A Tribute to Late Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid (1923-2019) of Zanzibar and Toronto

Passings and Tributes Simerg Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid
Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid (1923-2019) celebrating her 95th birthday in Toronto. Photo: Kamrudin Rashid & Family Collection.


Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid, our dearest mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and great-grandmother and an extremely respected elder in the entire family passed away on July 15, 2019 at the age of 96. She enjoyed a wonderful life with her entire family, including all the extended family members, without any major ailment for which we offer our humble Shukhrana.

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simerg passings and tributes Nurbanu Abdulraul Rashid
Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid and husband Abdulrasul Rashid pictured in 1939 at their wedding. Photo: Kamrudin Rashid & Family Collection.

Born on June 3, 1923 in Zanzibar, she witnessed many milestone events in the family. During her lifetime she was also fortunate to celebrate the Golden and Diamond Jubilees of both the 48th and 49th Ismaili Imams, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan (d. July 11, 1957) and Mawlana Shah Karim al Hussaini Aga Khan. Her first Deedar (lit. glimpse) with Mawlana Hazar Imam was on November 18, 1957 in the Island of Pemba, and her last mulaqat took place when Mawlana Hazar Imam was in Toronto on November 18, 2018 for the first-leg of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Canada.

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simerg tributes and obituaries passings Nurbanu Rashid
Seated left and right respectively are Sherbanu Haji Abdulla Dewsi and her husband Haji Abdulla Dewsi. The young boy in centre is Akbarali Haji Abdulla Dewsi. Standing are Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid (left), the subject of this tribute, and Abdulrasul Rashid whom Nurbanu would marry in later years. Photo: Kamrudin Rashid & Family Collection.
Aga Khan III, Wete, Simerg
A historical photo of Ismaili ladies and Ismaili youth volunteers outside Wete Pemba Jamatkhana with a framed portrait of Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan. Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid was an active volunteer and is pictured seated 4th from left, just in front of the framed photo. Photo: Kamrudin Rashid & Family Collection, Toronto.

We would like to recount a sad incident that took place in her lifetime when her own mother, Sherbanu Haji Abdulla Dewsi, who lived in Wete-Pemba and had travelled to Zanzibar for Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah’s visit in 1945, passed away during the Imam’s visit to Zanzibar. The visit took place before the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Dar es Salaam the following year, in August 1946. Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah happened to be at an event when Sherbanu’s funeral procession to the cemetery was underway and was passing along the narrow street outside. Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah asked everyone in attendance to observe a moment of silence and pray for the departed soul.

During Nurbanu’s lifetime dozens of her birthdays were celebrated in a formal setting with many family members in attendance, including her 90th and 95th birthdays in Toronto which were organized and celebrated in style by all her grand and great-grandkids.

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Simerg, Passings and Tribute Nurbanu Rashid
Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid (front row, centre) pictured with her immediate and extended family members in 2008 in Toronto. Photo: Kamrudin Rashid & Family Collection. Please clik on photo for enlargement.

The greatest strength of the families that we all grew up in was living as united families. That ethical aspect of our faith has remained with us along with the ideals of faith, devotion, love and service to Mawlana Hazar Imam that our mother Nurbanu and all the elder members of our family imparted to us during their rich and noble lives. They led the family successfully through three generations.

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Passings and Tributes Simerg Nurbanu Rashid
Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid celebrating her 90th birthday with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Photo: Kamrudin Rashid & Family Collection.

We are deeply happy to share a few memories from our photo albums. We humbly request members of the Jamat to join with us in praying for the peace and rest of the soul of Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid, as well as other deceased members of our family and the Jamats in Canada and around the world. Ameen.

Date posted: August 10, 2021.


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Passings and Tributes Simerg Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid
Nurbanu Abdulrasul Rashid (1923-2019) celebrating her 95th birthday in Toronto. Photo: Kamrudin Rashid & Family Collection.