Professor Muhsin Alidina, popularly known by the title of Maalim was born on 10th April, 1943. He acquired his primary education at Sir Euan Smith Madressa and completed his Secondary education at King George VI Grammar School in Zanzibar. He was naturally talented, gifted and excelled in his studies with flying colors. His desire of acquiring education did not end in Zanzibar and the journey continued as he pursued his Bachelors of Arts Degree studies in Nairobi and Masters Degree at Dar es Salaam University. As ambitious as always in the field of education, he pursued PhD degree in New York after his migration to USA in 1993.
While in Zanzibar he volunteered and offered his services as a teacher in the Madrassah famously known as School Faize. He also taught at Husseini Madrasah in Dar es Salaam before joining the Dar es Salaam University as a Researcher/Lecturer. He was also a teacher in Shaban Robert and Mzizima Secondary Schools, prior to joining the University of Dar es Salaam.
Maalim Muhsin Alidina, “The unsung Hero of our community” was a key player in the establishment of Al Muntazir Islamic Seminary of the KSI Jamaat of Dar es Salaam. He was among the team of committed members of our community which included Raza Gulamhussein, Mohamed Virani, Hassan Hirji, Dr. Mohamedraza Dungersi, Hussein Habib Peera, Hussein Dewji, Kermalli H. Kermalli and Pyarali Champsi who brought up the idea to the Jamaat and were the prime movers in the establishment of the Seminary. The process began from 1982 and the Seminary was registered in February, 1986 with Dr. Mohamedraza Dungersi as the first Chairman of the Board of the Seminary and Mohsin Nathani as the Hon. Secretary. The Seminary came into stream during the leadership period of Alhaj Aliraza Rajani of Dar es Salaam Jamaat. Today, the community is indeed privileged of having a community school which is a result of the seeds sowed by the past members and leaders. Their vision bore fruits as the community enjoys the facilities provided by the school under the CBE of KSI Jamaat of Dar es Salaam. A number of students have thrived since then, and continues to grow.
Maalim was an excellent sportsman. Mohamedbhai Nathoo narrates – “In the game of cricket, Maalim used to be an opening bowler during the tennis ball cricket days. His bowling action was identical to Fazel Mahmood, hero of the Pakistan team during 50’s and 60′ and he was nicknamed Fazel Mahmood then. He was a scorer of Ithnasheri Gymkhana “A” in Zanzibar. He was quite meticulous in keeping the records that other clubs used to borrow data and records. He also represented the club in cricket in second string of the club”.
Joining Union Sports Club when he moved to Dar es Salaam, he was quite active as a player, committed administrator and a regular spectator. A devoted and a staunch supporter of Union Sports Club – “Come-On Champions” was his pet callout at the top of his voice to applaud the Union Sports Club on the cricket ground. He was instrumental in the restructuring of the Union Sports Club Constitution and introduced Discipline Code (Green Book) in the Club while he was a Chairman of Union Sports Club Selection Committee in 1980 where in that season the club clinched all the trophies of Dar es Salaam Cricket Association tournaments.
Late Maalim was employed by Al-Khoe Benevolent Foundation in New York, USA, until his departure from this material world; he occupied the position of the Director of Education Services comprising of three schools: A State-accredited Al-Iman Elementary, Junior High and High School from Pre-K to 12th Grade, Al-Iman Saturday School for religious studies and Al-Iman Summer School for academic tutoring and religious courses. He was the overall supervisor and advisor to the Principals of these schools, overseeing policies, administration and curriculum development. Furthermore, he was also a Professor of Swahili Language in New York University.
Maalim was a regular visitor to Dar es Salaam, after migrating to the USA in 1993. On Friday, 9th August 2013 (1st Shawwal 1434 AH) on the day of Eid ul-Fitr in Dar es Salaam, he recited Dua-e-Nudba at the mosque and minutes later suffered a massive cardiac arrest while seated and listening to the Eid ul-Fitr message of the Chairman of the Africa Federation which was being delivered by Alhaj Zulfikar Chandoo, the Hon. Secretary of the KSI Jamaat of Dar es Salaam.
