Passionate teachers occupy a fundamental role in society because of the appreciative efforts they employ for educating the youth, especially when it is in regards to the importance of Salaah and Qur’an. One such personality is Batulbai Fazal.
Batulbai Fazal was born in Bujumbura. She is the daughter of Marhum Mohammedhussein Rajabali Alidina and Marhuma Rukiyabai Ebrahim Jivraj, who were blessed with a total of 8 children namely: Yusuf Alidina, Marhum Muhsin Alidina, Aliraza Alidina, Asgher Alidina, Anwer Alidina, Marhuma Nargis Raza and Marzia Remtullah. She is the aunt of Sheikh Murtadha Alidina.
Batulbai completed her education in Zanzibar at Datoo Hemani Primary School (Girls School), which was a Gujarati medium school. She was taught by the following leading teachers of that time namely Marhuma Marzia Jaffer Hirji (Marzia Jafu), Marhuma Rukaiya Rahim (Ruki John), Marhuma Zainab Teja, Marhuma Fatma Kassam Kara and Marhuma Fizza Gulamhussein. After completing school in 1957, Batulbai used to attend afternoon classes facilitated by Bibi Aminah Sayyid Husain Shushtari where she undertook deeper learning in Qur’an, Salaah and supplications from Mafatihul Jinan – these classes were important stepping-stone towards a lifetime of service to the community especially to Husayni Madrasah students.
She started communal work when she joined the Mehfil-e-Abbas team in Zanzibar as a volunteer under the supervision of Marhuma Zainab Hassanali Raza (Bai Jenna). In 1968, after the Zanzibar revolution, she migrated with her family to Dar es Salaam and in 1971, she served as a volunteer at Mehfil-e-Abbas under the leadership of Marhuma Fatmabai Shariff (Fatu Mumbai) and Marhuma Kulsumbai Khimji.
In 1973, Batulbai got married to Mustafa bhai Kassamali Fazal Karmali (Jamana Printers) in Dar es Salaam. In 1976, when Husayni Madrasah Girls’ Section was founded, Batulbai joined as a teacher for Dinyat, Akhlaaq, Qur’an, Islamic History and Salaah after being approached by Raziyabai Janmohammed and Khairunbanu bai (Keki Bai) Mehrali. Batulbai used to teach a class of 12 students and these classes were conducted at the Ladies Imambargha, Monday to Friday from 4:00 – 5:30 PM.
In the 1980’s, she undertook the responsibility of leading the Salaah and Wudhoo practical sessions and then proceeded to conduct practical exams for all students. To emphasize the importance of Salaah, Madrasah dedicated Tuesdays solely towards this subject so that the students could better their understanding on this fundamental pillar of Islam. Batulbai served as a Madrasah Teacher from 1976 to 2013 where she instilled the importance of Salaah within the hearts of many students. Till this day, Batulbai always offers her expertise in Salaah and Qur’an to the Madrasah whenever required. In that same period, she joined Bilal School to teach Salaah, Dinyat, Akhlaq, and Ghusl/Kafan to baligh girls in Swahili Language.
In 1986, Batulbai joined as a Nyaz volunteer; she was also in charge of handling the Ta’but, a responsibility that she undertakes to this day. In the 1990’s, she joined the Al-Muntazir Primary School as a Religion Studies Teacher for boys and girls of Grade 1 and 2.
In 1992, she joined as a mentor for the Senior Citizens Group and became the Chairlady in 2000 a position she assumes to date. In her tenure as a Chairlady of the Senior Citizens Group, she has organized events such as picnics for senior ladies, cooking classes, guest speaker sessions, Ramadhan Iftaar programs and Q&A Sessions. From 1996 to 1999, she was the Head of the Ladies Mayyit Committee and continues to serve as a committee member. In 2004, the mosque started Jamaat Namaaz for ladies and Batulbai was at the forefront of the volunteer team to ensure its smooth-running.
Batulbai has been a silent yet very hard working volunteer for this community. Having taught at the Husayni Madrasah for over 37 years, she has imparted her valuable knowledge to thousands of Madrasah students and her contributions will always remain priceless. We pray for her long, healthy life to continue serving the community and may the Almighty (SWT) reward her amply for her efforts. Ameen.
Let us remember with Sura-e-Fateha all the Marhumeen who played a pivotal role dedicating their services to the prosperity of our Community. Al Fateha.
Message from the Vice Chairman of Africa Federation – Alhaj Aunali Khalfan
We are pleased to welcome Sister Sukaina Samir Habib, daughter of Marhum Murtaza Kerbala to our Archives Section. Like father like daughter, she is a keen writer of the history of our community. She joins the Archives Section with the other team of dedicated members in the Archives Section at a time when we need young, committed and enthusiastic members to help and contribute articles and carry out interviews with the elders and leaders of our community so that the history is not lost as the years go by. On behalf of our Chairman, Alhaj Shabir Najafi and my fellow Office Bearers, we say Karibu to Sister Sukaina Habib.
Tribute to the Great Ladies (Khanom) of Zanzibar – Mulla Bibi Zahra and Mulla Bibi Aminah – Famously known as the Agha’s of Zanzibar
Many young boys and girls from Zanzibar attended the Qur’an classes, Namaaz and Dua learning at Mehfil-e-Bibi Fatemah (AS) where Bibi Zahra Sayyid Ali Akber Sayyid Husain Shushtari (daughter of Sayyid Muhammadali Kashani) and similarly by Bibi Aminah Sayyid Husain Shushtari at Pira Champsi building in Malindi area who were running afternoon classes (Madrasah) for many decades with the help of some ladies volunteers and teachers. These classes continued until the Aghas left Zanzibar after the 1964 revolution, some of them went back to Iran and settled there.
The magnanimous role played by these honorable ladies in imparting religious studies to the young children in Zanzibar were incomparable and shall go down in the history of Zanzibar as a unique kind of facilities which got established in Zanzibar upon the arrival of the Aghas from Iraq and Iran in the last decade of 1800. The afternoon classes also made great impact in the lives of the children as they grew up, it became a stepping stone to School Faize (Night School – Madrasah) which was operated by the Jamaat in Zanzibar – a full-fledged Madrasah for religious studies.
Please remember Mulla Bibi Zahra and Mulla Bibi Aminah and all those who sacrificed their valuable time in teaching religious classes who are no longer in this transient world with Sura-e-Fateha.
Article by: Sukaina bai Habib – Daughter of Marhum Murtaza Jivraj (Kerbala)
ARCHIVES SECTION OF THE AFRICA FEDERATION
25th June 2021 / 14th Dhilqa’d 1442 A.H