Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un
To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return.
[Qur’an Sura 2: Ayat 156]
I’m only writing this because Imran bhaiya always encouraged me to write when things were getting too much in my mind. He too was into writing and would allow me to read his work, such as “Disabled Society“. He often read my posts and with wisdom would offer nasiha and would never assume that he knew what was running through my mind though often managed to say the right words.
Currently, this student is trying to remember the advice that with time things will get easier, though I’m also hoping that with time I don’t stop remembering the great inspiration and help Imran was to this faqira.
I hope this writing space helps me to just clear the many thoughts that have been running in my mind since yesterday (upon hearing of his passing) and I also hope it serves as a reminder to myself of the many good times I shared with such an inspirational teacher, work colleague, and above all friend.
I’m sure that there are many people who have great memories of Imran and were fortunate to have known him, spoken to him, or been in his presence. We should hold onto these memories. They’re important and a teaching tool to us all.
Imran wasn’t just a work colleague in Kitaba but he was the friendly bhaiya (brother) who would never say anything harsh when I would say something ignorantly wrong; who would always find the positive side to things; who would advise in such a way that you couldn’t really see illogical thinking behind it; who would tolerate and be patient with my many confused moments; and who would work harder to motivate us regardless of whether he was tired.
He always had belief in my Orthoptic ability and would push me to seek more within my profession by getting me to read up more on ocular syndromes and visual impairment. In essence, just by leading a beautiful example himself he instilled this want to be a better person in every aspect of what we did.
In Kitaba meetings he showed considerable sabr (patience) and excellent leadership skills – directing us not only in our prayer during our Capacity Building weekends but also directing us in our vision for a better community. He was very merciful towards us all, always putting our needs first in everything before his own, knowing full well we needed a good supply of chocolate, tea, and IrnBru to keep our energies up in our long meetings so he’d stock up and make sure we were comfortable.
His family during these times showed excellent compassion to us all and that’s how we all became one family working on the same thought. I suppose that’s why when I heard the news of his passing last night I didn’t just feel the loss of someone I had known for more than a year and a half but I also felt the loss of a family member. It’s hard to explain but I know there’s a difference between losing an acquaintance and losing a family member. And I don’t mind anyone saying “well sister, he’s not really your family because you’re not blood related” because no one can really explain why bonds are formed between people or why when you meet someone random it actually feels like you’ve known them for a longer period of time. Allahu Alim.
Alhumdulillah I still remember the first time I met Imran. It was in August 2007… us “visitors” from England entered his house, greeted his mother, sister and sister-in-law; and then we met Imran (his eyes were white to show his visual impairment, he spoke through his Servox artificial larynx; but he had such a huge warm smile that just lit the room). Later we saw the family cat dash across the lounge to disappear into another room as it was scared of us “visitors”. I remember Imran laughing as he told us that ironically the cat’s name was “Sheeru” (meaning “Lion”).
As time progressed with Kitaba I not only admired Imran’s constant encouragement, enthusiasm and wit but I admired him as a Muslim and as a leader. It’s not often you see Muslim men (let alone a visually impaired practising Muslim man) but here was one who Masha’Allah had every bit of good in his speech and practise.
There were many meetings where he’d ask us to draw tables and fill in each column/row with specific action points or processes (whilst he visualised in his mind and kept note of what we wrote in his memory). Initially it was hard to figure out the importance of making tables to come up with ideas/initiatives/action plans but at the end of the first capacity building weekend I realised that in how Imran had guided us we had in essence made most of our foundations for Kitaba. That first introduction taught me how to have sabr with peoples’ ideas and how to affect confidence in that person.
One of the many highlights of heading to Glasgow for our Capacity Building weekends wasn’t just the scenary, Irn Bru, or who we were staying with but it was the gift of being able to pray behind Imran. Regardless of his artificial larynx you could very much hear his Masha’Allah beautiful recitation of the Qur’an and you could also sense his deep love for the ayats he recited. Something which unfortunately may be scarce in our own mosques.
Masha’Allah, Imran’s hunger to learn his deen, implement what he learnt, and practise in order to attain some closeness to perfection, whilst still having shukar to Allah for what ever knowledge was brought to him, embodies everything, in my opinion, of what a true seeker of knowledge should be.
