It has been a tradition for the past several years for the Office Bearers of Africa Federation (AFED) to visit Member Jamaats in Africa during the Ashra-e-Muharram which provides good opportunity to AFED Office Bearers to join members of our Community in the commemoration of the martyrs of Karbala who sacrificed their lives for the restoration of human dignity, human values and the religion of Islam. The trip provides useful opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with the Jamaat leaders, elders of the community and make site visits to see community’s developments.
A visit to our Shia Asna Ashri Jamaat (SAAJ) of Nairobi took place from Wednesday, 5th to Thursday, 6th October 2016. (3rd – 4th Muharram 1438 A.H.). The delegation consisted of Alhaj Shabir Najafi – Chairman of AFED, Alhaj Aunali Khalfan – Vice Chairman, Alhaj Hussein Karim – Hon. Secretary, Alhaj Ebrahim Jaffer – AFED Trustee in Kenya and Alhaj Akil Hirji – Chairman of the Economic and Housing Development Board of AFED.
The visit began after Zohrain prayers with a lunch organized by SAAJ for the AFED delegation with some elders of the community, amongst those present were Alhaj Ramzan Nanji – past Chairman of AFED, Alhaj Manzoor Kanani – past Vice President of the World Federation during the tenure of Marhum Mulla Asgharali M M Jaffer and Alhaj Abdulrazak Khalfan – Trustee of SAAJ. Fruitful discussion took place in pleasant surroundings at a new Iranian Restaurant in Nairobi city.
In the afternoon, a joint meeting between AFED and SAAJ took place at the Jamaat’s Library. SAAJ Chairman, Alhaj Shakir Merali briefed the Afed Chairman and his delegation on SAAJ’s activities and on future plans. Discussions also covered the SAAJ Housing Development Project at Lavington and the Park Road properties of the Jamaat for future developments.
Several other issues of common interest were discussed including the Madressah, and the plan to recruit a Resident Aalimah for the Jamaat to cater for the ladies members of the Jamaat, the Aalimah will also teach in the girl’s Madressah classes.
Before the majlis began, the Chairman of Nairobi Jamaat gave a brief outline of the purpose of the AFED’s visit and the discussions that took place earlier in the afternoon in regards to the Lavington Housing Project and other issues concerning the Jamaat.
AFED Chairman in his speech provided brief information on some of the activities of AFED and its long-term strategic plans to make the institution self sufficient, he emphasized the importance of understanding the present challenges our community is facing in Africa and globally. He was pleased to learn that SAAJ has a well defined program to recruit a qualified Alimaah (a female Scholar); amongst other duties would be to attend to questions etc. she will also teach in the girls section of the Madressah. Shabir bhai commended this move and hoped that other Jamaats will emulate this initiative. He also commended SAAJ for empowering the women by allowing them to carry out their own election to elect the Chairlady for the term which runs concurrently with of the SAAJ Managing Committee.
Shabir bhai stressed to the members on the obligations to pay Khums, he encouraged them to remit their Khums centrally to AFED, or through SAAJ who collects on behalf of AFED. He pointed out that from time to time we need to be reminded on this important matter, there is a big requirement of funds in many of our Jamaats in Africa, and our first call of duty should be look after our own needs, before we look outside.
On the education front, he said we must not lose focus in educating our daughters, they are the future mothers of our children; when they are educated, they will ensure the children receive the best in education, care and training. He mentioned about the ZAKMEF loan scheme for Higher Education which was initiated by Marhum Zulfikar Khimji, (May the Almighty grant him high status and maghferat, Ameen) which is a great help to our students, and provides some relief to the parents, however he stressed on timely repayment of the education loans.
On Thursday, 6th October 2016, the AFED delegation visited Jamaat Cemetery (Kabrastan) to pay respects to the past leaders and volunteers of Nairobi Jamaat and other members of the community who are buried there. The Kabrastan is well maintained, efforts are in hand to have a better road access to Kabrastan.
A visit was also made to the Park Road Mosque, Imambargha and Madressah complex which also have residential apartments being occupied by our community members. The first Imambargha at this place was built in May 1939 and it was rebuild in June 1980. The complex is well maintained and secured. SAAJ is looking into a long-term plan for the development of the complex with several options. AFED would be interested to learn on the outcome of SAAJ’s plan towards this complex.
AYN – Africa Federation Youth Network Board:
It was a pleasure and an opportunity to meet the AYN Board which is based in Nairobi, Kenya. A meeting was held on Thursday, 6th October with the Chairman of the AYN, Br. Aliraza Sumar, his Hon Secretary, Br. Sajjad Karamsi and Board Member, Sister Sarah Karamsi.
AYN has a dynamic youth team and their Board members come from several Jamaats of Afed, this is indeed a good strategy of diversity and inclusion whereby new ideas will flow in from different people with varied experiences and exposures.
AYN has come up with a well-thought, well-planned, all-embracing strategy and vision for the term 2016-2019 in order to bring about positive changes within the youth fraternity of our community. AYN have a plan of several interesting programs including youth skills development training etc.
This year, AYN is organizing the first ever Girls Camp – 2016 in Morogoro from 19th to 29th December. Renowned speakers and lectures are expected to participate, whilst preparations and training for the Mentors and Volunteers have begun to ensure seamless organization. Several Boards/Sections of AFED are supporting AYN in this program; they are Women, Education and Capacity Building Group (CBG) of AFED. AFED is also supporting in the subsidy to defray some costs and secretarial services.
The AFED Chairman commended the Solidarity Day 2016 Ad-Hoc Committee Chairman Br. Farhan Yusuf and his team, the AYN and Women’s Board for their commitment and hard work towards the success of this event for the year 2016 and looks forward to their continued support towards this Annual event.
AFED Secretariat wishes to express its sincere appreciation to SAAJ – Nairobi Jamaat for the warm welcome and wonderful reception accorded to the AFED delegation. We also wish to thank the elders of the Community for the warmth and pleasant hospitality accorded to the AFED delegation.
We wish to express our appreciation to the Chairman of SAAJ, Alhaj Shakir Merali for providing a platform to the AFED Chairman, Alhaj Shabir Najafi to address members of our community in Nairobi. We also wish to thank SAAJ Secretariat for organizing the logistics, meetings and visits to the sites.
We also wish to thank the AFED Trustee in Kenya, Alhaj Ebrahim Jaffer for joining the AFED delegation on this visit and also accompanying them to various sites in Nairobi.
We pray to Allah (SWT) by His infinite grace and mercy to grant the past and present Jamaat leaders, Elders, Volunteers and all the Community members with good health, long life and success in their endeavors. We pray to Allah (SWT) to shower His choicest blessings and give more inspiration to them to continue with the noble work they do for His pleasure – Ameen.