By Shaikh Ahmad Kutty
Akbar Ali (aged 88) returned to his Lord on the 27th night of Ramadan (May 19, 2020). He was a humble Muslim remembered for his deep humanity and compassion.
On hearing the sad news, the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) come to mind. “When one of your dear ones passes away, mention the good things you know of him or her.” Another that came to mind are the words attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) who said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (King James Version).
It is in this spirit I pen a few words to remember a dear friend Akbar Ali.
Akbar Ali was originally from Guyana; he was the only son of Mr Naimat and Mrs. Rose Alli and received a high level of education. Soon after, he landed a lucrative job earning well for himself, however, he never lived for himself.
He was ever ready to help his extended family. His cousin, only a few years junior, Meer Khan, recalls that even though Ali owned an expensive car, he was ever ready to give the keys to his cousins for their own errands, and always with a full tank of gas.
His was an unassuming manner that exuded deep compassion towards all. He is remembered as one who “was always a person filled with much love and joy. He often laughed and showed much care and warmth to everyone he came into contact with.”
He came to Canada in the ’80s, but my association with him started when I was the Imam of the Islamic Foundation. He was our early audio man, recording lectures and talks and accompanying us to record lectures held in various parts of the city.
He was keen to want to record every event because of his zeal to disseminate Islamic knowledge. He was particularly concerned by practices which he firmly believed to be innovations or superstitions. In his enthusiasm to correct these innovations, he was always quick to pen questions seeking clarifications in an effort to dispel such misunderstandings.
His passion for making audiovisual recordings continued to the establishment of the Islamic Institute of Toronto, where he served as the administrator from 1996 to around 2005/2006.
He is survived by his wife, Nazmoon, also known as Ester and three sons. He also has a large extended family, many of whom treasure fond memories of him.
His compassion, character, and commitment to disseminating Islamic knowledge using his skills are the legacies he has left behind.
For his bereaved family, I leave you with the words of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), “May Allah console your hearts well, inspire you with patience (to accept His will), and forgive your beloved who has passed away.” Ameen.