Ismailia Associations

In 1944, Imam Sultan Muhammad changed the name of Recreation Club Institute into the Ismailia Association for India. Ali Muhammad Macklai was appointed its President with Alijah Rajab Ali Muhammad Dandawala as Vice-President and Itmadi Rehmatuallah Virjee as Hon. Secretary. Thus, the Ismailia Recreation Club was the progenitor of the Ismailia Association. In view of his long selfless services, the Imam granted the titles of Huzur Wazir (minister in attendance) and Commander in Chief to Ali Muhammad Macklai.

The Imam intended to extend the activities of the Ismailia Association beyond the confine of India. The ball was set rolling at the Ismaili Mission Conference held in Dar-es-Salem on July 20, 1945, wherein the Imam insisted to the leaders of Nairobi that, “You must establish an Ismailia Association similar to the one in Bombay. Mr. Macklai, the President of the Ismailia Association in Bombay, has served the community, and in doing so, he spread the light of the Ismaili faith. His name shall forever be remembered in history on account of his services.”

Hence, the All-Africa Ismailia Association came into existence in 1946 with Count Muhammad Ali Dhalla as President and Wazir Ramzan Ali Dossa as Hon. Secretary. Its headquarters was first in Nairobi, then Mombasa.

Ali Muhammad Macklai retired in 1946 from the Ismailia Association for India. The Imam appointed Itmadi Abdullah Sumar Shivji as the next President with Itmadi Rehmatullah Virjee as Vice-President and Huzur Mukhi Yusuf Ali E. Dossa as Chief Secretary. Ali Muhammad Macklai was appointed the World Head of the Ismailia Association for Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda and India. He was also commissioned to design a Constitution of the Ismailia Association for Africa.

In February, 1948, the Imam summoned Ali Muhammad Macklai in Africa. The Imam arrived in Nairobi on August 1, 1948. On that occasion, the Imam discussed with him about the Constitution. He then went to Dar-es-Salam, while the Imam arrived in Mombasa and Zanzibar, and reached Dar-es-Salam, where he presented a draft of the Constitution to the Imam. On August 25, 1948, a grand didar programme was arranged in Dar-es-Salam, where the Imam announced the introduction of the Constitution for Africa and appointed three Presidents for three Associations. The Imam also gave orders for the Constitution to be followed in India, Pakistan and other parts of the world.

The Ismailia Association for Pakistan came into existence on March 21, 1948 with his first President Wazir Dr. Pir Muhammad Hoodbhoy (1905-1956). In his cable message, the Imam said, “I appoint Vazir Dr. Peermahomed Hoodbhoy first President Ismailia Association Pakistan with blessings.” Wazir Sher Ali Alidina was elected its Hon. Secretary. In his message of February 9, 1950 to the Ismailia Association for Pakistan, the Imam said, “Ismailia Association is the chief successor today of former Ismaili da’is and mission.”

In order to carry out the activities efficiently, the Imam decentralized the All Africa Ismailia Association in 1951, and established separate Ismailia Association in Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and Madagascar. The headquarters of the Ismailia Association for Kenya remained in Nairobi till December, 1955, after which they were moved to Mombasa. The headquarters remained in Mombasa till July, 1969 when they were moved back to Nairobi. Count Nazar Ali Madatali Suleman Virji was appointed its first President (1951-1953). Mr. Jaffar Ali Megji was the first President (1954-1962) of the Ismailia Association for Tanzania. Rai Kamruddin Pirbhai Amershi was appointed as President in Uganda (1954-1962). Mr. Sadruddin Hussain Nazar Ali was the President in Madagascar (1964-1971). Later, the Ismailia Association for South Africa was established in 1964 with the President Nizar Ali I.M. Keshawjee (1964-1974). Mr. Sultan Ali Noorani (1968-1971) became the President in Zaire and Mr. Akbar Ali Peera (1971-1974) in Rwanda.

Ali Muhammad Macklai continued to work as the World Head for six years (1946-1954). In sum, he served for 40 year and retired in 1954. He died at the age of 77 years on Wednesday, the July 21, 1971 at Bombay. In appreciation to his long and illustrious services, the Imam sent a telegram to the Ismailia Federal Council for India, in which, after bestowing blessings for his soul and prayer for his eternal peace and sympathy to his family in their great loss, said: “Wazir