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Obituary - Syed Hasanat Ahmad Sahib

Hamida Mannan

London, UK

Syed Hasanat Ahmad Sahib of Canada passed away on 27 August 2018 at the age of 92. “To Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.” 

Announcing the demise of Syed Hasanat Ahmad Sahib, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa said in his 21 September 2018 Friday Sermon:

“He was a faithful and loyal member, who had great passion for the Community. The deceased was a Musi.” 

Huzoor further said, “He has also written an introduction to the books of the Promised Messiahas and compiled it, which is a great scholarly achievement on his part.” 

Huzoor added, “In 1982, he presented a programme on the Jamaat on a Canadian television channel called Rogers without any remuneration. Hence, for the first time in the world, on 12 December 1982, the pictures of the Promised Messiahas and the Khulafa of Ahmadiyyat were presented on Canadian television.”

The Star, Toronto, one of Canada’s most circulated newspapers, published on 29 August 2018 the following about Syed Hasanat Ahmad Sahib:

“Hasanat Syed was a devoted member of the Canadian Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and a friend to his peers in journalism and politics. He made seminal contributions to help integrate the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Canada over the years through skilful engagement of the Canadian media, policy- and decision-makers and the public at large. He was known for bettering the lives of new immigrant Canadians and defending the rights of all minorities in Canada. Through his own weekly publication, New Canada, he voiced the defence of programs and institutions that helped Canadian minorities settle and integrate into Canadian society while preserving their identity and dignity. He was a staunch defendant and supporter of a just society, inclusive of people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds. He was a prolific author of multiple books and sponsored many conferences in Canada on the topics of human rights”. 

The Canadian Media Ethnic Association wrote about him:

“Hasanat Ahmad Syed is a well-known figure in Toronto circles and active in the Human Rights and Race Relations Centre since its inception in 1994”.

“He has a passion for a just and equitable society. His unique and positive way of rewarding those who are actively involved in the eradication of racism in our society has contributed significantly to creating harmonious relations between various communities.

“Mr Syed is a prolific writer and is the author of a number of books, including the latest one, Outstanding Immigrants in the New Millennium. This prompted the following comment from the Governor General, Rt Hon Adrienne Clarkson, ‘The enormous amount of work involved in publishing this wonderful book speaks loudly of your commitment to promote great Canadians at home and abroad.’

“Mr. Syed has played a very prominent role in the successful settlement of his community (Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam) in Canada, including the building of a $25-million housing project in Toronto. He has received numerous awards including one in January 2003, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal was conferred on him by Government of Canada.

“He was President of South Asian Journalists Club and a Director of Canadian Ethnic Journalists and Writers Club. He was elected as Secretary of Canada Day Committee of Metropolitan Toronto (1996-2003), and Executive Director/Project Director of the Centre for Internationally Trained Professionals.”

In the era of Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIIrh (from 1975 to 1978) he used to bring non-Ahmadi journalists for the reporting of Jalsa Salana Rabwah which was later published in the national press. He also had the opportunity of organising press conferences of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh with press and media. (History of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Rawalpindi, p. 279)

He was one of the pioneering members of Jamaat Canada to build relations with the Canadian Government and media. He laid the groundwork for the external relations and publicity of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya in Canada. He had personal relations with Canadian prime ministers, speakers of the Assembly and members of parliament. He invited them to Jamaat events.

In 1984, Pope John Paul visited Canada. Syed Hasanat Ahmad Sahib made arrangements for a group of Jamaat members to meet the Pope and present him a copy of the Holy Quran. 

He was also a member of the board of directors for Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace from 1990 to 2001.

During 1985, he was a member of the editorial board of The Review of Religions.

In 1994, he was elected as President of Human Rights and Relations Centre. This NGO was founded to help immigrants integrate in Canada and develop racial harmony for students in schools. Over 100 gold medals with $5,000 cash awards were given to the students by him.

In November 2004, a group study room was named after him in York University Canada. 

He worked in the field of journalism for 50 years. In addition, he used his journalistic talents to raise the profile of the community. As editor of New Canada for 20 years, he publicised the Khalifatul Masih’s messages and Jamaat’s activities as well as the persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan. He also highlighted the significant contribution of immigrants to ensure their enhancement of political, social and civic life in Canada.

He was a very devoted Ahmadi with a deep love for Khilafat. He was the voice of new Canadian immigrants and defended the rights of all minorities in Canada. 

He also translated a few books of the Promised Messiahas and part of the book Murder in the Name of Allah by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh. He is also the author of the following books:

Hakeem Noor-ud-Deen, Khalifatul Masih I – The Way of the Righteous 

An Introduction to the Hidden Treasures of Islam. This book presents thumbnail sketches of 89 books of the Promised Messiah and Mahdias 

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

In June 1989, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh visited Canada. Syed Hasanat Ahmad Sahib was actively involved in the arrangements of inviting government officials and press & media publications.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh commended him in one of his letters saying, “You work diligently with wisdom and sincerity to make my visit a success in Canada”.

In 1990, in cooperation with Honourable Bob Wong, he played a key role to arrange an Eid Milan party in the Ontario Legislative Building for the very first time in Canada.

His sister, Syeda Naseem Saeed Sahiba, writes:

“By the grace of God, my brother Syed Hasanat Ahmad was able to serve the Jamaat and humanity only because of the prayers of the Khulafa. He inherited love of Ahmadiyyat and Khilafat from his parents and followed their footsteps by carrying out Jihad of the Pen.”

His younger sister, Razia Sami, says: 

“He was a very kind-hearted and loving person. He was always keen to help the poor and needy. He funded the weddings of many underprivileged girls.”

May Allah have mercy on him and grant him a lofty place in paradise. 

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