Faces & TracesDeedat, AHMAD HUSSEIN(A Muslim Herald Who Vanquished Missionaries and Evangelists) [Archives:2008/1182/Culture]

August 18 2008

Prepared by: Eyad N. Al-Samman
[email protected]

Faces & Traces is a cultural series of concise biographies of local or international famous and obscure personalities in fields such as literature, arts, culture and religion in which these individuals contribute affirmatively. It is a short journey in contemporary history, attempting to tackle numerous effective characters in human civilization.

Deedat, Ahmed Hussein (1918-2005), a Muslim scholar of comparative religion, an author, lecturer, and a herald. He was born on July 1, 1918, in Surat, city and port in western India. His parents were Muslim Indians working in farming. At the age of 9, Deedat's father moved with his family to South Africa and settled in Durban, city in KwaZulu-Natal province. Although Deedat had not previously been exposed to the English language, he learnt it in 6 months, excelled at school and finished top of his class. Deedat then joined Durban's Islamic Center and studied the Holy Qur'an and other religious sciences. In 1934, Deedat could not finish his high school and decided to work and help his father in selling salt. Afterwards, Deedat worked in a furniture factory for 12 years. At the same time, he enrolled in the Sultanic Artistic College and studied business administration. He also studied different versions of the Holy Bible and made a comparative study for these versions. In 1949, Deedat moved to Pakistan to work in a textile factory for 3 years and then returned to Durban and became the manager of the same furniture factory he was working in. In 1956 and with the help of a South African Muslim friend, Deedat established “Al-Dawa Office”” in a small and modest apartment in Durban and started his missionary activity in South Africa. Consequently