It was on the 27th day of the Holy Month of Ramadhan 1437 AH, 3rd July 2016; a special and spectacular event took place which will go into the history of the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri community. The Baraza Kuu la Waislamu Tanzania (BAKWATA) and the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Dar es Salaam organized an Interfaith Iftaar program at the Shia mosque from 5.30 pm onwards.

The Dar es Salaam Jamaat under the leadership of Alhaj Azim Dewji and the Managing Committee organized a memorable Iftaar program at the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri mosque along the Indira Gandhi Street. This program was organized to foster closer ties and bring people from different faiths and sects together to break the Ramadhan fast together.

The Chief Guest of the function was Hon. Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania.

The program’s convenor, who is also the Assistant Hon. Secretary of the Jamaat, Br. Aliasgher Somji involved several sub-committees of the community to help him with the organization.  Experienced people in such important events were requested to head the organization under the leadership of Br. Shabbir Karmalli. Head of Task Force, Br. Shiraz Visram and his team were at the venue to ensure smooth flow of operations.

By 5.15 pm all the volunteers, scouts and Task Force clad in their uniform were at the venue to assist in the organization, reception and in other activities.

To welcome the Chief Guest, religious leaders and dignitaries at the main entrance of the mosque were the President of DSM Jamaat, Alhaj Azim Dewji, the Vice President of DSM Jamaat, Alhaj Riyaz Bhojani and the Office Bearers of DSM Jamaat. Also present was, the immediate past Chairman and Trustee of the Africa Federation, Alhaj Anwarali Dharamsi, Africa Federation Vice Chairman, Alhaj Aunali Khalfan, the Hon. Treasurer, Alhaj Mohamed Hemani and the Secretary General of the World Federation, Alhaj Kumail Manji to receive the Chief Guest and other dignitaries upon their arrival.

The President of DSM Jamaat was joined by the head of BAKWATA who is also Mufti of Tanzania, Alhaj Sheikh Abubakar Zubeir and Dar es Salaam Regional Sheikh, Alhaj Alhad Mussa Salum.

The former President of Tanzania, H.E. Alhaj Ali Hassan Mwinyi arrived few minutes before the Chief Guest, the Prime Minister of Tanzania, Hon. Kassim Majaliwa. 

All invited guests and our community members were received by the officials of the Jamaat and volunteers and were seated inside the Gents Imambargha, they included heads and community members from different religions and faiths, namely; Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Kokni, Memon and Ismaili Jamaat were all part of the event.

Sheikh Musabah Shaiban, was the master of ceremony and conducted the entire session brilliantly, the session commenced with recitation of verses of holy Qur’an by a student of the Husayni Madressah of KSI Jamaat of Dar es Salaam.

Br. Murtaza Kara, the Hon. Secretary of DSM Jamaat, gave a welcome speech. He spoke eloquently in Kiswahili, quoting verse 13 from the Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Hujurat.
In this verse, The Almighty tells the Prophet that mankind have come from the same lineage of one father (Adam) and one mother (Hawwa) but they have been differentiated in cast, race and color so that they can be distinguished and recognizable. But the best among these humans are those who are God fearing.

After a short break for breaking the fast, the dignitaries, guests and community members proceeded to the Mosque for Maghrib prayers, the Non-Muslims were served with the delicious Iftaar in the Imambargha. 

The congregational prayer was led by a Sunni Sheikh, this was a remarkable and thoughtful gesture by the Dar es Salaam Jamaat to invite a Sunni Sheikh to lead the evening prayer in a Shia mosque with all Muslims from different sects of Islam praying behind him manifesting a great respect to the unity we uphold conveying strong message to all that we have no differences when it comes to Islam and our Religion. This was beautifully conveyed by the Dar es Salaam Regional Sheikh, Alhad Mussa Salum when he said – “One can see today that a Sunni Sheikh leading Namaz-e-Jamaat in a Shia Mosque and we all together pray as one big and united family, we must make this a regular event”.

After Maghrib Salah, the guests were invited for Iftaar in the mosque compound which was nicely decorated with the latest mosaic tiled perimeter wall built with generous assistance from Alhaj Anwarali Dharamsi and Alhaj Muslim Dharamsi families.


 

 

After the Iftaar the guests assembled inside the Gents Imambargah to listen to the speeches by various dignitaries who were invited to address briefly. The Christian Padre, Mr. John Solomon appreciated the KSI Jamaat and BAKWATA for organizing the Interfaith Iftaar and also congratulated the Prime Minister and the Government of Tanzania for creating conducive environment in the country of unity, freedom of worship, freedom of expression and peace. He further said, I quote, “It was an honor to have a Christian Padre and my fellow colleagues from the Church invited for Iftaar in a Mosque, these are all fruits of your good leadership, Hon. Prime Minister.” He continued saying that for the occasion and getting the feel of Iftaar he had fasted this day and broke his fast with fellow Muslims. He was looking forward to attend such program next year also. 


Shk. Alhad Mussa Salum, Sheikh of Dar es Salaam Region was the next speaker, he appreciated the Jamaat and BAKWATA for the initiative and said that the aim for this event was to enhance Unity and increase Brotherhood among the citizens of Tanzania irrespective of their religions, cultures and faiths. He underscored the need for more interactions and programs, he cited an example a Sunni Imam to lead prayers in a Shia mosque is the one of the best gestures to show and portray Unity and Brotherhood. He pointed out that the Bakwata and the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri under the leadership of Alhaj Azim Dewji have strong ties and relationships. He pointed out that this interfaith event is one of the many events they have been doing together in the past and will continue supporting each other in the future. 

