Read all of our nominations for this year's #FatimaInspires project
Dear Community Members
وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ
And We ransomed him with a tremendous sacrifice. (37:107)
Once again Allah (swt), in His infinite mercy, has blessed us with the joyous occasion of Eid Al-Adha, which celebrates the festival of sacrifice and Prophet Ibrahim's (as) willingness to sacrifice his son, Prophet Isma'il (as) on the plains of Makkah almost 4000 years ago.
Eid Mubarak to all community members and to the ummah at large !
This year ’ s Eid al-Adha is unique due to the Global Pandemic, which means that the Hajj is restricted, and celebrations are taking place under lockdown. Also, it is reported that the number of Hujjaj will only be a few thousand, compared to the over 2 million annually that partake in. This indeed is something to reflect and to introspect.
COVID-19 has brought an awakening that neither wealth, nor influence, nor power of any sort can fight the tiniest, almost invisible microbe that God has created – conveying an essential message to the whole of mankind: We as humans are tiny, powerless and the only reality is that we must succumb to the will of Allah (swt).
Hajj teaches us how to face trials. The incident of the trial and sacrifice of a noble family unit - Father, Mother and Son – or Hazrat Ibrahim , Hazrat Ismail and Bibi Hajra (A) , around 4000 years ago was so much liked that Allah (SWT) elevated their status for us to emulate and recollect. Hence succumbing to His will, sacrificing only for Him and seeking His pleasure is the definition of becoming elevated and finding purpose in life.
Eid al-Adha is also a time of forgiveness, from the Day of Arafat and till the day of Eid - we should take the opportunity to forgive our loved ones for any wrongdoing and also seek forgiveness for ourselves, so we can come together with families and friends to enjoy the blessings of Eid.
My new team and I have the interim responsibility in line with ExCo resolution to hold the fort and sail our beloved institution towards the Ordinary Conference as smoothly and as soon as feasibly possible, before June 2021. However, an important stop on this path is to organize an E xtra Ordinary Conference to discuss the 2020 presidential elections following requisitions from five regions. We plan to call this meeting as soon as feasible, after obtaining relevant legal approvals. As stated in my acceptance speech, I shall recuse myself from chairing this extra ordinary conference so that the conference can debate freely on the agenda. In the meantime, my team and I will leave no stone unturned to try to heal the wounds within the community and we have already started the process of reaching out to community members.
Unity is critical for our success, infact essential. Allah (swt) says:
And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided . And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers … (3:103)
By holding firmly , all together collectively, and not become divided is what Allah swt wishes of us. But this unity should be based on principles (as alluded in the verse “ Rope of Allah”) of truth and justice. As these are the divine teachings of Allah swt and can never be compromised.
To this point, connecting the importance of unity and principles, no one expounded on this better than the founder of The World Federation, Marhum Mullah Asgher (RA). He used to often emphasize that while unity could only exist if there was genuine tolerance and understanding, principles could never be sacrificed at its altar. Indeed, he used to observe that ‘ Compromising on the basic fundamentals will benefit nobody ’ and ‘ Weak partners will never make a strong team ’ .
The community has been through a very challenging seven months but looking back at our history and many more challenges that we have been through, I am confident we will Inshallah prevail as we have the resilience inculcated in us by our forefathers, and above all, we are all one large family. In a family we have disputes, we quarrel occasionally and at times it does get very nasty. However, at the end of the day history and our personal experiences will testify that we raise to the challenge, show love to one another and unify under one large family. In our family, we respect the institutions through the democratic rights exercised by its members.
Another aspect that I would like to touch on is the lively but sometimes heated discussion about Khoja identity in recent days. The views on the word ‘ Khoja ’ to remain as our identity are well known and every community has a right to its identity. However, the un-Islamic and unacceptable notion would be to consider oneself superior to others due to ethnicity. That is why when WF was established in 1976, the founders made it clear that whilst WF primary objective is to serve its community members, it will not be limited to Khojas. The aim is to unite the community for the common good, both spiritually and temporally. As Marhum Mulla Husein Alarakhia Rahim, MBE and a retired magistrate in Zanzibar, as well as a Senior Councilor of Africa Federation reflected in 1976: “ Let everyone be assured that the welfare services of the Federation shall remain open, as it has been in Africa to every individual adherent of the Shia Ithna-Asheri faith without distinction of race, color or nationality”.
I would like to emphasize and remind myself first, that one of the significant aspects of Hajj is to establish and renew our collective pledge with Allah SWT and his proof, our Imam (atfs).
Lastly, let me end with a dua that was regularly recited by our founding fathers:
“ Oh Allah, bless this, the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamats* so that we are able, in unity and with malice towards none and charity to all, to prove ourselves worthy of our aspirations”
With Salaams and Duas,
Al-Haj Safder Jaffer,
President, The World Federation
*(since then the Jamaats was replaced with Muslim Communities).
As part of our COVID-19 response in Africa, your donations funded the extension of the Ebrahim Haji Hospital New Wing in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Read more here.
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