Mustafa G R Jaffer
- 1 Birth & Death
- 2 Brief Profile
- 3 Life Journey
- 4 Awards & Medals
- 5 Legacy of Community Services & Charity
- 6 Obituaries & Tributes
- 6.1 A Personal Tribute by Dr Hasnain Walji
- 6.2 Obituary by Africa Federation
- 6.3 Message from the Africa Federation Chairman, Alhaj Shabir Najafi
- 6.4 Luminary Remembered: The Enduring Legacy
Birth & Death
Birth Date: January 17, 1932
Death Date: June 26, 2020
A man with deep devotion to faith and dedication to the community, Alhaj Mustafa Bhai G. R. Jaffer has more than half a century of philanthropy and public service to his credit. Alhaj Mustafa Bhai was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania (East Africa) on January 17, 1932. He began his career by working for the Zanzibar Government Treasurer’s office along with Oman Sultan’s son, Sheikh Mohamed from 1951 to 1964. After the revolution in Zanzibar in 1964, he worked with the Ministry of State and was in charge of state functions at the State House in Zanzibar, hosting government and religious dignitaries. All along, he served the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat in Zanzibar, under various sub-committees. He was instrumental in assisting Khoja families to migrate from Zanzibar to Dar-es-Salaam in 1964 and 1965. His efforts helped our community enormously, especially during the time of infamous force marriages in Zanzibar. Mustafa Bhai also served as the treasurer of Milad-un-Nabi association and was the Government spokesman for welfare programs after the Zanzibar revolution until 1974.
Mustafa Bhai migrated to Dar-es-Salaam in 1976 and worked with the Zambia Copper Industry in accounts payable while also serving as a social worker in the Dar-es-Salaam Jamaat. After a brief stay in Dar-es-Salaam, he migrated to the USA in October 1976 and served as the New York Jamaat President for more than 10 years. During his tenure, he was instrumental in raising funds for building the Husseini Center in Queens, NY. He was also a Trustee of the Muslim Foundation in the USA. He was also nominated by the Marja at the time to serve as a Trustee of the NY Al-Khoei Foundation. On a global perspective, he served for many years as an Executive Councillor for NASIMCO and the World Federation of KSIMC. He worked very closely with Marhum Mulla Asghar M M Jaffer and travelled with Mulla Saheb to many parts of UK, Canada, Africa, India, and Pakistan for social, religious and welfare services of our communities.
Today, numerous organizations of our communities in North America owe a great deal of gratitude for his support and guidance as more and more members started settling in the USA and needed Shia Centers and other communal facilities. A historical and important factors often gets overlooked is that there are many unacknowledged and unsung personalities today whose devotions and sacrifices in the late sixties and seventies have resulted in the present generations enjoying the facilities and services. Alhaj Mustafabhai G. R. Jaffer was amongst the leading personalities of that era in North America whose contributions remains forever etched in the annals of history of the Community.
Awards & Medals
The Following awards have been bestowed on Mustafa bhai:
- 2014 - Lifetime Community Services Award for Building a Peaceful Community by the Muslims for Peace.org.
- 2016 - The Khawabe Khidmat (Star of Service) Award by the Mulla Asghar Memorial Library and Resource Centre for his Exemplary Long Community Services
Legacy of Community Services & Charity
He served as the Chairman of the Jaffer Family Foundation in New York, a charity organization focusing on the eradication of poverty, education, medical treatment, vocational training, and housing for the needy in several parts of the World.
The Jaffer Family tradition of charity and service emanates from the legacy left behind by Alhaj Mustafa Jaffer’s father, Marhum Gulamhussein Rajabali Jaffer, who rendered services to the community especially the youth of Zanzibar - May Allah (SWT) bless his soul. When asked about his motivation for his social services, Alhaj Mustafa Jaffer explains that his father, an avid lover of the Ahlul Bayt (A.S.), set the bar high and was a big influence on his life. Alhaj Mustafa Jaffer prays the practice of serving humanity will continue to be upheld by his children and grandchildren.
- We pray to Allah (SWT) by His grace and mercy to grant Mustafa bhai Jaffer good health, long life and to continue his services. Let us also remember and recite Sura-e-Fateha for the maghferat of all the past community members who have served in different areas and contributed their valuable time and resources to the Community in Africa and in different parts of the World during their life time.
