Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Texas Events for Sisters!

Don’t miss your chance to hear Ustadha Shamira starting this week!
(All events are held in Plano, TX at the IACC

Modesty: A Branch of Faith

For youth sisters, ages 16-24 (no parents, please!)
Thursday, June 16th: 7:30pm-Maghrib
Plano, TX masjid
Upstairs Classroom

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Modesty only brings good." [Agreed upon]

What exactly is modesty? How does it relate to ourselves, to our Creator, and to the rest of creation?

In this motivating and beneficial talk, Ustadha Shamira from The Rahmah Foundation will discuss the importance of modesty in our religion, how it relates to us, and how we can increase in this amazing quality that is so beloved to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala! Don't miss out!

Inter-gender relations, issues regarding school, work and how to maintain one's identity in a conflicting environment and how to create the 'yard-stick' measurement of what one should and should not be doing in various real life situations will be discussed. Don't miss out!


The Power Within You

For youth sisters, ages 12-18 (no parents, please!)
Tuesday, June 21st: 2:30pm-3:30pm
Plano, TX masjid
Upstairs Classroom

Self esteem is perceived self worth. For the youth, this concept is based on how others categorize them and how they are treated in their surroundings. Because of this, a lot of girls develop an unhealthy desire to be liked and accepted by their peers. Thus, there are a lot of relationships with the opposite gender and increasing drug use. Girls must learn to be bold and have faith that Allah will guide them in their pursuits. Ustadha Shamira Chothia Ahmed will discuss how important it is for young Muslimahs to respect themselves and have confidence in their deen in this vital talk regarding self-esteem. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to learn from a young, female teacher who was born and raised in the U.S!


Seeking Sacred Knowledge:
The Straight Path to the Almighty

For ALL sisters!
Thursday, June 23rd: 2:30pm-3:30pm
Plano, TX masjid
IACC Multipurpose Hall

Born and raised in Northern California, Shamira Chothia Ahmed is an emerging female scholar of the traditional Islamic sciences. Her studies led her to seek sacred knowledge from scholars on three continents — Africa, Europe, and Asia. In England she completed the five-year, traditional alimah (Islamic studies) program, studied the ahadith collection of the Sihah Sittah and received her ijaazah (authorization) in Sahih al-Bukhari with renowned Hanafi scholars. Thereafter, Ustadha Shamira was able to continue her studies for six months in Damascus, Syria where she obtained an ijaazah in tajwid of the Hafs recitation from the late eminent Syrian scholar, Shaykh Abu Hassan al-Kurdi. In addition, she furthered her Arabic studies at the Abu-Noor Institute and took classes in fiqh, aqidah (creed) and sirah (prophetic history) at Damascus’s Masjid Zaid. Upon returning to the U.S. in 2005, she was granted the opportunity to be an instructor of Hanafi fiqh for women at the Zaytuna Institute in Hayward, California. Privately, she taught fiqh, tajwid and Qur’anic tafsir (exegesis).
Visit for more information.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Motherhood by Shaykh Nuh

Assalamualaykum Sisters,

A friend passed this on to me and it's a beautiful and uplifting reminder to renew one's intentions and to make du'a that Allah (swt) grants us the tawfiq to fulfill the amazing and weighty role of motherhood!

“When she has her first baby, she must manage for another life even more dependent on her personal sacrifices. By the second, third, or fourth child, her days and nights belong almost entirely to others. Whether she has a spiritual path or not, such a mother can seldom resist a glance at the past, when there were more prayers, more meanings, more spiritual company, and more serenity. When Allah opens her understanding, she will see that she is engaged in one of the highest forms of worship, that of producing new believers who love and worship Allah. She is effectively worshipping Allah for as many lifetimes she has children, for the reward of every spiritual work her children do will be hers, without this diminishing anything of their own rewards: every ablution, every prayer, every Ramadan, every hajj, and even the works her children will in turn pass on to their offspring, and, so on till the end of time. Even if her children do not turn out as she wishes, she shall be requited in paradise forever according to her intention in raising them, which was that they should be godly.

Aside from the tremendous reward, within the path itself it is noticeable that many of those who benefit most from khalwa or ‘solitary retreat of dhikr’ are women who have raised children. With only a little daily dhikr and worship over the years, but much toil and sacrifice for others, they surpass many a younger person who has had more free time, effort, and ‘spiritual works.’ What they find is greater because their state with Allah is greater; namely, the awe, hope, and love of the Divine they have realized by years of sincerity to Him.”

-Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nursing Your Baby Naturally:: Sisters' Workshop!

Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem

The Rahmah Foundation Proudly Presents:

Nursing Your Baby Naturally
Sister Hoda Shawky, RN, CPNP, CLEC
Ust. Shamira Chothia Ahmed, MA, CLEC
Sunday March 27th, 2011
11am - 3pm

Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI) Masjid
Upstairs classroom
IRVINE, CA 92620
Cost: Free!

In this educational and inspiring workshop, Sister Hoda & Ustadha Shamira, certified lactation educators and counselors, will be covering all the various aspects of breastfeeding your newborn to toddler, touching upon:
  • Why breast is best
  • The science and miracle of breastfeeding (how we produce and sustain our milk supply)
  • Positioning of the baby onto the breast
  • Is my baby getting enough milk?
  • Planning for breastfeeding success
  • Nutrition, contraception, and medications: what Mommy needs to know
  • When Mommy's away: pumping milk and returning to work/school
  • Common medical concerns and myths
  • Tapping into local resources and support systems
  • Islam and breastfeeding
    ...and much more! This class is open to all sisters interested in learning about breastfeedomg and what our Islamic tradition mentions regarding this beautiful stage and experience in a woman's life. Everyone is welcome to attend! Sisters only!

    Jazakum-Allah khayrun and please spread the word!!

    Nursing Your Baby Naturally:: Sisters' Workshop!

    Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem

    The Rahmah Foundation Proudly Presents:

    Nursing Your Baby Naturally
    Sister Hoda Shawky, RN, CPNP, CLEC
    Ust. Shamira Chothia Ahmed, MA, CLEC
    Sunday March 27th, 2011
    11am - 3pm

    Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI) Masjid
    Upstairs classroom
    IRVINE, CA 92620
    Cost: Free!

    In this educational and inspiring workshop, Sister Hoda & Ustadha Shamira, certified lactation educators and counselors, will be covering all the various aspects of breastfeeding your newborn to toddler, touching upon:
    • Why breast is best
    • The science and miracle of breastfeeding (how we produce and sustain our milk supply)
    • Positioning of the baby onto the breast
    • Is my baby getting enough milk?
    • Planning for breastfeeding success
    • Nutrition, contraception, and medications: what Mommy needs to know
    • When Mommy's away: pumping milk and returning to work/school
    • Common medical concerns and myths
    • Tapping into local resources and support systems
    • Islam and breastfeeding
      ...and much more! This class is open to all sisters interested in learning about breastfeedomg and what our Islamic tradition mentions regarding this beautiful stage and experience in a woman's life. Everyone is welcome to attend! Sisters only!

      Jazakum-Allah khayrun and please spread the word!!

      Tuesday, October 26, 2010

      Remembering Farhana's words (may Allah have mercy on her soul)

      Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullah

      How time seems to fly... it has already been a year since our beloved sister, Farhana, left this world for our more lasting abode. May Allah (swt) grant Aunty Rabia & Uncle Moosa, and all the loved ones, increased patience, contentment and proximity unto Him. Ameen.


      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: Rabia Lunat

      Our dearest daughter Farhana's departure from this world was marked by
      her special emphasis on the following advice given to us and to
      everyone dear to her heart! I feel compelled to address it and not let
      it pass in vain.

      1. "Be GRATEFUL to ALLAH (SWT) and always count your BLESSINGS!". The
      same way its emphases in the Quran 27:40, "And whosoever is grateful,
      truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his own self, and whosoever
      is ungrateful, (its only to the loss of his ownself) Certainly! My
      Lord is Rich (free of all wants) and Bountiful.

      2. Farhana often said, "BE CALM, CALMLY WILL BE THE KEYWORDS!" This
      phrase gets its wider meaning in the hadith of our beloved
      PROPHET(SAW), "To act in a calm and collected manner is from the Side
      of ALLAH, while to act in haste is from the side of satan." May ALLAH
      grant us all HIS divine gift as well!

