Tribute to Hafiz Mohmed Ahmed Patel, Rahimahullah (1926-2016)
As the sun sank of Thursday 18th February 2016, so did the great shining star sink and begin to fade away to start a new journey towards the eternal life.
As the blessed day of Friday began (after Maghrib), little did anyone know that Hafiz Sahib Rahimahullah, was taking his final breaths and before Esha, he would have taken his last breath and departed from this world.
Whilst Markaz was busy with Shab-e-Jummah, he slipped away very peacefully in his sleep without any signs of pain or visible discomfort and it was confirmed before Esha that he had left this world for the next.
Within a span of 15-20 minutes, news spread around the globe like fire and shocked all those that knew him or whose hearts he had touched and minds that he had transformed into better beings. Individuals and groups rushed to airports from various countries to try and book a seat to fly over to pay their final respects and get a possible glimpse of the guide and leader who they had revered and honoured all their life. They had been lectured by him on topics of respect, tolerance, love, unity and piety.
Those that were present became helpless in holding back their tears when the shocking news finally registered and they came face to face with reality. The individual who used to comfort them at times of distress was no longer any-more. They had lost the shoulder they were so used to, crying on.
Preparations were soon underway and instructions were given on how and where the Janazah would take place, in order to best accommodate the thousands that would be arriving from all over the globe at such a short notice.
The esteemed body that had travelled around the world tirelessly propagating the message of peace and love for all, had finally come to a halt and remained in Markaz that night.
Friday morning welcomed all with bright sunshine’s followed by grey skies after midday which was to lead to Allah’s mercy in the sign of slight drizzle just before the Janazah.
Ghusal was undertaken by members of the household and the body was laid in Masjid Umar for family members to pay their last respects to the pillar of the family, locality, community and for all around the globe.
From morning onwards people started trickling in, then flocking and finally pouring in to Dewsbury to attend Jummah, all admiring the great work of an outstanding leader, regretting the loss and mentioning how they had been orphaned.
All the local Masaajid were packed out well before time. Food was served before and after Jummah to all the guests arriving at various times.
Muslims and non-Muslims had been touched by the departure of such a great character that had gone in the books of history as a ‘Wali of Allah’. The local politicians approved free parking in all car parks around the town and so had the council workers and funeral services shown their kind gestures in trying to accommodate such a large funeral.
Even though the ground of the sports field was quite soft and damp, thousands wrapped in warm coats and hats, merged onto the funeral ground well before time in hope of getting a place at the front to get a glimpse of the coffin, when it was to be presented.
Asar Salah took place on the field and in the local Masaajid which was followed by the attendees pouring onto the sports field from all angles and corners. The rightful heir, Hafiz Sahib’s son, Maulana Saeed Sahib DB led the Janazah Salaah, in front of approximately 25k attendees.
Straight after the Janazah, everyone tried to rush towards the cemetery to participate for the burial but the narrow roads of Dewsbury had not witnessed before, such a huge number of vehicles all trying to get to the same destination. Whilst driving through some areas it was difficult to even see the road due to the crowds of people trying to pass by.
Around 5k people made it for burial, with many deciding to park up and come walking, whilst others either gave up due to the nearly standstill traffic at many places or were still on their way.
During the blessed time after Asar on the Friday and before the day could slip away, Hafiz Sahib Rahimahullah was laid to rest in the grave and people started to leave for Maghrib after Dua was made.
There was a sombre mood upon the great loss, mixed with exchanges of personal celebratory notes and fond memories of the great Ameer who was well versed in the art of giving Dawah. He knew when to be stern and when to be soft. He comforted when appropriate and condemned when need be. He hugged when a need arouse and held accountable when tasks weren’t completed.
Everyone will have their loving memories of the great spiritual fatherly figure that had touched their lives. I remember that he was very fond of my handwriting would always call upon me for a many years whenever he needed to send a letters to the elders of the work of Dawah around the world for various reasons. He had also instructed me to compile 100’s of pages of other work including lectures, letters and other valuable work, all handwritten. Whether it was late night, tahajjud time or daytime, he always had the same level of worry and concern in trying to get the message across to others about unity, love, respect, and tolerance. He would always show so much love and affection to me and never get angry or frustrated at any of my shortcomings. One of the last things I remember him saying to me was. “I always tell you what is good for you because I care for you”. The advice he used to give to all the Maktab, Madrasah teachers was, “Do not think it is great of you that you come to teach these children (but humble yourselves) and consider it an Ihsaan of these children that they come to you to learn”.
He has left many great lessons for us to learn and to follow. I am positive all of us will be able to recall similar incidents. To keep his legacy alive we need to follow and adopt those lessons of love, unity mutual respect and tolerance.
May Allah bless Hadhrat Hafiz Sahib with ease on this first night in the grave and make it a garden of Jannah and bless him with the very best in the Hereafter Insh’Allah, AMEEN