Friday, December 20, 2019

Sultan Jessa: one of life's great guys

Sultan Jessa: Noble Ismaili Muslim, Great Journalist and Recipient of Order of Canada Passes Away

Veteran journalist Sultan Jesssa receiving Canada's Highest Honour
Sultan Jessa with Her Excellency Adrianne Clarkson, the former Governor General of Canada, at the event in 2005 marking the presentation to him of Canada’s highest honour, the Order of Canada. Photo: Sultan Jessa Collection, Montreal.

Sultan Jessa: A Model Canadian Citizen

(Publisher-Editor, Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos)
On August 15, 2019 at 1:15 PM, I received an article for publication from my beloved friend Sultan Jessa with a kind note that said:
Dear Malik, Feel free to use it if you find this appropriate. Sultan.
I simply replied,
Sultan: Will review.
Little did I know that exactly a week later, on August 22, he would pass away! I was having lunch at Fairview Mall in Toronto, when a note was sent to me that said, “Sultan just passed away this morning.” The email simply would not open on my Iphone, and I learnt about the sad news a few hours later on my notebook.
His funeral ceremonies will be held today, Saturday August 24, at 10 AM at Montreal’s Headquarters Jamatkhana. Samar and ziarat prayers in his remembrance will follow in the evening at the Jamatkhana.

Sultan Jessa of Montreal with his wife and daughters
Flashback to 1990: Sultan and Rosila with daughters Yasmin (left) and Anaar. Photo: Sultan Jessa Collection, Montreal.
Four years ago, in 2015, I spent an entire day with Sultan and his wife Rosila at their home in Montreal. I learnt a lot about Sultan’s extraordinary life as well as his dedication to his family. I was fortunate to interview him and I published it under a special piece entitled The Sultan of Hard Work and Sacrifice: Veteran Ismaili Journalist Sultan Jessa, Order of Canada, is a Model Canadian Citizen For All to Emulate.
Their warmth and affection when I visited their home was incredible, and I cannot forget Sultan’s generosity when he unconditionally presented me a carefully preserved envelope containing memorable photos of His Highness the Aga Khan that had been taken by his former colleague at Kenya’s Daily Nation, Azhar Choudry. I was deeply touched.

Sultan Jessa with Mawlana Hazar Imam and Begum Salimah
His Highness the Aga Khan and Begum Salimah with Sultan Jessa at the bungalow of the late Diwan Sir Eboo Pirbhai during their 1972 visit to Kenya. Photo: Azhar Chaudry. Sultan Jessa Collection, Montreal.
At this painful time of bereavement, we convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife Rosila, their two daughters Anaar and Yasmin, and all the members of Sultan’s family, and pray for their strength and courage. We also pray that Allah may rest Sultan’s soul in eternal peace.
Date posted: August 23, 2019.
Last updated: August 24, 2019.

Sultan Jessa was one of life's precious gifts. He did not have an enemy in the world. Instead, he had thousands of friends and admirers around the world. It was his humanity that struck me above all else and I savoured it every time we met.
As a journalist he was the complete package: caring yet unbiased, truthful and balanced and he was always on the ball chasing a story and getting it to the paper on time. It is little wonder that he was one of the most respected journalists in Africa and Canada.
He was also a devoted servant of the Ismaili community and, of course, an unflinching disciple of the HH The Aga Khan.
I had just written to him (December 19, 2019) a few days ago not know my friend was no longer was with us.
Rest in Peace always.
My condolences to the whole family.--Cyprian Fernandes

Really feeling awful that no one mentioned it to me!

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