The Khoja community mourns the demise of Alhaj Mulla Anverali Valimohamed Haji Walji of Mombasa, fondly known as Mulla Annu.
“This is the loss of a legend,” said Dr Asghar Moledina, past president of The World Federation.
“His melodious voice in reciting the Ziyarah n salaam of our Ahlulbayt will forever be heard and reverberate in our ears! He was a true and sincere advisor and a great mo’meen. He will forever be very sadly missed, especially at our community meetings for his sincere advice, Duas, Ziyarat and salaams.”
An iconic figure
Mulla Annu left this world at the age of 84 on Saturday 26th October 2019 and was laid to rest on the same day in Northwood Cemetery, London. He was an iconic figure of Mombasa Jamaat who has left fond memories in many parts of the world.
Mulla Annu was born and educated in Mombasa. He was the schoolmate, close friend and confidant of Alhaj Mulla Asgharali M. M. Jaffer – the span of their close friendship was for some 42 years until the sad demise of Alhaj Mulla Asghar. In 1966, he worked closely with Marhum Mulla Asghar in mobilizing the youth of the community during the process of amalgamation of the two Jamaats then in existence in Mombasa.
At the Husayni Night School in Mombasa, whilst acquiring religious education, he learnt Urdu under the tutelage of Marhum Mohamed Mulla Jaffer (father of Alhaj Mulla Asghar) and Alhaj Mulla Abdulrsul Hassanali Khaki.
Unique voice and wonderful memory
He used to recite majalis in Urdu, Gujarati and Kutchhi. He was gifted with a unique resonating voice whereby whenever he recited ziyarat after majlis, people would be prompted to shed tears and whenever he recited Kalema-e-Shahadatayn at funerals, bystanders would be compelled to stand in awe.
Mulla Anverali had a very good memory and was fond of collecting photographs, articles and news items related to the history of Mombasa Jamaat. He was considered to be a repository of the history of the Khoja community in Mombasa.
At a young age he joined the Ithna Asheri Young Men’s Union as a volunteer and he served as a managing committee member of Mombasa Jamaat for 40 years under different Presidents, before and after amalgamation of the two Jamaats. He attended very many meetings of the Africa Federation as a Councillor or Delegate of the Mombasa Jamaat.
A joy with young and old
Marhum had a charming personality and was jovial by nature. He mingled freely with young and old, rich and poor – people craved his company. Three years ago, when both of his sons decided to settle down in the United Kingdom, as a widower he was obliged to shift his residence to London where he made many friends and acquaintances and breathed his last.
These exceptional videos from KSIJ Mombasa: RAB – IN FOCUS – are interviews with Mulla Annu and allow today’s and future generations to understand what made him so special.
His sons’ moving memories
Mulla Annu’s sons Mohammed and Mustafa have shared this moving tribute:
“Marhum papa was a very lovable person, loved by all just as he loved all. He could vibe with the old and the young, had a gift of the gab and as soon as someone mentioned their name papa would straightaway give that person’s family tree spanning from past generations.”
“He was a zakir e Hussain and would love to recite to call everyone for prayers through adhan or to recite everyone’s last rites by reciting the shahada. His demeanour was such that it would illuminate any room with his presence and mashallah knew the history of all Khoja communities worldwide until the present day. This vast historical information about the community has been so useful on many occasions.”
“He would make sure to attend every Africa Federation meeting and share his knowledge however he could. He would visit every sick person and attend everyone’s homes or mosque to personally give his condolences to any bereaved family.”
Sacrifices for others
“He loved to perform ziyarat and umra at any opportunity, even at his frail age. He would always emphasise to us that we should attend weddings and funerals at any cost, as well as on sile raham.”
“He taught us to respect guests and treat them well with empathy and always be good to your neighbours. He would sacrifice his own love, willingness, fatigue, illness, difficulties to ensure that people at the receiving end were comfortable. Even on his days in hospital he wanted to go to attend majlises, arbaeen and wafats.”
A loving father and much-loved father figure
Mohamed & Mustafa continued: “He was a loving father who we miss dearly, and what we are today is because of him. He put great emphasis on unity, love and the bond between family members to be shared and to stay together.
“He was not only our father but a fatherly figure to all and people would long for his company. He was highly respected in Jamaats all over the Khoja world for his love and care for young and old.
“We will all dearly miss his friendly and lively company, particularly his timely guidance whenever required.”
Condolences from World Federation President
Extending his heartfelt condolences to the family, World Federation President Anwarali Dharamsi wrote in a letter: “Marhum was an outstanding example of how life has to be lived.”
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