Salim Ahmad Malik: A portrait of scholarship and service

Hinna Malik, Ishaat Desk, Lajna Imaillah Virginia North

My father, Salim Ahmad Malik, was born in Qadian, India. He was the son of Malik Aziz Ahmad and Khurshid Begum, and the grandson of Malik Noor-ud Din. Both his father and grandfather were Companions of the Promised Messiahas.

He was an accomplished scholar, a geo-chemist by formal education, but also extremely knowledgeable about world literature. He was a professor at Reading University for his entire career. He was well-versed in Greek, Roman, and Indian classics and mythology. His knowledge of philosophy was vast. He was a lifelong student and teacher, literally to his last moments in this world. He used his time in the hospital to read over and edit papers that the students from Jamia Ahmadiyya UK had submitted. He was a wonderful cook, survived the conflict in the Indian subcontinent, and was a dedicated human rights activist.

When he retired in 2001, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh asked him to move closer to the London Mosque as there were many projects that they worked on together, including the building of a library, which was something close to both of their hearts and a project that they embarked on with great love and tireless dedication. My father also served as Secretary Talim of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya UK prior to this. Each Jalsa Salana, he oversaw the external guests, inviting them and creating and maintaining relationships with them. He worked assiduously with the House of Lords and his special friend, Lord Avebury, to bring international publicity to the injustices of the Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan.

Later, when Jamia Ahmadiyya UK was established, he was appointed to serve as the administrator, and then he taught English literature and Islamic history. He was doing this until about two years before he passed away, as he was unable to drive to Jamia. At that point, he started to tutor and mentor many of the students and help them with exam preparation. Jamia students would regularly visit him at home, where they would be greeted with lunch and tea, which my mother was happy to provide.

As a family man, he was a gentle, loving husband and a wonderful father who always made time for his family. He was exceptionally proud of his three daughters and would become visibly irritated if anyone asked if he had wished for a son. 

His response to this was to ask why they thought he needed a son when his daughters were brilliant and just as capable as any boy. He made sure we knew this and that he believed in our abilities to achieve whatever we might set out to do. From a young age, we saw him washing, cleaning, and cooking. He made our packed lunches every day, and his sandwiches were always immaculate; friends would ask where we bought them since they looked so professional. He was never too tired to take his family on road trips all over England and around Europe. He respected and loved my mother with complete devotion. While they may not have agreed on many things, there was never any discord in the household.

My father’s faith was never in doubt; he always believed that, in the words of William Shakespeare, ‘Truth will out”, that good will always override evil. There were so many times that his words were proven to be true. He was a firm believer that a truly faithful person is full of forgiveness. At one point, he made the decision to sell the house we lived in to help one of his family members, who was in a very bad predicament. We moved to a much smaller house, and here I have to admit that it was not easy for my mother, but I do not remember her ever complaining. This could have been a terrible move, but the good deed only resulted in further blessings for our family. A few years later, one of my mother’s dearest friends passed away and left instructions in her will for my parents to have first refusal on the sale of their house at a very reasonable price. This house was three times larger than the house my parents had sold. We moved in shortly after this and grew up in that house, and it was only sold when my father retired.

My father truly believed that hard work and education were the road to success, and by the grace of Allah, he is proof of this. He came to England with almost nothing but left a legacy for his wife and children.

He was a true stoic, never complaining of pain or his heart problems, preferring to divert himself with reading, prayer, and learning new things. He was an inspiration to so many people in so many ways, and we honour his memory and contributions to the world and endeavour to learn from his example.

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