 

The former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Ali Hassan Mwinyi was invited to address the gathering. Alhaj Mwinyi has been to our Mosque few times in the past during his tenure of President of the United Republic of Tanzania for the occasions of Hussain Day and Milad-un-Nabii. He expressed deep sorrow and was appalled with the current situation where innocent lives are lost due to sectarian violence in several countries. He commended the present leadership of the Government of Tanzania and the religious bodies in the country for preaching tolerance, peace and love to mankind and promoting harmony.  
 

He also added, I quote, “We had a wonderful Iftaar which included Muhogo wa Ajabu na Ndizi Mkono wa Tembo wa Ajabu, Kalimati Tamu.… and this is all because there is peace, unity and tranquility in the country and so we are not worried of our families who are in peace as well”

He ended his speech by quoting a verse from the Qura’n saying that The Almighty has ordered the Muslims to mingle with other religions and befriend them unless they fight you for your religion, you defend yourselves. Hence, he said, we also should live and let other live. 

Mufti Sheikh Abubakar Zubeir expressed his gratitude to BAKWATA and DSM Jamaat and thanked the Government of Tanzania for the cooperation in allowing citizens to practice their religion in the country peacefully; he said there is freedom of worship in Tanzania.

However, he emphasized on the importance of peace, harmony and unity, which he said is vital for the progress and development of the country and its citizens. In conclusion, he conveyed his best wishes to everybody for the festivity of Eid-ul-Fitr which was after 3 days, subject to moon sighting.

The Chairman of KSI Jamaat of Dar es Salaam, Alhaj Azim Dewji, was next on the rostrum to address the gathering. He reiterated that the main aim of organizing such an event was to strengthen and to develop closer ties between Sunni and Shia brothers and also with other faiths and sects. He thanked the Government through the Prime Minister’s office for the directive issued to ban Shisha smoking which is harmful to health and for the young people who get swayed away to Shisha smoking. Azim Bhai also pointed out on other vices which is fast spreading, example Mujra, this behavior devastates families socially, mentally and financially and requested that the PM’s office to look into it.

Alhaj Azim Dewji referring to the Government appeal to support the development of education sector in the country, he announced that the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat would contribute 500 school desks. Similarly, Mr. Gulam Dewji (GD) contributed 500 school desks, and the Africa Federation along with the World Federation contributed 200 school desks and Alhaj Anwarali Dharamsi contributed 300 school desks. A total of 1,500 desks worth T.Shs: 112.5M were donated at the function; Azim Bhai assured the Prime Minister that the community will endeavor to support the Government initiatives in other sectors from time to time. 


Alhaj Azim then invited the Guest of Honour, the Prime Minister, Hon. Kassim Majaliwa to address the gathering. Hon. Majaliwa started by thanking Allah (SWT) to grant him this opportunity. He also thanked BAKWATA and KSI Jamaat of DSM for the wonderful program. He also appreciated the Khoja Institutes and members of the Khoja Community for their contributions for the common people in the country. He said the Government has a committee which looks into ways of maintaining peace and harmony in the country. He further elaborated that the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. John Magufuli himself whenever he gets an opportunity to address the people, emphasizes on preserving peace, unity and harmony in the country. He also appreciated the religious institutes who have built schools, hospitals and helped in the agriculture sectors with farming equipment to develop not only their community but also helped wider communities in the country.

The Prime Minister made a special mention of Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania, the organization under the Africa Federation who visit different villages in Tanzania to carry out Free Eye Camps, which involves eye checkups, surgeries, supply of medications including free spectacles, all these he said were completely free of charge to the local communities of this country. The Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania Free Eye Camps is headed by Alhaj Anver Merali Alibhai and assisted by several ophthalmologists, opticians, nurses, technicians and volunteers from Dar es Salaam; he applauded them for their benevolence services.

He also conveyed his appreciation to all religious heads for using their place of worship to promote freedom of religion, tolerance and harmony. He also cautioned all citizens of the country to exercise precautions against vices beginning from their own homes and stop their children to be influenced by bad elements and vices such as Mujra, Shisha smoking etc.

He thanked all religious heads for using their place of worship to promote good understanding amongst their followers, preaching tolerance and promoting peace and harmony. He also cautioned all citizens of the country to exercise precautions against vices starting from their own homes and stop their children being influenced by bad elements and vices.

The Chief Guest thanked Azim Bhai for initiating the contribution for the school desks, he expressed gratitude to the other donors for their support.

 

Finally, the Resident Aalim of the DSM Jamaat, Sheikh Dr. Murtadha Alidina gave a vote of thanks to all the dignitaries, guests and invitees for attending the program. He eloquently explained the rationale of fasting during the Holy month of Ramadhan, he said that fasting helps us to be kind hearted, remove the love of this world and suppresses our desires for the sake of Allah (SWT). He elaborated by saying that If we can achieve these three fundamental purpose of the Holy month of Ramadhan and fasting (Saum) then hatred, disharmony or dishonoring each other in the name of “religion” will all be gone. The country and the world at large will be at peace and above of all respect to mankind and protection of properties and lives of fellow human beings will prevail. 

The Imam of Manyema Mosque, Sheikh Hemed Masud Jongo closed with dua and prayers for all Muslims and for peace and brotherhood to remain, always.

All those present were given token and souvenirs to take home for remembrance of this occasion.

The KSI Jamaat of Dar es Salaam wishes to thank each and every one who assisted in the planning, preparations and services during the program, and also wish to thank the various donors and well-wishers for their support for their contributions. May Allah (SWT) increase in their tawfeeqa’t and we pray for their long and healthy life, and may He reward them all in this world and in the hereafter for their selfless services and devotion for the pleasure of Allah (SWT).
 

KSI Jamaat Secretariat
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
10th August, 2016

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