At Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos: 1946 Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Medal, 1957 Aga Khan Pemba Visit, Hazrat Ali, Aga Khan Park, Ismaili Authors and Mrs. Merchant

1946 His Highness the Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee

Photographs and story of a historical gold medal that was presented to a British Colonial Officer at the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee in 1946 (READ ARTICLE).


Ismaili Authors: Zeni Shariff

Little One, You Are the Universe by Ismaili author Zeni Shariff of Toronto Canada

Toronto based Ismaili artist and author introduces “Little One, You are the Universe,” the latest of her three books, by answering a series of short question (READ ARTICLE).


1957 Pemba Visit by His Highness the Aga Khan

Kamruddin Rashid and Shah Abdulla, both originally from Pemba, share their rare photo collection of His Highness the Aga Khan’s 1957 historical visit to the towns of Chake Chake and Wete in the Island of Pemba (READ ARTICLE).


Ginan for Hazrat Ali’s Birth Anniversary

The unforgettable (Late) Alwaez Shamshu Bandali Haji inspires us with selected Ginanic verses as we commemorate the birth anniversary of Hazrat Ali (a.s.), the 1st Shia Imam (READ ARTICLE).


Calligraphy, Hazrat Ali Quotes and Imamat for Yawm-e Ali

Hazrat Ali Calligraphy by Karim Ismail

Karim Ismail of Toronto creates a beautiful calligraphy in commemoration of Hazrat Ali’s birth anniversary. The post includes inspiring quotes by Hazrat Ali and his direct descendant His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th Hereditary Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. There is also a calligraphy of the prayer of Nadi Ali (READ ARTICLE).


Aga Khan Park on Valentine’s Day

Ismaili Jamatkhana Dome.

Close to his heart, the Aga Khan Park is where Malik Merchant heads to for a Valentine’s Day celebration (READ ARTICLE).


Ismaili Authors: Shamas Nanji

Justice Bertha Wilson Pushes the Boundaries of Humanity" by Edmonton based Shamas Nanji

Edmonton based Ismaili author and philosopher answers a series of question about his book Justice Bertha Wilson Pushes the Boundaries of Humanity through which readers will learn about the Canadian past from outside the boxes of patriarchy and whiteness (READ ARTICLE).


Passings: Mrs. Merchant

Mrs. Merchant

Creative writer Farah Tejani pens a poetic tribute to the iconic Ismaili religious education teacher and missionary Alwaeza Maleksultan Merchant who passed away recently at the age of 89 (READ ARTICLE).

Date posted: February 27, 2021.


Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

A Poem in Memory of Mrs. Merchant

Mrs. Merchant

An Ever Burning Flame


Like a candle,
In a dark room,
Her light would erase,

Any frown,
Or any pain,
You had on your face.

A gifted teacher,
Full of knowledge,
She’d leave you wanting more.

Her loving arms,
Were always open,
She would never shut her door.

All her students,
Were her children,
Whom she loved with her whole heart.

Not one student,
Could forget her,
Right from the very start.

Her knowledge
Was a mountain,
Everyone wanted to climb.

She imparted
With her wisdom,
Never concerned about the time.

Her bright smile
Filled the hearts,
Of all who came near,

When in her
Holy Presence,
There was never need to fear,

Her faith
Never wavered,
Not once would she question.

The words
Of the Imam
Or his Noble Direction.

Years and years
Of service,
She has given to our Mawla.

Precious, priceless
For all of us to store.

With much sadness
Her time to go,
Has left us all with pain,

But if she had words
She’d tell us,

“I am an Ever Burning Flame.

Forget me not,
For I am near,
Closer than you know.

For even though
We leave this earth
We never truly go.

We are with God
Though we may be gone,
And though it is a shame.

You keep me alive
Alive in your heart
An Ever Burning Flame.”

Date posted: February 9, 2021.


We welcome feedback from our readers. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or click Leave a comment. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Farah Tejani graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in May of 1997 and earned top Honors for her Thesis on Short Fiction. She has published a collection of short stories “Make Your Own Chai, Mama’s Boy!” dealing with different dilemmas South Asians face. Farah also wrote and co-directed her stage play, “Safeway Samosas,” which won “The Best of Brave New Playwrights Award” in July 1995. Her short story , “Too Hot” won third place in the “Canada-Wide Best Short Fiction Award” and was read at The Vancouver Writers Festival. Currently, Farah is working on Childrens’ stories and a collection of poetry called, “Elastic Embrace” to be published in 2021.

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.


Also see the following 3 related pieces:

Alwaeza Raisaheba Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant (June 9, 1931 – January 21, 2021), age 89. Photo: Shellina Karmali.

Alwaez Rajwani’s Very Special Bond with Mrs and Mr Merchant

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor SimergBarakah and Simergphotos

Between 1963, soon after my parents settled in Dar es Salaam — having previously served for over 8 years as teachers in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique — and around 1967 at which time my dad purchased a car, it became a regular weekend routine for our family of 5 to walk either from Tanganyika Flats and, later Islamabad Flats (on Cameroon Road renamed as United Nations Road), to the complex of flats near Upanga Jamatkhana where 3 Ismaili families lived in close proximity. 

Malik Merchant of Simerg with parents Mr and Mrs Merchant
Abdulmalik (aka Malik), founding publisher and editor of this website, with his parents Mr. and Mrs. Merchant, at a park in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique, when he was 3 years old. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Collection.

It was a visit that I, as a young boy, deeply cherished. The families of Alwaez Rajwani, Mr. Dharsee and the Ismail’s — Shiraz, Firoz, Razia and primary school teacher Late Gulzar Ismail Walji (d. 1978) — may not remember our visits to their homes, but I do.

With Mr. Dharsee, who wrote special feature articles on the Ismaili Imamat and Ismaili history for the Tanganyika Standard, the talks centred on Ismaili philosophy and other religious subjects. My dad extracted as much knowledge from this brilliant mind, who would keep his signature cheroot cigar aside during our visits. His inquiring and intelligent mind would respond to all questions my dad asked him. His daughter, Alwaeza Gulshan and son in law, Alwaez Shamshu Allidina, are the Ismaili couple famously known as the “Missionaries from Madagascar.”

At the Ismail family’s home, it was fun time. Razia [Pullen], one of my dad’s Aga Khan Girls Secondary School students in the early 1960’s, and her siblings would lay out a beautiful table of fruits and biscuits with plenty of juices, soft drinks, as well as chai, of course.

Abdulrahim Rajwani and Maleksultan Merchant
Alwaez Abdulrahim Rajwani visiting Alwaeza Mrs. Maleksultan Merchant at her home in 2019. Photo: Zarina Rajwani / Abdulrahim Rajwani Collection.

At Alwaez Rajwani’s residence located at the Jamati flat complex, the conversations centred around their waezin colleagues, past and current, as well as on-going waezin activities in Dar es Salaam and other parts of Tanzania. Years later after our families had migrated to the Western world, Alwaez Rajwani would place a regular call to my parents to find out how they were doing. Following my mum’s recent death on January 21, 2021, Alwaez submitted the following letter along with two photographs that he and his daughter took with my mum during one of their visits to Vancouver.

I take deep happiness in publishing the letter and thank Alwaez Abdulrahim and his daughter, Zarina, for the care, concern as well as affection that they showed to both my parents for many, many years. May all their prayers and wishes be fulfilled. Alwaeza’s wife Zenab passed away in 2006 at the age of 81 but Abdulrahim now continues to live a full and complete life in Toronto. He is 90, and I wish him a long and healthy life.

Fond Memories of Alwaez Jehangir and Alwaeza Maleksultan Merchant

Mrs. Merchant, centre, with Abdulrahim Rajwani and his daughter Zarina
Alwaeza Mrs. Merchant, centre, is visited by Alwaez Abdulrahim Rajwani and his daughter Zarina. Photo: Abdulrahim Rajwani Collection.


Ya Ali Madad, dear Malik.

Although we have spoken on the phone, I also wanted to express my condolences to you, Fahar, Alnoor and your families, as well as pay my respects, honour your parents and share a few memories in writing. It has taken me a while, as I was filled with sadness and nostalgia, remembering the closeness of my loving relationship and friendship with both your parents over the many decades. Also, I had just spoken to mum a few days before she passed away. Zarina, Aziz and I offer prayers for the eternal rest of their souls.

Your parents, Alwaeza Maleksultan (1931-2021) and Alwaez Jehangir Merchant (1928-2018), were both close friends from Bombay (now Mumbai). I remember meeting mum in the early forties, when we used to have waez competitions between the Religious Night Schools of Greater Bombay. Either she or one of her sisters (Shahsultan or Sakuma) would represent Hasnabaad, and I would represent Kandimohalla (now Karimabad). I remember your dad and Late Alwaez Sultanali Mohamed (1927-2020) attending mission classes in the early fifties, run by Ismailia Association in Kandimohalla, where dad’s eldest brother Mahomedbhai was Mukhi for several years. I was already an Honorary Missionary at that time.

