Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Remembering Hamza Saheb

Hamza Ibrahim Saheb,
one of the senior-most members of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam-India, passed away in Kerala this week. He was 74 years old and has had certain age-related health concerns for some time now. Possibly, he was waiting for the ongoing Covid-related public health emergency in the State to subside so as to go for a thorough medical check-up, when the death came of heart failure on the evening of 18 October 2020, around 5.30 pm, Innallillahi wa inna ilayhi raajeeoune.

Hamza Ibrahim Saheb worked with the judicial department of the Kerala government, in the administrative/clerical side of the subordinate courts system, until retirement from service almost two decades ago. After retirement from job, he continued to be active in striving to be a good Muslim in life, as he understood it. It was this life-long commitment to the Prophetic Way that induced him to keep his mind and intellect open to spiritual perceptions until his last breath in this world. He did not hesitate to follow his heart in recognizing the Truth as he perceived it- even when such spiritual explorations and interests took him away from conventional wisdom and the prevailing orthodoxies of his social environment. Born and brought up in a traditional Muslim household in Alappuzha, Hamza Saheb displayed spiritual conviction and courage in embracing the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya in 1979. Subsequently, he got married among the Ahmadis of Karunagappally, and came to live in the region. While remaining an Ahmadi Muslim, he came to hear, learn about and went on to recognize the spiritual station and Divine mission of Hazrat Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim (aba) of Mauritius in 2010- indeed, he was one among the first group of believers in Kerala. In his death, he leaves behind his biological family (wife and two grown-up sons and relatives), and the spiritual commune (Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam-Kerala) of the last 10 years of his life. 

After the death of Hamza Saheb, based on existing government protocols, the body was tested for Covid-19 in the Hospital, and the authorities ruled out the virus/disease. Hence, the body was (allowed to be) taken to his home/kept in mortuary conditions until a day later, awaiting the arrival of his son from abroad before the burial. The burial arrangements were made at the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Qabristan in Karunagappally. The elder son of Hamza Saheb led the Janaza Namaz, along with the rest of the family and relatives present on the occasion, before the body was taken out from the home for burial. On Tuesday, 20 October 2020, the body was buried before noon at the Qabristan in Karunagappally.

Due to personal health issues as well as continuing Government restrictions vis-à-vis public health emergency in the State/ the escalating Covid-19 cases in Kerala, many friends of Hamza Saheb from Alappuzha as well as members of the Jamaat from other places could not physically travel to the place of burial. However, some of our brothers in the Jamaat, including K Saleem Saheb and Abdul Latheef Saheb of Alappuzha, were able to travel to the home of their childhood-friend, and also to attend and witness the burial at the Qabristan in Karunagappally.

In his official announcement concerning the bereavement in India, Imam- Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hazrat Khalifatullah Munir A. Azim (aba) of Mauritius noted that Hamza Saheb was among the first group of believers in Kerala back in 2010. It is not widely known that along with Abdullah Zubair Saheb and Edappakathu Tahir Saheb of Kannur/ North Kerala, K. Saleem Saheb of Alappuzha, Abdul Latheef Saheb, Abu Baker Saheb, Muhammad Basheer Saheb, Abdul Hakkim Saheb, YK Harriz Saheb and Hamza Saheb were amongst the first group of Ahmadis in Kerala to hear and learn about the Divine Manifestation among the Ahmadis of Mauritius in 2010. After the Bi’at of Mukarram R. Jamaluddin Raother Saheb of Mathra in the first week of October 2010, when the Kerala Jamaat was formally established on 08 October 2010 at Alappuzha, Hamza Saheb was among the first group of believers in India to recognize and accept the Khalifatullah of this Era, Alhamdulillah. 

In the Kerala Jamaat, he worked in close collaboration with his long time friend and Amir of the North Kerala Zone, Mukarram Dr. Tahir Saheb of Kannur. When the Tamil Nadu Jamaat was established in 2017, Hamza Saheb cooperated with the brothers in the State by visiting them in solidarity. Since the time of the Bai'at, Hamza Saheb has had a special affinity and esteem for Hazrat Khalifatullah (aba), and was at the forefront of arranging local hospitality in Kannur and elsewhere during the blessed visit of the holy family in 2017, and also later in 2018.   


October 2020 marks the Tenth Anniversary of the Kerala Jamaat. Even as we mark the happy occasion of a milestone in the annals of the budding spiritual commune, the death and departure of our brother is also a reminder of our own fleeing moment in this world. Members of the Jamaat in several places in the country, including in Delhi, and at the Noor'ul Islam Masjid, Mathra performed the funeral prayers in absentia, joining Hazrat Khalifatullah (aba) in offering a prayer for the brother’s departed soul:  

‘May Allah forgive Hamza Sahib and elevate his rank in His light and grant him Jannat-ul-Firdaus and eternal happiness. Ameen. May Allah bless the soul of Hamza Saheb and grant him His mercy, light and everlasting peace and harmony. Ameen. 

On the occasion, Hazrat Saheb (aba) also prayed: 

May Allah keep all my disciples strong in faith and solid as one body. May Allah grant His Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam and Khalifatullah victory in all phases of life, and show His signs and miracles in extraordinary ways..’