      3. Farhanas last piece of advice was, "Mom dont cry for the rest of
      your life!.....instead share and spread this lesson to the rest of our
      dear family and friends. CHANGE and get closer to ALLAH (SWT), for no
      one has time". Coincidentally, the slogan on her bedroom wall always

      This is the legacy, our dearest daughter Farhana; fulfilling the
      rights she owed to others and never expectingn anything in return.
      Described as "down to earth" and "sensible", she always made others
      more important than herself. She did so because ALLAH gifted her, as
      HE does with HIS most beloved servants, with a keen sense of what
      actually matters in life—and at the end of life. We thank ALLAH for
      each and every moment of Farhana's company. HE mercifully gave to us.
      We pray that HE increase our resolve to adopt lifestyles like hers
      whose Qibla was the Aakhira. We pray that HE REUNITE us all in the
      highest station of Jannatul Firdaus!. Ameen

      Thursday, October 07, 2010

      Dear Rahmah Sisters!

      We pray that you all are doing well and are still in the Ramadan spirit of increasing in good works!

      Please join us for a wonderful and motivational talk by Ustadha Shamira THIS Saturday October 9th on the importance of women seeking sacred knowledge!

      The Rahmah Foundation Proudly Presents:

      Seeking Sacred Knowledge:
      The Straight Path to the Almighty

      A Sisters' Only Motivational Talk!
      with Ustadha Shamira Chothia Ahmed

      "My Lord, increase me in knowledge." Quran 20:114

      When? Saturday, Oct. 9th 11am PST/1pm CST/2pm EST/7pm England

      Where: DimDim Online!

      Email: to register!

      Wednesday, September 15, 2010

      Keeping up the Ramadan Spirit! THIS THURSDAY 9/1 (Sisters Only)!

      As-salamualaykum wa rahmatullah
      Dear Rahmah Sisters!

      We pray that you all had a wonderful Eid and are still in the Ramadan spirit of increasing in good works!

      We spent several classes in Ramadan discussing how to keep from backsliding during Ramadan.... but what about after Ramadan? It's about that time when Eid celebrations are coming to an end and you're faced with the sad realization that Ramadan is really over! As you look back at the hard work and worship you put forth last month, you start worrying about keeping up the good habits you've formed! If you feel like this right now, please join us for a wonderful and motivational talk by Ustadha Shamira THIS Thursday, Sept. 16th about how to keep up the Ramadan spirit and how to make the most of this blessed month of Shawwal!

      The Rahmah Foundation Proudly Presents:

      Keeping up the Ramadan Spirit!

      A Sisters' Only Post-Ramadan Motivational Talk!
      with Ustadha Shamira Chothia Ahmed

      “Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days from Shawwal it is as if they fasted the entire year.” Muslim

      When? Thursday, Sept 16th at 12:00pm Noon PST / 2pm CST/ 3pm EST
      Email: to register!

      Ust. Shamira will speak about:
      • The 6 fasts of Shawwal
      • Staying Motivated post-Ramadan
      • Updates on Rahmah courses and seminar offerings
      • Du'aa
      We also hope that you are partaking in our Rahmah monthly Qur'an Khatim and group Du'aa! To register, please scroll down for the link to the Shawwal (Sept-Oct) khatim. Deadline to complete recitation: Oct. 9th:
      Please forward this email to all your female contacts! If they have not registered yet to be on our mailing list, please ask them to sign up to get the latest updates about all of our female-specific programs firsthand! Simply have them enter their email address here:
      Google Groups
      Subscribe to TheRahmahFoundation
      Visit this group

      Wednesday, August 18, 2010

      Inna Lillahi wa Inna ilayhi raajiun - my dear Uncle Amin

      As-salamu alaykum,

      Uncle Amin, Shamira & Rashaad's paternal uncle, returned to his Lord today, Tues August 17th (the 6th of Ramadan) in South Africa. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'oon. He had a very amiable personality and was a true pleasure to be around.

      He had a heart attack yesterday, and passed on today due to cardiac weakness. At the news of Uncle Amin's heart attack, Shamira's father (Uncle Amin's younger brother) left to South Africa immediately and is still in transit.

      Uncle Amin is survived by his wife, two daughters, and his grand-children. We ask that you please pray for him and for his family.

      May Allah (swt) grant him the highest level of Jannatul Firdous, and provide his family with sabr. Ameen.

      Abu Zahraa

      Friday, August 13, 2010

      *10 Things to hand down to your daughter*

        MashAllah Great Ideas to pass to your children, inshAllah!

        1. Knowledge of and love for Allah and the deen. This is one of the most
        precious and enduring gifts you can pass down to your daughter, one that
        will benefit her in this life and the next.