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Aga Khan in Mumbai and Ismaili Missionaries
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, is welcomed by Mukhisaheb of Karimabad Jamatkhana Mahomed Alibhoy, Alwaez Merchant’s oldest brother; and Mrs and Mr Merchant (seated, 3rd and 5th from left) with Waezin team and lecturers before their departure for Lourenço Marques in 1954. Alwaez Sultanali is standing 4th from left. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Collection.

I have many fond and happy memories of our friendship over the decades, and in particular, I remember coming to the ship to disembark your parents, with you as a 5 month baby, when their ship made a stop at Dar es Salaam on its way to Lourenço Marques. That was in very early 1954, and I myself settled in Dar es Salaam two years earlier in 1952.

While we all served as waezin together, I will always regard both mum and dad with the highest respect, honour and love. Their service was outstanding and exemplary. They always kept up with their knowledge and learning. Their way of communicating and conveying this knowledge individually, in small groups and to large Jamati audiences was remarkable. They were able to make this knowledge relevant and personal to individuals, and inspire and uplift them in a highly impactful and significant way. And they selflessly served the Jamat and the Imam-of-the-Time with care and kindness, with devotion and utmost dedication.

I have been speaking to your parents over the years, and to mum regularly, particularly around Navroz, Imamat Day, Salgirah and Eids. I will miss talking to her now, but will always remember her and pray for her soul. Over the years, whenever I was in Vancouver, we would always visit them and more recently mum. It was always a delight to chat and catch up with her. Zarina and I last visited her in September 2019. I am attaching a couple of pictures with her from that visit. I will dearly miss our decades-long incredible friendship and affection.

With fond and loving memories of them both and prayers for their souls,

(Alwaez) Abdulrahim Rajwani.

Date posted: February 7, 2021.


We welcome feedback from our readers. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or click Leave a comment. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

Mrs. Merchant (d. January 21, 2021): Reflections on a Funeral During the Year of Covid-19 as Ismaili Community Bids Goodbye to a Very Popular Teacher and Missionary

Mrs. Malek Jehangir Merchant at Jehangir's grave
Alwaeza Raisaheba Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant, or Mrs. Merchant as she was known among her students in Africa and the UK, was buried Thursday February 4, 2021, at the same cemetery as her husband Jehangir. Here she is seen visiting his grave shortly after he passed away May 27, 2018. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg.


Many thoughts come to mind as I attend Mrs. Merchant’s funeral online from the UK. She passed away on January 21, 2021, at the age of 89, on the same day she was admitted to the hospital.

I have fond memories of the time I had spent working with her at 3-5 Palace Gate in London. While teaching Bait-ul-Ilm classes, I benefited immensely from her knowledge and wisdom. 

The Covid-19 pandemic, which also took Mrs. Merchant’s life, is unprecedented and is having a profound impact on our lives. One such impact is that we cannot attend or participate in funerals in the customary way at this time. However, technology has allowed us to participate in the funeral ceremonies from anywhere in the world, albeit in a different manner.  

Mrs. Merchant’s face was visible to all of us who were watching throughout the 30-minute ceremony that included Salwats, the recitation of the prayer Astaghfirullahi Rabbi Wa Atubu Ilaiyhi (Verily, I seek the forgiveness of Allah, who is my Lord and Sustainer, and I turn to Him in repentance) as well as verses from Ginans and profound quotes of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III (d. July 11, 1957).

There are guidelines, which vary from one province to another, about the number of people who can be present for the funeral (in Vancouver, the limit is 6 family members) and burial ceremonies at the cemetery (4 family members), masks are mandatory as is social distancing, and if a person had died of Covid-19 the casket must remain closed unless the body has been embalmed.

The six individuals from the family who were present at the Burnaby Lake Jamatkhana were Mrs. Merchant’s son Fahar and his wife Nina, Shellina (fiancé of youngest son Alnoor, who could not attend from the UK), nieces Habiba and Sherezad, and Nasreen, daughter of the family’s extremely close friend Mrs. Sakerkhanu Velji whose husband, Mr. Sadru Velji, was buried just 48 hours earlier on February 2. Due to extraordinary circumstances as well as Mawlana Hazar Imam’s guidance expressing his desire for his Murids to follow public health guidelines, Mrs. Merchant’s eldest son Abdulmalik (Malik) and his daughter Nurin were not able to travel for the funeral.

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Malik and Nurin Merchant on Mrs. Maleksultan Merchant, Ismaili Jamatkhana Toronto
A reflection by Malik and Nurin Merchant on their mum/grandmother . Please click on image for enlargement.

Following the completion of the funeral ceremonies, which has been dubbed as Rites of Passage, volunteers wheeled the casket across the Jamatkhana Hall into the waiting hearse to the calling of the Muslim Shahadah Lailaha illallah Muhammad ur Rasulullah (I bear witness that there is no deity but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God) recited by one person, and repeated by the same person as there was no one lined up to carry or touch the coffin (Janazah) due to Covid-19. The live streaming stopped once the coffin left the building into the waiting car. This was truly an emotional send-off for us watching from other parts of the world. 

After the four male members returned from the cemetery, Zyarat and Samar ceremonies were performed. Normally, these would be held during the evening Jamatkhana ceremonies where hundreds of people would be able to participate and recite special prayers for the soul of the deceased. Jamatkhanas have been closed across Canada for the last several weeks, as is the case in many parts of the world.

Jamatkhanas in Canada have never before been closed for such an extended period of time. This past year has been particularly difficult for all of us everywhere, and one can imagine its impact on those who attended Jamatkhana regularly. 

However, there are some collateral benefits of the pandemic. With the blessings of Mawlana Hazar Imam, our faith has been strengthened. Jamats have come together across the world, helping one another. The magnificent work done by the volunteers has impacted every institution within the Jamat — from arts and culture to economic to health to religious education to social welfare boards and the youth. The undertaking has been enormous. The organization of funerals and the work of the funeral, or the  mayat/ghusal committee is simply incredible. Keeping everyone safe under our current circumstance where a virus can spread rapidly is demanding and requires additional hours of care, diligence, organization and work to meet strict protocols and provincial guidelines. 

At the onset of Covid-19 pandemic 2020, things looked bleak and hopeless. But, human ingenuity was at work. Scientists all across the world set to work to come-up with vaccines in record time in the fight against the Covid-19. We saw as we entered 2021 that highly effective vaccines have been formulated, and with proper and fair distribution will give hope to humanity in the coming months.

I am grateful that I have been able to participate in Malekbai’s funeral from the UK and I pray that Hazar Imam bless her with Noorani Deedar and grant the family the strength to bear this loss. Ameen and Ya Ali Madad.

A Dignified and Safe Rites of Passage for Mrs. Merchant 

Alwaeza Raisaheba Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant (June 9, 1931 – January 21, 2021), age 89. Photo: Shellina Karmali.


Feriyal Merchant (USA): Ya Ali Madad, Dear family. My sister Kulsum Laiwalla  and myself from Silicon Valley CA watched the blessed last rites and ceremonies of  our beloved Malek Sultan Aunty who was  lying so peacefully in the prayer hall as the heartfelt spiritual paragraph  from our Beloved Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah’s memoirs was read by her son Fahar, souful ginans and powerful Salwats recited. Though the hall had a few family physical  presence but it was filled with spiritual connections and prayers from all over the world.

Dear Malek Aunty today your earthly body said goodbye, your soul on speedy wings have taken flight to Heavenly  abode. You will be missed by many but always fondly remember. As I saw you lie you left me with thoughts of wisdom as you always do. This is a journey all must take alone so be prepared  so there is after glow of smile and peace on your face as I saw on yours. Shukar Mowla Alhamdullilah.

Salim and Nevyn Kanji (Toronto): Today, we participated in a beautiful and simple funeral service for our teacher. Thank you for giving us this opportunity. May your mom’s soul rest in eternal peace. May Hazar Imam give you lots of strength and courage to face this great loss. Remember, we are always here for you and your family.

Amin Hooda (Ottawa): Thanks for your efforts at the time when there is a huge personal and family`s loss. Humbled to have attended the live video stream, that was completed in less than half hour, through the recitation of tasbihs and ginans; it was an opportunity for me to benefit from this spiritual connection that you mum, alongside your dad, as a lifelong teacher selflessly nurtured for so many individuals and jamat at large, through their friendship and students. Shukar.

(Nahid) Begum Nurmohamed Shariff and family: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sending me the invite as I was very fond of both mum and dad. They were wonderful people and will live on through you all but also their wider family — those that they taught selflessly over the years with love and compassion. Your mum and I had a bond and I loved and respected her dearly. She is in a wonderful place. Mawla grant her his noorani didar and rest her soul in eternal peace. Ameen. Sending your whole family lots of love and prayers.

