Rabbi Zalman Kastel AM, Sydney

In a crowded room, after an interfaith presentation organised by Fairfield council. I, a Jewish man, and a Rabbi, was introduced to an elder in a wheelchair.

Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad OAM took my hands in his and spoke from the heart about how important it was for Jews, Christians, and Muslims to promote goodwill.

He honoured the work of Together For Humanity by becoming a member and provided strong moral support and encouragement.

I visited him at home many times over the years. When I arrived at his funeral his son, Zia, told me simply, your friend is gone.

Dr Ahmad (left) with Dr Clutterbuck.

Dr Charlotte Clutterbuck, NSW
When I first met Dr Ashfaq, fifty years ago, I was still very young. He and Mrs Ahmad immediately welcomed me into their family and I have shared many weddings and other occasions with his six children, almost as if they were my own siblings.

My parents also shared a great respect and affection for the family. As my husband Bob and I started a family, our children and grandchildren have maintained the friendship through four generations.

I greatly admired Dr Ashfaq’s open-minded and warm-hearted belief in interfaith dialogue, a multicultural community and his fidelity to Islam and his family.

Rev Dr Patrick McInerney, Sydney
Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad was my elder by more than two decades, the patriarch of an extended family, a pioneer and leader for Muslims in Sydney, the founder of educational and community organisations, and an avid promoter of interfaith relations and societal harmony.  But to me, above all, he was my friend.

I met him many times at conferences, Muslim celebrations, and family occasions. I was often a guest at this house, especially for Eid.  Whenever he saw me, his face lit up with a beaming smile. He would greet me affectionately with a kiss on each cheek. His kindness spanned our differences in age, culture, and religion. I was like an adopted member of his family.

I will miss my friend but take comfort that his legacy continues in the generations who follow his example. May Almighty God reward him for his long life of service to the Muslim communities and to the wider Australian society.

Dr Gurbux Singh Alag, California

I have learnt with grief and great sense of personal loss about the demise of Dr Ahmad

He was a close friend, a great human being and a man with golden heart. Please accept my condolences and convey it to your mother and family. The world is indeed a poorer place with his passing away.

I don’t know if you remember me from Srinagar where I was a regular guest with lot of other whom your father invited to his home. As a matter of fact we both lost Srinagar job at the same time and lost touch with his moving to Australia and I to USA.

There are lot of memories that I share with your father and will cherish them. My thoughts and prayers are with you all and may God bless you all. Give my regards to your mom.

Professor Jamil Farooqui, India
Dr.Qazi Ashfaq  Ahmad was a man of extra ordinary qualities. He excelled in every walk of life. He acquired education in highest ranks and received gold medals.

As a teacher he inspired students to the pursuit of knowledge and earned their admiration. As a human being he exhibited high intellectual, moral and religious qualities.

After completing modern education, he studied Arabic and the Qur’an to understand the real spirit of revealed message. He was so impressed by the ideals of the Qur’an that he manifested it in his actions and devoted his entire life to teach and convey the Divine ideals to the world.

He established various organizations in Australia for the welfare of humanity to manifest high human qualities, have good and cordial relation with fellow human beings and lead peaceful and dignified life.

May Allah grant him high place in paradise.

Dr Anis Rahman, Hamilton, NZ

Our elder, our mentor, Uncle Ashfaq will be in my memory forever. I met him in 1981 and was so impressed with his personality that I stuck with him for life. I visited him in Sydney regularly for his precious advice and the usual telling-off.

His words always increased my eeman and improved my connection with Allah SWT. He showed, by taking us as part of his family, how to keep all family members connected. I have used his plan of weekly family Usrah to help us understand and practice Islam.

My family will be forever indebted to him.

May 1972, Sydney Airport.

Dr Javed Jamil, India
Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad Sahab was a devout Muslim, a respectable social scientist and a tireless activist. His devotion was not merely the result of heart-felt belief but was a result of his total conviction born out of his deep methodical study of Quran and Sunnah.

My first interaction with him happened when he impressed upon my brother Mr Zahid Jamil to invite me to Australia (2003) for a series of lectures and an Australian release programme of my book “The Essence of the Divine Verses”. I stayed there for about a month and he organised about a dozen programmes in collaboration with several local organisations.