        2. Memorisation of the Qur’an. No matter how little you have memorised
        yourself, push your daughter to memorise as much she can. Encourage her and
        help her to revise. It will stand her in good stead in her life and will be
        a source of reward for you after your death as well.

        3. A good example of Muslim womanhood. Most girls look to their mothers for
        guidance. Embody the characteristics of a strong, faithful Muslimah and she
        will be inspired to follow your example.

        4. A sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Instil a sense of confidence in
        your child by encouraging her skills, talents and personality to develop.
        Make her feel secure in her identity and show her that she is loved and
        appreciated. This will have a positive impact on her future relationships
        and how she interacts with the world.

        5. A sense of modesty. Instil a love for hijab in your daughter and
        encourage her to be modest, never boastful or conceited, in all areas of her

        6. Your language. If you speak Arabic, be sure to teach it to her so that
        she has the key to the understanding of the Qur’an. Also, if you have a
        mother tongue or speak a second language yourself, pass it on: a second or
        third language is always an asset, whether in a study, work or social

        7. A skill that you have. If you are an avid gardener, knitter or love
        painting, pass your skill onto your daughter. With so many ‘traditional’
        skills being lost in today’s fast-paced world, you owe it to her to share
        your knowledge and pass it on to the next generation.

        8. Your favourite recipes. Yes, teach your daughter how to cook! Be it from
        a cookbook, an original recipe or passed down from your mother or even your
        grandmother, we all have our own trademark recipes: pass them on to your
        daughter and encourage her to develop some specialities of her own.

        9. Housekeeping skills. Instil good housekeeping habits in all your children
        and encourage them to take pride in a neat and tidy home. Pass any tricks or
        shortcuts on so that your daughter is well-equipped when she has a home of
        her own.

        10. Your family history. Give her a sense of her roots and heritage by
        sharing your family story with her. Acquaint her with her family tree and
        teach her the lessons learned by the different generations. Hopefully, she
        will do the same with her children, insha Allah.
      -Author Unknown.

      Sunday, August 08, 2010

      Our beloved Papa's passing...

      Our dear grandfather, Goolam Hoosen Patel, past on
      to His Lord June 3rd in South Africa on the blessed night
      of Jumuah at the age of 94. He was the founder of
      Darul-Uloom Zakariyya in Southern Africa and had
      been involved in much philanthropic work in India,
      including the establishment of numerous Madaris. He
      was known throughout as Bajee Patel, and his family
      affectionately called him Papa. He would split his
      time between South Africa and the US, and even at 94
      years old, he was an alert, amazing, pious man
      mashaAllah. He was blessed to have lived to see his
      Great - Great Grand Son. He was a grandfather to
      Ustadha Shamira, as well as other alimahs, alims,
      and male and female huffaz in his family. He was
      blessed to have past away with an amazing passing (please see below).

      An entry by my cousin, Na'eel:

      Not long after, on the eve of Friday/Jumuah, June 3, 2010, he left us for his Lord. May God Almighty grant him the loftiest portions of Paradise. آمين/Amen

      Like many of our grandparents, he was no ordinary human being. I thought it would be nice to share a brief account of his life and legacy as well as a narrative of his passing.

      The Final Days and Moments of Hazrat Bajee Patel (rahmatullah ʿalayh)

      In Papa's final days, he limited his speech to the essentials of his own upkeep - personal
      hygiene and divinely-ordained obligations. "Put my warm brown cap on at night and white
      hat in the day, " he instructed us, still as methodical as he was in healthier days though hardly
      able to move.

      "What time is it?", he asked us every few hours so, inquiring the time of day with respect to
      the next prayer. His intizar of salah (anticipation for the next prayer) was only surpassed by
      his eagerness to complete the prayer of the present moment as soon as it entered, an
      approach he perfected over the course of his life.

      For the days preceding Papa's last, untold numbers of visitors streamed in to ask for prayers
      and greet an old and generous friend. Often, the first question many would ask is "How are
      you?" to which Papa replied in various ways. To a young girl, he said, "Slowly, slowly, I'm
      going into my qabr." To a man advanced in age who came to the hospital ward, Papa replied,
      "If I was well, I wouldn't be here right now, would I?"

      On Thursday afternoon, he inquired from all those sitting around him whether Asr had been
      made to which we all affirmed. With only an hour to the Maghrib prayer, many of us glanced
      at the small alarm clock on the headboard wondering whether our dear grandfather would
      make to the eve of Jumuah (since sacred time considers the sunset to be the defining event
      between days).