Julián Arturo Zapata (Colombia, South America): Querido Hermano Abdulmalik, muy linda la ceremonia del funeral de tu noble Madre Maliksultan. Abrazos Fraternales desde Colombia el Alamut latinoamericano

Translation: Dear Brother Abdulmalik, the funeral ceremony of your noble Mother Maleksultan is very nice. Fraternal hugs from Colombia, the Latin American Alamut.

Shiraz Nasser: Thank you 🙏for inviting us to participate in funeral ceremony. Her soul has merged with the Noor. It is time for spiritual happiness. May Mawla accept all your wonderful sewa. Stay safe, healthy, happy, united and continue your wonderful family tradition of spiritually intellect sewa in humility. Love to all.

Malek Merchant family at her funeral
Mrs. Merchant’s family members pictured on February 4, 2021 in the courtyard of the Burnaby Lake Jamatkhana during the funeral ceremonies held for her at the Jamatkhana. Left to right: Nina and Fahar Merchant, Shellina Karmali, Habiba and Alnashir Rashid, and Sherezad Zinna.

Shariffa Keshavjee (Kenya): Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un “Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return.” Thank you for inviting me to join in on your mum’s farewell. May her soul go with the light into Asal Makan. May you get peace and sabar, patience. I once read that sabar is illumination from within, where experiencing patience gives birth to a space. In that space Rab is present.

Alnoor Abdulla (Vancouver): I appreciate and feel privileged to participate. It was a spiritual ceremony. She will always remain special and everlasting in my mind.

Rozmin Fazal (UK): Thank you for sharing the live link to mum’s Mayyat ceremony. It was such a dignified ceremony. May Mowla rest her soul in eternal peace and grant you and the family strength to be able to cope with the loss. Amen.

Anonymous (England): May Mawlana Hazar Imam bless your mum’s soul and may she rest in eternal peace. Ameen. She looked good and at peace. Lovely that everyone there participated individually. I am praying for your mum’s soul and dad. I’m praying for you and the family to have peace in your heart and in your lives.

Abdul Remtulla (Edmonton): Thank you for your invitation to attend on line ceremony. We did and bid her goodbyes. May her soul rest in eternal Peace, Ameen, Warm wishes and Ya Ali Madad.

Azy or Yasmin (Toronto): Thank you for inviting me to participate in the ceremony. I feel honoured indeed. She looked very very peaceful. We lost a great person from the earth but Mowla welcomed her home. Mowla bless her soul with Noorani Didar and bless you and the entire family with strength to face this tremendous loss. Amen.

Muslim Harji (Montreal): Thank you for considering us as a part of your family. Both Nevin and myself attended Maa’s Mayat ceremony and were very impressed with the way it was conducted. We pray for her soul to rest in eternal peace. Ameen Love, Light & Cheers

Nizar Motani (USA): I was able to join the livestream from the beginning. From all the tributes to mourn and celebrate your mother’s amazing service, her  endearing  personality, and her kind nature — she was  clearly  an ANGELIC  SOUL and is resting in the ABODE of PEACE  next to her beloved husband.

Zarina Moosa (Toronto): Thank you for letting me participate in the funeral ceremony of your beloved mother. It was such a dignified and beautiful ceremony fit for an equally dignified and beautiful lady. Shukhar. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un. With prayers in my heart for all of you.

Karima, Nasim, Shamshad and Nuryn (Vancouver): Thank you letting us watch, Malekabai’s funeral today. She is at peace, and may Mowla rests her soul in eternal peace, Amen.

Date posted: February 5, 2021.
Last updated: February 6, 2021 (Jamatkhana photo added with a reflection by Malik and Nurin).

Also see two related pieces Mrs. Merchant passes away at 89 and Tributes celebrating her life.


We welcome feedback from our readers. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or click Leave a comment. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Shiraz Pradhan

About the author: Shiraz Pradhan is a professional engineer, writer and philosopher. A regular contributor to this website, Shiraz has a keen interest in Judaeo-Christian History, Islamic Studies, Sufism and philosophies of the Vedas and Upanishads. He is currently completing a book titles Amarapuri, the Abode of Eternity. He is the Chairman of the Association of the Study of Ginans which specializes in the preservation, study and research of the ancient Ismaili Ginans (hymns). Shiraz currently lives in the UK with his family.

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.


Mrs Merchant at grave of husband Jehangir

Mrs. Merchant: Excerpts From Tributes Celebrating Her Life; Alwaeza’s Funeral Today, Thursday February 4, 2021

Alwaeza Raisaheba Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant (June 9, 1931 - January 21, 2021), age 89. Photo: Shellina Karmali. Ismaili missionary and religion teacher
Alwaeza Raisaheba Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant (June 9, 1931 – January 21, 2021), age 89. Photo: Shellina Karmali.

The family of Alwaeza Raisaheba Maleksultan Merchant has been immensely touched by so many messages of condolences it has received following her passing away at the age of 89, on January 21, 2021. 

Social media pages are filled with several hundred messages and Simerg has received more than 200 messages following the publication of a tribute celebrating her life. In addition, members of the family have received numerous telephone calls as well as text messages from all over the world. 

We are deeply grateful to you all. Your love, prayers and encouragement have been a source of  strength and comfort to us at this difficult time.

Thursday, February 4th has been confirmed as the date of her funeral and burial (click iiCanada Funeral announcement). Unfortunately, Covid-19 has created challenges for attending funerals with strict restrictions on travelling and gatherings. 

The following are a selection of  excerpts from numerous tributes to our beloved mother/grandmother who passed away on Thursday January 21, 2021.

Tributes and Fond Memories of Alwaeza Mrs. Maleksultan J. Merchant (1931-2021)

We are among the generation of the Jamat who recall with gratitude the immense contribution that Maleksultanbai and your late father made to our development during our formative years in Dar-es-Salaam. They laid in our minds a strong foundation of Ismaili history and principles, as well ethics and values, which sustains to this day. From those early days, both your parents went on to serve with distinction the cause of the Imamat and Jamat in many countries around the world…..Vazir Shafik Sachedina and Vazirbanoo Nadia Sachedina

I was saddened to hear of the passing of your mum. We pray for eternal peace, rest and batuni noorani deedar for the soul of your mum. At the same time, we offer prayers for mushkil asan for all your family members. The life-long devoted services rendered to Mawlana Hazar Imam and the Jamath by both your mum and dad were an exceptional example for the Jamath…..Ameerally Kassim Lakha

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

Alwaeza was an extraordinary and effective teacher of religious knowledge. To myself as well as others, she was an example, a beloved role model and a beacon that shone brightly, guiding our values during the formative period of our lives. Since those days of primary and secondary school, there has forever stayed in my memory a debt of gratitude for her outstanding and exemplary dedication to her vocation. Her gift and excellence lay not in compulsion and harsh discipline but in noble character and conduct, leading by example. That, more than strict reward or punishment, imprinted in us the ethics of the faith that shaped our values in life. May our humble prayers and remembrances reach her companionship On High…..Shiraz Hameer

I have fondly thought of Mr and Mrs Merchant and the incredible sacrifices they made over so many years for the jamat in the UK. They struggled and suffered a lot of hardships in their work when travelling on public transport over long distances and late at night often in the cold and not having had dinner. And yet both your parents hardly complained. They both truly served the Imam. We will rejoice their achievements and dedication and lovingly remember them…..Fida Moledina

As an early teen in Dar-es-Salaam, your Mother was my coach for the first wa’ez contest that I ventured into, reckoning it would be an extension of the school talks & debates that relished. Visits to your home were encounters with a teacher who exuded a unique coupling of passion and discipline; no, a wa’ez was no ordinary talk, certainly not a debate. Patiently, she teased out and fostered the keys: pace, clarity, command of material, sincerity, lightness … The lessons remained long after the contest (yes, I won) — not just for wa’ez but for wider communication…..Amyn Sajoo

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

“Life is a great and noble calling, not a mean and grovelling thing to be shuffled through as best as we can but a lofty and exalted destiny.” — Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah. [This] beautiful quote was instilled in me by my religion teacher in the 60s known to me as Mrs. Merchant. I will forever be indebted to her as the first religion teacher who impacted my life in such an enlightening way. May her soul rest in eternal peace and may you all have the strength to bear this irreplaceable loss…..Naznin Hajee

She was one teacher that always came to mind when we remembered Dar, a beautiful person inside out. The ginans we learnt from her, we can still sing without requiring a ginan book…..Aziza Kotadia (nee Damji)

She was my Religion Teacher at Aga Khan Girls School in Dar es Salaam. I will always treasure the fond memories of ‘Mrs. Merchant’ – as she was known- in my heart. A beautiful soul, always smiling. Bless her! She will be dearly missed. It’s a great loss to bear but alas! she had to go ‘home’ where she will be in Khudavind’s tender care, engulfed in and by His Noor, Aameen…..Layla Moledina

