My father has been a major influence in my life. Sadly, he passed away recently leaving behind a devastated and distressed family. My earliest memories are of him teaching us about Islam, the Bengali language and the Quran.
He was small in stature but he was a big character and would always speak the truth regardless of who the wrongdoer was. He never lied throughout his life regardless of his circumstances. When he first came to the UK he faced racism and bigotry with dignity and courage.
He came to Oldham in the sixties to work in the cotton mills. He went through many hardships as there weren’t any mosques or Halal meat and poultry available. Immigrants were employed to carry out manual labour on gruelling 12 hour shifts.
Immigrants were harassed by far-right groups like the National Front but my dad wasn’t easily intimidated.
He was born in British India in 1945 to a region in the East of India called Bengal. His great forefather actually brought Islam to the region. His ancestor was called Dawr Bakhsh Khateeb who campaigned and spread Islam in the Sylhet region of Bengal. Dad was qualified to matriculation level which was quite rare for the time.
He would sometimes tell us stories about his school days and how he would compete with his fellow students in gaining first place. He loved learning and practicing what he learned.
Throughout our childhood every day, between 5-7 he home-schooled us in Quran and Arabic and every weekend he taught us the Bengali language.
He was a patient teacher but would become angry if we were disrespectful or didn’t try our best. My dad was unique and dedicated, it was normal for him to spend about seven or eight hours a day in the mosque worshipping. He had a notebook of prayers and praise which he would always refer to. Surely, people like him are rare and he has set a high standard to follow.
The Lockdown was very hard on him as he wasn’t able to worship in the mosque for hours and hours. He was a saintly man who loved learning and teaching Islam to others. He was a highly respected figure in the community and people would entrust him with their money for safekeeping.
His brother, my uncle still lives in Bangladesh, my father’s only blood relative still alive. Throughout our childhood he only wanted goodness for us. He wanted us to be pious, good Muslims. He lost his father at quite a young age so he wasn’t able to study Islam further like he desired.
To avoid interest my father refrained from getting a mortgage on a house as interest is prohibited in Islam. Whenever he travelled by plane he would offer his prayers on the plane. I remember travelling with him and praying in the middle of the train station. My dad wasn’t self-conscious at all when it came to practicing the religion.
When we would be naughty he would shout at us but he never hit us or use foul language. He practiced what he preached throughout his life.
He was heavily involved in activities at our local mosque in trying to teach the local community. He was concerned by the gradual decline in people learning and practicing Islam.
He would spend three days a month and 40 days a year propagating Islam throughout the UK and abroad. We learned from him to have worry and concern for humanity and how they can become better people.
My father’s greatest quality was his steadfastness and constancy in worship and his daily routine. He would sometimes sleep for an hour and wake up on time for pre-dawn prayers.
He was a true believer as he loved to pray and recite the Quran in abundance. I am sure he is at peace in his grave as he made so many sacrifices in life. Heaven is waiting for him God willing.
Thank you dad. I will never forget you. We will continue your legacy. Tears.
Please support this fundraiser in honour of my dad: https://givebrite.com/our-dad