Allah yerhamak and may you be granted the highest level of paradise. You were a loved and respected father, Imam, Mufti, pioneer and community leader. Many will know you as the founder of Victoria’s first large scale mosque, but you also established the Islamic Society of Victoria in the 1950’s.
You were also instrumental in the approval of allowing Muslims to be buried according to our religion and part of establishing one of Australia’s largest halal certifiers. Your legacy though, was in the advice and support you extended to communities all over the country, which I have first had experience in, through your endorsement of the Islamic Museum of Australia.
I still remember the day I came up with the idea, my father asked me to run it by you. We immediately visited you in your office at Preston Mosque – a space which will forever be remembered with only your presence. After presenting the idea, you looked at me, right in the eyes, with a smile on your face and words I will never forget: “Do it and don’t let anyone stop you. We need this and I will support you in whatever way I can.”
So, I did it. After many years, a dedicated team and I established Australia’s first, and only, Islamic Museum. Since we opened in February 2014, the Museum has welcomed over 100,000 visitors including tens of thousands of school students from more than 200 schools through our doors. Most importantly, when they leave the Museum, it’s with a better understanding of the faith, the beauty of Islam and the contributions of Muslims to the world including Australia’s Muslim History.
Fast forward to 2020, I was honoured to be named the Independent Chair of the Preston Mosque Building and Renovation Committee. It gives me so much joy to contribute to the legacy you have left behind, and am cognisant of the significant responsibility that comes with this. I thank the current ISV committee for the trust they have put in me for the design, build and fundraising of this grand project.
You were forward thinking, passionate and caring. You always put the needs of Victorian Muslims first. And so when your son, Ahmed Imam, so beautifully said, “my father would be your biggest supporter,” I knew he meant it and that you would, if you were still here today. Lasting legacies only stand the test of time when they are conducted with the purest of intention and you are testament to this.
This mega project, Insha’Allah, holds the same pure intentions and that’s to rebuild Victoria’s first large scale mosque. To expand and revitalise it, taking the core prayer space of old and transforming it to a new space, almost doubled in size to account for the growing number of Muslims in Melbourne.
The new design focuses on the services required for today and tomorrow’s generations. It includes dedicated classrooms, lecture hall, library, cafe, and office spaces and resources to provide domestic violence support, marriage counselling and youth mentorship. The burial services space will be expanded, so too will the women’s prayer space. A playground will be installed for children, and so much more.
We thank you for your legacy and the foundation you built and ask Allah to bless you for all you have done in serving Islam in Australia, Victoria and our local Preston Mosque. Allah yerhamak our beloved Mufti of Australia.
We will always remember you.