Report compiled by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos)
Note: Photos were received from numerous sources in Dar es Salaam
A major tragedy was averted on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, at the historic Darkhana Jamatkhana in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, when a large segment of the roof collapsed late in the morning. An aerial view of the Jamatkhana along with several other photos we have received shows the extent of the damage on the roof as well as the interior of the Jamatkhana. Luckily, the incident occured at around 10:45 AM and not between 4:00-6:00 AM when several Jamati members would have been in attendance in Jamatkhana for the early morning prayers.
Our sources inform us that three workers who were present on site at the time of incident were immediately treated for minor injuries at the Aga Khan Health Centre located near the Jamatkhana entrance. Two workers escaped with minor bruises on the leg, and the third, after receiving a few stiches for cuts on her head, was kept in the hospital for overnight observation. She was said to be doing well.
We have learnt from reliable sources that the ceiling was renovated during the Golden Jubilee Year of Mawlana Hazar Imam. However, we do not know whether that involved the structural inspection of the roof.
The Jamatkhana will remain closed until repairs are completed. In the interim, the Jamatkhana ceremonies will take place at the adjacent social hall.
The Dar es Salaam Darkhana was built in 1930 and is considered one of several heritage buildings of architectural interest.
The last known tragedy in an Ismaili Jamatkhana was in Yeotmal, India, in 1963, when 112 Ismailis died when the Jamatkhana building collapsed. In 1967, during his visit to the new Yeotmal Jamatkhana Mawlana Hazar Imam declared the dead as “shahids” (martyrs in the cause of faith) and gave blessings for the peace and rest of their souls.
The damage shown in the photos is staggering and we humbly submit our shukrana that the incident took place without loss of lives. The timing was critical.
As of the last update to this story, we have not been made aware of any special announcement by the Aga Khan Council for Tanzania on this incident. A text message that was circulated on the day the incident occurred simply stated, “Due to unavoidable circumstances today’s congregational prayers at Darkhana Jamatkhana will be held in the Darkhana Hall.”
Date posted: September 3, 2019.
Date updated: September 4, 2019, (6:55 PM, Toronto).
Are you in Dar es Salaam? How is the Jamat coping with this tragic incident? There must be a sigh of great relief that the incident occurred later in the morning and not during the early morning Jamatkhana ceremonies. Our readers’ thoughts from around the world are welcome. Please click Leave a comment
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Thank you Malik for your prompt report with graphic photographs of the damage that occurred on that morning . Like you yes we say our shukharana to Mowla that despite the damage in building ,we got away with fairly light injuries to the people and no loss of lives!Yes we are a faith of intellect and it’s incumbent that we all should be vigilant and always probe into the real cause of the damage . Of course fundamental is in its structural cause and I am sure that it will be looked into and made good to prevent any future recurrence . I have been a regular part of that congregation during the hours of early morning prayers- during my yearly visit to Darkhana Jamatkhana.That calm and serenity is difficult to put into words, and my heart sank when I first got pictures of this damage through Whatsapp. All sorts of rumours as to loss of lives were unfounded and thank you again Mr. Editor for the factual report . You do a smashing job!
I am so grateful that no one was seriously hurt. It is Mawla’s Grace and Rahemat on us. The prayers that were said in the morning must be one of the saviours. As he said in London that “I am with you always.” We utter a zikr in his name and he is near us instantly. His bounty for his spiritual children is with us always . Amen.
Dear Hassan: Thank you for your reflective thoughts on Mawlana Hazar Imam’s care for his spiritual children. However, it is critical that old Jamatkhanas be inspected thoroughly, and that proper repairs be carried out, especially with respect to ceilings and floors, which have to carry an immese amount of weight on peak days. Miracles do happen; but carelessness and lack of attention to areas that are in need of serious repairs may one day result in serious injuries and even fatalities, as was the case with Yeotmal Jamatkhana in the early 1960’s. We are a thinking community, and not one that solely relies on acts of miracles. Blessings grow many fold when we work hard at something, and apply our energies for the care and betterment of the community. Each leader and each Jamati member is responsible for that. Concerns should be documented and brought to the attention of responsible institutions. Volunteers have the duty to raise issues when they see them. The new motto for the volunteers now is “Work and Many Words” (Mawlana Hazar Imam, Diamond Jubilee Visit, Calgary, April 2018)! That’s my reading of the Farman. Thank you and Ya Ali Madad, Malik Merchant.
What a blessing in disguise for no deaths nor serious injuries . The Safai committee used to come clean the Jamatkhana at around 10:00-10:30.
Amin Hirani: You need an engineer to assess the damage and recommendations on the repair. Probably the whole roof has to demolished and then reconstructed with new steel grinders.
Salim Jiva: Poleni sana Jamat of Dar es Salaam
Robert Benchley: Something comparable happened at a mosgue in Birmingham a few years ago. They’d knocked a wall through, and the building caved in, fortunately while nobody was inside.
Saida Thaver: We need global volunteers to rebuild our Jamatkhana, lets go.
Imtiaz Alibhoy: Come, let’s rebuild it.
Thank goodness, there are no fatalities. Best wishes to the Jamat.
The lives of those who would have been in attendance in the morning (or in the evening) have been saved, whether yesterday, earlier or at a future date.
My memories of the Jamatkhana are from 1957 when I was in Dar es Salaam with 25 members of the Aga Khan Pipe Band of Pakistan during Hazar Imam’s Takhtnashini celebrations. We were regular to Jamatkhana in the evening everyday of our stay in the city and had very memorable days in Jamatkhana.
Thanks to Moula for his blessings averting a big disaster. My prayers and best wishes for Dar-es-Salaam Jamat.
These photos could have been very very horrible! I haven’t seen the Darkhana, Dar es Salaam but what I do see in the debris on the floor is a lot of wood, and am I seeing nails jutting out from wood planks? Was the building always like that? Can you imagine the scenes if the incident had occurred much earlier or later during the day when worshippers were present in this historic Jamatkhana? I just can’ imagine the thought!
I read your precious report. l am so pleased that our global family of lsmaili brethren in Dar es Salaam on the whole are saved.