How the Red, the Kufi and the Books all began

The Red Kufi was popularly worn by Muslim men in Cape Town in days gone bye.

No doubt there’s one carefully tucked away in the back of a cupboard in most Muslim homes here. The red kufi (fez) with the black tassel was culturally reserved for elderly men and implied that the person was a hajji (one who had performed Hajj) and, therefore, presumed to be honest. Urban legend has it that if a judge or magistrate wanted an additional or public opinion on a court case, he would instruct the bailiff to summons any passing Muslim wearing a red kufi to assist.

The rooi kuffiyah, as it is commonly known, was an essential part of the late Shaykh Abdurraghiem Hasan Sallie’s attire.

In brainstorming ideas for a rebranding of Daddy’s Books – the official publisher and distributor of Shaykh Abdurraghiem’s books – his love for the red kufi came up.

This is how the name Red Kufi Books was born.

Shaykh Abdurraghiem Hasan Sallie, a leading authority on Islam, authored more than 30 titles. Ranging from Tauhid (Islamic Monotheism), The Book on Salaah, The Book on Fasting, The Book on Hajj, The Book on Zakah, Cleanliness, Maintenance and Child-care according to Islamic Law, Inspirational Supplications to The Evolution of Islamic Legislation.

We will be expanding our collection of books to other authors as well. Insha’Allah.

And in March 2016 we launched the first in our range of colourful literature for children with a fun and fresh approach to learning Islam.

Red Kufi Books aims to uphold Shaykh Abdurraghiem’s legacy of education and upliftment.

And become the leading on-line book dealer within South Africa by creating a quality website that remains current, interactive and engaging, and provides access to our books for on-line purchasing in both e-book and print format.

Cape Town and South Africa is awash with incredible talent. We aim to launch our editing and publishing services in the foreseeable future, insha’Allah.

Red Kufi Books hopes to act as the vehicle to assist aspiring Muslim writers in realising their dreams. Self-publishing can be daunting, especially if it is your first book. Our services will include editing, art design, typesetting and reproduction, printing, product advertising and distribution through multimedia platforms.

Red Kufi Books will be a brand synonymous with excellent writing, appealing to the mind hungry for knowledge, eager to elevate his/her spiritual station with The Creator and willing to pay good money for a sound investment.

Insha’Allah, we endeavour to establish Red Kufi Books as a leading Islamic book publisher in the world.

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The Qur’an is so great that if the intellects of all Muslims were joined to form one great mind, it would still not be able to comprehend the greatness of the Quran.

Quote by Abdurraghiem Hasan Sallie
My Story

It is said that your soul becomes truncated when you live an inauthentic life.

For a long time, I felt my life limited in enthusiasm, devoid of passion. I was not sure what my life’s design should be but knew that living the unoriginal life was slowly poisoning me.

Something I always had was a deep love for books. My love for my father naturally deepened because he produced the objects of my affection.

I yearned to write. But overcome with fear and doubt, I felt shackled and anchored in mediocrity. I found myself climbing the ladder within the corporate world with life speeding by, leaving me stumbling after it.

Late in 2012, after fetching my dad from the hospital, he broke the news that he had been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, a degenerative illness. The only reason I knew what it was was that a famous South African rugby player was battling the same disease.

Ten months later, on 31 August 2013, my father passed away. The end of his life profoundly affected me. Life after his death touched me deeper still.

I got to know my dad more intimately in death than I knew him in life. Pondering, reflecting and drawing meaning from his life has rooted him in my heart. His tireless dedication to the Deen has left me inspired. He was my beacon, now gone from the ephemeral world but still residing in my heart.

I decided to wear my father’s tasselled red fez (kufi) on the days of Eid. He never left the house without wearing it and even wore it at his home in the presence of guests.

Donning the red fez, I felt connected to him. Many remarked that wearing the red fez; I looked just like my father! My children thought I looked funny wearing it. Wanting to imitate, they would put it on their heads but of course due to the size of the fez; it would cover their faces down to their noses! Leaving us all in giggles. Little did we know that the red kufi would soon come to mean much more than just a head covering.

Still mired in what felt meaningless, life in the corporate world reached a tipping point for me. I decided to throw in the towel and change course.

I was living in my father’s house, surrounded by his books and it was to his books that I turned. After praying Istikhaarah and seeking guidance from the Almighty Creator of the Universe, I decided that I would turn to what had been brewing inside me for a long time. And that was to write. In particular, picture books for children.

I wanted to teach foundational truths and Islamic rituals through the child’s love for play. The Prophet Muhammad صا الله عليه وسلم taught us that children should play until the age of seven. Teaching this way enlivens the spirit of the child and helps them learn organically.

At the same time, I would uphold my father’s legacy by giving the world access to his works. We would rebrand Daddy’s Books, which was the original publishing house and distribution arm of my father’s publications, and extend the marketing of his books to the international arena. Another decision taken was to revise and update his earliest works in aesthetics and content.

We plan, but the Almighty Allah certainly has the best of plans. Since making this decision, He has placed people in our lives that are meant to assist us in our journey.

One of these dear friends has been instrumental in guiding us in this venture. While discussing ideas for what I envisioned, the decision was taken to rebrand completely. We needed a stronger brand for our vision. In brainstorming ideas, we spoke about my father’s love for the red fez (kufi). And that’s how the name was born. Red Kufi Books it would be, we decided!

It resonated with us that Red Kufi Books would be a brand that Muslims internationally would better relate to but one that still held deep meaning for my family and me.

I walked out of corporate life on 31 August 2015, unwittingly two years to the day that my father died and began Red Kufi Books the following day.

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Reading a book is like traversing the unknown. You may get lost, but you may just find yourself.

Quote by Zaahied Sallie
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Abdurraghiem Hasan Sallie
Islamic Scholar, Jurist and Author
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Zaahied Sallie
CEO, Writer and Creative Director
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Nurah Tape-Sallie
Editor, Writer, Journalist and Social Media Manager
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Yusuf Agherdien
Imam, Islamic Academic, Attorney and Writer