I first met with him briefly in 1995 when I came to the US for the first time for my interviews for residency. I moved to Long Island in 1999 and came under his jamaat during my fellowship at Stony Brook. Faheem Younus was also doing a fellowship in Stony Brook and I was with him at that time.
I remember he engaged us with gentle persuasion to do more for the jamaat. Faheem Bhai had never made a speech at the jamaat level before and he instructed him to make a speech for the first time for Musleh e Maood day in February 2000. Mashallah he made an amazing speech and a star was born that has later on served the jamaat so well.
He was responsible for identifying talents in the jamaat and then encouraging and engaging them positively for the jamaat. Examples include Munum Naeem, RIzwan Alladin, Sohail Hossein, Rizwan Akbar and of course Faheem Younus. I am sure there are many others but these are the ones I know well. His biggest regrets used to be that eventually all of them move away and leave New York.
He worked with me closely when I was regional qaid for the entire region. At that time New York, Buffalo and Boston were all one region. He would reach out to me in middle of October to work and plan the calendar for Khuddam activities for the entire year. If he would have not pushed me I probably would not have focused on it. That encouraged organization planning and forward thinking. It also allowed us to organize events in a way which did not impact the children class in New York which had been successfully running.
In 2006 I became president of my jamaat and I had no idea what to expect. He guided me on many aspects on how to approach various situations. E.g. dealing and managing burial, bathing and funerals of a jamaat members. Dealing with situations with family and marital conflicts that arise in jamaat and how to discretely handle them. How to organize tabligh events etc. I was able to call him up at any time and he would pick up the phone and guide me. Of course I was sensitive to his schedule as I was aware that he used to go to bed early after Ishaa Salat.
When we purchased our mosque Baitul Aman in Connecticut he guided me with the whole process along with Inamul Haq Kauser sahib. After we purchased the mosque we had a collection of 200 chairs which came to us for free and our local amila and jamaat wanted to get rid of these chairs to make room for prayer area. He strongly urged me to not get rid of them as they were our most important asset and find a way to store them in the masjid. By The Grace of Allah, we heeded his advice and thanked him and prayed for him noting how precious they were for us later on when holding events in our mosque.
Along with administrative aspects of the jamaat he was also silent humanitarian. He was instrumental in registering Humanity First with United Nations as a recognized NGO. He was also the former designated representative to United Nations for Humanity First International. His appointment letter used to come from International headquarters in London. By The Grace of God, he developed many good connections. Please pray that Allah Grant us replacements to these connections that he had developed.
He was an excellent humanitarian and always figured out low cost ways of helping the needy. He always wanted to do more for his country of birth Tanzania. He was the country director for Tanzania and all the work that has happened there has been through his efforts and endeavors. He was instrumental in establishing the first Mammography and breast cancer unit in Tanzania for the entire country. He worked with Radiology without Border to have physicians form Tanzania to come to United States to get trained in reading mammograms and then Humanity first donated and set up the unit in the main teaching hospital Darussalam. He would send radiologist doctors once every year to continue the training and education of the locals.
He also recently established a school and was working on setting up a clinic under the guidance of Huzoor through Humanity First. Please pray that we can fulfill the wishes of Huzoor for Tanzania and also continue the efforts that he made for that country.
His help during Hurricane Sandy which affected New York Long Island and New Jersey was instrumental. He himself led the initial cleanup crew of Humanity First to Parts of Lower Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The focus was not just ahmedi homes but, also anyone who was in need. He also provided support and a base for our volunteers at the masjid in Queens along with help for food and logistics for them. If he would not have provided this support Humanity First could not have been able to carry on this work.
I had a special relationship with him more so because of his only daughter Asma is in my jamaat and his son in law Hassan Bajwa (Brother of Dr. Zarar Bajwa) is the Zaeem Ansarullah for Connecticut. I used to keep him informed about the progress of his grand kids in our jamaat classes and ijtemaat.
He was truly and humble and pious man who always wanted to spend more time in the masjid and every minute of his free time was spent for the betterment of the jamaat. He had a minor stroke recently and was back in action only two days after. The last e-mail I received from him was about how Humanity First was prominently listed as a major supporter for a conference on radiology in Tanzania.
If I had to summarize him he was an extremely humble, humanitarian with passion for serving the jamaat and Khilafat. He had no ego.