A regularly updated collection of historical records and  from the Africa Federation archives.


Alhaj Muhammadhussein Sachoo Lalji (Mzee Lalji as popularly known in Arusha) passed away peacefully on 18th July 1989 in Arusha, Tanzania.

 He was a dedicated social worker who devoted his entire life imparting religious knowledge to our children.
Born in Zanzibar in 1925, Marhum Mzee Lalji actively participated as a Maalim of Faize Ithnaasheri Night School (Madressa) and also held the post of Headmaster for one full term. He was methodical and passionate in teaching, and had vast knowledge in Islamic history and Fiqh.
His other services in Zanzibar include Ithnaasheri Volunteer Corps, Sabil-e-Hussein management and organization of Hussein Day.

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Nakuru Jamaat in Perspective

The first Khoja settlers arrived in Nakuru, Kenya in 1936. Marhum Anverali Datoo while travelling with his family to Mombasa from Kampala was very much impressed upon reaching Nakuru. He got attracted to the place and decided to settle. The family continued to live there comfortably and established themselves and our community in the local society.

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History of Tabora KSI Community

Pirbhai Visram (Kaka)’s Travel Diary:
At the age of 22, I left Lamu (in Kenya) for Tabora (in Tanganyika, presently Tanzania) where I arrived in 1904. I worked for four years as Manager in the firm of Sheth Omar Abdulkarim & Sons. It took me 45 days to travel by foot to Tabora via Bukoba.
I can remember six main families resident in Tabora at that time. Sheth Nasser Virji was running a booming business and their merchandise went to distant places like Ujiji, Rwanda and Bujumbura. Arabs used to be their major customers. At that time it would take about 45 days for merchandise to reach Tabora from Bagamoyo, the main port. The goods were carried by porters who had to pass through dense forests amid danger of attack by wild animals. Sometimes the porters would be looted by raiders. There was no way to get any news about the movement of goods. It is only when the porters would reach Tabora that they would tell us of their escape. Under such difficult circumstances, the company was still able to expand its business and had branches at Mwanza, Bukoba, Biharamulo, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, etc. They were considered King among the businesses in Tanganyika and they had a great influence on the German government of the time.

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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.

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The Chairman of the Africa Federation, Alhaj Mohammedbhai Dhirani officially inaugurated a new Imambara in Kigoma last May (1983). The tape cutting at this memorable occasion was done by Maulana Seyed Sajjad Hussein of Dar-es-Salaam Jamaat at the request of Mohamedbhai Dhirani.

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Alhaj Mulla Ahmed A.M. Lakha

Marhum Ahmed A.M. Lakha was born in Zanzibar in 1900.  From a very young age his interest in acquiring secular as well as religious knowledge was very much evident. To this end, he attained high level of education through private efforts, specializing in Arabic and Persian languages.

A staunch supporter of Africa Federation, Marhum Mulla Ahmed Lakha was a kind hearted philanthropist, Zakir-e-Hussein and a good orator. Due to his gift of oratory he established himself as a renowned Zakir for almost 65 years and the young generation benefitted from his teaching of religion at the Sir Euvan Smith Madressa primary School, where he was a teacher for many years.

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An Exemplary Icon – A Renowned Visionary and A Religious Scholar


The settlement of Indians in Zanzibar gained momentum between 1840 and 1860’s when Sultan Seyyid Said transferred his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar.  This was further assisted by improved travelling facilities between India and East Africa.  Apart from Khojas, Bohra, Memon, Kumbhar, Cutchi Bhadala, Bhatia, Lohana, Shah and various other Muslim and Hindu communities made their way to Zanzibar.  They also included a small segment of Parsi.  By the 1870’s there was at least one Hindu temple in Zanzibar with its characteristic pointed tower and various Mosques built by Indian Muslims of Sunni and Shia sects.

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Haji Sachedina Pirani Mawji, popularly known by the name of Haji Satchu Pira, was born in Kutch-Mandvi in 1836.  At the tender age of 3 he was orphaned and brought up by his uncle in Zanzibar.

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Timeless Words of Wisdom on the timely need to understand the need of the times!
Extracted from InSight Magazine, a publication of The World Federation
Issue 14, Muharram 1425 – March 2004

 “I don’t pray for His acceptance of my amaal as much as I pray for the opportunity to serve – Mulla Asghar”

Four years on (2000 – 2004), one cannot help but remember Mulla Asghar’s timeless words on the timely need to understand the need of the times to recognize the goals of this community: “Time has come” he said, “that we recognize our goal.  What do we need? We need a society where every act of good-will is propelled and driven by the sincere intention to please Allah and none else.”
At the same time, demonstrating a commitment to excellence in the Community, he stated that “…… we rise above the mean and the mediocre to that which is high and sublime.”
In order to achieve this he boldly opined as early as 1975 that “Unless the youth of this community are prepared and have girdled their loins to serve the community to the best of their abilities, this community left in the hands of the hardcore traditionalists will not be able to take any strides ahead.”
Mulla always held tenaciously to his principles, which, on occasion, led to decisions which seemed out of step with prevailing trends.  That meant he pleased many and displeased some, or sometimes pleased a few and displeased many.  But then who said Mulla was a fair-weather leader who backed down because of public opinion.  Though he was always for the unity of the community, he maintained that could not be done at expense of “Compromising on the basic fundamentals….”  He said, “Weak partners will never make a strong team.”
In 1987, he penned a tribute to Mulla Thawara, which rings so true about himself:
What we were and what we said will then be understood
When no longer, we will grace your sittings and assemblies.
Countless minds were set thinking, many lives changed by him.  His impact on our society remains nothing short of phenomenal and understood correctly his words continue to shift paradigms.

Saturday, 21st March 2015 marks the 15th death anniversary of Marhum Mulla Asghar Ali M. M. Jaffer – A renowned Scholar, a great visionary and dedicated leader of our community. Let us all remember him with Sura-e-Fateha, and pray for his maghferat. 
Archives Section of Africa Federation
Dar es Salaam (20th March 2015  - 28th Jamaadil Awwal 1436 AH)

By: Alhaj Hassan Ali M. Jaffer.
(Reproduced from the ‘Mombasa Jamaat Chronicle’ Vol.3. Issue No.1.April, 18, 2003)

For long it has been a tradition among Muslims for people to make donations or bequeath one of their properties in their life time to create ‘Waqf’ or a ‘Trust’ for charitable purpose. This has been in response to the Prophetic injunction of leaving behind “Sadaqatun Jaariya” that would help to perpetuate ensuing ‘thawaab’ for the donor even after his death.

During the past one and a quarter century, it is this spirit that has sustained the development and growth of our Community everywhere.
Of late, this spirit of creating ‘Waqf’ and bequeathing one’s property to the Jamaat for charitable purposes has acquired a new dimension with a healthy and pragmatic approach. With escalating market prices of real estate and the ever increasing maintenance and management costs, donors find it more prudent and economical to vest the management of their ‘Trust’ and ‘Waqf’ assets to the centralized local Jamaats. The Trust Boards of the respective Jamaats then manage such endowments. As a result the progeny of the donors are not burdened with the responsibility and the hassle of perpetual management.

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