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

She was a very special person and had significant impact on the lives of many many people. For me — as she called me her son – she played many roles. She nurtured me and supported my health and nutrition in my teenage years. She and Mr Merchant built the foundational knowledge of our faith. I consider myself very fortunate to have had her in my life and for the opportunity I got to talk with her on Dec 24th 2020 – just recently for more almost 2 hours on the phone. Could not visit because of COVID. She will always remain as one of the most loving persons in my life and and one that played a critical role at a particular time in my life…..Alnoor Abdulla

Your Family and also the Global Jamat will dearly miss the enormous knowledge and deep understanding of our Tariqah so eloquently shared by both your Parents with the Jamat. Indeed it is a rare gift they have left with you, your Family to continue which your are doing as well. May you succeed in your most noble endeavours. A deep loss nonetheless, be brave and have courage…..Amir Rashid

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

She was a person that lived in and for faith and was such a blessing with whoever she interacted with. A caring wife ,a loving mom, a sweet aunt ,a dedicated waezin, a wise teacher but above all a humble murid of our Beloved Imam. When ever I spoke to Aunty, it was such a pleasure as she was so knowledgeable in different topics and time just flew. She bought smiles on my face and faith in my heart and showered so much Duas that filled my being with peace….Feriyal Merchant

Alwaeza was my religion teacher in Dar es Salaam. I remember her teaching the Ginan Ya Ali Khub Mijalas. Every time I sing that Ginan during Imamat Day I always think of her and her teaching the Ginan….Azmina Bandali

As a teenager both these remarkable people helped me to see life in the bigger picture. They taught me that being spiritual was bigger than anything else….Mina Crisp née Pradhan

Best teacher, best al waezine who could inspire the new generation with practical examples combining science and the spiritual world together….Mariam Ladha

Both Late Raisaheba and Late Raisaheb devoted their lives to the Imam and the Jamat. Alhamdulillah. They both were personally known to me for over 50 years. They will be dearly missed by hundreds of family members and friends around the globe. Once again, our heartfelt condolences to the entire family…..Kamrudin A. Rashid and family

I am very disheartened to hear the sad news about your mom. She was my best teacher and tutor for ginans and other religious general knowledge. She delivered great waez’s during Lailtul Qadr nights and other occasions. Always smiling, sincere and humble lady. She is in a great place and will be missed by our community…..Maheboob Merali

Both your Mom & Dad were my teachers in Aga Khan Girls Secondary School in Dar es Salaam. Most of my religious education was imparted by them which has stayed with me to-date & have passed it on to my children & grandchildren. This will continue for generations to come. Shukhar. What an impact your parents have made in our lives. Very grateful indeed. May Mowla accept their seva and grant them eternal peace. Ameen……Fatma Premji

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

We, the “Class of 1967” of Agakhan Girls’ School, Dar es Salaam, say a mournful goodbye to our dear teacher Mrs. Merchant. Mournful, because with her passing, we say goodbye to someone who represented a life of unconditional and generous giving, sacrifice, integrity, humility. She imparted with such patience and understanding of her teenaged students, her wealth of knowledge and wisdom, as she tried to instill in us the values and ethics of our faith. But our hearts simultaneously smile and are filled with gratitude, that we can claim to have been touched and influenced by one so profoundly wise and good, so loving and kind. We are richer for it, our world is warmer for it, and we pray that we can pass on a little bit of that richness and warmth. We express our gratitude once again, for our other teacher and mentor, dear Mr. Merchant. Together, the two gave immeasurably to the entire community, in many different parts of the globe. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un. And so we humbly accept the will of Allah as He takes our beloved teacher home for eternal rest…..Naseem (Esmail) Jetha

Mrs Merchant was my religion teacher at Aga Khan Girls school in Dar es Salaam in my high school years. The foundation of my faith that I have personally to this day was all due to her teachings. She was also a beautiful, gentle but a strong soul and helped us get through whatever issues we would be having….Almas Allibhai

I have fond memories of our Beloved Religion Teacher, Mrs. Merchant in Dar es Salaam at the Aga Khan Girls school. Always smiling, kind and hardworking. She was instrumental to instill faith and religion to all her Students….Shamin Rahim 

When I learnt of your beloved Mum’s passing, I experienced mixed emotions. On the one hand, I could relate very much to the void left in your lives and yet also had the satisfaction of knowing that her soul is very much with your beloved Dad and in the Noor of Allah. Ameen and Shukhar. As neighbours growing up in beautiful 1960’s Dar, I have very fond memories of our time playing together and of your Dad and Mum. They were such wonderful people and showed kindness and affection towards everyone they met and interacted with, especially the kids. I remember them always patting mine and my brother’s head and saying “Acha Bacha”…..Karim Akber Hassam Ladha

Mrs Merchant at Lougheed Mall.
My mum, Mrs. Merchant, poses for a photograph in the middle of drinking a hot cup of Tim Hortons Earl Grey tea at the new food court in Burnaby’s Lougheed Mall during my stay with her from November 2019 – January 2020. Photo: Malik Merchant / Simerg.

Mrs. Merchant was my religion teacher in Dar es Salaam late 60s. She was instrumental in instilling love of faith in me. Forever indebted to her memory. May her soul rest in eternal peace….Naznin Hajee

Though some of us gave her a tough time in mission class, she persisted. I can still remember her teaching, as if she were right there in front of us in one classroom at 5 Palace Gate, sharing Prophet Muhammad’s life and history, history of our imams, of different majalis, teaching us ginans and a clearly, recited dua with its meanings. Her voice and laugh remains….Sara

I remember both of your parents from my visits to Putney Jamatkhana where they would give classes after Jamatkhana. We were all in awe of your mum especially – the last thing you wanted as a child was to be told off by ‘Mrs Merchant.’ May her soul rest in eternal peace…..Amira Tharani

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

In the name of all the Ahamad Keshavjee family – a family that was so fortunate to have them not only as mentors but as family, too – we want to present you, and to your brothers Fahar and Alnoor, our most heartfelt condolences and say that our prayers are for the soul’s eternal peace and rest, under our Mawla’s infinite rahma! We also pray that you, your siblings and family find the courage and the strength to face these painful times. Maleka Bhen will always be remembered with love and affection by this family…..Faranaz Jaherali Ahamad Keshavjee

Alwaeza My Mum…..Your death took away joy from my life but will Hold on to the Beautiful Memories of times Spent with you. I will forever Love  and Adore You Mom for everything you taught me in Life. In our Hearts you hold a place no one else will ever fill. I cried endlessly but I promise I won’t let that tears mar the smiles you have given. I know you will always listen from above. Remembering You is Easy I will do Everyday but there will be an ache within my heart ♥️ that will never go away. Mother my Angel God has given you your Assignment “Always my Mother Forever my Angel”…..Farial Manji

A teacher par excellence and an Al-Waeza, she served with utmost diligence and distinction initially in Mozambique and Tanzania and later in the U.K. The glowing tributes that are being paid to her today is an attestation of her many years of dedicated services to the Imam and the house of Imam-e-Zaman. She will indeed be dearly missed…..Sultan Somani

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

Both mum and dad’s untiring and relentless sewa to Mowlana Hazer Imam will be etched in our hearts forever. The commitment and dedication to the teachers and students in the UK was exemplary. Both your mum and dad had been my mentors in London and I have learnt so much from them. We feel very privileged to have them as part of our lives. I have vivid memories of our dinner with mum when she was visiting London in 2018 and I feel so blessed to have met her then after many years….Rozmin & Mehboob Fazal

Your parents were responsible for building the foundation of our religious education. We cherish their memories. All the girls at The Aga Khan Girls school were very fond of them. They were our role models. They will be missed by many whose lives they have touched!….Razia Pullen

Hearing about Alwaeza passing away brought a flood of memories with emotions of the wonderful souls that both your parents were and what a privilege it was to have them so much as part of our lives. They were not only instrumental in working day to day with them as we launched the Bait-ul-ilms in the UK, a global name now but they taught us so much about faith, resilience, forgiveness and how to navigate through tests with sense of faith. Their unquestioning dedication to serve generations of children, and teachers and the Jamat with love through their knowledge and wisdom were a source of comfort to so many of us. They always listened and never judged and I can remember so many times when I thought one thing and they gave us different perspectives to think of that made far more sense…..Azim and Tasneem Virani

It with great sadness I have learned of the passing away of your dear Mum and our precious Alwaeza and teacher without whom we and our children would not be where we are now. Shukhar. Please accept our family’s condolences and we all pray her soul rests in eternal peace under Mawlabapa’s care where Dad is. Inshallah…..Asif, Elhaque, Yasmin and Nizar Dhanani

