AFED mourns the passing away of Sheikh Abidllahi Nassir

From Africa Federation
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“Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajeeun”

“To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return”

(Holy Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah 2:156)

Alhaj Sheikh Abdillahi Nassir Juma (1932 – 2022)

Death of an Aalim is Death of Aalam

It is with deep sorrow and grief that the Africa Federation Secretariat received the sad news of the demise of Alhaj Sheikh Abdillahi Nassir who passed away in Mombasa, Kenya on Tuesday 11th January 2022 (8th Jamadi-ul-Aakhar 1443 A.H.) and was buried at the Ganjoni Cemetery, Mombasa on the same day.

The passing away of Alhaj Sheikh Abdillahi Nassir is a great loss not only to his family members, students and colleagues but also the entire Shia community in East and Central Africa.

Sheikh Abdillahi was born in Mombasa on 1st June 1932 and his early education commenced with Madrasah education at a young age of four years and continued attending Madrasah from 1936 to 1946.

He obtained his secular education from the Arab Boys Primary School from 1941 to 1949 and later joined the Zanzibar’s Bet-al-Ras Teachers Training College from 1950 to 1951. Upon his return to Mombasa, he taught at the Arab Primary School from 1951 to 1954 and then joined the Mombasa Institute of Muslim Education as an accounts clerk and as a part-time religious Instructor, from 1955 to 1957.

Sheikh Abdillahi Nassir took active interest in pre independence Kenya politics and was elected to Kenya’s pre-independence Legislative Council and served in this capacity from 1961 to 1963. As a member of the Kenya Legislative Council, he also attended the historic Kenya Constitutional Conference held at the Lancaster House, London, in 1963.

He worked as an Arabic/Swahili monitor with the BBC in Nairobi from 1964-1965 and later joined the Oxford University Press and worked as a Swahili Editor with the Eastern Africa Branch of Oxford University Press in Nairobi from 1965 to 1973. In 1973, Sheikh Abdillahi left the Oxford University Press to form his own Shungwaya Publishers Ltd. In 1974 he was recalled by the Oxford University Press to head the Eastern Africa Branch as General Manager and served in this capacity from 1974 to 1977.

Sheikh Abdillahi devoted part of his time in preaching and carrying out Tabligh activities from 1954 till 1959. From 1960 to 1980 he engaged in translating and commenting on the Holy Qur’an during the holy months of Ramadan while living in Mombasa (1960-64) and later when he settled in Nairobi (1965-80). From 1978-80 he also worked as the East Africa Representative of the Jeddah based WAMY (World Assembly of Muslim Youths).

With his intellectual knack and spirit of inquiry, he did not blindly follow the widely held common perceptions about the Shia faith but read books written by Shia scholars and interacted with members of the Shia community with a view to understand the Shia faith deeper and better. In due course, he showed growing leanings towards the Shia faith and his question/answer sessions on the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s radio programs from 1977 to 1980 aroused much interest.

Upon his return to Mombasa in early 1980’s, he became a regular lecturer for the Muharram Majalis organized by the Bilal Muslim Mission of Kenya held at the Huseini Imambargah and later at the Bilal Muslim Mission of Kenya Assembly Hall which was formally opened in 1988.  In due course, he declared himself as a practicing Shia Ithna-Asheri.

Through the Bilal media section, Sheikh Abdillahi has recorded various talks on several topics which have been broadcast in special Radio and TV programs organized by the Bilal Muslim Mission of Kenya. At the same time, Tabligh Section of the Dar es Salaam Jamaat, Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania and the Al Itrah Foundation of Dar-es-Salaam also extended similar cooperation to Sheikh Abdillahi. As a result, series of lecture sessions organized in Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar were well received.

Sheikh Abdillahi delivered lectures in many places around the world including India, Pakistan, U.K., USA and Canada and the West Indies since he was able to deliver lectures in both English and Kiswahili.  Since 2004, he set up a free reading room public library in Mombasa.

Sheikh Abdillahi has written/assisted in writing several books and booklets in Kiswahili language and on Islam some of which have been translated into English and Rwandese. Listed below are names of few of his work in this field;

  • Concise Dictionary of English-Swahili Idioms
  • Tamrini za kiswahili: sarufi na matumizi (pamoja na majibu)
  • Al-Battar: Sherehe ya Dhul Faqaar
  • Tafsiri ya Juzuu ya Amma
  • Tafsiri ya Sura At-Talaq
  • Shia na Qur’ani: Majibu na Maelezo
  • Shia na Sahaba: Majibu na Maelezo
  • Shia na Hadith: Majibu na Maelezo
  • Maulidi: Si Bida, Si Haramu
  • Ukweli wa Hadith ya Karatasi
  • Mut’a Ndoa ya Halali
  • Shia na Taqiya: Majibu na Maelezo
  • Malumbano Baina ya Sunni na Shia
  • Sura Al-Ahzab: Tafsiri na Maelekezo
  • Yazid Hakuwa Amirul-Mu’minin
  • Hadith Al-Thaqalayn: Hadith Sahihi
  • Ahlul Bayt: Ni Nani, Si Nani

In April 2011 at the 72nd Supreme Council Session in Mombasa, the then Africa Federation Chairman Alhaj Anwarali Dharamsi during his term bestowed the Abbasi Medal to Sheikh Abdillahi Nassir in recognition of his long outstanding, honorable and dedicated services in the cause of Islam and for propagating the madh’hab of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.). Sheikh Abdillahi Nassir was a renowned scholar and highly revered across Africa.

Above: The former Chairman of Africa Federation, Alhaj Ramzan Nanji was given the honor to present on behalf of Africa Federation Chairman the Abbasi Medal and the Citation to Alhaj Sheikh Abdillahi Nassir at the 72nd AFED Supreme Council Session held in Mombasa, Kenya in April 2011. Looking on is the present Vice Chairman, who was then Hon. Secretary of Africa Federation, Alhaj Aunali Khalfan.

Sheikh was an eloquent speaker and would engage with other faiths with his humble, persuasive and pleasant nature. His research, knowledge and history of Islam were immense which played vital role in the propagation of the Madhab of the Ahlulbayt (A’).

We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Marhum Sheikh Abdllahi Nassir and pray to Allah (SWT) to grant Marhum maghferat and place his soul amongst the blessed ones in the vicinity of Chaharada Masumeen (A’) who continuously receive mercy and grace of Allah (SWT).

We request for a Sura-Al-Fateha for him and all the Marhumeen.

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