AFRICA FEDERATION ARCHIVES SECTION
25th January 2019 (18th Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1440 AH)
Obituaries & Tributes
A Personal Tribute by Dr Hasnain Walji
Date: June 28, 2020
My very first recollection of meeting Mustafa Bhai is forever etched in my memory. As was our practice for decades, the WF Office Bearers would meet every Wednesday afternoon at the Secretariat. On that particular day, as I walked into the office, I saw a dignified man, elegantly dressed with finely groomed hair, sporting neck hanging reading glasses, animatedly chatting with Marhum Mulla Asghar (RA).
“This is Mustafa Bhai Jaffer” said Mulla and in his inimitable style, went on to enumerate his many attributes and the contributions of the Gulamhusein Rajabali Jaffer family of Zanzibar. From the chemistry of these two men, I could tell the tremendous love and respect they had for each other. That was over three decades ago and until my last meeting with him in person, in February 2020 this year, at Albany, NY, the personal bond I had with Marhum Mustafa Bhai, remained as warm and strong as it was on the very first day, I had met him. Even his parting dua for me, invoking the intercession of Bibi Fatema (SA), had remained unchanged over the countless times I had the good fortune to have met him. Indeed, every time I met him, I could not help but notice the steadfast faith and the love of the Ahlul bait (AS), that characterized his every endeavor in the service of the Community. His passing away marks almost seven decades of philanthropy and service to humanity.Sadly, his demise is an irreplaceable loss, not just to his family but for our entire Community.
Social & Community Service
Social service and helping out in crisis are a continuing family tradition even today. This was so very evident during the upheavals of the 1964 Revolution in Zanzibar. At the great personal risk of his own life, leveraging his personal influence, Mustafa Bhai helped our families escape the tribulations, avoid forced marriages of our sisters and save community members from persecution. This act of nobility and bravery will always remain an unforgettable chapter of our Community history.
Born in Zanzibar in 1932, as a young man, he was in the service of the Zanzibar Government along with Omani Sultan’s Son, Sheikh Mohamed, in the late fifties and early sixties. After the revolution in Zanzibar in 1964, he continued his government services with the Ministry of State, hosting government and religious dignitaries worldwide. From his youth to his golden years, he has continuously served the Community. Be it the Jamaat in Zanzibar or the Muslims of Zanzibar at Milad-Nabi Association, his was a life dedicated to public service. This continued upon his migration to Dar-es-Salaam in 1975, where he served the Dar-es-Salaam Jamaat in various capacities.
In keeping with the generational inclination of multiple migrations by the Khoja Community, he crossed the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, just as his ancestors had traversed the Indian Ocean – this time he made New York his home in 1976. Following the family tradition of service, hardly had he settled down when he got busy in the service of the new arrivals of Community members in New York.
Now the nascent New York Jamaat had a new impetus as he began his tenure to lead the New York Jamaat for a decade. Inspiring a group of pioneers, he spearheaded the effort in finding a home for the Jamaat and helped establish the Al-Husseini Madressa Center in Queens, NY. For decades this institution remained a key steppingstone for the KSI Community in the USA. The story of the establishment of this all-important center is one of struggle, that required gumption and courage to face many hurdles. In addition to financial difficulties, there were tremendous external pressures from some influential quarters against its very establishment. I have many personal recollections of the many anxious calls from New York to London, as he doggedly struggled to bring this project to fruition. Perhaps a lesser man may have given up. But not Mustafa Bhai – who understood how central an Imambargah was for the very existence of the Khoja Community and how strategic it was to have a strong foundation at the gateway of North America. But then success never came to him on a plate. His achievements are a product of his own blood, sweat, and tears. For him wealth was not for status or personal luxuries, but a motivation to help others and for the betterment of our Community.
Awards & Achievements
While he endeavored to give the Khoja community, a strong foundation, his services were far from being confined to the Khojas, as is evidenced by the award of a Lifetime Community Services Award from the Muslims for Peace organization in New Jersey. Long before women empowerment efforts became prevalent in our Community, Mustafa Bhai was an early champion of women’s rights. In addition to his heroic and pivotal intervention in the 1964 forced marriages, in the early nineties he funded dowries for young women to get married while simultaneously ensuring assets were in their names. His investment in the youth of the Community encompassed funding students’ religious and/or secular education for room, and board because he saw education as a lifelong investment a source of sawabe jaariya. He served as a Trustee of Masjide Ali (MFI), sharing his organizational expertise and was nominated by Ayatollah El Khoei as a Trustee of the New York based Al-Khoei Foundation. His passion for the teachings of Ahlul Bait (AS) was also evident in the establishment of Darul Tabligh in New York in the late nineties. He is also a recipient of the “Star of Service Award’ by the Mulla Asgher Memorial Library and Resource Center.
