A century of family service to the Jamat continues with Gen Z

Abdul Aziz

Abdul Aziz Ajani
Abdul Aziz Ajani

Sherbano Ajani and her family have a record of four generations of service. “My wish and desire is to follow the vision to serve the Imam, to serve him - as we are never too old so long as we are alive and have a will to serve,” she says.

Born in 1921, Sherbano and her late husband, Abdul Aziz, have served the Imam and the Jamat for almost 79 years. She began her service as a volunteer during the 1940’s in Dhari, India, where she served in the capacity as the lead for Safai (Jamatkhana Cleaning and Maintenance).

During the partition turmoil, as many Jamati members and other Muslims were traveling to Dhari, the train tracks were sabotaged and there was an accident. The Dhari Jamat, including Sherbano, provided support to the injured at the hospital. She befriended a young lady, Gulbano, who had been traveling with her two sons and was also injured. It was only on her recent visit to Canada, that she again met Gulbano after almost 70 years, who still remembers the kind support she was offered by Sherbano.


Sherbano Ajani with her son Aziz and daughter-in-law Shameem Ajani
Sherbano Ajani with her son Aziz and daughter-in-law Shameem Ajani

Her journey in life has taken Sherbano from Dhari to Dhaka, Bangladesh, and from 1951-1971 she served the Dhaka Jamat. She remembers the dire needs for food and healthcare, and was engaged with the Jamati Health Centers, providing polio and tetanus vaccinations.

Moving to Karachi, Sherbano served there for 17 years, and now in Chicago, for 31 years. She recollects times in Dhaka when she had to hail public rickshaws to get to Jamatkhana, and recognizes the progress of the Jamat now, where her son drives her --- what she considers to be the blessings of service.

Sherbano’s husband was the Safety and Security Lead, while she used to manage the making of sukreet. She was a volunteer during the time of Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah’s Diamond Jubilee in 1946 in Bombay, his Platinum Jubilee in 1954 in Karachi, and Hazar Imam’s Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in the USA.


Sherbano Ajani with her daughter Nasreen Jaffer
Sherbano Ajani with her daughter Nasreen Jaffer

This service legacy has continued through their children, Aziz Ajani, and Nasreen Jaffer. Aziz has served as a volunteer for 36 years. He has been a Team Lead, a Member of the Midwest Council responsible for Volunteer Regional Management, served on the Crisis Management and Disaster Management Teams, and a participant in the Band. During the Golden Jubilee, he was responsible for adab training module for volunteers.

Nasreen Jaffer became a volunteer in 1986 after she immigrated from Pakistan, and has been the Jamatkhana Facilitator. “Volunteerism has given me peace of mind and happiness,” she says as she reflects on her three decades of service.

Amir Ajani, Sherbano’s grandson says: “Service to the Imam not only helped me in dini matters but also helped me in a worldly way. It taught me to be confident and how to plan, prepare, and execute.” He has been a volunteer for 31 years and is happy to see the roots hold strong into the fourth generation, with his 12-year-old daughter Zahra Ajani. A volunteer in Sugar Land, TX, she served at Houston Food Bank during Hurricane Harvey, and for several years has given performances for seniors at their retirement homes.

Sherbano will mark her eight decades of service in duty at Glenview Jamatkhana in her blue uniform in 2020. Her family exemplifies the tradition of service that is a pillar of the Jamat’s stability and progress and is an example of selfless service to all of us.