      As soon as Maghrib time entered, Papa awoke as usual to perform his prayer and
      communicate with his Lord. The tayammum went according to the routine he developed
      over the past two weeks. Lightly patting the stone resting upon a yellow towel designated for
      this specific purpose, he made sure he wiped his face thoroughly, the wrinkle free cheeks,
      the deep-set crevices of his eyes with a completeness we have all come to expect of him.

      This Maghrib and the Isha he would soon make resembled so many others he had
      completed that week, beginning with his intention(niyya) in Urdu, "ye chaar rakaat
      namaaz…." Though weak in strength, he managed to reserve whatever he had to
      determinedly raise his hands for the takbir al-ula, both palms Qibla-bound and turn his face
      from right to left greeting the scribe-angels with the greetings of salaam and rahma.

      As I think back to the moments and minutes following that Maghrib, everything seemed so
      planned so coordinated.

      Once Maghrib ended, the priority was to recite Surah Kahf - a practice neither Papa nor his
      progeny would ever overlook. The recital was slow and measured, drawing out ayah which
      gave special reference to the occasion. al-maalu wa al-banoon zeenatul hayaat dunyaa…wa
      ʿallamnaahu min ladunnaa ʿilmaa…..

      After Isha, what would be our dear Papa's final namaz, the family - Papa's children,

      grandchildren, and great-grandchildren - returned to his room sitting and standing around
      his bed. This was the same room we all gathered in a decade ago to bid farewell to beloved
      Ma. "If Papa was in the madrasa right now, he would have been reciting the 40 Durood - a
      collection of Salawat upon the Prophet compiled by Sheikh Zakariya (rahmatullah alaih) in
      1981 - aloud with all the students and teachers. Let us help him continue this tradition, " I
      suggested, with memories of Papa sitting in front of the masjid at Darul Uloom Zakariya
      floating like phantoms before my eyes. Both the author and the recital were close to Papa's
      heart and day-to-day life.

      Soon afterward, Papa indicated with a single word his need to use the restroom. Almost
      everybody left to complete their namaz as well. Just an hour earlier, we had asked Mufti Raza
      al-Haq about final preparations for death and used this opportunity to clear the room of
      miscellaneous items - the bedside table, the stools, and chairs - , prop Papa on his right side
      and turned Papa's bed toward the Kaʿba. In accordance with Papa's maneuvering.

      The soft sheepskins brought by kind family friends were laid out next to the bed, the lamps
      were positioned in the corners of the room.

      After redressing Papa in a clean set of clothes, I reached into my pocket for the bottle of
      perfume(ʿattar), of Oud to give my grandfather his favorite scent, which he often would soak
      a small piece of cotton in and place it in his ear.

      Last week, soon after Dhuhr one day, Papa opened his eyes and asked me to open the
      drawer of his bedside table. "Bring me the Oud Ameeri, the best," he said proudly, "put
      some on me." The tears gathered in my eyes as my index finger grazed Papa's earlobe and
      hand stroked his silvery beard and nonegeneric growth of jet black hairs on the chin. Never
      one to limit his best to himself even if under such circumstances, Papa then told me, "when
      a haaru maanas, gentleman comes, lagar." That last statement was enough to draw the tears
      which had begun to weigh down my eyelid. I blinked and the tears fell free.

      The dim lights in the room provided a timeless ambience as Rashad, Uncle Muhammed, and
      I sat around Papa, now resting on his right side with pillows.

      Since Papa was exhausted from his last kogra, we were at ease when his breaths seemed to
      relax though shallow. At some point, I opened my eyes and saw that I was alone in the
      room. Sitting on Papa's right side on my knees with my face directly facing Papa's, now on
      his side, I saw Papa open his near century-old eyes looking directly at me.

      "Ketla vaaja(what time is it)?"

      Not expecting a sudden question, I grasped for the watch that wasn't there.

      From Rashad, I learned that it was half past nine.

      "Half past nine, papa"

      "Did I make my Isha?"


      "Sure? Did I make my Isha?"

      "Yes, parigai"

      "Are you sure? I made Isha? Mere puree namaz pare?", he asked Aunty Rabia and me.

      Thinking that three times was sufficient to establish certainty, I heard Papa ask once more,
      "So, I made my Isha?"

