The First Ever Academic Conference of Khoja Studies sponsored by The Khoja Heritage Project of The Word Federation - French
A delegation of The World Federation of KSIMC had a meeting Ayatollah Al Udhma Sayyid Saeed Al Hakim (DA) in Najaf-al-Ashraf on 23 July 2017. The delegation comprised of the President, Anwarali Dharamsi, Vice President Shabbar Dhalla, Secretary General Shan E Abbas Hassam, Hon. Treasurer Mohamedkazim Bhaloo, Assistant Hon. Treasurer Muntazir Bhimji, Assistant Secretary General Mahmood Dhala, Executive Councillor Safder Jaffer, the Head of Islamic Education Dr Murtadha Alidina and the Head of Marketing and Communication Anisa Kanji.
Ayatollah Sayyid Saeed Al Hakim welcomed the delegation and stated that he had very high regard for the Khoja community and the work it was doing globally adding that the Khoja Community had the ‘Shia spirit’ of humanitarian services within them and that it had talent in all walks of life –social, economic, spiritual, organizational etc. Agha stated he wanted to draw the attention of the delegation to 2 important issues:
UNITY - people come from different backgrounds and natural differences exist between 2 human beings. However, one should strive for unified view and action as much as possible.
WORKING TOGETHER for tableegh and humanitaian work with hawza, marja'iya, etc. To solve the issues of society collectively including the need to have uniformity of objectives in tableegh and different areas of work, etc.
Tableegh work today was critical he stated, especially to counter the challenges of today – for example the spread of Wahhabism. He stated that the Wahhabis have the advantage of reach and resources but they have major weaknesses. He stated that the beauty of Islam and Shia Islam is that it has solutions to the weaknesses of such groups.
Wahhabis suffer from aggressive behaviour, lack of tolerance and imposition of their views. This can also be countered by the teachings of the Prophet (s) and Ahlulbayt (a) of husnul khuluq (good character) - love, affection, humbleness, tolerance, intellect, etc.
He then alluded to the sirah of the Prophet (saw) and Ahlulbayt (a) of their excellent character, gentle, loving, calm, respectful manner & listening to other’s opinions. Their ability to attract others to Islam by rational arguments instead of force, etc.
He quoted the following verses of Quran that allude to how we can counter the 2 influences:
O mankind! Indeed We created you from a male and a female, and made you nations and tribes that you may identify yourselves with one another. Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God wary among you. (Surah al-Hujurat, 49:13)
It is by Allah’s mercy that you are gentle to them; and had you been harsh and hard-hearted, surely they would have scattered from around you. So excuse them, and plead for forgiveness for them, and consult them in the affairs, and once you are resolved, put your trust in Allah. Indeed Allah loves those who trust in Him. (Surah Aal Imran, 3:159)
Sayyid then mentioned what Ibn Al Hadeed [7th century Sunni scholar] has said in his Sharh of Nahjul Balgha. He quoted a section where Ibn al Hadeed compares the softness of Ali Bin Abu Talib (a) with the harsh character of Umar bin Khattab, stating that this was an important objective analysis of an Alawi character [follower of Imam Ali (a)] versus a character of strictness and lack of tolerance.
Ibn Abil Hadeed says these 2 opposing character traits have remained and continue through their respective followers until today. He referenced the section that was read to the delegation: p25-26 of vol.1 of Sharh Ibn Hadeed. The lesson from this passage was that as Shias, we should safeguard our practices and live the legacy of the Ahlulbayt (a) in our approach to and dealings with society.
Sayyid went on to state that whatever we can do within our capacity, we should do for the Shias and humanity. With this intention to strive in mind, Allah (swt) assures victory as stated in the last verse of Sura Ankabut 29:69: ‘As for those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them in Our ways, and Allah is indeed with the virtuous.’
Sayyid expressed the pain felt by all Iraqi people as a result of the ‘Jetha incident’, an individual who was a humble charitable man who contributed thoroughly towards humanitarian acts, and regularly donated money. This was the description of a man that all Shia’s should strive to become, and from his story the Shia youth of today can feel inspired and motivated by Marhum.
The Secretary General Shan E Abbas Hassam pledged The WF’s continued collaboration with the Charity for Orphans (Yateem) run under the auspices of Ayatollah Al-Hakeem in Lebanon. He informed Sayyid of the delegation’s recent trip to Lebanon and acknowledged the excellent work done by His Eminence’s foundations in Lebanon.
Sayyid expressed his pain for the sorrowful plight of the Syrian refugees; he mentioned he recently approached various regional government officials as well as his own son Sayyid Hayder, asking them to do whatever they can within their power to help the people of Shaam.
He drew attention for support for reverts, stating that businessman and philanthropists should focus their attention in trying to secure employment for them. Reverts need support when they join the folds of the madhab as many tend to be ignored and are also ex-communicated from their previous communities. Special attention towards them was a duty. He quoted several examples of people who have suffered and been left empty handed as a result of their conversion to the faith.
He quoted the seerah of Imam Ridha in a bid to shed some light on the humility of Shia leaders. Sayyid said that, upon the Imam being appointed as crown prince, he would still extend invitations to the servants to come and join him during meal time. This was a characteristic that we should feel incumbent upon us to adopt and spread.
The meeting ended with duas and best wishes from His Eminence for the community and the leaders. The WF President Anwarali Dharamsi thanked His Eminence and asked for his duas and guidance. Agha conveyed his duas for success and that he was very hopeful and optimistic of the great potential in the Shia community. He gave the example of the massive Arbaeen processions where millions come to serve the throngs of zawwar in one way or the other (through foods, blankets, etc.) and no Government or International Organisation could manage such as a massive public mobilization of humanitarian services offered in the name of Imam Husein (a).
His Eminence ended with prayers for shifa from the Ahlulbayt (a) by our efforts and God’s care. He mentioned that Imam Zamana (AF) prays for us. He also did dua for the youth and staff that they are dynamic energetic and are able to do their best to serve the cause of the Ahlulbayt (a).
The end of the calendar year is always busy at The World Federation and I would like to take some time to tell you about the projects we are currently working on.
Let's take a step back into time by reading this A Personal Reflection on the Genesis of the World Federation by Dr Hasnain Walji