- In MemoriamMohammad Jafar Elmi
The venerable editor of our journal, a humble scholar and a dear friend, Mohammad Jafar Elmi, passed away on 29 May 2016 in London. Despite suffering from a lengthy illness he never complained, instead taking recourse to God’s promise to his righteous worshippers.
Dr Elmi was a successful example of the integration of academic and seminary education, having both attained a high level of the latter and obtained his PhD in the United Kingdom. One of the enduring achievements of this virtuous scholar is the establishment of the Islamic College in London, in which, in affiliation with Middlesex University, many students have completed their studies at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He was indefatigable, patient, and efficient during the foundation and establishment of this College, and also served for years as its principal during different periods. With the collaboration of his colleagues, he succeeded in creating a discipline and system for the College, setting its principles, educational regulations, and official procedures in accordance with the standards of the British educational system, which serves as an illustration of his foresight and the systematic nature of his thought. He continued to work in the Islamic College until the last months of his life.
In Iran, at Al-Mustafa University, his faith and academic commitment led him to provide sincere and efficient services in his capacity as both Director of Research and later Director of Education; his colleagues in this University are better aware of these details than I and will surely proceed to relate them.
In early 2008, the Islamic Encyclopedia Foundation invited him to assume supervision of the translation of some of the entries in the Dānishnāmih-yi Jahān i Islām (The Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam) into English. The result of his supervision of this useful and interesting work was the formation and leadership of a team responsible for the translation [End Page 130] and dissemination of many valuable volumes, which enable interested persons to have independent access to some entries of the encyclopaedia in English. Some of those to have been translated and published were selected from long and detailed entries in order that they could form stand-alone books, such as Sufism and Hadith. However, some shorter entries were also selected for translation and presented in one volume. As far as I recall, translated entries include hadith, tafsīr, fields of Qurʾanic studies, Islamic seminary, political parties, history and historiography, education and training, introduction to the forms of the Qurʾan, theological issues, Islamic government, eminent Islamic personalities, Islamic cities, Islamic history, and Islamic law and jurisprudence.
Besides his services in the academic field, Dr Elmi had a trustworthy and lovable character. He was sincere and honest, always helping people wherever he was able. His speech and writing were always accompanied by morality and piety, and he had a spirit of assisting others and resolving their difficulties. In addition to our personal friendship, I had the privilege to enjoy educational and academic cooperation with him, including, in fact, acting as his co-editor in this journal since 2011, and in this respect also I am deeply saddened; I say with confidence: O Lord! We do not know of him except goodness.
On the passing away of this honourable man, with all his qualities of grace, ethics, and spirituality as well as his faithful academic endeavours, I would like to convey my sincere condolences to his dear wife and children as well as his entire family, and also to all his friends and colleagues. He did not like to draw attention to his work, and now that he has gone, it is our duty to honour his memory by referring to his good manners and outstanding services. May God bless both him and us. [End Page 131]