      Aunty Fatima joined me in the room and helped me assure Papa he completed his namaz.
      "Yes, Papa, Isha you have made. Now we have a few hours to Fajr. Inshallah we'll make Fajr

      Papa responded, "Inshallah."

      When aunty Fatima exited the room, Nasreen brought Ayesha into the room while Papa
      was on his side. Papa, though unable to utter words, was able to gift her with a smile, a
      sincere gift from a generous man which Nasreen recalled as indicating, "I'm leaving but
      you're just starting."

      Still sitting next to Papa looking at him eye to eye, I spoke, "Papa, Jumuah Mubarak, we love
      you so much Papa. Is there anything else I can do for you?"

      The whisper came, "Straighten me……" Aunty Rabia and I removed the pillows behind
      Papa laying him flat, his customary sleeping position. Still, he repeated, "Straight, straight."
      We surveyed Papa's body seeing what wasn't straight. "My legs, straight." Expecting his legs
      to be way off the axis of the bed, I discovered that his legs were just off the axis of the qibla.
      Moving his feet a few inches toward the center of the bed, I realized that this was just a
      manifestation of a lifelong penchant for detail.

      Aunty Shehnaz hurried the rest of the family, completing their Isha namaz, to the room.
      Each member assumed their places - on stools, chairs, and sheepskins - where they had
      faithfully read Quran for many days and weeks prior.

      Rabia and Shehnaz, Papa's daughters who traveled 35 hours just two weeks earlier to make
      his khidma and tend to his needs, took turns reciting the kalima and shahadainto his ears. I
      was told to draw near to Papa and honored with the duty of reciting the truest statement in
      the universe into his right ear.

      We recited for about ten minutes before Papa put his hand on his heart saying, "Slowly,
      …my heart, my heart."

      At that moment, we thought Papa was asking us to recite softly in our hearts so we chose a
      lower volume to recite. Some in our family, however, heard Papa say "Slowly, it's my heart."
      In the latter case, far from an instruction to us, it was a point of guidance to an angel we will
      all meet one morning, afternoon, or evening.

      Papa then said, "dori topi" referring to the snowy white cap he diligently worn for the last four
      decades. Several family members removed the woolly brown cap as I carefully pulled the
      embroidered brim of the spotlessly white topi over the curvature of Papa's head.

      My mother Sabira recounts that Papa's face at this time was filled with so much light, with a
      noor she remembers on his face in 1956 when he carried in his arms 6-week old Bibi
      Ayesha, his lifeless baby daughter, out of the hospital. He turned to Ma Rasool who was
      crying at the loss of her youngest child and counseled her, "Allah ne ukam tio." The
      steadfastness he upheld at that moment emerged on his face as he lay in the bed, now with
      his favorite topi on.

      With the the hum of the kalima in the room as I whispered it into his ears and Papa's lips
      repeated it, his arms sprung to life raised in the arm, palms facing the sacred direction. He
      then initiated the tayammum process. Many of us recognized this course of action, since
      Papa's heart truly came to life at the time of prayer these past three weeks. And his heart
      would then breathe life into his limbs.

      After completing this purifying rite, Papa raised both of his arms into the air and began
      waving them gracefully through the air. This was certainly not the waving of a soul in
      distress, but the waving of a soul jubilantly welcoming the angels of the moment. A few
      breaths later, Papa began his journey in the next leaving this world on the eve of Jumuah at
      the ripe lunar age of 96.

      His six daughters along with many sons-in-law, grandchildren, and great-grand-children sat
      and stood around Papa all the while. As tears fell and embraces began, we bid farewell to
      our Papa, a human paragon of Prophetic practice to us and so many others.

      The janazah services began within an hour. Moulana Burhan Mia and his team soon arrived
      to take Papa to the ghusl facility opposite Oriental plaza. On the way, Molana Burhan, after
      hearing the beautiful manner of Papa's passing, said that a hadith came to mind the day
      before regarding Papa's life. "Among the signs of blessing and bounty upon a person is
      when he is given a lengthy age and his deeds only become more beautiful with age. He added
      that for the person who vigilantly safeguards his prayer in this world, never mind walks to
      the masjid for Fajr at 96, the questioning of the grace starts off on a different footing. The
      person will be granted a vision of a horizon with a sun at the Asr position. When Munkar
      and Nakeer arrive, the person will ask them to wait so he or she can complete the prayer.

