Simerg invites Ismaili families to submit tributes to their family members who have passed away during the Covid-19 pandemic

By MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, Simerg, Barakah, and Simergphotos)

The tributes may be submitted for passings due to Covid-19 or any other cause

Some years ago, Simerg launched PASSINGS where Ismailis around the world were invited to submit obituaries or tributes to honour members of their families who had passed away, irrespective of the time frame. Over the past few years, we have seen a trickle of these obituaries and tributes flowing in, and we have graciously published them to the comfort of several family members.

Today, the coronavirus pandemic has brought great sadness to families who have lost family members during the past two months. Like other places of worship, Jamatkhanas in North America, the UK, Europe and many other parts of the world, have remained closed since around the middle of March. Whether the death has been due to Covid-19 or other illnesses, funeral, burial and post-burial ceremonies and rites have been vastly compromised, with limited number of family members and friends being permitted to attend the mourning ceremonies, both before and immediately after the person has been buried.

Restrictions have even prevented family members from being close to their loved ones during their times of illness and during the final moments of their lives. Often, the death of the individual is unknown to many due to Jamatkhana closures, as special prayers for the soul of the deceased (known as samar, which takes place in many parts of the world where the deceased is known through family and friends) can no longer be conducted. With all of these elements missing, many families who have lost their beloved have not experienced a sense of closure with respect to the loved ones that have left them.

Most recently, as readers might be aware, Simerg paid a loving tribute to Missionary Amirali Gillani. His closest family members were deeply comforted by the condolences that they were offered by friends, relatives as well as well-wishers from around the world, who made contact by phone and emails. Many submitted tributes to Missionary Amirali Gillani in the comments section of this website. We went on to report about the extraordinary funeral and burial ceremonies that took place in Toronto for the long serving and well-known Ismaili missionary.

Today, we announce a special weekly series in which we will publish tributes to deceased Ismailis or individuals who are members of Ismaili families who have passed away during the coronavirus pandemic.

The tribute that you pen is not restricted to deaths caused by Covid-19. It will be to anyone who is part of an Ismaili family and who has died from any cause – Covid-19 or otherwise – during the coronavirus pandemic. This opportunity to submit tributes is being offered to Ismaili families around the world in the spirit of the ONE JAMAT that we are, under the leadership and loving care of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan.

Please email the tribute (preferably 75-100 words in length), along with the deceased family member’s portrait photo (if available, in jpeg format), to Malik Merchant at simerg@aol.com. You MUST include your full name and phone number where you can be reached. Anonymous tributes will not be accepted.

The Toronto Star article The Lives They Lived will help you in developing a comprehensive tribute, and Simerg’s editor will always be available to provide his assistance in formulating a good tribute, so long as you provide good information about the deceased.

Kindly note that Simerg’s tribute will be for ALL deceased Ismailis and members of Ismaili families who have passed away during the pandemic due to Covid-19 and other causes. Again, please send your tribute to Simerg@aol.com.

We hope to commence the series of tributes on Friday, May 22, 2020. In addition to English, we will also accept tributes written in French, Portuguese and Spanish with their corresponding English translations, provided by you (you may use Google translate, if you wish).

Date posted: May 17, 2020.
Last updated: May 18, 2020 (added note about submitting tributes in French, Spanish, and Portuguese).

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.

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Malik Merchant

Malik Merchant is the founding publisher/editor of Simerg (2009), Barakah (2017) and Simergphotos (2012). A former IT consultant, he now dedicates his time to small family projects and other passionate endeavours such as the publication of this website. He is the eldest son of the Late Alwaez Jehangir Merchant (1928-2018) and Alwaeza Maleksultan Merchant, who both served Ismaili Jamati institutions together for several decades in professional and honorary capacities. His daughter, Nurin Merchant, is a veterinarian. He may be contacted at Simerg@aol.com.

We welcome feedback/letters from our readers. Please use the feedback box which appears below. If you don’t see the box please click Leave a comment. Your comment may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation. We are unable to acknowledge unpublished letters.

Simerg Invites Obituaries / Tributes to Honour Past / Recent Deceased Ismailis

PassingsTop portion of image shows plaque commemorating Ismailis who were killed in a WWII raid in Burma. Bottom half is a surreal image by Sarite Sanders of Aswan’s Fatimid cemetery.

HONOURING LIVES LIVED

By MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher-Editor, Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos

Simerg offers to all Ismaili families around the world an opportunity to submit memorials to honour and celebrate the lives of their deceased family members. The memorials may be submitted in the form of (1) a simple short notice or (2) a tribute of up to 500 words. The memorial may be for any Ismaili who has died recently or at any time since 1950 (or even earlier). This is a FREE listing.

Substance of the Notice and Tribute

1. NOTICE: The simplest kind of tribute is a notice announcing the death of the person. This short notice may be followed by a longer tribute at a later date as described in (2) below. The following is an example of the contents of a notice:

“[Name of Deceased], author and playwright, died peacefully at home in [city], on [date]. He was the much-loved husband of [spouse name], father of [children], guardian and grandfather. The last rites were held in [name of Jamatkhana] on [date] and he was later buried on [date] at [name and city of cemetery]. Post funeral religious ceremonies were conducted at [name of Jamatkhana]. It was the wish [of the deceased or the deceased family] that monetary contributions in his honour be made to [organization, hospital, cause etc.].”