I had long discussions with him and he was greatly impressed by my idea of developing Applied Islamics as a full-fledged discipline of Islamic knowledge. He then visited my home city Saharanpur in India to discuss the possibility of establishing an international centre for Applied Islamics but it unfortunately could not materialise because of practical difficulties.

He had great understanding of Islamic tenets, their importance in the emerging world scenario and the issues related to Muslims. I have always advocated a non-apologetic and non-defensive approach when dealing with attacks by Islam haters and he was one person who had the same approach. He was a good speaker and writer and could analyse things in a coordinated way.

At the same time, he was a devoted advocate of Interfaith and believed in good relations with all communities. It was this multifaceted approach, which had made him popular not only in Australia but also in other parts of the world. May Allah grant him Maghfirah and a high place in Jannah!

Everybody has to leave the world but there are people who leave behind a void which is hard to fill, and Dr Ashfaq was surely one of them who will be missed for a long long time. Let us hope that his family members and others will continue to carry his mission with the same amount of dedication, devotion and discipline, which they saw in him in his life.

Professor Akhtar Kalam, Melbourne
We were shocked and saddened to note that our beloved Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad is no more amongst us. This is indeed an extremely distressing news! Our deepest condolences to all of you. I do not have words to express the sadness that overwhelms me. We, as human being are helpless in the way Almighty Allah (swt) works through His (swt) plans.

I can only pray to Almighty Allah (swt) to forgive all the shortcomings of our dear Dr Qazi and reward him immensely for all the good deeds, and provide him a place in Jaanatul Firdaus with great honour, respect and ease.

May Allah (swt) also make these hard times easy on you and all the members of your family.

I still remember the first time I met him in Melbourne, over 30 years back. There were some political issues in Makkah and unexpectedly he came to my apartment. He was much more senior to me, an alma mater of AMU and contributed substantially to our former institution. Knowing the Aligarian custom and culture, I provided him with all hospitality that is expected to be given to a senior.

His contribution to the Muslim community in Australia is tremendous. He was founder of the first Islamic societies in Australia and held leadership position in most of them. He was a towering personality, contributed in federal and state level. He was an eloquent speaker both in Urdu and English. He was a prolific writer and wrote many books, commentary, discussion papers etc.

You have lost your father – which is a great loss, your mother has lost her dear long standing companion, your siblings have lost their dear father, many Australian Muslims like me have lost their mentor and I on top of this have lost a great advisor and an excellent communicator. I believe with his passing away, the Australian Muslims are the biggest LOSER….

If there is anything you need, then please do inform us and we will try to assist in whichever way we can.

With greatest sympathies to all of you…..

Dr Ahmad with Unity Grammar students volunteering for AMUST packing and posting.

Osman Karolia, Sydney

Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad was a retired professor of engineering who  dedicated his life for imparting Islamic education and training, especially learning and teaching of Quran and the Arabic language, interfaith understanding and communal harmony in Australia as well as overseas.

In 1987 when I was 15 he presented me with a leadership award after I entered a competition on providing solutions to challenges facing the community. It was at one of the very early Eid festivals held at a local primary school which grew into the current MEFF festival.

30+ years later I  took a group of Unity Grammar students to visit him for advice on living a meaningful life and for his reflection after many decades of service to the community. His advice was to serve with humility, never stop learning and regardless of the career path you choose always give back to the community. I’m privileged that for the last four years our school continues to do volunteer work and with the family of Dr Ahmad.

He reflected on the early days of the community and his pioneering work in establishing prayer centres, University services, burial facilities, media outlets and so much more to serve the Muslim community. Much of what we enjoy now is from the toil of people like him who had a vision for future generations.

Allah have mercy on his soul, give him the highest levels of jannah and give strength and patience to his family

On behalf of my family and the Unity Grammar community we extend our condolences.

Dr Rateb Jneid, Perth

Hajji Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad was a pillar of our community, he was respected and loved by all those who knew him. Wherever his name is mentioned, people give testament to his hard work for Islam and the Muslim community.

He has served as AFIC president and is known to many as one of the early fathers of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils. His service at AFIC was marked with distinction.

Hajji Ashfaq as some of us affectionately referred to him always believed that Muslims must have clear contributions in education, media and intercultural and interfaith activities.

He is a founding father of Islamic Forum for Australian Muslims, the Australasian Muslim Times, Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair and other positive initiatives that have helped keep our community active over the past few decades.

