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Published in the 16-30 Apr 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


Mohammad Khalil, deputy editor-in-chief of leading Urdu daily of Hyderabad, Munsif died on 30 March of a heart attack. A week ago he had undergone a bypass surgery but while recuperating in the hospital he suffered another attack which proved fatal. During his editorship Munsif, which is owned by an NRI Lateef Khan, became the largest circulated Urdu daily. Chief minister YSR Reddy in his condolence message paid tributes to his valuable contribution to his profession and his management skills. He was 56 and is survived by his wife and four sons.

Maulana Qari Hafiz Sayeed Ahmad Mujaddidi of Agra died of heart attack on 22 March at the age of 82 years. He was described as a brilliant orator and preacher and his admirers said that he led prayers in a mosque for 42 years without any remuneration.

Maulana Mohammad Ilyas Qasmi 42, a popular A’lim and Imam of Leytonstone Mosque, London, died on 23 February 2005. Maulana was born in a Hindu Pattedar Patel family from Anand in Gujarat. His father had migrated to Gulbarga, Karnataka state, where he established a successful business which also included two cinema halls. 

When his father was on his deathbed he told the elder son that Islam was the true religion and advised him that his sons should embrace this true religion. However, he himself died as a Hindu. Following their father’s advice all of the five brothers accepted Islam when Maulana was only six years old. The mother kept her change of religion a secret though. When she died her body was taken away by their relatives and despite protests by her sons she was cremated. It was followed by a boycott of the brothers by their relatives and friends alike and they were forced to migrate to Bangalore where Maulana memorised the Qur’an and became Haafiz. He was later sent to Deoband where he completed his course as an a’lim. Maulana came to the UK in 1983 to join as Imam and Khateeb of Leytonstone Mosque and served the community in this capacity until his death.

After coming to the UK Maulana gained good command of English. His pleasant style and light hearted jokes made him particularly popular with the youths. Few years ago Maulana had suffered heart attack and underwent a bypass surgery. But with his ever smiling face, long journeys, often himself driving, Maulana never gave anyone the impression that he had an ailment as life threatening as heart condition. One week before his death Maulana had suffered stroke and had to be hospitalised. He was operated upon but did not regain consciousness. Before his operation he called his 12 year old son and asked him to be punctual in his prayers and memorise the Qur’an, an advice that he gave to every Muslim youth.
Strangely enough two months before his death, Maulana had started telling his close friends that his time in this world was very short and during this period all his sermons were about death and the preparation for the world hereafter.

He was buried in Chingford cemetery and his funeral was attended by more than 2000 people. He is survived by his wife and five sons the eldest of whom is 12 and youngest five (M Ghazali Khan, London)

The first death anniversary of Dr MA Haleem, socialist ideologue and founder of Muslim Samaj was observed in Lucknow on 2nd April under the auspices of Dr Haleem Memorial Committee. The main function was held at Ganga Prasad Hall in which socialist colleagues of Dr Haleem and political and religious leaders, intellectuals and journalists paid tributes to him.

Allama Shabbir Ahmad Azhar Meeruti, a religious scholar, exegetical writer who had deep knowledge of Hadiths died of heart attack at his home in Meerut on 24 January. He had a brilliant educational record and had acquired a deep knowledge of all aspects of theology at a very young age. He died at the age of 82.

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