“When an individual passes away, it is a reminder for those around him to take heed.”
In the span of 11 days, the Orlando Khoja Shia Community has been left void of two amazing personalities.
By no means would I be doing justice in writing a tribute for either, as I only got to know them in the later years of their life, but here, I hope to share one touching characteristic that stood out in each of these individuals that I hope to adapt and that we can all learn from.
On Monday November 28, 2016, Marhuma Nargisbai Ladak was reunited with her Creator. Indeed a loss, not only for her children and grandchildren, but for all of us who were and still are ‘the Orlando Community family’. I remember vividly, when she first moved to Orlando. We would pick her up on our way to mosque, or to Tafsir classes, as she lived right around the corner. Her distinctive trademark would be that you could ask her any question and she would respond, always ending with ‘Alhamdulillah, Khuda nu Shukr che Beta’, ‘Praise be to God, Thanking God, Dear’, raising her hand. In the later years that we were in Orlando, despite feeling old age, she never once complained, and constantly thanked God. She taught me to be thankful at all time and reminded me of the Hadith of Imam Ali (A) where he says ‘When some blessings come to you, do not drive them away through thanklessness’.
On Thursday December 8, 2016, Ma’alim Mohamedhusein Kermali departed from this world. It was shocking to hear of his passing; there are some individuals, who, despite their age, we expect them to be around forever. He was blessed with 80 plus years to serve God’s Creation which he did in various ways but most notably through his writings, and most recent publication on the Commentary of Dua Kumayl (A must read!). Ma’alim was an extremely humble man who spoke in such a manner that made you think each and every word of his was calculated and thought through thoroughly before being verbalized. He too, constantly repeated ‘by the Grace of Allah…’ in his conversations. Marhum taught me that one must value the power of speech and knowledge and know that it can take you to great heights. Such a characteristic reminds me of the Hadith of Imam Ali (A) where he says ‘A man reveals himself through his speech’.
Both these personalities dedicated their lives to live the words of our Ma’sumin and served humanity in their own ways; ways that we will always remember.
We pray that Allah (SWT) grants them a status amongst the personalities whom they worked so hard to personify the teachings of, grants patience to their families during this difficult time, and grants us all a sense of awareness to recognize what we can learn from others around us and apply to then better ourselves.