Hajji Ashfaq paved the way for many community members to become leaders and to work on establishing services and facilities. His dedication has inspired many to follow in his footsteps.

The organisations he has contributed to continue to be beacons of light for the Muslim community and Australian society. Hajji Ashfaq also had encouraged the establishment of successful Muslim businesses.

Hajji Ashfaq always gave time and energy to education and the betterment of self and others. He encompassed the true essence of what being Muslim is all about.

Hajji Ashfaq embraced the challenge of making a new life for his family and Muslims outside of his homeland and guided his children to be successful pillars of Australian society. I commend Hajji Ashfaq for his activism. His legacy will continue through his family and friends.

I offer my deepest condolences to his family and to the Australian Muslim community and ask Allah to embrace Br Ashfaq with His mercy and grant him paradise.
Ameen

Keysar Trad, Sydney
A great supporter of AFIC and one of the great elders of our Australian Muslim community.

We met more than 30 years ago and within a short space of time he introduced me to the Imam who would later establish several Muslim schools in Australia and abroad to now become the National Grand Mufti of Australia, the Most Eminent Sheikh Abdul Quddoos Al Azhari.

Uncle Qazi continued to serve Islam, interfaith communities and multicultural society till his last days. A true icon of the Muslim community whose sacrifice and legacy will continue to benefit new generations of Muslims throughout Australia.

Farooq Murad, CEO, The Islamic Foundation, UK

We are extremely saddened to learn about the passing away of your beloved father, Dr Qazi Ashfaq Sahib.  May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala bestow His Mercy and forgiveness, grant our beloved brother and scholar a high place in Jannat-al-Firdaws and give you, all his family and  colleagues and students.

Prof Khurshid Ahmad Sahib, Dr Manazir Ahsan, trustees and colleagues at the Islamic Foundation, Kube and the Markfield Institute of Higher Education join me in offering their sincerest condolences and Duas.

Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, Editor, The Milli Gazette, New Delhi

Late Prof Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, a retired professor of engineering, was an outstanding figure of the world Muslim Ummah. He studied in India and the US, taught in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia and Srinagar’s Regional Engineering College.

He migrated to Australia in 1971 after termination of his job due to political interference. He was well-received in his adopted homeland  where he spent the rest of his life until his death on 10 February 2022 at the age of 91.

He was a leader of the Muslim community in Australia and beyond. Apart from his academic pursuits, he spent his life teaching the Glorious Quran and Arabic language and worked for inter-faith dialogue and communal harmony in Australia.

He won many Australian and international awards. With his demise, we have lost a brilliant son of the Ummah. May Allah grant him maghfirat and high station in Paradise. Amin.

Waseem Ahmad with Dr Ahmad, Sunday 19 December 2021.

Waseem Ahmad, Gold Coast

I would consider myself among the unlucky ones who did not get to spend a lot of time with Dr. Ahmad. I read and heard a lot about him before our first meeting in December 2021. I felt connected to him in a spiritual way. 

His services for the community and Islam are truly inspiring. I was fascinated by the fact that most of my Islamic mentors in Pakistan had been his close friends. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him during our first meeting and I feel lucky he was communicating very well that day. I consider myself very lucky that now I am associated with his family and I get to marry his granddaughter. It’s important for us to understand his vision for Islam in the modern world and continue his legacy in Modern Australia. 

Professor Syed Masood, Melbourne
I wish to express my deepest condolence at the passing away of Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad sahib.  It is big loss to Australian Muslim community.
He has contributed greatly in establishing and promoting Islamic religious values and education in Australia for over 5 decades.
He was a mentor and affectionate guide for me during my initial university academic life in PNG in early 1980s and I learnt a lot from him.

Professor Ibrahim S Jawahir, USA

I first met Dr Ashfaq Ahmad in January 1981, while I was doing my PhD at the University of New South Wales.

My first impression about him was that he was a true father-figure, fully committed to the mission of Islam and actively involved in community development in Australia and the region.

I also had the honor to work with him at the PNG University of Technology. He was my professional mentor and spiritual advisor. He and his family treated me as one of their children, cared for me, helped me and supported me in all my endeavors.

I learned to be a better Muslim and to be involved in community work. Being close to him and his family gave me sense of belonging and support in my early professional and personal life.