The accolades, tributes and acknowledgement of your parent’s contributions to our community can never be overstated. My family and I just recently felt your mother’s humanity and consciousness show in the trouble she took to comment on her positive experience on our family history, and that of the Ismaili community of Iringa, Tanzania. Her thoughtful encouragement will, forever, be etched in our memory…..Mohamed Hamir

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

A truly great teacher who was not only inspirational in her imparting her religious knowledge to the Jamat from Africa to Canada but she was a truly motivating individual who had a very positive attitude and a cheerful personality. Mum was instrumental in my foundational knowledge of our faith since Dar es Salaam, she used to be the main judge at our Dua and Ginan competitions and in London, visited the various mobile Mission classes, using the public transport, whatever the weather, to motivate the administrators and teachers. I recall as a child in Upanga where whenever mum used to give her waez, our Jamatkhana used to be packed and people who listened to her waez used to have tears in their eyes as she brought alive the historical events in our faith. Mum’s memories will always be alive in our hearts……Shenie and Roshanbai Dhanji

How can we forget your mom? She was the beacon of all Ismailis around the world. I have no words to describe her love for the Jamats and dedication in the service to our Imam-e-Zaman. We knew your mom very well as she worked (honorary seva) with my late father, Master Abdul Jaffer Devani in the Social Welfare Board in late 1960’s in Dar es Salaam. I don’t remember ever missing any of Mrs. Merchant’s Waezes in Dar! She was one of a kind and will always be remembered fondly as the best Waezin of our time! The contribution made by both your parents as religious educators for all Ismailis, young and old is immeasurable and unforgettable…..Shah and Shiraz Abdulla and the Devani Sisters

May Mowla grant you the courage to face your loss with inner strength and fortitude, and take comfort in the in the following words :

God looked around his Garden
And found some empty space
God then looked down upon the earth
And saw your tired face
He put his arms around you
And lifted you to rest
God’s garden must be beautiful
For He only takes the best

We fondly remember your mother……….ever so gracious, gregarious, warm and loving. Her commitment and love for the Imam were extraordinary, and her desire to share her knowledge and wisdom, one-on-one or during her waezes was unconditional. We will all miss her…..Shamshad and Jalal Jaffer

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

I was greatly saddened to learn of passing away of your beloved mother Al-waeza Maleksultanbai. May Mawla grant her soul eternal peace. May Mawla grant you and your family, courage and fortitude to bear this great loss. I had a great honour to work with both your parents both in Dar es Salaam as well in Europe on many occasions. Their continuous support made my work easy in my new challenge when I came to Paris in 1970s. The late Al-Waez Rai Jehangir and Al-Waeza Rai Saheba Malekbai’s selfless seva will be remembered by many. Students, religion teachers, colleagues as well as members of the Jamat all over the world…..Al-Waez Rai Muhammad Jivraj.

The Prophet declared that the path to Paradise begins from a mother’s lap. I can see her wonderful influence in the people she has touched, and am truly grateful for the kindness of her example….Andrew Kosorok

In 1962, one day after morning prayers, the then President of Ismailia Association Rai Shamshudin Tejpar told me and two other boys to accompany him. We went to Dar es Salam harbour and boarded a ship from Mozambique sailing to India. On this ship were Mr and Mrs Jehangir Merchant with their three sons, Malik, Alnoor and Fahar. After some discussion, President Saheb told us to take all their luggage off board the ship and the Dar Jamat thus was lucky to have two new religious education teachers who were also waezins….Amin Kassam

A selfless, determined, committed, hard working, teacher, who was so focused in her pursuit of the education of the young in particular. I recall on some weekends, she would start off in Ilford BUI and then travel by the underground to teach us at Harrow BUI as it was known then, before heading home in the evening. I learnt so much, and was humbled by her dedication, knowledge, courage, and love for Mawlana Hazar Imam. Quite incredible…..Al-Karim Govindji

Malek Merchant Ismaili teacher and missionary, Africa and the UK

I have such fond memories of her in my upper primary at Aga Khan Girls School in Dar es Salaam. Her trademark warm and affectionate smile coupled with the sparkle in her eyes endeared her to every student who had the good fortune to be in her class. She taught in an unconventional but a very effective way. She told enthralling stories. The dates and facts were picked up from a vast plethora of books and Quran and her favourite ginans. It was like a beautiful tapestry being woven with reds and greens and golds and silvers! It was done with such joy and passion that we remembered them like children’s stories. She became a pivot in our young lives because she took RI teaching and learning to a whole new level. It was a class you really looked forward to.

Bravo and merci beaucoup, Madame Merchant! You have left warm and fond memories behind. With your passionate and selfless seva, I daresay, you will soar like a falcon and rest on Mowla’s glove!…..Izat Velji

Date posted: January 28, 2021.
Last updated: February 1, 2021 (new photo).


You may pen your tribute or message of condolence to Mrs. Merchant in the feedback form below (or click Leave a comment) or by visiting the page where we have posted an article about her.

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few. Also visit Simerg’s sister websites Barakah, dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, and Simergphotos.

“Mrs. Merchant” – Alwaeza Maleksultan Jehangir – Passes Away at 89

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un
“Surely we belong to God and to Him we return” — Holy Qur’an, 2:156

“Life is a great and noble calling, not a mean and grovelling thing to be shuffled through as best as we can but a lofty and exalted destiny.” — Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III (1877-1957), 48th Ismaili Imam

Mrs Merchantt - Alwaeza Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant
Alwaeza Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant (June 9, 1931 – January 21, 2021)
Alwaeza Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant (June 9, 1931 – January 21, 2021). Photo: Shellina Karmali.


It is with deep sadness that I am informing readers that Alwaeza Raisaheba Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant passed away peacefully at around 11:30 pm on Thursday, January 21, 2021, at the age of 89 from COVID-19 and pneumonia. She was predeceased by her late husband Alwaez Rai Jehangir Merchant on May 27, 2018.  Alwaeza is survived by her sons Malik (publisher and editor of this website), Fahar and his wife Nina, Alnoor and his fiance Shellina; grandchildren Naim and Nurin, and sisters Shahsultan Bana and Shakerkhanu (Sakuma) Vazir Ghulam Hussain Alinani.

Aga Khan in Mozambique Simerg
 Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, with leaders and teachers of the Lourenço Marques Jamat during his visit in 1958. Maleksultan is at left on second row, and Jehangir behind Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

With her husband of 66 years, Alwaeza Merchant devoted her life to the service of the Imam of the Time and the Jamat as a religious education teacher to the youth of the Jamats in Mozambique, Tanzania and the UK. She was a truly exceptional teacher and she treated each student as her own child. Her co-teachers in London would recall that during a single weekend she would take the underground to visit seven Ismaili religious education centres across London. In both her hands she would be carrying bags of religious education notes and material for distribution to students. At home, she would spend hours on the phone listening to the students’ rehearsing of Dua, Quranic verses, Ginans and Waezes before their recitations in Jamatkhana.

Maleksultan Merchant with Begum Salimah Aga Khan Simerg
Gulzar (centre) introduces Maleksultan Merchant to Begum Salimah Aga Khan at a function held in London during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s week long visit to the Jamat of the United Kingdom in September 1979. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Family Collection.

Her oratory as a missionary (waezin) inspired Jamats around the world, enhancing  their understanding of the ethics and principles of Islam and the Ismaili Tariqah.  A particularly memorable period in her lifetime was when she and her husband undertook a year long Waez tour of the newly settled Jamats in the UK, Europe and North America at the behest of the Supreme Council under Diwan Sir Eboo’s leadership.

Outside her religious duties, her honorary work with the social welfare board in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, uplifted and transformed the lives of many in the Ismaili community who were facing poverty, unemployment and other challenging family circumstances.

Jehangir and Maleksultan Mrs Merchant Simerg
Alwaeza Maleksultan Merchant (1931-2021) with Alwaez Jehangir Merchant (1928-2018). They served the Imam of the Time and Ismaili institutions for more than 60 years.

Alwaeza and Alwaez were remarkable partners who worked hand in hand and supported each other throughout their years of service.  The president of the then Ismaili Association for the UK (now ITREB) Dr. Aziz Kurwa remarked  “…..with you Malekbai, I had a formidable team. Both of you supported my work and guided me all the time. The knowledge that Alwaez and Malekbai spread amongst young students in UK and abroad lives in the heart of thousands. There was not a situation where Malekbai and Jehangirbhai did not have the right guidance to offer. Diwan Sir Eboo always admired their devotion and knowledge.”

Alwaeza Maleksultan had remarkable strength of faith and always sought inspiration and strength from her beloved Imam throughout her life, and especially during the 30 month period since the passing of Alwaez in May 2018. Not a moment passed by in her life without acknowledging that Mawlana Hazar Imam was always by her side.

