An Aspiring Nature

While working with his Father in his optical shop, Mulla Asgher also utilized his spare time to pursue religious education. He enrolled himself as a private student of the late Chief Kadhi of Kenya, Sharif Ali Badawy to study Arabic language. At the same time according to Mulla Abdulrasul Mulla Hassanali he learned Farsi in his association with his father and Mulla H. M. Nasser. He also associated with the various Ulema transiting through Mombasa. He further improved his command over Farsi language by reading and relentless practice. For his professional training, he later went to India for a short course in Opthalmics.

Mulla Asgher took keen interest in the Theosophical Society of Momabsa. The majority of participants in the Theosophical Society were Hindus, with very few Muslim participants. He also attended the interfaith meetings organised by the Christian Missionaries. I recall an occasion in 1960s' when Mulla Asgher addressed such a meeting at the Star of the Sea School, Mombasa. Among those present were late Dr.Jafferali Assaria, Mohsin A-M.Jaffer, writer and a few others from the Muslim community. Most of the participants were Christians, among them priests and Nuns of the Catholic order. In his talk Mulla Asgher dwelt on the Question of human dignity, the spirit of Islamic brotherhood and the impact of the philosophy of Tawheed on the development of human outlook and character. To illustrate his point of view he gave an example of an illiterate Muslim 'turn-boy' of a transport truck. Despite the vast difference in their economic status, this poor 'tum-boy' did not feel within himself to be in any way inferior to his educated truck driver or to his rich owner of the transport firm. He further went on to explain how this poor illiterate person carried himself with dignity and felt so contented and at ease in the company of the educated and materially far better off individuals. In fact because of his faith in Allah, in many ways the illiterate poor turn-boy even considered himself superior to the non-believers. Mulla Asgher then related some Kiswahili colloquial expressions to underline how such minds worked. The impact on those present was palpable. Interest in interfaith meetings continued even after he migrated to U.K. He encouraged the Islamic Education Board of the World Federation to mingle with other Muslim Communities and also with non- Muslims. Mohsin Jaffer, Chairman of the I.E.B and Dr. Sibtain Panjawani, Secretary General of the W.F. often narrate examples of such outreach endeavors to generate better understanding among followers of different faith and denominations