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Lindi Notes - Jamat - Madressa


Husseini Society Lindi 1960? Namaz led by: Firoz Dharsee L-R: Mustafa Jaffer, Mohamed Kamu, Mustafa Pirmohamed, Mohamediqbal Nasser, Bashir Kassam, Shabbir Hameer, Hasnein Versi, Ramzan Suleman, Mustafa Tingu, Amir Hameer , unknown, Sadiq Esmail. Second Line: R-L: Aunali Kassam, Akber Hameer, Murtaza Mulji, unknown, Kassam Kassam, unknown, Rustom Datoo, Shabbir A Jaffer Standing: L-R: Jafferali Jadavji, Roshan Hameer, Mulla Nathoo, Alihussein Nasser Nagji, Hussein J Dhanji


2010 - Narunyu Sisal Plantation - where Society students went for excursion (photo by Sameer Kermalli)

2012 - Mtama Mosque - where Society students went for excursion (photo by Asger Dhanji)


Boys and girls used to go to the Madressa after school and at weekends. The earliest classes I attended were conducted by Maulana Saeed Akhtar Rizvi. I remember we were a group of three – his eldest son Ali Imam, myself and Mustafa Fazal. Maulana would teach us Quran recitation. After some years, Maulana informed me of the passing away of his son Ali Imam, our Madressa classmate. His death in India was due to meningitis.

Maulana left Lindi in 1962. Sometime in 1969, when I was in Form 5 in Iringa, I wrote a letter to Allama Rizvi asking him some questions. I was fascinated by the replies - apart from the obvious clarifications he made - it was a neat type-written letter by himself. After some years I was surprised to see the questions in his book - Your Questions Answered. Allama lived in Dar during the later part of his life. He was a great personality and was busy in research and studies even in his old age. He was not keeping well - yet once he called me and asked me to obtain some information from an Encyclopedia in the school library.

An interesting anecdote is related by Murtaza Kerbala regarding Maulana’s stay in Lindi. He was new to the place and did not know Kutchi. A few wazee (seniors) were seated on the baraza (front porch) of Musafarkhana and Maulana was with them. A mango vendor passed by and the wazee bought mangoes. Requesting Maulana to have a share, they told him ‘gino’ in Kutchi meaning – ‘please take’. Maulana started counting the mangoes thinking that they wanted the count so that the vendor would be paid. Perplexed the wazee asked why? They insisted gino (‘please take’) while maulana again did the counting. Finally they came to realise that in Urdu, ‘gino’ means ‘count’.

Maulana Mushtaq Shahedi taught us Dinyat and Urdu. He used to select a few students and tell them to give presentations of some Masaels during Maghrib prayers. We were kids then but cramming Masaels and speaking them in public was something we were not used to. He was very fond of us learning Urdu and when he went back to Pakistan, he used to send me newspapers with interesting Urdu stories so that I would not forget to read Urdu. Maulana also published a pamphlet every Friday to be distributed after prayers. It had some hadith and advice. It was printed at Arvind Press. Maulana was unique as he was the first Maulana whom we saw delivering majlis (sermons) while standing. He would never sit on the mimbar (pulpit). May be he thought he was too young and inexperienced for it. Not sure though.

Once Maulana Shahedi took some of the kids for a stroll along the sea after morning prayers. There was low tide so we ventured far into the sea. At one particular point, Maulana took some water in his palm and drank. He threw it down and was surprised and asked us why the water was salty. We were equally amazed as to why he expected otherwise. He had come from Pakistan and lived in an area where they had fresh water lakes and rivers. He never knew that sea water was salty!

Namaz for kids was very much emphasised. During school vacations and on Sundays we would go and wake each other up. I remember going to Akber Hameer’s house near Smith Mackenzie on dark mornings and waking him up. His grandma would be awake most of the times. Once you woke him, you were sure to get a good attendance at mosque as his brothers would follow. Lyakat Dewji lived at the other end of town - near Ramzan Bhojani house. I even went to wake him up in the dark mornings.