His constant presence in the Online Halaqa with Shaykh AbdulAziz had been a great help to us all, as on many occasions he knew the answers way before we did. His contribution to classes especially in the Nasaih al-Dinniya classes (a text by Imam alHaddad) really opened my own thoughts on this beneficial text and I’m sure it benefited other students also. Imran wasn’t just a student attending the class but he was an avid participant and helper in the administration side of things also. He often opened up his house for classes and gatherings. When the Online Halaqa embarked on revamping it’s website to accommodate for our visually impaired brothers and sisters, Imran was the first one to put his name forward to test the website and offer his feedback so that the Halaqa website was compliant to W3C Guidelines. Being part of the Halaqa Administration at the time, I know how much his contribution has helped the Online Halaqa website be what it is. May Allah reward him for looking out for us all regardless of our own impairments. Allahumma Ameen.
Furthmore, out of all the students I have come to know/assist on SunniPath, Brother Imran has to be one of the most humblest students I’ve ever met and had a pleasure to study alongside/assist. Knowing full well that the Academy may not be accommodative for his visual impairment needs, this lame assistant offered to help him in his studies to make sure he got the most out of the classes but unfortunately at the time I fell ill and never once did he complain. He happily came to class knowing full well that he couldn’t interact completely with the class as his reading software wouldn’t be able to pick up on the handouts provided but he still came – just to listen to the beneficial teaching the Shayukh had to offer. He then later, after much prompting from this student, addressed his concerns of the lack of facilitation for visually impaired students and remained in hope for the future courses that he took.
This brings me onto something that we’ve been saying for a long time now but in Imran bhaiya’s passing I see more of an importance to reitterate the following:
To all the Online Academies out there. It’s excellent that you have been formed so that students of knowledge can be taught. And it’s excellent that you acknowledge the importance of spreading knowledge to everyone regardless of their disability as this is what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did. But, if you don’t actually make your website/Academy accessible (we’re not talking just having large fonts here) then surely you’re just talking and not actually working towards a better future filled with opportunity for a better community?
Is realising something but not implementing the change correct thinking?
Granted, it’s still something we all need to work on but Insha’Allah one day Imran’s dreams of better facilitation for people with visual impairment will be a dream we all carry and thus incorporate when setting up dawah initiatives. Unfortunately, I’m only talking about visual impairment here to make the task to become a better community “easier” as really our community is failing in so many way, so easy does it for now.
Also, I know Imran bhaiya wouldn’t want me to think negatively or ponder over missed boats so all I’ll ask is that we really look at our communities, like really look at them, and make positive impact to move on in strength to tackle the stagnation that occurs and make sure people are aware of differences and how to utilise those differences for a better working community.
For sure, from being in Imran’s Masha’Allah good character, I’ve learnt that we’re all disabled in some form or another but also we really should not let that disability/flaw hold us back from acheiving great things, in particular achieving the Tawfeeq of Allah.
Whenever I’ve had days that I wanted to give up I’ve consulted the books of Imam alHaddad and Imam alGhazali knowing full well there’ll be something reminding me of the excellent example found in our Rasool (peace and blessings be upon him). I’ve also at times when I’m not feeling keen on reading, tended to look at the people close to this student who have always shown some sign of the excellent example (peace and blessings be upon him) we all hope to emulate. Imran is one of those people who Masha’Allah emulate so many characteristics of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and has always taught this student to keep persevering.
There’s a lot of good I see when I think of Imran. Alhumdulillah, even the timing of his passing has rahma in it. After all, Imran bhaiya passed away in this month of Rabi alAwwal – a month in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was born and also passed away in.
In this month of Rabi alAwwal a lot of mawlids take place to commemorate the life of our Rasool (peace and blessings be upon him) and as I know Imran loved mawlids (his face would literally lighten up on the question of whether a mawlid should be organised and he’d be the first to offer his house for one) I only can thank Allah for such a rahma in the month that he passed away in. It doesn’t completely remove the loss one feels but I’d be a poor student if I wasn’t grateful for such a rahma so: ShukrAllah wa Alhumdulillah.
Please send salawaat on the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), make dua for Imran bhaiya, his family, and his friends, and also if you can, do participate in the Khatm alQur’ans that are being read for Imran bhaiya in either of the following ways:
- Online Halaqa – please email email@example.com with your name and the Chapter(s) of the Qur’an that you’d like to read. The following link contains the Chapters already taken: http://haqaonline.com/halaqa/khatam.html
- DeenPort – please place your name, and the Chapter(s) of the Qur’an that you’d like to read in the following post: Khatam for Sidi Imran.
If you are not a member of DeenPort then please email admin instead. Insha’Allah they’ll be able to take note.
May Allah grant our dear Imran bhaiya a high level in Jhannat and may Allah shroud us in His Tawfeeq. Allahumma Ameen.