Marhum Haji Gulamali Haji Ismail – known affectionately as Haji Naji was an outstanding figure of his time whose name merits ably and is linked with the consolidation and progress of Khoja Jamaat in the Indo Pakistan Sub – Continent. He lived at a time when the Shia community in general and the Khoja Jamaat in particular were passing through a dark period of division and discrimination. Need of the time was for a capable leader to provide proper guidance and leadership. By His mercy and Grace, Allah (swt) Haji Naji came into the limelight who fulfilled it with great success and distinction.

For his intellectual integrity and personal nobility, Haji Naji was respected universally. He received education in Arabic, Persian and religious studies from great scholars and acquired practical knowledge about the spiritual, social and cultural needs of the Khoja Jamaat. He correctly concluded that the Shia could service only with the spirit of Islam and the Ishnaashari creed would be followed only in the light of the holy Quran. The dissemination of the message was the goal of his life. He translated Minhaj Quran in Gujrati language so that common people could derive inspiration and knowledge from the most revered and valuable source available to mankind. The publication of “Rahe Nijat” was a milestone in the service of the Jamaat.

It is not possible to express full appreciation of scholarship and spiritual eminence of Haji Naji. The Khoja Jamaat will never be able to repay the debt that it owes to his unequalled contribution to the spiritual awakening of its members and making them conscious of their responsibility. His writing are an asset to be treasured from his research and knowledge of Islam, Ahadith, Fiqh and Islamic history and philosophy.

Marhum Haji Nanji was born in 1864 in Mumbai and passed away in 1942 in Mumbai.

May Allah (SWT), bless and elevate his soul with divine mercy, and may his descendants continue his mission with the same dedication and zeal, Ameen.

Let remember Marhum Haji Nanji and all Marhumeens with Sura-e-Fateha.

The article is extracted from the Ishnashari Magazine of December 1989

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