I will provide some specific family related examples and experiences based on the concept of service in our community and the faith of our forefathers.
In the Takht nashini ceremony held in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) on October 19, 1957 Mawlana Hazar Imam in his address said:
“The Faith by which we live is the only sure guarantee that our problems will be surmounted. The younger people among you must be especially aware of this. Only the Faith of your fathers will enable you to live in peace.” Source: 1982 issue of Ilm (vol.8, No 1)
This is so very true and this will be fully evident from the information given by me from my great grandfather’s time. I am certain that we are reaping the fruits of the seeds sown by our forefathers and I am convinced of this during my own 65 years of service to the Jamat and to our beloved Imam of the Time. Alhamdulillah! I will only limit my observations from my paternal side of the family due to limit of the length of the story but there are similar examples also from my maternal side of the family. Suffice it to say that our forefathers have been very honest, resilient and possessed very staunch faith.
My great grandfather and the family migrated from Kutch Manjal, India to Zanzibar in late 1800’s when my grandfather was only about 10-11 years old. My father and myself were born in Zanzibar and now I am a grandfather of two. My great grandfather and his brother had a life long service to the Zanzibar Jamat during the time of our 48th Beloved Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah (May Peace Be upon him). Their generosity extended far beyond our own community and I will touch upon both briefly.
On the community side my great grandfather was a very dedicated, committed and devoted volunteer and he would invariably take up the overnight duty of safeguarding the residence of our Beloved Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah during many of his visits to Zanzibar. He was so staunch in his faith that many miracles happened during his lifetime which included (1) his hopeless arthritic condition having been cured upon the news of His Mawla’s arrival on the shores of Zanzibar having been communicated to him by my grand uncle. He was able to walk with the stick since then and he even predicted the time of his death!
My great granduncle Alijah Noormohamed Pirani was a Kamadia of the historic Jamatkhana of Zanzibr during 1911, 1912, 1915 and was a Mukhi during 1918. For his long and devoted service Our 48th Imam was pleased to bestow the title of honour of “Alijah” on him.
On the wider community side, Alijah Noormohamed Pirani built a mosque for the residents of Makunduhi – a town one hour north of Stone Town Zanzibar. During our visit to Zanzibar my wife Zarina and I had the opportunity to visit the mosque and a related picture is attached herewith. I am also very pleased to write that my other family members – young and old – as well as the family of my wife – that is Late Jamal Esmail Premji Family from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania have been very intimately involved in the service of the community including wider communities in Africa and Canada:
Personally, I myself have been most lucky to be in a position to provide service to the Jamat and to the Imam of the Time for the past 65 years from the young age of 15.
My first major involvement was with the arrangements for the visit of Mawlana Hazar Imam to the Island of Pemba on 18th November 1957. This was a very memorable visit to the Island undertaken by the Imam only 4 months after his accession to the throne of Imamat. A few pictures of the Wete-Pemba Jamat and this historic visit are also attached for the benefit of the readers:
With Mawla’s Grace and Bounty, in recognition of my service to the Jamat and the Imam, I was conferred with the title of “RAI” in December 2009.
To conclude I must reiterate to all and particularly the younger generation the importance of being involved in the voluntary service of the Jamat and also service to the wider community and it is the “backbone” of our faith for centuries and it will continue for generations to come. Inshallah!
My advice to the young generation is not to look backwards but keep on moving forward with their services to the Jamat and the humankind which will certainly provide them with abundant benefits and also improve their own state of living.
About Rai Kamrudin:
Rai Kamrudin has served Canadian, Tanzanian and Zanzibari Jamats. In 1962, he won an essay competition on the subject of “Prophet Muhammad and Islam”. He later on compiled a booklet of the winning essays and sent it to Mawlana Hazar Imam to which, which was highly commended by Mawlana Hazar Imam. This small booklet was published by the then Ismailia Association for Tanzania in 1967.
Rai Kamrudin explains himself as one of those who started serving the Jamat as a young boy as a non-badged volunteer in the Island of Pemba. His first major involvement was the visit of Mawlana Hazar Imam to the Island of Pemba on November 18, 1957. ‘It was indeed a very memorable event’, he says, ‘ in the lives of all Murids who were living on the Island at that time.’