Mrs. Merchant and Jehangir Merchant pictured at BC Place, Vancouver, prior to the Diamond Jubilee Mulaqat with Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Photo: Raiya Suleman/Simerg.

Like her husband, whose mentor was the great Fatimid da’i Al-Mu’ayyad al-Shirazi, Alwaeza’s mentor was Varas Ismail Gangji. As a teacher of Ginanic literature, she would often recount his life and works. In a piece dedicated to Ismaili Gangji she noted: “I have had the immense happiness of teaching and explaining Ginans to my students and members of the Jamat alike. With zeal, enthusiasm and conviction we acknowledged the profound ethical and spiritual truths contained in Ginans, which provide guidance and inspiration in our daily lives. I would like to share one incident that I have narrated frequently during the course of my career. It was an evening that became a turning point in the life of Varas Ismailbhai Gangji.” (Read article)

The passing away of Alwaeza Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant is a difficult moment for the family. Today, the family would like to celebrate an outstanding murid of the Imam who most nobly and sincerely dedicated her life to the Imamat and the Ismaili Jamats worldwide, and we express our shukrana to Mawlana Hazar Imam for the special opportunity given to her to serve the House of the Imam in a special and unique way.

Date posted: January 22, 2021.
Last updated: December 28, 2021 (typo(s) and new links added, see below).


Mrs. Merchant’s funeral will be held on Thursday, February 4 (see new post Mrs. Merchant’s Tribute Excerpts and The Ismaili iiCanada announcement).

Condolences: We invite you to submit your condolences, memories and tributes to Mrs. Merchant by completing the feedback form below or by clicking on Leave a comment. Your comment may also be submitted to Here is a tribute from several we have so far received.

‘Mrs. Merchant’ has passed? I am ever so sad!

Aga Khan Lourenco Marques Simerg Malik Merchant
1966: Dar es Salaam Aga Khan Girls Secondary School visit by Mawlana Hazar Imam, with Mr. and Mrs. Merchant seen in the photo.


No matter which way you cut the pie, whenever parents pass on, they leave such a huge void in our hearts that all you can possibly do is pray for their souls’ freedom in Mowla’s Light. May Mowla shower His Noor ke barish (showers of Light) on her and give her soul eternal peace and rest – Ameen.

I have such fond memories of her in my upper primary at Aga Khan Girls School in Dar es Salaam. Her trademark warm and affectionate smile coupled with the sparkle in her eyes endeared her to every student who had the good fortune to be in her class. She taught in an unconventional but a very effective way. She told enthralling stories. The dates and facts were picked up from a vast plethora of books and Quran and her favourite ginans. It was like a beautiful tapestry being woven with reds and greens and golds and silvers! It was done with such joy and passion that we remembered them like children’s stories. It was Mrs. Merchant who introduced us to figures in our history like Gazi Jawhar, Hasan bin Sabah, the development and spread of the Fatimid Empire, the establishment of Alamut – o boy, did the Ismaili history ever come to life when she handled it – hats off to her!

Her own affection and love for her Mowla became very evident in one class when she started her lesson on Hazrat Aly and by the time she came to Mowla Aly’s assassination, she could not control her tears. The pain and hurt were so real for both her and ‘her kids’ that when the bell rang, not one kid twitched. There was pindrop silence in class. Not a single other teacher could command that kind of control over a class like ours – rambunctious and high achievers. But she loved each and every one of us.

She became a pivot in our young lives because she took RI teaching and learning to a whole new level. It was a class you really looked forward to. Bravo and merci beaucoup, Madame Merchant! You have left warm and fond memories behind. With your passionate and selfless seva, I daresay, you will soar like a falcon and rest on Mowla’s glove!

Shukhar! Thanks.


You may leave a tribute to Maleksultan Jehangir Merchant by completing the feedback form below or by clicking on Leave a comment. Your comment may also be submitted to

Related pieces:

Simerg – 2020 in Pictures and Words: Blessings from His Highness the Aga Khan; Photos from Private Collections; and Tributes to Deceased

(Publisher-Editor SimergBarakah, and Simergphotos)

His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, Talikas 2020, Simerg and Barakh
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, pictured at the Diamond Jubilee Darbar in Kenya. Photo: The Ismaili


March 2020

Please click: Mawlana Hazar Imam sends Talika on the occasion of Navroz with special blessings for mushkil asan, and prayers for the Jamat’s health and well-being

Please click: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, showers his paternal and maternal blessings on his spiritual children around the world in light of the present crisis 

April 2020

Please click: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, sends message to his spiritual children around the world on Covid-19, with blessings for their protection from difficulty; multiple translations including Farsi, Dari, Arabic, Urdu, Gujarati and Russian

May 2020

Please click: Mawlana Hazar Imam’s loving and inspiring Talika on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr shows his concern for his spiritual children in all facets of their lives 

July 2020

Please click: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, sends Talika Mubarak to Ismailis around the world on the occasion of his 63rd Imamat Day

November 2020

Please click: Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, in his message on November 2, 2020, tells his spiritual children “there is no room for complacency” over the risks posed by the coronavirus “for sometime to come” and send his blessings for mushkil-asan

December 2020

Please click: In Talika Mubarak on the occasion of his 84th birthday, Mawlana Hazar Imam asks us to draw comfort from the practice of our faith, appreciates the excellent work of volunteers, and conveys his paternal maternal blessings to the world wide Jamat



The following tributes/obituaries appeared in Simerg in 2020. Some of the deceased may have died before 2020.

Passings Simerg 2020 Year in Review
Top row (left to right): Mahebub Rupani, Nazeer Ladhani, Amirali Gillani, Salima Arthurs, Sultan Methanwalla, Goulzare Foui, Amirali Nagji; bottom row (left to right): Alnoor Ramji, Shamshu Jamal, Zubeda Jamal, Sultanali Mohamed, Razia Jamal, James Wolfensohn and Madatali Jamal. Image collage: Malik Merchant / Simerg.

Please click: Mahebub Mohamed Juma Rupani

Please click: Nazeer Ladhani

Please click: Shamshu Jamal

Please click: Missionary Amirali Gillani

Please click: Alnoor Ramji, Goulzare Foui, Amirali S. Nagji, Sultan Piroj Maknojiya Methanwala, Salima Wanda Arthurs

Please click: Madatali Merali Jamal, Razia Jamal, Zubeda Ebrahim Jamal

Please click: James D. Wolfensohn

Please click: Alwaez Sultanali Mohamed

Please also click: Benjamin Mkapa (d. July 2020. As Tanzania’s President from 1995-2005, the late Benjamin Mkapa strongly supported the work of the Ismaili Imamat in his country as well as abroad. The support that he gave is clearly illustrated in a special piece about him in Barakah, a blog dedicated to Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan)



2020 Year Simerg photos Aga Khan and Projects
Please click on image for 2020 stories and accompanying photos

Please click: Top photo selections from our 2020 stories: Mawlana Hazar Imam and his family, Covid-19 impact, Aga Khan projects, the four seasons, and other events

Date posted: December 27, 2020.
Last updated: December 28, 2020.


We welcome feedback from our readers. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or, if you don’t see the box, please click Leave a comment. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

Passings: Alwaez Rai Sultanali Mohamed (1927 – 2020)

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un
“Surely we belong to God and to Him we return” — Holy Qur’an, 2:156

“Life is a great and noble calling, not a mean and grovelling thing to be shuffled through as best as we can but a lofty and exalted destiny.” — Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan III (1877-1957), 48th Imam of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.

(Publisher-Editor Simerg, Barakah, and Simergphotos)

Alwaez Rai Sultanali Mohamed Ismaili missionary and alwaez, tribute in Simerg passings
Alwaez Rai Sultanali Mohamed (March 17, 1927 – November 28, 2020). Photo: Family collection.

It is with deep sadness that I inform readers of the passing away of a great and learned missionary in the Ismaili community, Alwaez Rai Sultanali Mohamed, on November 28, 2020 in Vancouver at the age of 93.

Alwaez Rai Sultanali Mohamed, also known as Missionary Saheb, was born in Mumbai on March 17, 1927, and became an Alwaez in Mumbai studying under very prominent professors and Waezein with a group of other new missionaries that included the Late Alwaez Rai Jehangir Merchant and Alwaeza Raisaheba Malek Merchant. His wife Alwaeza Raibanu Rahematkhanu joined the Waezin training program a year later.

Alwaez Rai Sultanali Mohamed, like his wife Missinarybanu Rahematkhanu, was a deeply religious man with an extraordinarily strong belief in the Ismaili faith, and a profound devotion and love for Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan. Missionarybanu predeceased him, passing away in Vancouver in October 2010 at the age of 77. 

Alwaez Sultanali Mohamed (standing 4th from left) with fellow students, including Maleksultan and Jehangir Merchant (seated 3rd and 5th from left) and lecturers of a waezin training program that was established in the early 1950’s to train new Ismaili missionaries. Photo: Jehangir Merchant Collection.