2. TRIBUTE: The purpose of the tribute will be to celebrate the person’s life. It will start with the same basic information you put in the notice (1, above), and goes on to add details about the person’s life: hometowns, jobs, family members, and personal interests activities as well as community services and awards. Anecdotes may be included from the person’s life to help family members, readers and future generations to reflect on the life of the individual. The universal tale, as is well-known, lies in specific examples and for this reason we are inviting you to write a tribute of up to 500 words in length.

For very good examples of short notices as well as tributes see your local newspapers or click The Globe and Mail. They will assist you in constructing appropriate notices and tributes.

Here is a selection of tributes we have published on Simerg:

  1. Missionary Amirali Gillani (1944 – 2020)
  2. Nazeer Ladhani (1947-2020)
  3. Mahebub Mohamed Juma Rupani (1941 – 2020)
  4. Salim Dawood – a Fantastic and Inspiring Math Teacher at Dar es Salaam’s Aga Khan Boys Primary School
  5. Kutub Kassam served Ismaili Imamat Institutions as curriculum developer, editor, writer and researcher for 40 years
  6. Shirin Mohamedali Khimji (1935 – 2019): A Remarkable Ismaili Widow and Woman of Faith and Character
  7. Nazil Kara (1957-2018): An Ordinary and Extraordinary Satpanthi Woman
  8. “Life of Jehangir” – includes historical photographs of Mawlana Hazar Imam
  9. Alwaez Jehangir Merchant (1928-2018)
  10. My last moments with my loving Papa, Alwaez Jehangir Merchant (1928 – 2018)
  11. A Eulogy for My Mom, by Amyn Naran
  12. Izzat Muneyb remembered through her poetic reflections on Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and the London Ismaili Centre
  13. Salim-el-azhar Ebrahim
  14. Remembering Alijah Zulfikarali Khoja
  15. Remembering Laila Lokhandwalla Through Her Loving Golden Jubilee Tribute to Mawlana Hazar Imam
  16. Roshan Thomas – Acting in the Path of God By Jalal Jaffer
  17. In Memoriam: Mohammed Ibrahim Ali (d. March 15, 2014)
  18. Noorunisa Maherali (1929 – 2015): A Remarkable Ismaili Woman of Faith and Character
  19. John Nuraney (1937 – 2016)
  20. Remembering Nazarali Bapa: An Iron Craftsman Who Made a Spinning Wheel for Mahatma Gandhi
  21. A True Account of How Three Ismaili “Shaheeds” Lost Their Lives in a Tragic Accident in 1925 Near Kilosa, Tanganyika
  22. Remembering Rai Hussein Khanmohammed of Burma
  23. Ameer Kassam Janmohamed (1931-2014)
  24. Remembering Mohezin Tejani: Brilliant Author, Humanitarian and Global Nomad Dead at 61

Submission Rules

Each submission must specify your relationship with the deceased person, as well as include your full name, mailing address and the phone number where you may be contacted. Along with your short notice or tribute, we ask you to submit the celebrated person’s photo. For tributes, we will accept two additional photos which have a direct relevance to the person’s life that you have described. Images should be in JPG format.

Anonymous pieces will not be accepted for publication, although the editor may at his discretion allow author anonymity once the tribute has been approved for publication. Please submit the notice or tribute in PDF, Text or Word format to simerg@aol.com. You may, alternatively, incorporate the material within your email. The editor will contact you with the draft copy once the piece has been finalized for publication. 

The 48th Ismaili Imam, Mawlana Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan (1877 -1957) said in his Memoirs that “life is a great and noble calling.” It is the life that was celebrated about which we are asking you to reflect and write about, in the form of a short notice or a longer tribute.

Date posted: February 28, 2019.
Last updated: April 9, 2020 (link to new tribute, Amirali Gillani).

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The editor welcomes tributes honouring your deceased family members. Please send them to simerg@aol.com

We welcome feedback/letters from our readers. Please use the LEAVE A REPLY box which appears below. Your feedback may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation. We are unable to acknowledge unpublished letters.

Please visit our Home page for links to most recent posts. For links to articles posted on this Web site since its launch in March 2009, please click TABLE OF CONTENTS.

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Passings: Honouring Lives Lived – A New Simerg Initiative by Malik Merchant

PASSINGS

Beginning September 15, 2012, Simerg started offering to all its Ismaili readers around the world an opportunity to submit memorials to honour and celebrate the lives of beloved members of their families who have physically departed this world. The memorials may be submitted in the form of (1) a simple short notice or (2) a tribute of up to 500 words for anyone who has passed away recently or since 1950. Please read more about this initiative by clicking on the image below.

Click for details of Simerg’s initiative to honour and celebrate Ismaili lives.

Last updated: April 11, 2020.

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