Endangered Species

Endangered Species

An Account of the Journey of Faith by the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Community by Hassan A M Jaffer

An excerpt from the Foreword by Dr Hasnain Walji.

This book, subtitled An Account of the Journey of Faith by the Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Community, representing a labour of love, over almost a decade, by a remarkable personality nurtured within the Khoja Community, is very opportune. The author, Hassanbhai Jaffer has had the good fortune of experiencing much of this transition first hand, for the past 75 years. As a keen analytical observer, he is well known for his candid and oftentimes rather acidic analysis of the state of the Community and has migrated many of us into discomfort zones. His ‘out of the box’ thinking about community affairs is also reflected in his unique turn of phrase, not found in manuals of creative writing. When I first started reading the manuscript, instinctively, my red pencil began crisscrossing the double spaced pages. But after a chapter or two, I stopped as I realized that my editing of the characteristic style was sterilizing all the flavours and aromas of an author who had lived in the very kitchen of the KSI house of history.

Hassanbhai hails from a family that has had a significant foundational impact on the evolution of the KSI Community. It was none other than his great great grandfather, Dewjibhai Jamal, who was instrumental in connecting the community with Ayatullah Zainul Abedin Mazandarani in Kerbala in the 1800s, a link that remains strong to this day with the excellent relations the Community enjoys with Ayatullah Seestani. Amongst various historical episodes, most significantly, the title ably presents the visage of the relationship of the Khoja Community and the Marja, illustrates a model of relationship between a Marja and the muqallideen. A demonstration of a century old connection with Najaf or Qum of utmost respect and an unquestioning approach, reciprocated by an acknowledgement by the Maraje of the religiosity and compliance of the Khoja Community as well as its efficient organisation. This aspect has been one of the key factors that have resulted in the institutions of the Khoja Community, epitomized by the World Federation, as some of the best organized and well run in the entire Shia World, serving not just the KSI Community but the Shia Community and humanity at large.