Professor Imtiaz Uddin, Chicago,
Former Professor & Head, Electrical Engg, REC
I met Ashfaq saheb in summer 1962 when I joined the Regional Engineering College, Srinnagar, J&K. He was already there as a popular staff member and teacher at the REC.
He welcomed me enthusiastically and supported me in settling down in Srinagar. Soon we became good friends. I have fond memories of working together, going around and seeing scenic places in Kashmir, enjoying the company of friends, etc.
Ashfaq saheb was outgoing and very social. With his impressive personality, friendly nature, Islamic knowledge, and ability to mix with others, he was liked and respected in the community at large in Kashmir.
After he moved to Australia, he helped establish a dynamic Muslim community in Sydney displying his vision, initiative, and leadership qualities.
He was an inspiring colleague and a dear friend; he will be missed. May Allah accept his good deeds and reward him with Janah.

Dr Muhammad Salim, Islamabad

While stepping at the University of Sydney in early 1979, I had the privilege of joining Sydney University Muslim Students Association.
Since Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad was in PNG but with the intimate association of his son Mr Zia Ahmad, my family developed very strong bonds with the Ahmad family.
In 1980, when the family study circle ( Family Usrah ) was initiated, it provided a unique forum for toddlers, kids, youth and young parents to learn Quran, Islam and Islamic social values.
Of course all the agenda of this forum was designed and approved by Dr Ahmad. On his periodic visits to Sydney, he used to monitor and steer the activites of this forum personally.
After a couple of years, he returned to Sydney for good and patronised the trainings, meetings and opportunities for inculcating true Islamic spirit in the lives of Muslim youth and adults and the Muslim community at large.
Mid 1985, my family moved to Pakistan but whatever a little good persists in my family, it has been largely due to his patronage and inspiration.
We all bow our heads in front of Almighty Allah and pray for grant of highest rank in Jannah to Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad.

Abbas Raza Alvi, Sydney
My interaction with  Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, I used to call him Chacha Sahib, was 3 decades old.

He was a mentor, teacher, an elderly experienced advisor, a friend and a senior Aligarian. A person who knew & understood very well the true feeling of an Aligarian. A few times his scolding to me was like the warmth of his love & blessings.

I had a few meetings with him before the formation of the ICSOA. During my last meeting with him, he has handed over his comment paper and blessed me. The mission statement of ICSOA which is part of our constitution is written by him.

Professor M Shahid Akhtar, New Delhi

Very sad to know about the demise of your Abbu Janab Dr. Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad today at Sydney

Dr Saheb has great contributions during his half a century of stay in Sydney, at the time of his migration there, in the year 1971, very small group of Muslims were there in Sydney, now due to his  vision & efforts large extended family memders are there under the umbrella of Islamic values..
Dr Saheb was a faculty member in Jamia Millia Islamia (Civil and Rural Engineering Institute) for some time in the  year 1958. He was a very good teacher with a Islamic bent of mind, his students still remember him.
Now I am  also the head of Civil Engineering Section of the same Institution,(University Polytechnic, Jamia Millia Islamia).

Left: Dr Ahmad with is grandson Aamir, 1993. Right: Dr Ahmad with his great-grandson Aabid, 2019.

Aamir Ahmad, Sydney

Dada- you were the one we all looked upto, you’ve done everything by sacrificing everything towards Islam. You were the father for all of us including the father of the Australian Muslim Community.
I haven’t see anyone who only knew on how to sacrifice for others and not himself. It was the day when I was still a new-born and doctors had given up hope that I would stay alive. You held me tight in hospital as though I was your son and nurses at the hospital commented on the relationship you had with me. Not just me but for every grandchild- you were our DADA and Big-DADA for your great- grandchildren.
Being my teacher and tutor during my HSC years is what made me close to you — we had a friend relationship instead of a grandfather/grandson relationship.. While studying distance- I had learnt so much from you, your skills in teaching all subjects, your discipline with time was a very important aspect during those two years which I’ve gained over the years and now try implementing it with my kids.
Not just those two years, when I had started my engineering degree you were my mentor and you still wanted to be involved in my university studies- wanting to know what subjects am I doing and was always looking up for challenges to solve- including engineering maths, physics and civil engineering subjects. You were one of a kind.
Through your life in Australia, you lost your sister, 2 of your grandsons and especially your daughter- but you still kept yourself strong. As you aged you were still mentally alert and it was only a few months ago you wanted to start teaching Aabid (my son) maths and Quran.
You lost your parents at a very early age- making you an orphan under your grandfather guardianship but nevertheless you grew to become a strong man who was both academically very achieving and equally worked for Islam both in India and in Australia.
Your sacrifices for the Muslim ummah and especially your family will always be remembered. As I open up my Facebook newsfeed this early morning of 11/02/21- you are being remembered for all the sacrifices you made towards Islam and for the Muslim community in Australia.
Who would have know our 2020 Ramadan/Eidul ul Fitr would have been the last one with you. I pray to Allah (swt) to grant you the highest rank of Jannah and InshAllah we will all be together once again in Jannah. Love you a lot Dada and forever missing you.
May Allah accept his good deeds, forgive all sins and grant him Jannatul Ferdous.