Alwaez and Alwaez initially began their service in Mumbai, and soon after their wedding the young couple emigrated to Kisumu, Kenya, in 1957. Whilst continuing in their respective professions in Kisumu, they rendered voluntary service with dedication and devotion as Alwaezein for many years, in various cities in Kenya and to the jamats of other countries.

Alwaez Sultanali had a deep-rooted love for knowledge and spent many hours in research, which furthered his deep knowledge of Islam and the Ismaili Tariqah. He wrote a Ginan book called Wonderful Tradition, and a book on the Ismailis in Gujarat called Heroes of Surat. He also curated the content of the monthly Chandraat Bulletin in Kisumu. The books and the bulletin were published by the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board for Kenya (ITREB), which was was then known as the Ismailia Association.

Alwaez was an authority in the field of the esoteric meaning of our Ginans and was a mentor to many on this subject. Until recent years, he conducted special Ginan talks on a weekly basis, and through his easy teaching style and kind and friendly nature, he touched the hearts of all who attended his sessions as well as everyone who knew him or met him. His departure is a great loss to his family, friends and the Jamat.

On a personal note, the late Alwaez was a great family friend and I vividly recall the few days we spent with his loving family in Kisumu. He made it a point to take us to the shores of Lake Victoria every evening until we would be able to sight a hippo. He fulfilled that promise, and one can imagine our delight at seeing the animal as young kids. That was my first memory of Alwaez and Alwaeza, who as I found out through the course of my life were always intimately connected with my parents.

Gujarati translation of Short History of Ismailis by Farhad Daftary. Translation by Sultanali Mohamed and Jehangir Merchant, and published by IIS. Simerg passings
The cover page of the Gujarati translation of Farhad Daftary’s book A Short History of the Ismailis. Entitled Ismailio-no Tunk Ittihaas, the translation was done by missionaries Sultanali Mohamed and Jehangir Merchant.

Indeed, my late dad Alwaez Jehangir sought his constant advice on various terms in the Gujarati language, and was proud to have him as co-translator of Farhad Daftary’s book A Short History of the Ismailis. Alwaez Sultanali was also well known for his expert knowledge of the Khojki script. His contributions to the Institute of Ismaili Studies includes the translation of some Khojki literature into English.

Missionarysaheb and Missionarybanu will be remembered fondly by the Jamat for enhancing their spiritual knowledge and by the young students that stayed in the Aga Khan Hostel in Kisumu where they were wardens for a few yew years as their beloved Sir and Bai.

Alwaez and Alwaeza are survived by their three children: daughter Dr. Nevins married to Dr. Zuheir Saeed; son Akber married to Nasira Lakha and son Amanullah married to Nimet Babul, together with five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. This is a sad moment for the family, especially with his passing coming at a time when many of us want to pay our personal respects and be at his funeral, and simply can’t because of the restrictions that are in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

His funeral will take place in Vancouver on Wednesday, December 9. Relatives, friends and well wishers of the missionary may contact Alwaez’s daughter at We also invite our readers to submit their condolences, memories and tributes to the late missionary Sultanali Mohamed by completing the feedback form below or by clicking on Leave a comment.

We pray for the peace and eternal rest of the soul of Alwaez Rai Sultanali Mohamed. Amen. We also convey our deepest heartfelt condolences to members of his family for strength and courage to face his great loss. Our prayers are with them at this time of bereavement.

Date posted: December 6 , 2020.


We invite our readers to submit their condolences, memories and tributes to the late missionary Sultanali Mohamed by completing the feedback form below or by clicking on Leave a comment. The family of late Sultanali missionary welcomes your emails regarding any questions you might have on the funeral ceremony or other related matters. Please address your email to

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Sir James D. Wolfensohn (1933-2020): Led the World Bank, Chaired the IAS Board and Was Deeply Reverential of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Calling Him an Icon of Action

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher-Editor, Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos

It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the death of James D. Wolfensohn on Wednesday, November 25 2020 at his home in Manhattan at the age of 86.

I reached out to the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), where Mr. Wolfensohn served as the past chair of the board, to allow Simerg to reproduce the obituary that has been posted on its website. We sincerely thank Lee Sandberg the press contact at IAS for the permission. For the information of our readers, The Institute for Advanced Study is one of the world’s foremost centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. Located in Princeton, N.J., the IAS is dedicated to independent study across the sciences and humanities. Founded ninety years ago, the Institute is devoted to advancing the frontiers of knowledge without concern for immediate application. From founding IAS Professor Albert Einstein to the foremost thinkers of today, the IAS enables bold, curiosity-driven innovation to enrich society in unexpected ways.

His Highness the Aga Khan at a Press Conference announcing the launch of the new Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) in the company of James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank (3rd left) and John Fergusson, AKDN Head of the Department of Public Affairs (2nd left). AKDN / Jean-Luc Ray
His Highness the Aga Khan (left) at a Press Conference on February 22, 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland, announcing the launch of the new Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) to help some of the world’s most vulnerable populations through innovative services including micro-insurance, small housing loans, savings, education and health accounts, and support for small entrepreneurs seeking to develop businesses related to restored cultural assets. The Aga Khan was joined at the news conference by Jim Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank (right) and John Fergusson, AKDN Head of the Department of Public Affairs. Photo: AKDN/Jean-Luc Ray.

On a personal note, I was present on January 25, 2005 at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. when Mr. Wolfensohn introduced Mawlana Hazar Imam as the recipient of the Vincent Scully Prize. As an Ismaili, the tribute I heard is perhaps one of the finest and most touching I have ever heard or read during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s entire Imamat. Here is an excerpt from the tribute. The link to the complete tribute follows the obituary.

“In my 10 years at the bank, I’ve had the opportunity of meeting many people in the so-called development business. People that are concerned with the issues of poverty, people that in various ways display their interest in humanity, their concern for history, their concern for hope and for the future. And in that 10 years, I can tell you that there is one person who stands out in my mind as an icon of not only thought and philosophy but of action. And I have to say this in front of His Highness, that I don’t say this about everybody in the development business. He has truly done the most amazing job not only for the Ismaili community throughout the world, but really for all the communities that he serves.”


The following obituary and accompanying portrait photograph is reproduced with the permission of the Institute for Advanced Study where Mr. Wolfensohn had served as the chair of the Board. Please click James D. Wolfensohn to read the obituary at source, and to learn more about the work of the organization.

JDW portrait
James D. Wolfensohn (December 1, 1933 – November 25, 2020)

Sir James D. Wolfensohn, Chairman of Wolfensohn & Company, L.L.C. and a global champion of human rights, economic justice, scholarship, and the arts, died on Wednesday, November 25 at his home in Manhattan at the age of 86.

Wolfensohn was the ninth president of the World Bank, sworn into office on June 1, 1995, after being nominated by President Bill Clinton. A transformative and hands-on leader, Wolfensohn re-envisioned the Bank’s commitment to alleviating poverty, investing in sustainable development, and promoting social justice globally.

In 1979, Wolfensohn joined the Institute for Advanced Study’s Board of Trustees and became the Board’s longest-serving Chair (1986–2007). Wolfensohn had a passionate commitment to the Institute’s mission of enabling the world’s foremost scholars to conduct breakthrough research at the highest levels of academia.

“Jim embraced the world and everything in it—its challenges, the arts, science, politics, and people most of all,” stated Robbert Dijkgraaf, IAS Director and Leon Levy Professor. “A man of no excuses and a boundless diversity of interests, Jim believed in and harnessed the enormous potential of the human spirit for the common good. We are eternally grateful for the wisdom and generosity he brought to the Institute and world for which he cared so deeply.”

James David Wolfensohn was born on December 1, 1933, in Sydney, Australia. He was a veteran of the Royal Australian Air Force and a member of the 1956 Australian Olympic fencing team. Educated at the University of Sydney, he received a B.A. and LL.B. in 1954 and 1957, respectively. He worked as a lawyer at an Australian law firm and went on to earn an M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1959.

“Jim was larger than life, hard-working, and compassionate,” stated Charles Simonyi, IAS Board Chair. “His moral vision spanned the globe, complemented by a gift for connecting with individuals. Passionate about music and sciences, he was an inspiration to all who knew him. The Institute for Advanced Study will always treasure the memory of his extraordinary leadership.”

After launching his career as an investment banker, Wolfensohn worked for several different institutions in Australia, including Darling & Co., before joining the London-based investment bank J. Henry Schroder & Co. This position led Wolfensohn to return to the U.S. to become the managing director of the bank’s New York City office from 1970 to ’76. In 1979, as a senior executive at Salomon Brothers, he oversaw the emergency restructuring of Chrysler Corporation, working with then CEO Lee Iacocca and then President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank Paul A. Volcker. Wolfensohn spent another fourteen years in investment banking as President and CEO of James D. Wolfensohn, Inc. Wolfensohn became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1980.