      At the ghusl facility, Shiraz, Rashad, Uncle Abbas, Uncle Mohamed, and I worked with
      Akbar, Molana Durwesh, Mufti Mohammed Ali and others to prepare Papa's body for the
      qabr. His chest was firm and strong, looking many decades younger. After rubbing the
      camphor on the "sajda points" most prominently his palms and forehead, we carried our
      Papa to his kafan, the ihram-like cloths he had worn many times before in preparation for
      this moment.

      Before covering his face, I pulled his small brown comb to neaten his beard for the last time,
      a moment cemented in memory. I turned the Oud Ameeri bottle upside down on my palm
      taking out a few drops and began applying it to his kafan until I reached his face where I
      stroked his glistening beard with the last scent of this world.

      By midnight, the kafn enclosing Papa arrived at 7a 13th Ave where the family waited
      earnestly. By Fajr, we had nearly completed a khatm of the Quran and gathered around Papa
      for the last time. Among the many duas we made, I will always remember one since it has
      become a part of my regular litany: allahuma aftah ʿalaynaa futooh ul-ʿaarifeen kamaa fatahta
      ʿalaa haadha al-ghulaam. Oh Allah! Open upon us the vision and enlightenment of the
      Knowers of you as you have enlightened this ghulaam.

      Just as we concluded, the melodic dhikr "Allahu Allah …Allahu Raabi…Awni wa Hasbi
      …Maali siwa Hu" filled the room as it had done so many times before that week.

      At quarter past nine, the hearse arrived to take Papa to his home of ten years, Darul Uloom
      Zakariyya. Nearing the four-way stops, Rashaad and I, seated on either side of Papa in the
      hearse, glanced backward on to the soft green velvet of the casket where the kalima "la ila
      ha illah" decal on the minivan's window was imprinted in serene shadow.

      Entering the gates of the madrasa, we gazed out over the rows of cars parked in the football
      fields as we approached the side entrance of the mosque. We hardly turned off the road
      before we had to park the hearse. A tunnel of hundreds of students from the madrasa waited
      to each lend a hand in carrying Papa to his position in the masjid courtyard. Though the
      distance was over several hundred meters, each person was only able to touch the casket
      with one hand before passing it on to the next.

      As soon as the congregation of several thousand had assembled at about 9:00 am, Moulana
      Suliman Moola stepped onto the podium and offered a few words on the life and legacy of
      "Hazrat Bajee Patel rahmatullah alayh." He noted the central importance of prayer in Papa's
      life and his desire to help others even at an advanced age. Referring to a meeting he had with
      Papa after the massacres in Gujarat, Moulana Suliman Moola remembers how Papa cried as
      he showed his photographs of the tragic events. He concluded by characterizing Papa’s exit
      from the dunya as “an enviable death.”

      Mufti Rada-ul-Haq, the institution's senior scholar, came forward to lead the Janaza namaz –
      a prayer whose call was given into Papa's ears ninety six years earlier – at a time when the
      Osmanli/Ottoman sultan was still hailed as the Caliph on the Jumuah pulpit.

      Immediately after the prayer, the tunnel that had welcomed him bid farewell to Papa, passing
      him toward the hearse for his final drive to his and everybody else's eventual dunyawi resting

      At the graveyard, the crowd continued to grow while we waited for many others delayed by
      the traffic of attendees. Rashaad, Molana Durwesh, and Uncle Riaz, and I left our shows
      graveside and climbed into the qabr, stepping lightly onto to the rusty-red Lenasia gravel.

      The crowd above passed the body, wrapped in the white kafn, head-first to Rashaad, who
      carefully passed it on to Uncle Riaz, Molana Durwesh, and, finally, to me. In both my hands,
      I cradled Papa's head, once the vessel of so much life and enthusiasm, thinking about the
      sharpness of mind he was gifted for nearly a century until his passing. wa shukru lillah.

      When the body was laid down on its side in the niche facing the qibla, I continued to cradle
      the head wondering how to proceed. I wanted to preserve Papa's sleeping position and could
      not bear to see him uncomfortable. Just beside me, I spotted a flat rock which I placed
      carefully under his head like a pillow. My heart calmed seeing him at ease. That would be my
      final khidma to a grandfather who spent his life in the service of his family and community.
      Planks of wood were passed down to Uncle Riaz and Moulana Durwesh who wedged them
      tightly between the wall and floor of the grave them, like a tightly tucked blanket.