Maulana Mohamed Musa of Vellore arranged for separate classes for girls at the Musafarkhana. I remember how strict he was with girls, asking each of them to cover their head with pachedi. Girls would go in their normal dresses but with pachedi. Then on wafat days, he would get angry if the girls wore red pachedi – because red was sign of celebration, he would say. Maulana also taught Farsi (Persian) at his home. He would listen to student reading Farsi and at the same time listen to the news on his huge radio – and he would be sharp in picking up mistakes made by students. He was very fond of oranges. At the end of the session, he would ask you to peel an orange for him in exactly the same manner as you would peel chenza (tangerine). On Khushali days he would ask us to apply perfume to everyone who entered the mosque. He would not agree for us to apply it only on the back of the hand. He would tell us to apply to the shirt also. It was a difficult task for me – but I did it, in obedience. One of the things that interested me most in Madressa was the stories of the Prophets. He asked us to keep a special book and herein he would dictate the story – in detail and in Urdu – and we had to write in Gujarati script. When the writing exercise ended, he would ask us to read the whole story. It would be about Prophet Musa and the drowning, Prophet Noah and his ark, etc.

We had a local maalim who used to teach Quran to young kids at the Madressa. He used to help Maulana. I guess Maulana Mohamed Dawood was present at this time. Maulana was very fond of mangoes and paan. Surprisingly, the maalim used to refer to Arabic phonetic signs with their Indian names – Zabar, Zer and Pesh instead of Fatha, Kasra and Dhamma.

Maulana Amir Hussein Naqvi was called a modern Maulana. He was the first Maulana to own and drive a car. He also went swimming. His eldest son Mohamed lived in Pakistan and had visited Lindi once during the holidays. Many years later we learnt that he became a doctor and sad to say, he was murdered. His younger son was Ashiq. Maulana would come to teach religion class in Lindi Secondary School for all Muslims and distribute notes. I remember an instance when he took exam and turned up during school assembly to distribute prizes to those who performed well. He held discussions with Christian missionaries, made notes, and then gave them to us in school. He also revived the library at our Madressa – called it Jaferia Library which had, apart from religious books, comics and fiction novels. Maulana would also attend Maulidi and give speeches in English. I remember our Geography school teacher Mr Mkiwa was once an interpreter at the Maulidi celebration somewhere near the mosque behind Stadium School.

Maulana Amir Hussein Naqvi’s Saturday night Quran Tafseer classes were well sought after by many. He used to arrange these at people’s homes with sumptuous dinner and delicious snacks. He got a very good attendance and interest was high among young and old.

Mulla M P Daya was our Dinyat teacher at Madressa. He introduced a system whereby we would bring a small diary where he would sign if we had attended the class. I used to fondly see how he signed his name – for a kid, it was a unique way in which he would write his name. We would emulate his signature when making our own signatures.

I have also heard of Mulla Jaffer , Mulla Control and Mulla Muhoro having taught at the Madressa. Although not taught by him, I also remember Maulana Murtaza Hussein with his melodious khutba before majlis – especially the way he pronounced ‘ abadal aabedeena ‘

We used to have East African Common Religious exams for Madressa and the question papers would come from Africa Federation. The Africa Federation had also printed common Urdu textbooks for use in the madaris.

Due to decline in the number of community members, the Madressa remained unused in 80s until 1994 when Bwana Ali Sheriff, who had come for Muharram majalis, proposed starting a nursery school. The Nursery school ran for a period of about 4 years. Mrs Anna Abdulhussein Khimji had volunteered her services during the formative period. Sadly shei passed away in May 2012.

Husseini Society

Marhum Alihussein Nasser will be remembered well for starting this institution in Lindi sometime in 1959. Although students learned Quran at Madressa, there was no place where they could learn Namaz. We used to attend these every evening, 365 days a year. At the end of the class, each pupil would get pipi (candy). For uniforms, everyone had to have a white pyjama. We had to go to his shop where the tailor took measurements and stitched pyjama for us. In later years, students would not bother to take the pyjamas home. A box was kept behind the zarih for pyjamas. When you came to Society, you had to look for your own pyjamas. They got mixed up and became dirty and there were also tiffs on when boys took each others pyjama.

The annual Drama was an exciting event every 15th Shaaban. A lot of preparation was done to take part in the Gujarati play. Every year, a different theme was selected. Cramming the script was big job. I once got script for a court interpreter – don’t remember whether it was a Hindi court scene with Gujarati translation or something else. The stage was in the mosque compound at the rear gate near the kitchen. The stage would be made from about 10 big oil drums, planks of timber and tarpaulin. Boys would go in a lorry to bring these things to the mosque. We would then go to some houses to obtain chairs for the audience. Of the several plays, one which I remember is the story of Emperor Dakyanus (Decius) and Ashabe Kahf. This re-enactment was a play to remember – especially the role played by Mohamed Bhimji as shop-keeper – it was a real comedy!