Mustafabhai was one of the leading pioneers whose personal efforts in the early days of our settlement in North America have resulted in the present generations enjoying the fruits of his sacrifices. Such contributions will remain forever etched in the annals of the history of the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Community. As a guiding figure for NASIMCO, he was a well-respected voice of North America at World Federation conferences, both as an Executive Councilor of the WF and NASIMCO delegate. All his life he remained a close confidant of Marhum Mulla Asghar until his passing in 2000 and a lifelong supporter of the World Federation.
Personal Dedication & Devotion towards Philanthropic Projects
Beyond North America, his spirit of philanthropy carried him to many a nook and cranny, accompanying the Marhum Mulla Asghar in establishing mosques, housing projects, and helping the poor, orphans, and widows. I too had the good fortune to travel with both the towering figures on various trips. Despite his advanced years, Mustafabhai was always ready to travel under very arduous conditions. The humility and generosity I witnessed firsthand was truly humbling and inspiring as I saw the pain and empathy he felt for the poor and needy.
His signature initiative, so dear to his heart, is the Husaynia Abul Fadl in Qum – a center serving the needs of the Seminary students from the Sub-Continent. These are amongst the poorest of students who find comfort and a decent meal while attending religious events, especially during the months of Muharram and Ramadan. Ever since its establishment nearly 25 years ago, he never missed spending either Ramadan or Muharram or both each year until just a couple of years ago when he reluctantly could not due to his ailing health. The foundation of his noble endeavors remained entrenched in his unflinching devotion to the Ahlul Bayt (AS) so vividly demonstrated by his passionate support of Azadari, through his ever-generous support in the establishment and maintenance of mehfils and Husainiyas in India Pakistan, Africa Europe and North America.
Legacy of his Philanthropy
As the Chairman of the Jaffer Family Foundation (JFF) in New York, a philanthropic organization focusing on the poverty relief, medical treatment, education, housing as well as supporting religious Centers, he continued to inspire his children and grandchildren to keep the family tradition alive, by reminding them of the legacy left behind by his own father, Marhum Gulamhussein Rajabali Jaffer. I distinctly recall Mustafa Bhai reminiscing that his father, a devoted lover of the Ahlul Bayt (AS), set the bar high and was a big influence on his life and that he 'hoped that the practice of serving humanity will continue to be upheld by his children and grandchildren.’ Indeed, His legacy lives on through the JFF, so ably managed by his sons and my dear friends Taki and Sadique. The JFF has become a change agent with projects on the relief of poverty, medical assistance, mokib building on the Najaf to Karbala walk route, preservation of heritage sites in India, housing projects like Al Mahdi buildings in Dar Es Salaam, women’s empowerment projects in India and Pakistan, and medical projects in East Africa and Iraq, not to mention supporting Community and humanitarian projects in North America.
His Demise - A Personal Loss
I feel a terrible personal sense of loss of a well-wisher and a mentor, which has left an enormous vacuum in our Community. I offer my deepest condolences to his wife, his sons, Gulam Abbas, Taki and Sadique, as well as all their siblings, his grandchildren and all other members of the family.
- I pray that may Allah (SWT) shower the Marhum with his blessings and a place in the proximity of the Masumeen (AS) and sabre Jameel to all the family.
Obituary by Africa Federation
CIRCULAR NO: JMT/058/20
Date: 29th June 2020 / 07th Zilkaad 1441
It is with profound sadness the Secretariat received the news of the death of Murrabbi Alhaj Mustafa G. R. Jaffer who passed away in New York on Wednesday 24th June 2020 and was buried on Thursday 25th June 2020 in Allentown, PA, USA.
Late Alhaj Mustafa G. R. Jaffer (From AFED Archives)
Alhaj Mustafa bhai was born in Zanzibar in January 1932. He started his career in 1951 in Zanzibar by working for the Zanzibar Government Treasury office and after the revolution in 1964 he joined the Ministry of State and was in charge of state functions at the State House in Zanzibar hosting government and religious dignitaries. Marhum moved to Dar-es-Salaam in 1973 and worked with the Zambia Copper Industry briefly before migrating to USA in the same year.
His community services began from a young age in Zanzibar where he served in various sub-committees of the Jamaat with great zeal. He took a leading role in assisting Khoja families to migrate from Zanzibar to Dar-es-Salaam between 1964 and 1965. He also served as a Managing Committee Member of KSI Jamaat of Dar es Salaam during the tenure of late President, Alhaj Rajabali Amarsi Alibhai, he was also a Mukhi of the Jamaat.
