Sultan Jessa: Noble Ismaili Muslim, Great Journalist and Recipient of Order of Canada Passes Away

Veteran journalist Sultan Jesssa receiving Canada's Highest Honour
Sultan Jessa with Her Excellency Adrianne Clarkson, the former Governor General of Canada, at the event in 2005 marking the presentation to him of Canada’s highest honour, the Order of Canada. Photo: Sultan Jessa Collection, Montreal.

Sultan Jessa: A Model Canadian Citizen

(Publisher-Editor, Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos)

On August 15, 2019 at 1:15 PM, I received an article for publication from my beloved friend Sultan Jessa with a kind note that said:

Dear Malik, Feel free to use it if you find this appropriate. Sultan.

I simply replied,

Sultan: Will review.

Little did I know that exactly a week later, on August 22, he would pass away! I was having lunch at Fairview Mall in Toronto, when a note was sent to me that said, “Sultan just passed away this morning.” The email simply would not open on my Iphone, and I learnt about the sad news a few hours later on my notebook.

His funeral ceremonies will be held today, Saturday August 24, at 10 AM at Montreal’s Headquarters Jamatkhana. Samar and ziarat prayers in his remembrance will follow in the evening at the Jamatkhana.

Sultan Jessa of Montreal with his wife and daughters
Flashback to 1990: Sultan and Rosila with daughters Yasmin (left) and Anaar. Photo: Sultan Jessa Collection, Montreal.

Four years ago, in 2015, I spent an entire day with Sultan and his wife Rosila at their home in Montreal. I learnt a lot about Sultan’s extraordinary life as well as his dedication to his family. I was fortunate to interview him and I published it under a special piece entitled The Sultan of Hard Work and Sacrifice: Veteran Ismaili Journalist Sultan Jessa, Order of Canada, is a Model Canadian Citizen For All to Emulate.

Their warmth and affection when I visited their home was incredible, and I cannot forget Sultan’s generosity when he unconditionally presented me a carefully preserved envelope containing memorable photos of His Highness the Aga Khan that had been taken by his former colleague at Kenya’s Daily Nation, Azhar Choudry. I was deeply touched.

Sultan Jessa with Mawlana Hazar Imam and Begum Salimah
His Highness the Aga Khan and Begum Salimah with Sultan Jessa at the bungalow of the late Diwan Sir Eboo Pirbhai during their 1972 visit to Kenya. Photo: Azhar Chaudary. Sultan Jessa Collection, Montreal.

At this painful time of bereavement, we convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife Rosila, their two daughters Anaar and Yasmin, and all the members of Sultan’s family, and pray for their strength and courage. We also pray that Allah may rest Sultan’s soul in eternal peace.

We invite our readers to record their condolences and tributes honouring Sultan Jessa’s memorable life at Leave a comment.

Date posted: August 23, 2019.
Last updated: August 24, 2019.


To read tributes that readers have left for Sultan Jessa or to post one please click Leave a comment.

[Before leaving this page, please take a moment to visit Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to a vast and rich collection of articles published on this blog as well as its two sister blogs Barakah and Simergphotos.]

41 thoughts on “Sultan Jessa: Noble Ismaili Muslim, Great Journalist and Recipient of Order of Canada Passes Away

  1. I remember going in the a for dinner with his wife in Calgary during the Arusha reunion. We used to go to his father’s bakery in Arusha to get fresh bread Sultan was a nice gentleman. May his soul rest in peace.

  2. My buddy from Arusha, Sultan Jessa, and I had the opportunity to organize and work on the Arusha Reunion where 509 Arushawala came together for 3 days of fun. In the 60s, his father introduced the first sliced bread to Tanzania using an automatic electric knife. Like father like son, Sultan used the power of his mighty pen to join the hearts of many at home and abroad through journalism. He will be greatly missed. May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace. Ameen.

  3. Indeed, Sultan was gifted and a great soul with many accomplishments! May Mawla rest his soul in eternal peace and bless the family with strength and courage to bear the loss – Ameen.

  4. I am very sorry to hear about Sultan Jessa’s passing. He was my hometown man, from Arusha. May God rest his soul in peace.

  5. This is sad news indeed. I remember reading his articles in the Daily Nation in my Nairobi days. My mum and her family used to recall him from their Arusha days. He used to come to my uncle’s restaurant – Iceland aka Cha Cha’s in Arusha. As a journalist in East Africa during the turbulent 1960’s and 70’s he was well informed and his news analysis was well written and reported. I also enjoyed reading his thoughtful articles/columns in Canada. His pictures collection in Barakah ( and this article bring back many many memories of my East African life. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.

  6. Prayers for Sultan’s soul to rest in eternal peace, and strength to wife Rosila and daughters.

  7. Sultan was very soft and a gentleman. He was always involved in all kinds of community activity. He will be remembered for his good deeds.

  8. My deepest condolences to the family, Sultan was a good friend to me and I will miss him. Though we didn’t see each other often but whenever he came to Ottawa I made it a point to exchange short pleasantries with him. May Allah rest his soul in peace, Ameen

  9. May ALLAH rest his soul in eternal peace. Ameen! May ALLAH also give strength and courage to the family during this difficult period. Ameen!

  10. May ALLAH rest his soul in eternal peace. Ameen! May ALLAH also give strength and courage to the family during this difficult period. Ameen!

  11. Sultan was a good friend and may his good work and memories be the source of comfort to his family. While he sleeps a peaceful sleep his memory we shall always keep.

  12. Every day I looked forward to his thoughtful, fun filled and advisory posts on Facebook, as well as the photos of Rosila’s beautiful garden that he shared with such pride!

    Will miss him❤️

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Rosila and the family.

    May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace. Ameen. 🙏
    Zeenat Manji Chohan

    • Sultan was a great man, he will be greatly missed by all his friends and whoever knew him well. He was very gentle, polite, kind, generous and thoughtful and he was always ready to help whoever needed his help. We pray that his soul rests in eternal peace. Our condolences to Rosila and Sultan’s family.
      Zarin and Beheram Kachra

  13. Rest in Peace. I knew him well. Never met him after leaving East Africa.

    Memories will be there today, tomorrow and always. I can still see his image in my mind’s eye,

    Nizar Hassanali
    (once a student teacher and a headteacher in UK)

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