Ahmed Said Musa Patel
(16 January 1937 to 8 September 2009) was the first Imam
(Muslim cleric) in New Zealand and served as the principal spiritual and religious advisor to the Islamic community here from 1960 to 1986.
The first Imam of the Ponsonby Mosque
, the oldest in New Zealand, was Maulana Ahmed Said Musa Patel. Born on 16 January 1937 in Kaphleta
, western India, Patel was one of seven sons of a farmer turned restaurant entrepreneur named Mohamed Musa Patel and his wife Khadijah. The Imam also had six sisters. Between 1949 and 1951 he studied Arabic, Urdu
at the Darul Uloom Ashrafia Arabia, Rander, in Surat
. Between 1951 and 1959 he studied at the Madrasa
Jami-a-Islamia Talimuddin, in Navsari, Gujarat
province. On 27 July 1957 he married. Between 1959 to 1960 he was a lecturer at the aforementioned Madrasah
(Islamic seminary) before accepting an invitation to serve as Imam to the nascent Muslim
community in New Zealand.
On Sunday, 18 September 1960, Patel boarded the P&O SS Strethmore in Bombay
and journeyed to Auckland
via Sydney, arriving there on 9 October. His primary task initially was to teach Quran
and Islamiyat to the Muslim children of Auckland. The regular Quran classes at the new 17 Vermont Street property became busier. According to the records of the “Madresa-E-Islamiyah Auckland” there were exactly 23 pupils at Patel’s class on 2 July 1972. By the end of the year examinations on 12 December there were 27. These... Read More