Birmingham Jamaat is mourning the passing of its oldest member.
Gulamali Pirbhai Kanani was aged 96 and was recently honoured with an award for more than three decades of service to the Khoja community in the city.
“We cherish, celebrate and recognise a well-respected and very much loved personality. The father figure of this community and an ardent member of the Senior Citizens Group,” said Mohamed Bharwani, former President of KSIMC of Birmingham, said at the time.
Inspiration to many
Born in India in 1923, Mr Kanani migrated at the age of 20 to Mombasa, Kenya, enduring a five-week sea voyage by dhow. In 1945 he established a business with his brother, and later married and moved to Tanzania. By 1962 he was one of the most successful rice traders in Tanga, where his honesty and transparency in business dealings earned him the respect of the business community.
In 1973 he moved to Peterborough in the UK and later followed his sons to Birmingham. From 1985 to 2015 he was an inspiration to many young men as a madrasah teacher. His speciality was genealogy and he compiled family trees for five families in the community.
Mr Kanani was the father of Mohamed Gulamali Kanani, Hasnain Gulamali Kanani and Zehra Muslim Manji.
At a ceremony to honour his service in Birmingham in July, Mr Bharwani said: “We salute this grand elderly gentleman.”
Poor health prevented Mr Kanani from being present himself but his grandson Mikaeel Kanani received a framed certificate and a trophy on his behalf, explaining that he would be deeply honoured by the presentation.