Former Students from Regional Engineering College (REC), Kashmir

Pal Luthra, California
It was with great sadness to hear about the demise of our favorite professor, Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad.
I am from the 1st batch at REC Srinagar? I run the yahoo group that made the discovery of your email address possible. I live in San Jose, California.

I spent my entire career in Information Technology ( thanks to Dr Ahmad’s classroom assignment for a Project Paper and I chose to write on Computers and Steel Plants). That triggered the interest and Tata Motors gave me the opportunity simply because I topped in the Aptitude Test in 1968. I had started there as a Graduate Trainee in 1966 and learnt computing on the job.
Dr Ahmad was more than a professor. He was almost like a spiritual guide to his students. I was in the first batch of the students at the Regional Engineering college, Srinagar.
He not only educated us but also inspired us to face the world with confidence. He once said that “Everybody is equal in a hammam.”
While some of his students have preceded him in death, others will miss him.
Ghansham Dass Gupta, Canada
I am  from REC Srinagar 1964-69 Mechanical Batch, presently settled in Toronto, Canada
It is sad to hear about the demise of  Professor Sahib.
He was our best Teacher Mentor and Guide, and he truly loved us and gave us his best. His jovial style of teaching and handling situations  is unforgettable.
I still remember his words when in my first intro Pofessor Sahib asked ‘Mia Mechanical Engineering kyon karna chate ho” (Why you want to study Mech Engg)
My reply was ‘There was good scope for Mechanical Engineers”
His reply was ‘Mia Koyle ka Dipu ya Mitti ke tel ka Dipu kohl lo.  Un ka scope zyada achha hai (Start a coal or kerosine oil business, that has more scope)
He not only trained us good Mechanical Engineers but also groomed us as good  and competent persons to handle any type of situation in our career with a smile on our face.
He taught us Structural Engineering and Thermodynamics, and his teachings have always guided me in my professional carrier, spreading over 50 years.
He made me understand Curved Beam Theory so well that I  excelled in my carrier. He gave me Excellent Testimonials for admission for MS in Harvard University,  of which he was a Fellow.
We old friends still remember his choicest phrases and words and relive old moments.
I pray for Jannat for him and all the best for his family.
Vijay Kumar, India
I am from REC, Mech Engg 1965-1970.
Qazi ashfaq was a wonderful man and in the eyes of his students he was a larger than life figure…tall, hefty, sporting a maulana type beard; he didn’t take too many classes but the few subjects he taught he adopted the approach of getting his students to become inquisitive in the subject matter rather than spoon feeding the material.
When i left REC, I approached him for a letter of reference…he gave me a glowing reference that I still have with me; his loss is bound to leave a void in the minds of his students who knew and remember him.
Harbachan Singh Raina, Kashmir
I joined REC in 1960 and was one of the two Sikh students in Electrical Engineering.
I was thrilled to know from my batch mate Mr Dharam Pal Luthra of Mechanical that Dr Ahmad lived  in Sydney. On my request, he has sent his family photo taken with the World famous Taj Mahal.
After graduating in 1965 , I joined the J&K State Electricity Dept as an Assistant Engineer and became Chief Engineer in March 1999 later to become Commissioner Power J&K State and was the first Engineer from REC Srinagar to become the Commissioner .
More than half a century has elapsed but Dr Ahmad’s picture is vivid before my eyes . God bless him.
Ashok Puri, India
Lively, always smiling, He was more friendly than teachery.
Once had arranged for us a viva and a chosen subject to write on. And you have to speak infront of the class.

