Ahmed Deedat: A Life Dedicated to Islam

Ahmed DeedatAhmed Deedat was born in Surat, India in 1918 to Muslim parents. His father worked in agriculture in India, but later changed his career. Nine-year-old Deedat left India and immigrated to Kwazulu-Natal with his family, a province located on South Africa’s eastern coast where his father began work as a tailor. His mother passed away a few months after they left India, and yet despite these circumstances, Deedat was able to overcome the language barrier and excel at his studies at an early age. He was brought up a Sunni Muslim and studied at the Islamic Center in Durban till sixth grade where his performance was stellar. Yet, seven years after landing on South African territory, Deedat was forced to leave school and began working to contribute to his family’s financial needs. At the ripe age of 16, he began work in retail eventually working in a furniture factory and spent twelve years of his life climbing the career ladder from driver, to salesperson, to factory manager

While working, he came across many Christian missionaries eager to convert him to their religion. In his first encounters with these missionaries Deedat was not fully-capable of answering their questions about Islam nor counter their religious claims. Religious ideology in South Africa has long been used as an effort to pacify the masses, especially Calvinist Christian ideology, and although those who spread ‘the word’ were well-intentioned; Blacks, Colored, and Indian South Africans who accepted Christianity more willingly viewed themselves as ‘subordinate’ to their white brothers in faith. This, coupled with continuous interaction with missionaries, sparked Deedat’s interest in comparative religions and encouraged him to read more about Islam and Christianity… Click here to Read more about Ahmed Deedat


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