The Society teachers would take us on tours – I remember a tour to Narunyu sisal plantation owned by Rashid Versi and also to Mtama Jamat (50 miles away). I also remember the Play or Dialogue performance was repeated at one of these places.

Husseini Society of later years had fewer excursions. I remember having received my first English dictionary as a prize from Safdar Jaffer and Roshan Gangji. As teachers, I remember Rafiq Hemraj with his Mukhtar Namu – story of Mukhtar – it never ended. Akber Shaaban was very active. He used to edit our magazine called ‘Fulwadi’ and type using a Gujarati typewriter. We used to go to his home to print copies by using the cyclostyling machine. We would take a stencil, put it over a roller and put black ink from a tube like putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. By the end of the day, our hands and clothes would be dirty with splashing of black ink.

At the society, when I was 12, I got promoted to become volunteer and my first job was to take the attendance register. I had to be the first one to arrive at Society. After opening the Imambara doors and windows, I would take the register. We had a system where each student was given a roll number e.g A3, B5, C10 – according to the three sections. The students would form a queue and say their numbers which I jotted down. A lot of pushing was done, sometimes deliberately by the naughty ones and I had to maintain discipline. Good starting job at the Society!

Teachers Jaffer Hameer and Gulamasger Sumar were the stricter guys – they always wanted pin- drop silence from the kids. The list below shows some of the teachers of 60s and 70s. :
Mulla Alihussein Nasser - founder
Rafiq Hemraj
Mulla Nathoo
Akber Shaaban
Mohamedbaker Hemraj
Mustafa Pirmohamed
Safdar Jaffer
Roshan Gangji
Jaffer Hameer
Mohamed Kamu
Mulla Hassan Versi
Gulamasger Sumar
Mulla Roshan Versi
Rafiq Pirmohamed 1970s
Mohamed Pirmohamed 1980s
Mohamedraza Y Samji 1980s


Poem in Gujarati on the 12 Imams learnt at Madressa:

Pratham Ali bija Hassan, Hussain trija jaan,
Chotha Zainul Aabideen panjum Baakar naam
Chey Jaafar Sadiq chatta, aadil aap imam
Saacha jaano satma, Musie Kazim naam
Aliraza chey aathma, nawma Taki nirdhar,
Dasma Naki agyaarma, Hassan Askari jaan,
Imam chella baar ma, chey Mahdi saahib
Hukame khudathi haal chey, dunyaama ghaaib
Je win daawo kare, howaano imaam,
Jutthu taddan jaanine, tajje tenu naam.

Chey panjatan paanch chey, khaas khuda na dost,
Muhammad, Ali, ne Fatemah, Hassan, Hussain mazlum

Madressa Poem:

Poem in Urdu learnt at Madressa

Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua Banke Tamanna Meri - Allama Iqbal

Lab pe aati hai dua banke tamanna meri
Zindagi shama ki surat ho khudaya meri

Door duniya ka mere dam andhera ho jaaye
Har jagah mere chamakane se ujaala ho jaaye

Ho mere dam se yoon hi mere watan ki zeenat
Jis tarah phool se hoti hai chaman ki zeenat

Zindagi ho meri parwaane ki surat ya rab
Ilm ki shama se ho mujhko mohabbat ya rab

Ho mera kaam garibon ki himaayat karna
Dard-mandon se zaiifon se mohabbat karna

Mere allaah buraai se bachaanaa mujhko
Nek jo raah ho us raah pe chalaanaa mujhko

Click here to listen to this poem


Click here to view Gujarati Poem by Marhum Hassanali Mulji (Mulla Muhoro's father)

The Urdu books introduced by Africa Federation so that students can learn Urdu with Dinyat - the books were authored by Zakirhussein Farouqi. The Madressa already had Dinyat books in Gujarati by Marhum Mohamedjaffer Sheriff Dewji


Dinyat Urdu Book 2



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Last updated Aug 2012 Copyright © Mahmood Fazal 2005 - All Rights Reserved Created By Husain Fazal