As Shabana has reported, a dear friend, Ahmed Hussein, just passed away suddenly and completely unexpectedly in Baltimore. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon. May he be forgiven for his sins and he be blessed with Jannah.
Ahmed was a rarity, a truly kind and warm person. He was also a budding scholar whose knowledge of Islam, Sufism, and spirituality in other religions was inspiring. His jovial, light-bringing presence and mischevious sense of humor will be sorely missed by myself and countless people in DC and around the country. He really brought happiness wherever he went, which is so much more than most of us can say.
Shabana reported his penchant for carrying a lota (see Wiki for an indelicate but accurate explanation of this object, which, however much it may send shivers down contemporary Americans’ spines, is at the heart of South Asian Muslim domestic life, and rightly so) around the office, to the utter horror of some of our non-Muslim colleagues (who couldn’t grasp the fact that it was completely clean). That comical sight and the periodic ritual/workout of giving him backrubs at his desk when his back acted up are the fondest of memories.
I remember the impish glee with which he’d conspicuously tote the lota in front of one particularly horrified colleague. Then there was the spectacle of his intense groans of relief intermingled with deep, Santa-like bellows at the pain sometimes caused by my violent efforts (he was a big man). It was a ritual we both came to enjoy. Those memories and countless others of his company I will always treasure.
His janaza (funeral) service will be held at a Baltimore mosque, Masjid Rahmah, after jumah prayers this Friday.
Please include him in your prayers.
A reminder of how short life is and how precious good health is.
Update: I’ve since posted a longer reflection on Ahmed and his life.