As the longest-serving Chair in the Institute’s history, Wolfensohn stewarded the growth of the Institute’s endowment, which more than doubled in real terms under his leadership. His many accomplishments as Chair included overseeing the endowment of six Professorships across the Institute’s four Schools. Wolfensohn also took a particularly active interest in extending the global impact and profile of the Institute, reaffirming and strengthening its reputation as an international center for scholarship.

Having served as Chairman of the Boards of Carnegie Hall (1980–91) and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (1990–95), Wolfensohn, who was an accomplished cellist himself, encouraged musical performance at the Institute, contributing to the establishment of the Artist-in-Residence program and regular concerts. Reflecting Wolfensohn’s long-standing commitment to the Institute and his dedication to the arts, the Institute named its lecture and performance hall, Wolfensohn Hall, in his honor in 1993.

Wolfensohn was the third World Bank president to serve more than one five-year term. During his tenure, which extended from 1995 to 2005, Wolfensohn visited more than 120 countries, often accompanied by his wife and partner Elaine. Wolfensohn implemented an agenda to fight corruption, fund education, and support global health and HIV/AIDS programs. His efforts were also transformative in bringing more transparency to the organization.

In 2005, Wolfensohn’s experience as an investment banker and international advocate for human rights led him to found Wolfensohn & Company, LLC. The firm provides strategic consulting advice to governments and large corporations doing business in emerging market economies.

Among his numerous awards, Wolfensohn was made an honorary officer of the Order of Australia (1987), received an honorary knighthood of the Order of the British Empire (1995) for his service to the arts and the Leo Baeck Medal (2006) for his humanitarian work promoting tolerance and social justice. In 2020, Wolfensohn was recognized with the IAS Bamberger Medal for his extraordinary service in fortifying IAS for the twenty-first century and his unwavering commitment to the pursuit of new knowledge.

Wolfensohn was a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Wolfensohn was predeceased by his beloved wife Elaine, and is survived by children Sara, Naomi, and Adam; and seven grandchildren.

Date posted: November 26, 2020.
Last updated: December 3, 2020 (typo).


To read James Wolfensohn’s tribute to His Highness the Aga Khan, please click The Aga Khan stands out as an icon of action

Featured photo at top of post: James Wolfensohn speaking on January 25, 2005 in Washington DC when the National Building Museum presented its sixth prestigious Vincent Scully Prize to His Highness the Aga Khan in recognition of his contributions to promoting design excellence and improving the built environment in the Muslim world.


We welcome tributes and condolences in honour of Sir James David Wolfensohn. Please complete the feedback form below or click on Leave a comment.

Tributes to Ismailis who have passed away during the Covid-19 pandemic: Issue no. 2 of a multipart series

Share memories of members of your family who you have lost during the Coronavirus pandemic, either due to Covid-19 or any other cause. Please write to Malik Merchant at; you must include your full name and contact information. Please read earlier tributes in Issue # 1.


Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un
“Surely we belong to God and to Him we return” — Holy Qur’an, 2:156

Huzurmukhi Madatali Merali Jamal

Madatali Jamal, age 89 (d. .April 2020)

Submitted by Shahida Mamdani-Sunderji, daughter of Madatali Jamal

Huzurmukhi Madatali Merali Jamal (April 30, 1930 – April 13, 2020), husband of Dilshad Jamal for 66 years, father of Shahida Mamdani-Sunderji and Amin Jamal, father-in-law of Begum Jamal, and grandfather of Shelina, Shairoz, Rahim and Aminmohamed, passed away in Ottawa during the spring of 2020, just over two weeks short of his 90th birthday. He was surrounded by his family in volunteers uniform at his funeral.

For the past several years, Mr. Jamal had dedicated his service to the Ottawa Jamat, at both the old and new Jamatkhana locations on Carling Avenue and Conroy Road, respectively. For years he lovingly tendered the Jamatkhana garden on 991 Carling Avenue. In the evenings, Mr. Jamal would present himself regularly as a volunteer at both the Jamatkhanas. His record of Jamatkhana attendance and services as volunteer was impeccable. He was accompanied and supported in his service and Jamatkhana attendance by his loving wife of 66 years, Dislshad. He served the Ottawa Jamat enthusiastically until the very last months of his life, when dementia took over.

Born and raised in Kakumiro, Uganda, he and his family settled in Scotland in October 1972 following the expulsion of Asians from Uganda, decreed by dictator Idi Amin. Huzurmukhi Jamal held positions of Mukhisaheb and Kamdiasaheb during his years in Uganda and Scotland. In 1985, he migrated with his family to Ottawa.

His dedication to the house of Imamat inspired his children to serve in numerous positions in the Jamat. His son Amin and wife Begum served as the Kamadia and Kamadiani of Ottawa Jamat for 4 years, which included the Golden Jubilee period of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Imamat from July 11, 2007 until December 13, 2008. This service of his children filled Mr. Jamal with immense joy and happiness.

He was very fond of Ginanic literature, and instilled the wonderful tradition in his children. His daughter Shahida recites Ginans in Ottawa Jamatkhana regularly. Ambitious for his family, Mr. Jamal always asked them to take on life’s challenges and meet them with courage, hard work and wisdom.

He is deeply missed by all his family members in Canada and around the world, as well as his friends and the entire Ottawa Jamat.

We pray that his soul may rest in eternal peace. Ameen.


Huzur Mukhiani Razia Jamal
(United Kingdom)

Razia Jamal, Stoke on Trent, Tribute Simerg
Razia Jamal, age 73 (d. May 3, 2020)

Submitted by Navrose Chappell, daughter of Razia Jamal

Razia Jamal, born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1947, passed away peacefully in hospital on Sunday, May 3, 2020 with her three children by her side, her family including her much loved grandchildren, brothers and sisters holding her hand virtually, whilst her favourite Zikr tasbih played in the room.

Before she passed away, she spoke with all of her family, received Chanta (sprinkling of water on face), and the Stoke-on-Trent Mukhisaheb bestowed Dua upon her and the family via a conference call.

Razia served Stoke-on-Trent Jamati Institutions for over 40 years.  She held the position of Jamati Kamadia Saheba for six years and supported her late husband Huzur Mukhisaheb Shiraz Jamal as he undertook the role of Jamati Mukhisaheb.

She was a dedicated volunteer who also undertook the role of Vice Captain and Captain at Stoke-on-Trent Jamatkhana during her service. Razia was an integral part of the Team in securing a permanent building for Stoke-on-Trent Jamatkhana which was founded in 2000.

As the Central Property Management (CPM) Lead for Stoke-on-Trent Jamatkhana for 14 years, Razia was also the first female CPM Lead in Europe.

Since her passing, the family have received many touching tributes conveying how much of an inspiration she was regarding her voluntary work, remarking on her wonderful services, writing how she was a real example of how voluntary service (seva) should be conducted, describing her as a legend, and commenting on her immense dedication to Stoke-on-Trent Jamatkhana.

Razia was a strong, classy, beautiful, thoughtful and humble lady, who loved her children, grandchildren and family immensely. 

She will be fondly remembered by all of her family, friends, Stoke-on-Trent Jamati members, and all the other Ismaili brothers and sisters who she has worked with during her lifetime of seva.   

Razia will be deeply missed every day, and we pray for her soul to rest in eternal peace. Ameen. 


Alijah Saheba Zubeda Ebrahim Jamal (Canada)

Zubeda Ebrahim Jamal, d. age 83.

Submitted by Shariffa Keshavjee, friend and colleague of Zubeda Jamal

Alijah Saheba Zubeda Ebrahim Jamal’s funeral took place at Burnaby Lake Jamatkhana, in Burnaby, British Columbia, on August 6, 2020. Originally from Kisumu Kenya, she settled in Vancouver, and attended the Darkhana Jamatkhana.

Zubeda and I became friends as she encouraged me to take an active role in the Guiding Movement. In 1959, when I was in Kisumu, Zubeda was a Commissioner of the Girl Guides. I led the Brownies from the Siriguru Singh Saba School. We took the Brownies and Girl Guides camping.

I am grateful to Zubeda for her encouragement because it led me to serve as a girl guide to date.  I remain a Trustee with the Kenya Girl Guides Association and an Honorary Associate with the World Association.

Rest in peace dear Zubeda. Ameen.

Date posted: August 12, 2020.

We welcome tributes from our readers to individuals portrayed in this piece. Please use the feedback box which appears below. If you don’t see the box please click Leave a comment. Please also see our earlier tributes by clicking  Issue # 1.


To submit a tribute to your family member who has passed away due to Covid-19 or any other cause, please read TRIBUTES and write to Malik Merchant at; please include your full name and contact information.

Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few.