In his tribute upon Maalim’s demise, Alhaj Aunali Khalfan – currently The Vice-Chairman of Africa Federation (who was the Hon. Secretary in 2013) recalled an occasion of “Maulidi” held for the first time in the KSI Jamaat Imambargha in Dar es Salaam in 1991, when Alhaj Aliraza Rajani was the President of the Jamaat, and Aunali Bhai was the head of the Organizing Committee of the Miladun-Nabi (SAWW) hosted by the Jamaat on a grand scale. The then President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Alhaj Ali Hassan Mwinyi was the Chief Guest. Aunali Bhai requested Maalim Muhsin to be the Master of Ceremonies and to deliver a speech in Kiswahili. Maalim as confident and versatile as always with his unparalleled oratory power made a moving speech by briefly explaining the role played by Africa (in Abyssinia) in the year 622 when the Holy Prophet of Islam advised his followers to go to Abyssinia for protection to escape the persecution and hostilities by the enemies of Islam. H. E. Alhaj Ali Hassan Mwinyi was impressed with Maalim’s oratory and his control of Kiswahili language. Immediately after the function, His Excellency congratulated Maalim for the impressive and inspiring speech.
May Allah (SWT) grant Maalim Muhsin a high station in the proximity of Ahlulbayt (AS) where he continuously receives Allah’s (SWT) bountiful mercy and grace, Ameen. Let us remember Maalim and all other Marhumeen with Sura-e-Fateha.
A Memorable Tribute of Maalim Muhsin Alidina by Br. Sajjad Bashir Tejani:
(Former Dar es Salaam Husseini Madrasah Student, presently lives in London, U.K.)
My earliest memories of him go back to 1982 when Union Sports Club (USC) had arranged a charity walk from the mosque in Dar-es-Salaam to the Dar-es-Salaam University roughly about 15 kilometers. I am sure it must have been his idea and after the walk had finished he invited the players to his residence at the University campus for a chat and of course I was there accompanying my father.
Besides Cricket, I was honored to be one of his students in my last year at Madressah in the year 1992. Maalim was our Aqaid/Fiqh teacher. This is when I realized his scholarly aptitude and his style of teaching was one I had not come across even in my secular school. After all he had a PhD in Kiswahili and was a senior lecturer at the University of Dar-es-Salaam. He taught Aqaid so eloquently and dissected the books written by Syed Saeed Akhtar Rizvi so well, I wished the classes were recorded. He increased our conviction in our Aqeedah by going deep into the roots of our religion. Thinking back, we were so blessed to have Madressah five days a week and teachers of his calibre. Once in the subject of Fiqh, my classmate Hussein Hussein (now in Australia) and myself told him that we have come across in the books of Fiqh that reciting verses of the Holy Quran is Makruh in the state of sajda. He said he had not come across anything like that. The following week, before commencing his topic, he admitted it was true and quoted the rule number from the different Maraajaaes’ Risalas going back to Ayatullah Burujerdi. He thanked us for drawing his attention and I can imagine him if we were in class now, he would have crossed his arms on his chest the way a cricket umpire would when his decision is incorrect proved by the Decision Review System (DRS). On another occasion, he was quoting some scholars and the tremendous merits of Salatul Layl. So, we questioned him, “Do you practice what you have just told us?”. He said, “Yes, I try not to miss it.” upon which we jumped and said “But you are supposed to keep it secret!”. He immediately responded that “You are right but I am saying this in class because you asked and to encourage you to perform the prayer. I would not say this in public.” he reiterated and then quickly moved away from the topic. There is a lot to write about our beloved Maalim, but suffice it to say that “We know not of anything but good of him” and this what everyone attending his funeral must have recited in the Salaat-ul-Meyyit.
This day of Eid-ul-Fitr will be full of his memories shared amongst friends and family. He will always be remembered as our Maalim and let us pray to the Almighty to bless his soul and raise his status in heaven to be granted a place near the 14 Masoomeen (AS). May Allah (SWT) reward him for all his good deeds and may He pardon all his sins. Finally, the words of Imam Ali (AS) “I am a slave of he who teaches me one letter of the alphabet. If he wishes, he may sell me; if he so desires, he may set me free; and if he cares to, he may deploy me as a slave”.
Many of these Maalims and Student Volunteers seen here in the photographs are no more in this transient world, they served the community at different times and at different places dedicating their valuable time, efforts and resources for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and provided services to the community at large. It is therefore incumbent upon us to remember them in our duas and prayers and to recite Sura-e-Fateha for the maghferat of their souls – Al Fateha.
Source: AFED Archives Section
ARCHIVES SECTION OF THE AFRICA FEDERATION
14th May 2021 / 1st Shawwal 1442 A.H