On his migration to the USA he served as the President of New York Jamaat (SIJNY) for more than 10 years and was in the forefront in raising funds for building the Husseini Madressa (Center) in Woodside, Queens, New York. He was kind hearted and played a pivotal role in the settlement of our members who migrated to the USA and in the founding of Shia Centres in various places in North America. The establishment of such centres continue to benefit the Community and his contribution towards this noble act is enshrined in the chronicles of history of the Community.
On a global perspective, he served for many years as an Executive Councillor for NASIMCO and the World Federation of KSIMC. He worked very closely with Marhum Mulla Asghar M. M. Jaffer and travelled with him to many parts of UK, Canada, Africa, India, and Pakistan for social, religious and welfare services of our communities. He headed the Jaffer Family Foundation, a family charitable organization continuing the tradition left behind by his father Marhum Gulamhussein Rajabali Jaffer towards charity and services to the Community. He was also a Trustee of the Muslim Foundation in the USA.
Marhum Mustafa bhai was a recipient of the below awards:
• Lifetime Community Services Award for Building a Peaceful Community by the Muslims for Peace.org in 2014.
• The Khawabe Khidmat (Star of Service) Award by the Mulla Asghar Memorial Library and Resource Centre for his Exemplary Long Community Services in 2016.
His death has left a vacuum of a philanthropist who always held high the wellbeing of the Community and its development.
Message from the Africa Federation Chairman, Alhaj Shabir Najafi
“The passing away of Murrabbi Alhaj Mustafa Gulamhussein Rajabali Jaffer is a big loss not only to the family but to the entire Community, he was a kind hearted and a passionate person who was always in the forefront in the Azadari of Seyyedush Shohada Aba Abdillahil Hussein (a.s.), the Martyrs of Kerbala and members of the household of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.). Even during his advanced age, braving the cold weather of New York and Iran, his regular presence in the Mosques and Imambarghas were not missed. Marhum played a pivotal role in several religious organizations and their developments through generous contributions from his family and the Jaffer Family Foundation of USA, I am confident that his children will follow the footsteps of their father in continuing his legacy in these noble gestures. We pray to Allah (SWT) by His infinite grace and mercy to reward him amply for all his good deeds and services he has rendered during his lifetime. May Allah (s.w.t.) grant him maghferat and place him in the proximity of Ahlulbayt (a.s.), Ameen”.
- Please let us remember Marhum Mustafa Bhai and all the past leaders and volunteers for their dedication and services with recite Sura-e-Fateha.
Luminary Remembered: The Enduring Legacy
Mustafa G. R. Jaffer, affectionately known as Mustafa bhai, left an everlasting legacy when he passed away in 2020 in New York and was buried in Allentown, P.A. USA. Born in Zanzibar in 1932, Mustafa bhai lived a life that encapsulated the qualities of profound leadership with an unwavering commitment to serve humanity at large. Even in his absence, Mustafa Bhai remains a beacon of inspiration, his life and work a testament to the profound impact one-man can have globally. His name and memory are forever engraved in the histories of these organizations and in the hearts of those he served.
A Life of Service: Around the Globe
The chapters of Mustafa bhai's life penned in Dar-es-Salaam after 1975, and later in New York post 1976, bore witness to his unyielding dedication to public service. He was the driving force behind the rejuvenation of the New York Jamaat and played a crucial role in the establishment of the Al-Husseini Madrassa Center (SIJNY) in Queens. Mustafa Bhai's relentless efforts are a testament to his commitment to preserving the religious and cultural identity of his community. Mustafa bhai’s belief in the power of education was relentless and evident in his sponsorship of countless students' secular and religious education. His commitment to the youth of the community was unwavering, viewing education as a lifelong investment and a source of continued blessings. His philanthropic efforts knew no geographical boundaries. His beloved project, the Husaynia Abul Fadhl in Qum, stands as a beacon for seminary students from the Indian Sub-Continent. Despite his advancing age and health, he visited this center with a steadfastness that underscored his deep empathy and sense of responsibility.
In addition to his illustrious contributions on a local and national scale, Mustafa Bhai was an influential figure on the global stage as well. He served as a senior and respected Councilor at the World Federation and NASIMCO. His passionate voice and his eloquent championing of the underprivileged earned him the well-deserved respect of his peers. Guided by a deeply engrained sense of social responsibility, Mustafa Bhai was steadfast in his resolve to uplift the poor and the needy. His speeches often carried a potent blend of empathy and determination, rallying support for his causes while drawing attention to those most in need.