      Within a few minutes, the dirt that had been removed to make way for this final journey
      down under was replaced. Our Moulana Yusuf Bemath came forth to recite the beginning of
      Surah Baqara at the head-side and the final verses by the feet-side, followed by Muftisap’s
      heartfelt duʿaa. Every time I opened my eyes during this prayer, I saw the tears rolling down
      the faces of the young and old, especially the many faces who often frequented Papa to serve
      and learn from him.

      The crowd of well-wishers gradually left, leaving Abid bhai, Uncle Riaz, Uncle Saeed, the
      two Yusufs from Malawi – who had diligently served Papa beyond the call of duty –, and

      At Abid bhai’s instruction, I squatted by the right shoulder and recited the suggested
      passages from the Quran before reminding the deceased, as tradition suggests, of the
      answers to the questions asked in the grave. The memory from a decade ago ran through my
      mind as I squatted in the same position by Ma Rasool, my grandmother’s qabr reminding
      her. Addressing Papa, I began:

      My dearest Papa. This is a simple reminder to you from a grandson who loves you
      for all that you have taught him and given him of spiritual wealth. Papa, your Lord,
      your Rabb is the one whom you turned to and worshipped under all circumstances.
      Your Prophet, your Nabi is Muhammad(saw) whose life you made the basis of your
      life and whom you loved so much. Papa, your deen is Islam through which you
      contented your heart.

      With brackish tears streaming into rivulets on my cheeks, I stood up, said bismillah and
      returned to finish my dunya time.

      A couple things I wanted to add to Na'eel's account:

      *After we read surah Yasin aloud by Papa's bedside in those last days, Papa awoke and said "ok enough. Now i will read in my heart... Allah...Allah..." imagine that state of muraqabah! subhanAllah..

      *Each of us kissed Papa on the cheek, as a last farewell, before his body was taken for the janazah.


      Ṣalāh – This form of worship constitutes the five daily ordained prayers of Muslims.
      Beginning with Fajr before sunrise, the next in Ẓuhr after noon, then ʿAṣr in the late
      afternoon, then Maghrib just after sunset, and finally ʿIshā in the late evening.

      Tayammum – Ritual purification performed in the absence of water or under special
      handicapped circumstances

      Qabr - Arabic word for grave. The linguistic root is related to the root “q r b” connoting
      temporal and special proximity.

      An article written in our hometown newspaper:

      Note: The birth year should have been 1916 in the article.


      My old updates days before Papa's passing:

      On Sun, May 23, 2010 at 8:08 PM:

      JazakumAllah khayrun for all those who are praying for my Grandfather & family.

      My cousin in South Africa provided the following update on May 22:

      Pappa is at my mother’s place [his eldest daughter] after being discharged from the hospital yesterday. Aunty Farida [his second eldest daughter] arranged for a hospital bed to be brought home so Pappa can be as comfortable as possible.

      He is in a very weak condition due to him being unable to eat sold foods – he’s lost a considerable amount of weight as a result and has a constant drip being administered. Naeel and Yusuf (his haafiz grandsons) are continuously reading Sura Ya’sin at Pappa’s bedside – he appreciates having all [six of] his daughters being with him. Even in this tough physical state, Pappa has not missed a single Namaaz – a tremendous example for us all. Pappa is mentally alert as ever and still has someone go through all his accounts with him – truly remarkable!

      Please continue to keep him in your du'aas

      JazakAllah khayrun



      The day of his passing:

      Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullah
      Please pray for an excellent seal for Papa (we are raised according to how we pass from this world). Papa's condition is very weak and we pray for ease, comfort and husnal khaatima (excellent seal).

      When 94 year old (Islamically aged 96)
      Papa wakes up from his slumber his only concern is his prayer. Although he cannot move himself due to weakness, he still is able to perform tayammum and makes sure someone awakens him for each prayer. Sometimes out of confusion he will anxiously ask which prayer time it is, and asks if he had already prayed the last prayer - the answer being yes each time. He then asks for someone to make sure they wake him for the next prayer. Prayer is truly the light of his eyes. Late last night he was busy praying in his bed, rak'aat after rakaat, and did not sleep much despite his fatigue. Today we just had a Qur'an completion (khatm) and made a long supplication for him - for the strength and light of our family - for our dear Papa, Goolem Hussein Patel.

      Please make dua for Papa and the whole family.

      May we all be granted husnul khaatima. ameen

      Tawfiq, inshAllah

      Wa'salaam from South Africa