As announced a few days ago, we commence a special series of tributes to Ismailis as well as non-Ismaili members of Ismaili families who have passed away during the Coronavirus pandemic, either due to Covid-19 or any other cause. For details on submitting your tribute to a deceased family member or a very close friend, please read TRIBUTES and write to Malik Merchant at Simerg@aol.com; you must include your full name and contact information.
Issue No. 1: Tributes received from May 18-21, 2020
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un
“Surely we belong to God and to Him we return” — Holy Qur’an, 2:156
Submitted by Abdulrasul Allibhai Ramji and Lilly Ramji
It was the beginning of March 2020. Alnoor’s 62nd birthday was just 3 weeks away. But he had cancer, and was in the last stages of his life. He did not let it control him. Rather, he coped with it, accepted it and carried on with his passion of raising funds for the Aga Khan Foundation’s annual World Partnership Walk (WPW). In each of the previous years, he had raised between $13,000 to $15,000. With all the passion that he had developed over the years for the work of the Imamat around the world, he started sending out a message that simply said, “Donate to WPW [World Partnership Walk].” For him, that would be the most cherished birthday gift anyone could ever give him. In a little more than 3 weeks, Alnoor raised $18,000.
He passed away on April 14, 2020, but not before the Mukhi and Kamadiasahebs of Toronto’s Headquarters Jamatkhana at the Ismaili Centre, made a conference call to him. He answered them with the greeting Ya Ali Madad. They bestowed Dua (prayers) on him, and Alnoor responded with the word “Amen” each time – a total of four times.
His funeral was held in Toronto on April 17, 2020. He leaves behind his parents, Abdulrasul Allibhai Ramji and Lilly Ramji. His two sisters, Nilam (Naushadaly) in Edmonton, Alberta, and Rubina (Craig) in Sydney, Nova Scotia, were both unable to attend the funeral.
Editor’s note: An obituary for Alnoor Ramji was published in The Toronto Star on April 17, 2020. Please click HERE to read the detailed piece.
Submitted by Nigar Ribault
« Ma chère Goulzare Foui,
Vous m’aviez dit de ne pas m’inquiéter parce que vous aviez juste la grippe. Vous connaissiez si bien mon caractère angoissé : « mais qu’est ce qu’on va faire de toi avec ces angoisses mon petit ? ».
Et soudain, en quelques jours, vous avez été emportée par ce virus.
Je vous appelle et je vous cherche depuis 40 jours que vous êtes partie …
Et vous êtes là ! :
Les roses ont fleuri et me font signe. Je vous vois Goulzare (Jardin fleuri) dans ces fleurs. Je vois votre beau sourire lumineux. J’entends votre voix dans le chant des oiseaux du printemps. Vous chantez comme un rossignol dans le grand jardin de Mowla Bapa.
Vous ne m’avez pas quittée : vous êtes dans mon cœur pour toujours et dans ce que vous m’avez transmis. Je vous aime ma Goulzare Foui. La petite sœur de mon papa.
Votre Nigar »
Translation by Dr. Nurin Merchant
My dear Goulzare Foui,
You told me not to worry, that it was just the flu. You knew my anxious character well — “what are we going to do with you and all of your anxieties my little one?”
And suddenly, in just a few days, this virus had taken you from us.
I call you, I seek you ever since the day you left us 40 days ago.
And there you are!
The roses have bloomed, giving me a sign. I see you Goulzare (flowery garden). I see your beautiful and radiant smile. I hear your voice in the song of the spring birds. You are singing like a nightingale in Mowla Bapa’s big garden.
You have not left me: you are here. Here in what you shared with and passed down to me, and forever in my heart. I love you my Goulzare Foui. My dad’s little sister.
Translators note: In the translation, I have tried to keep the meaning of Nigar’s beautiful tribute to her aunt as best as I could.
Amirali S. Nagji
Submitted by Akberali Nagji
Amirali Nagji passed away of natural causes on April 2, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexio, USA. He was 78. Originally from Mtwara, Tanzania, Amirali was very hardworking and generous; he was known for helping many people by giving free accommodation in his motel.
He served Jamati institutions for twenty years, and had also held the position of Mukhisaheb of Albuquerque Jamat.
Outside Ismaili institutions, he served seniors at a local hospital. His ever-smiling face and friendly demeanor provided comfort to many.
Amirali loved to travel and was fond of Bolywood music. As well as being a good dancer, he had a wonderful sense of humour, for which he was greatly admired.
He is survived by his wife Nurjehan, daughter Alia and her husband Shafin, and two grandchildren.
We pray that his soul may rest in eternal peace. Amen.
Sultan Piroj Maknojiya Methanwala
Submitted by the families of Nazarali Kasamali Momin and Akbarali Kasamali Momin
Sultan Bhai Piroj Maknojiya Methanwala passed away on May 16, 2020 in Vaishali Nagar Jogeshwari West, Mumbai.
He was a prominent leader both within and outside the Ismaili Jamat. He had served as the Mukhisaheb of the Jamat with great distinction, and was deeply loved by members of the Jamat.
He was also a life long social worker, and reached out to all communities to provide care and assistance.
He will be deeply remembered and missed by his family, the Vaishali Nagar Jamat and other communities whom he served selflessly.
May Mawla rest his soul in eternal peace and may Mawla give strength to his family members and the Jamat to bear the loss of a commendable leader of the Jamat. Amen.
Salima Wanda Arthurs
Submitted by Shaida Hussein
Salima Wanda Arthurs, 64 years old, passed away in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Friday April 24, 2020, the first day of Ramadhan, from cancer.
Her mum, Margaret, sister Linda, some friends and myself, Shaida Hussein, attended the funeral ceremony. Like other Ismaili funerals that take place during the current pandemic, the funeral and post burial ceremonies such as chaanta, last respects, samar and zyarat were conducted according to physical distancing and other guidelines that have been established by each province.
Salima embraced the Ismaili Muslim faith in 1985, and was a committed volunteer in jamati (community) services. She contributed to the work of Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board on the literature counter and served in the admissions committee, as well as participated in other institutional projects and programs. She was a humble and a compassionate person, and will be fondly remembered and missed by the Calgary Jamat as well as her family and friends.
We pray for her soul to rest in eternal peace. We also pray that Almighty God grants her family and friends the strength and courage to bear this loss.
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 Simerg@aol.com; please include your full name and contact information.
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