Engagement with the Society
Mustafa Bhai's heroism was apparent during the 1964 Zanzibar revolution, a time of societal upheaval, where he stood as a beacon of hope, risking his own life, using his personal influence to provide much-needed assistance to the victims, including helping evacuate the girls who were facing forced marriages. His courageous actions epitomized his family's tradition of unwavering service to humanity, a legacy carried forward even today. Ahead of his time in advocating for women's rights, Mustafa Bhai was a trailblazer in supporting marriages and securing property rights for young women.
As impressive as his work on the global stage was, it is perhaps Mustafa Bhai’s persistent and personal commitment to aiding the underprivileged that left the deepest impression on those who knew him. Despite his age, he frequently journeyed to the less accessible regions in India to visit the poor and needy personally. His voyages to these regions were not a mere formality; they were journeys of genuine empathy, compassion, and philanthropy. He would listen attentively to the stories of the people, empathizing with their struggles and assuring them of his unwavering support. His presence provided comfort, his words gave hope, and his actions sparked change.
A Life Honored
The extraordinary life and selfless service of Mustafa G.R. Jaffer didn't go unnoticed. His dedication to humanity earned him recognition and respect from multiple institutions. The Muslims for Peace, an organization committed to promoting peace and understanding, bestowed upon him a Lifetime Service Award, a testament to his ceaseless efforts in philanthropy and caring for the needy. In addition to the several accolades by the World Federation on its 25th anniversary, the Mulla Asghar Memorial Resource Center, on its 10th anniversary, posthumously recognized Mustafa Bhai's huge contributions to community building, religious education, and humanitarian efforts.
In a world too often shrouded by indifference, the luminous spirit of Mustafa Bhai Jaffer pierced through with an unmistakable radiance. His relentless empathy, his vast compassion, and his unyielding dedication to philanthropy painted a portrait of a man whose legacy transcends time and geography. Mustafa Bhai was not just a man; he was a mission, an embodiment of selfless service, ceaselessly committed to uplifting the most vulnerable, even in the twilight of his life. His strong faith and the love of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) played a pivotal role in his life towards caring and service to humanity.
The Torchbearer's Legacy: The Jaffer Family Foundation
Mustafa bhai’s legacy, profound and far-reaching, shines on in through his sons Gulam Abbas, Mohamed Taki and Sadique, their other siblings, nephews, nieces as well as his grandchildren. Inspired by Mustafa Bhai's boundless philanthropy, the Jaffer Family Foundation (JFF), now helmed by his devoted sons, Mohamed Taki and Sadique, continues to break new ground in poverty alleviation, medical aid, education, housing, and the support of education at some of the finest institutions of higher learning. The JFF is not merely an organization; it is the embodiment of Mustafa Bhai's enduring spirit, spreading its wings across continents, bringing about impactful changes. Mustafa Bhai's memory continues to be an enduring beacon, radiating hope and inspiration. His principles and ideals continue to resonate, transforming lives and inspiring future generations.
Working jointly with the Federation of KSI Jamaats of Africa (AFED), the Jaffer Family Foundation (JFF) have recently granted 5 Scholarships for KSI girls from Tanzania to pursue a 5 years course in medicine at any reputable medical universities in Tanzania. Additionally, scholarships for 2 KSI female students from Tanzania to study in the U.S.A. for a 3 years’ course in any science subjects (STEM) has been launched by Africa Federation recently.
The Foundation have also donated one medical ambulance to a Tanzanian Security Service Company – G1, who are providing free medical and emergency services to any one needing the services in Dar es Salaam. According to the spokesman of JFF, there is a plan to donate more ambulances to G1 for same purpose to service other cities in Tanzania. Both organizations, the JFF and AFED are looking to explore more avenues of collaboration, especially in sectors such as Vocational Training, Higher Education, Housing and Medical. Similarly, in areas such as small-scale industries, manufacturing, farming etc. in empowering our community members to be self-reliant economically so that they can live a decent life in comfort which will make overall positive impact in the development of the KSI community in Africa.
- We pray to Allah (SWT) to grant Marhum Mustafa bhai, his wife Marhuma Sherbanu Bai and all the Marhumeen of G. R. Jaffer family with maghferat and place their souls amongst the blessed ones in the vicinity of Chaharada Masumeen (‘A) and who continuously receive mercy and grace of Allah (SWT), Aameen.
- A Sura-e-Fatiha is being requested for the Marhumeen of G. R. Jaffer family and all the Marhumeen.
Date: 22nd September 2023