Me and another student were left when the bell rang.
‘Oh you Ashok, no problems’ I know you, I willl give you appropriate marks. Don’t worry.And he did more than I expected.

Rajeshwar Jain, India
Sad to learn about demise of Dr Qazi Ashfaq  Ahmad. I am his first batch of Mechanical Engineering graduate of REC, like Pal , Sham Malhotra .
In class room , Dr was a tough task master. But, outside class, he was a different person, a friend and a guide. I still recall , one Sunday, in a surprise visit, few of us landed at his house. Apart from good tea and snacks, we played cricket for couple of hours with him. Sweet remembrance.
Javed Shabbir Khan, Kashmir
A very sad news indeed.Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, our professor at REC,was not only a loving teacher but a friend of his students.
Though I did not hear of him for more than half a century but his memory remains as fresh as ever.
Had I been knowing that he lives in Sydney I could have met him in 2008 during my visit there. Alas such a meeting could not mature.
Wish his soul to remain in eternal peace.
Sham Lal Malhotra, New York
I am  from the first set to graduate, now in New York.

I remember Professor Ashfaq very fondly. Out of the class he was a friend.
Once, along with a class mate we surprised our dear professor by knocking on his door on a Sunday. He was happy to see us. His wife made pakoras & tea for us.
It is good to know he led a long & happy life.
___________________________________________
Professor Qazi Obaidur Rahman Hashmi, New Delhi
Saddened beyond words on the passing of our venerated brother Professor Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad OAMI must say that given his family background, temperament, and deep human sensitivity, he was always willing to go extra miles to help people in distress.It’s a fact that Ashfaq Bhai devoted his entire life to serving the impoverished and marginalised in the society by extensively contributing to the betterment and meaningful existence of the younger generation in the society.

He endeared himself to his close as well as distant relations by being their patron, mentor and well wisher in the real sense of the word.He supported my elder brother to secure a suitable placement in the Indian Army at a time when there was no one else to vouch for him.However, despite making all out efforts to rehabilitate so many of us, he never claimed or liked to be credited for his support and patronage.

Though he had doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, his insight into Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence alongside his profound knowledge and command over Urdu, English and Arabic language and literature, was highly amazing.Once in early 70s during a short stay at my hometown, he taught me at my request the poems of the English Romantic poets.

His in-depth elaborations of the subtle metaphorical nuances and poetic thoughts are still ingrained and reverberating in my memory.Advising me not to be dismayed in view of the inevitable impediments, he personally ensured my support and sustenance at Aligarh for higher education.Its now through his benevolence, moral support, encouragement that I could pursue my education and secure a better position in life.Ashfaq bhai never believed in one time charity. He always discouraged it as it was against the human dignity.

He wanted the younger generation to earn the art of living through constant struggle and earn a distinct dignified place in the society.He was a great source of inspiration to me because of his lifelong enormous contributions and commitment to reform the human society and create a congenial atmosphere for mutual trust, love, understanding and harmonious co-existence.

He was a great social and political thinker who raised his voice against ignorance, injustice and all forms of brutality and violence in the world.

Remaining in Australia for most of his life, he started a crusade against the perpetrators of crime against humanity on the ground of race, colour, language, etc.

His sincere and constant endeavours in the direction of establishing peace and order in the world were widely recognised and appreciated.

A great testimony to this fact is that millions all over the world mourn the death of such an ardent lover of humanity and saviour of mankind.

He groomed his children also to carry on like him this prophetic mission to the present and next generation.

His son Ziaul Islam Ahmad, who himself is an acclaimed scholar in his own right, is a great successor of his father’s laudable legacy of human love and compassion.

Dr Nadeem Siddiqi, Sydney
Ex Chairman Scholarship Committee and former President, AMU Alumni of Australia

There is a saying which goes as ”the choices we make, dictates the lives we lead” Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmed, who we called Abbu made a very conscious choice to be a source of positivity and upliftment to the community at large. His life has been one of “putting others first” and an ever-present helping and encouraging hand.. whether it is the launch of the “AMU Alumni” scholarship project, the first of its kind within the Aligarian diaspora in sydney to the propagation and advancement of the “Quran academy” deen aur duniya in perfect tandem and harmony, the epitome of a what is a “Muslim”. I have had the pleasure and the absolute honour to have been the recipient  of his largesse and the wisdom with which Abbu imparted his vision as well as the selflessness of his entire being.

