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The Birth of the World Federation - 1976

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The Formation

The World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities was formed at the Conference convened for the purpose in London on the 15th/17th October 1976.

Delegates from Africa, England and U.S.A attended the conference to give an official assent to the formation. A draft constitution for the World Federation was finally approved with necessary amendments.

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“The termination of the second World War and trials and ordeals through which the humanity had passed during the six years of gigantic struggle brought home to every nation and community the need for universal unity and solidarity for self-preservation. This awakening also dawned upon the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaats in East Africa and this led to the formation in the year 1946 of the Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaats of Africa which has been the citadel of strength for our people in Africa, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that but for the existence of this Federation, our brethren and sisters in faith would have suffered ignominiously during the upheaval which accompanied constitutional changes in the continent of Africa. Apart from the temporal benefits which the Federation was able to confer upon its members, it also brought immense spiritual benefits to the Community.

Before the formation of the Federation, Zanzibar was perhaps the only place which had a resident Aalim, not forgetting, of course, that Mombasa also from time to time obtained the services of Alims like Sheikh Tahir and others. The rest of the continent was barren of spiritual teachings; but since the formation of the Federation, there has been a continuous flow of Ulema all throughout the continent where our Jamaats existed and teachings of Ahlulbayt (A.S.) have spread not only amongst the community but extended to the indigenous population has now embraced our faith. Before the advent of the Federation, we had only one solitary professional man, a doctor, in the entire continent, but we are grateful to the Federation to see today that we have scores of professional men, doctors, lawyers, architects, chartered accountants, chemists, engineers, etc. in every town and city in East Africa. The Federation is also rendering substantial welfare services to the community and every effort is made to see that no sick person remains unaided, no person goes to sleep without a meal and that no dead body remains unattended for lack of means. Brethren, the idea therefore of forming a World Federation is a blissful one. Whether we call it a “World Federation” or “World Confederation” (because it will embrace also the present African Federation) is merely a matter of nomenclature. The aim is to unite the community for common good both spiritually and temporally. Whilst it may be contended that there would be millions of other Shias who would not be eligible for membership, the fact should not be lost sight of that this is a Federation of Jamaats and not of individuals. But let everyone be assured that the welfare services of this Federation shall remain open, as it has been in Africa, to every individual adherent of the Shia Ithna-Asheri faith without distinction of race, color or nationality”.

The Chairman of the Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaats of Africa, Mulla Asgherali M. M. Jaffer in his inaugural address, said as follows:

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Let me begin at the beginning. The concept of the World Federation dawned upon us by the events in Uganda. After our brothers emigrated from there and settled and scattered all over the world, the Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Supreme Council started receiving requests from these former members for Aalims, religious literature, marriage advice, educational assistance and other services. It became immediately apparent that it was impossible for my Council, with the best intentions in the world, to cope or comply with these requests and it was thought that when one has to cater for brothers all over the world, perhaps an organization with a world flavor might be an answer. Accordingly, the United Kingdom Jamaats held a meeting here in London on the 20th July 1975 and the idea of World Federation was unanimously accepted and acclaimed. It is only right and proper, therefore, that we should be assembled at no other place in the world except here for our first meeting and it will be ungrateful of me were I not to take this opportunity of thanking the Ad-hoc Committee and all others for the excellent work they have done at no little inconvenience to themselves to have made this meeting possible. Suffice it to warn you at this stage that we are not influential or wealthy and our resources are certainly limited. But this is basically and primarily our baby; we have conceived it and we shall nurture it and to change the metaphor manure it and water it so that it blossoms. Of course, we may serve all Shias as we have done in Africa but the control and management of this organization. I submit, should remain in the hands of the Khoja Shias. We may necessarily keep it small, in the first instance and within our reach.

Source: Shia World 1976-1979 Triennial Report.

  • Humble Request: Please remember the Marhumeen who devoted their time, resources and energies in the formation of our worldwide Institutions, the World Federation, Africa Federation, other Regional Federations and Jamaats. Let us pray to Allah (SWT) for His blessings and mercy upon Marhumeen who have been mentioned in this Bulletin and those who have not for the maghferat of their souls and may Allah (SWT) raise their status and place them in the proximity of Masumeen (AS), Ameen – Sura-e-Fateha.



15th February 2019 / 9th Jamadi ul Aakhar 1440 AH