To mark the death anniversary of our founder, Marhum Mulla Asgherali M M Jaffer, The Khoja Heritage Project of WF took the opportunity to speak to his son, Shaykh Abbas Jaffer, to find out more about what Marhum Mulla Asghar was like at home with his family and how he divided his time between his job as an optician, his community work and his family.
In the name of Allah the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful
Praise be to Allah, the Master of the worlds, and salutations and peace be upon the best of His creation Mohammed (s) and his infallible family (a).
Salams to our brothers and sisters of the Executive Council of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Muslim Communities wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
It pleases us that you all are preparing to convene your blessed conference in London in a few days. We convey to you the greetings of Syed Sistani (May God Prolong his life) and his condolences on the commemoration of the shahahdat of as-Siddiqa az-Zahra (a). We also convey his Eminence’s profound appreciation for your earnest efforts and endeavours and his prayers for your increased success and virtue.
You have requested some words of general guidance for you and all our brothers and sisters which we provide below:
- The first thing that is enjoined on you all and ourselves it to acquire taqwa of Allah (God mindfulness) and to have yaqin (certainty) in the Last Day. Thus every one of us should bring to mind that Allah is the Guardian over us and that He records our deeds in the book - nothing great or small is omitted from it. Man is rewarded by it for everything – good for good and bad for bad.
- Secondly, know that your true religion, Islam, is the Absolute Truth (Haqq). Allah has based submission to Him through sound intellect and rational thought. He secured that obedience through acknowledgment of the ultimate realities: the existence of Allah and the Hereafter; and He established that obedience through the requisites of the human nature. Through the human conscience, He made desirable virtuous characteristics like justice, kindness, honesty, loyalty and chastity. Similarly, through it, He cautioned against evil characteristics like injustice, wrongdoing, lying, unfounded talk, treachery and false pretence.
- Hold onto this religion with the holding on of those who have deep insights. Act through its teachings with the acts of those who have conviction in their actions. Embody Islam’s beauties through your character and conduct. Be united and nurture yourselves and your children through Islam. Allah has said ‘By time! Indeed man is in loss, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds and enjoin one another to [follow] the truth and enjoin one another to patience. [103:1-3]’ Hold onto the Ahl al-Bayt (a) of your Prophet (s), for they are His chosen successors from amongst his ummah and they are the Proofs of Allah on this ummah after His Messenger (s) and His book. It is necessary for you all to apprise yourselves of the beauties of their sayings and advices and to act upon them.
In addition, five things are advised to you, in which is included religious advice:
You must continue giving attention towards regulating your affairs and cooperating with each other. Indeed, this will bring about blessings and will be the cause of success. Avoid factions and disagreements as it will ruin your affairs. If you have elected people to do things, avoid creating factions and disputing with them. Rather assist and advise them. Know that amongst the most disliked and ill-fated matters are disagreements which occur because of religion. This is because Allah has made religion the basis of society and the source of affection and love between people. He has obligated unity and He hates division. Whoever wants good for his religion, must not make religion the cause of disagreement and hostility amongst its adherents.
Increase the attention of those living in the West amongst you towards safeguarding their religion, culture and beliefs. This is because they live in a different religious and cultural environment and are susceptible to be influenced by it, especially the youth. This matter requires increased effort and attention, and this attention ought to be motivated by sincerity and action as a matter of religious responsibility. This is in order to safeguard the true religion, correct beliefs and ideal values without blind following or harmful fanaticism.
There ought to be amongst you a committee comprised of scholarly and reputable persons to track the dangers to belief and culture; and to follow appropriate methods of teaching and training suitable to avert and safeguard against such dangers.
Attention towards developing virtuous personal and social character traits and upbringing children with these, such as justice, kindness, truthfulness in speech, fulfilling commitments, executing trusts, inward and outward chastity, kindness to parents especially in old age, consideration to neighbours, helping the weak, respect for morals and general rights and good conduct with all peoples. Avoid bad traits such as lying, treachery, cheating, fraud, bribery, accusations, unfounded talk, etc. as well as attacking the sanctity of others be it life ,honour and property
Know that a believer is foremost in adopting all virtuous traits and in avoiding all detestable ones. This is because Allah loves justice and enjoins kindness and He sent His Messengers to the people to emphasise on noble moral traits and to uphold equity and justice. He chose these Messengers from amongst the most distinguished of mankind in insights, wisdom and noble character in order to be examples to man and role models for them in their lives. Therefore, if a believer sees a noble trait or a good characteristic in someone who is not a believer then it should evoke a feeling that he is more deserving of it and should be foremost in it. He should try to adorn himself with it.
Attention to working and education and encouraging the youth towards it. It is essential for a person to work and earn a livelihood for it is his honour and vigour. It is also the zakat of what Allah has bestowed upon him in terms of strength and ability. Inactivity, whatever be the reason, is a great disease which leads to the presence of a great many ruinations.
As for education, it is a gateway to employment and a means of progress. Every person ought to give attention to learning new knowledge, teaching it and creating it. Attention must be given to the youth amongst you, especially the distinguished amongst them – help them to increase their knowledge and to attain lofty heights.
Attention to the affairs of all believers to whatever extent feasible. Indeed, Allah has made faith a bond amongst those who possess it, just like a familial bond. He has also made the believers brothers and custodians of each other, and has granted rights over each other the rights of some of them over the others, making some of it obligatory and others recommended. He considers them all his family. Whoever fulfils the need of his brother in faith, Allah will fulfil his needs in this world and in the hereafter. Hence no one would despair of Allah’s help, favour and mercy.
I conclude these advices in emphasising once again adherence to taqwa (God mindfulness) of Allah. He has said: ‘O you who have faith! Be God-wary, and let every soul consider what it sends ahead for tomorrow, and be cognisant of Allah. Allah is indeed well aware of what you do. And do not be like those who forget Allah, so He makes them forget their own souls. It is they who are the transgressors.’ [59:18-19]
I pray to Allah to give you all success and the ability to discharge the affairs of your deen (religion), dunya (the world) and Akherah (the hereafter). Allah is the Custodian of success.
Office of as-Sayyid As-Sistani
2Jamad ath-Thani 1439 (19th February 2018)
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