On a personal note, Abbu has held my hand and guided me immesely through the embroynic stage of the alumni scholarships, the initiative would not have seen the light of day and thrive if Abbu was not such an integral part of it. I benefited hugely from his insights and vision. The same was replicated on the Quran academy. The need to superimpose education with the light of the Quran was such a natural progression that it became a seamless activity and the results speak for themselves.

Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad was and will always be the north star for the AMU Community, his influence and footprints are for us to take inspiration from and keep the flame burning bright. The community now can see far and wide because it is standing on the broad shoulders of Dr Saheb.

Zahid Jamil, Sydney
I have the honour of Knowing late Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad for almost 30 years. I believe he had somehow built trust in me which brought us close in some ways. The close interaction helped me in understanding him a little more. I learnt from him a great deal in different areas.

Most of the people continue to pursue a belief and purpose throughout their life, which is generally guided by what they learnt in their childhood from their parents and families. As we grow, we may start taking interest in a religious or political ideology, while continuing to pursue our professional careers.

Qazi Ashfaq was very different. During his university days in Aligarh Muslim University, he keenly studied engineering but got influenced by Indian Islamic movement of Jamaat- e-Islami. It is a political movement which attracted many Muslim youth of the time but rarely an engineering graduate would decide to go to an Islamic institution to learn the religion, instead of pursuing a job in his field. Dr Ahmad did so and took a firm commitment of pursuing a cause which landed him in political trouble in India. He had to leave the country and he somehow came to Australia.

What he did for the Muslim community in Australia is well known. What is more important is that he was neither a traditional Muslim, nor a traditional scholar, nor a typical community worker. He was a critical thinker and an activist who would do things differently. He read Islamic literature all his life in an effort to critically analyse the current problems of Islamic world.

In his opinion, Islam has become ineffective as the mechanism to fabricate and forge the present societal life, as present day scholars have failed under pressure of Western ideologies. It is essential for us to dive into the depth of the meaning and explanation of the Quranic verses, indulge in full deliberation, all the intellectual consequences, inferences and scientific antecedents and inclusions from the Quranic texts to reinvent the message. He also believed in interfaith dialogue to establish harmonious society

In this very short write up, I pay homage to this great persona for his multiple attributes and salute his extraordinary courage, determination and firm belief in his ideological pursuits.

An Ode To Late Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad PhD OAM
by Dr Fazlul Huq, Former Associate Professor in the School of Medical Sciences, The University of Sydney and poet Jujube at allpoetry.com and a regular contributor to AMUST

Having completed the term on earth, the soul of Dr Ashfaq Ahmad left the earthly cage to enter the world of Barzak on 10 February 2022.

May Allah forgive his sins, accept his good deeds and grant him eternal peace.

I have met Dr Ashfaq Ahmad for the first time in September 1971 in the cafeteria of the University of Sydney not far from the footbridge when he was doing his PhD in Engineering and I was doing postdoc in the School of chemistry.

It would be impossible to list even key events related to Dr Ashfaq’s achievements in less than 100 words.

So I have decided to reflect more on his life and living, industry and achievements.

Trained as an engineer, he studied in India the land of his birth, USA and his adopted homeland in the Down Under.

Dr Ashfaq was an educator and a scholar with untamed hunger and thirst for knowledge and intellect.

He was at home in his home in Bonnyrigg that turned into an institution on its own right, in the MEFF gatherings (that he established to bring Muslim and broader Australian communities together), and other community events and interfaith dialogues, and meetings with broader Australian communities.

He was a speaker and an avid listener, a seeker and disseminator of knowledge and information.

So he established AMUST to serve as the forum and medium and the central stage.

He could communicate and connect with the young and old, people of his own faith and others not being so.

His mind was ever full of spark, hunger and thirst for knowledge, ideas and information. He did vision and plan, organised and sought participation and assistance from those near at hand others far from the distant.

He remained undaunted until the very last day because for him life and living were a trust from the Creator where idling and wastage would have no place.

