local Muslim community. When he developed a heart ailment, his only son, Hazrath Moulana Abdur Raoof assisted him with the daily affairs of the institution.
He passed away on 6 Zil Haj 1401 (4 October 1981) and lies buried in the cemetery behind the Mazaar Shareef of Hazrath Soofie Saheb RA.
Hazrath Moulana Shah Abdur Raoof Habibi
He was born on 29 September 1945 at the Darbar in Riverside. He obtained his Islamic education from his father at the madressa in Westville. He also learnt under Hazrath Moulana Abdul Kader RA. He took over the responsibilities at the Westville Darbar in 1977 when his father took ill. His first lecture was at the residence of the late Yunus Ramjaan during the Meelad-un-Nabie celebrations when the daughter of Yunus Ramjaan was being married. His maternal uncle, Hazrath Shah Goolam Mohamed Soofie Sani RA, was also present.
Moulana Abdur Raoof taught at Anjuman Islam School (Leopold Street), Orient School and Merebank Madressa where he was the Imam also for a number of years.
He performed Haj and visited the Mazaars of the famous Mashaikh of several tariqas in the Indo-Pak sub continent. He was conferred Khilafath on one such visit to Hyderabad by Hazrath Habib Ali Shah Sani RA.
He married Shehnaaz, the only daughter of Hazrath Shah Noor Mohamed Soofie (R.A.) of Darbar Springfield. Three children were born, Fuzail, Farheen and Tasqeen. Moulana Abdur Raoof is presently assisted by his only son, Hafez Shah Mohamed Fuzail, in the administration of the Westville Darbar.