I feel so privileged to have known Dr Ashfaq Ahmad and hope to meet him again in the hereafter.

Osman Softic, Serbia
Lecturer, Faculty of Islamic Studies (FIS) Novi Pazar, Sandzak, Serbia

Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad OAM, was one of the most humbled yet accomplished leaders and elders of the Australian Muslim community, especially the Sydney Muslim community, where he lived and to which he dedicated his life in Australia.

He was a scholar of high stature, uncompromised Muslim intellectual and a man of letters who valued and had a foresight of what it meant to have a written world for a community. His founding of AMUST is undoubtedly a testament to his appreciation of knowledge, truth and justice.

I shall always remember his dedication to the just cause of the Bosniak Muslim struggle for freedom, justice and dignity. His interest and activism and mediation within the community and with the authorities made lives of many Bosniaks easier and prosperous.

I was both fortunate and privileged to have come to Australia in the early 1992. where my wife’s family and friends first introduced me to Dr Ashfaq. They kept and nurtured a long friendship and had admired his dedication to Islam, his humble persona, approachability and kindness, his knowledge and wit and his sense of humor and stern character when it came to matters that required firmness and justice.

Every year it was almost a kind of ritual to meet with Dr Ashfaq at the landmark event of the Eid Festival and Fair usually held at the Fairfield Showground and adjacent facilities at western outskirts of Sydney. This was one of many events which late Dr Ashfaq and his close associates, friends and family had established as remarkable platforms and mass events which enabled the Muslim community, irrespective of its members’ ethnic backgrounds or countries of origin, and other barriers, to meet with their families and friends, and feel the sweetness and joy of the Eid in anew adapted home, Australia we all love and cherish.

It was also a strategic event and a point of encounter of Muslims and other Australians of all faiths and persuasions or no faith at all, to share their experiences and partake in dialogue, conversations and warm exchanges as part of building mutual trust, cohesion and appreciate positive environment of a true and genuine religious, ethnic and racial pluralism, while tasting delicious cuisine and delicacies from all corners of the world of Islam.

I therefore take liberty to suggest the Eid Festival he established be named after this remarkable human being, great intellectual, community leader, political activist and a humble and gentle human rights “warrior” who never burnt but built bridges.

Later on, in my life after my postgraduate studies and during my work in academia, outside of Australia, when I took deep interest in studying history of Kashmir in India where Dr Ashfaq was born, studied and taught, before migrating to Australia, did I only began to truly appreciate the values of Kashmir with its pluralism, vibrancy and religious historical toleration and mutual exchanges, which undoubtedly shaped Dr Ashfaq Ahmad’s character and integrity and his appreciation and struggle for the rights of Muslims and their dignity while sharing and teaching the values of compassion, toleration and mutual brotherhood.

Numerous other forums and institutions he formed throughout his working life of tireless activism and energy represent the lasting edifice and signposts on the road of being a proud and humble Muslim in Australia. After his passing, there remains a huge void in our midst, not only among the Muslim community but in a broader sense.

I should remind myself and my other friends in Australian Muslim community and further afield that there should be a thought given to an idea that we institutionalize an Islamic Studies Center or a Center for inclusiveness or interfaith exchange that should perhaps be named after this remarkable person, or an annual memorial lecture or award.

In Islam, as my Muslim brethren know well, there is a belief that every once in a while, in a century perhaps, Allah SWTA rewards the Muslim community by granting them a person, a leader, with special mercy and knowledge, character and esteem to a scholar of such a high esteem and standing with ability to shape an era of a given nation or a community for that matter.

We know them as mujaddid al Din. If we are to think who that might be in Australia for our Muslim community, I would dare to say that it was Dr Ashfaq Ahmed, a humble, smiling scholar who left behind such a rich legacy that he will be remembered for many years and generations to come.

I feel humbled, privileged and honored to have known and loved him as my own father or a grandfather. Australia should be proud of him too as he left indelible legacy that shaped our own generation of Muslim migrants in Australia. He heled us feel at home in Australia by his tireless journey of building trust, compassion and mutual cohesion and love for Australia and for our faith of Islam.

Rarely do leaders of such a stature emerge in one’s lifetime twice. May the Almighty grant him eternal reward in paradise and to us remains a duty to reach for the wisdom, knowledge and solace in a vast legacy he left behind.