Akber Roshanali Hameer

Akber Roshanali Hameer

Akber Roshanali Hameer

Obituary by Murtaza Akber Hameer (Arusha, Tanzania)

1950-2022

My father died on January 11th 2022. He was 72. I recall being called by my older brother during the early hours of the 29th of December 2021 and being told that Dad was being rushed to the hospital and a little later that he was being taken to the ICU to get intubated. I took the earliest flight I could from Kilimanjaro to head to Dar es Salaam. Dad put up a good fight for about two weeks, getting the best care of management from the ICU and nephrology departments at Shree Hindu Mandal Hospital in Dar es Salaam. Despite the best treatment that modern medicine had to offer him, dad’s survival was not to be. Death, his last act of life, had come on stage to embrace him.

No words that I write here can even begin to do justice to the human being he was. It is but a poor attempt of a grieving son to describe to the reader the amazing soul of his father.

Our dad was truly the kind of father children deserved. With us sons, he was strict when he needed to be, but mostly he was kind and loving. He gave us everything he could in his capacity to make our childhood the pleasant blessing that childhood is meant to be. Dad was approachable, not feared but loved by his children. We could discuss practically anything with him when we were growing up. When we needed something, whether for our educational needs or our innocent childhood recreations, he almost never said no. I recall a memory when I was in my pre-teen years and we were in London. Dad bought my older brother a laptop for his studies as he was beginning secondary school. Being a kid, I did what kids typically do when they see their siblings get something they didn’t get: I threw a tantrum. I wanted a laptop because my older brother had gotten one. Dad let me cry till my eyes had become like the Sahara desert. I had to accept the fact that a laptop was not coming my way. But when I joined Secondary school a few years later, he got me a beautiful personal computer with no questions asked. My dad parented me well.

While Dad expected the respect he deserved as a parent from his children, growing up under his wings he always treated us as his friends and as individuals responsible for carving their own destinies with him being there for us to lean on for assistance should it ever be needed. He always had our backs during our school and college days. Dad was a family man, a man of honour and principles, fulfilling his obligations to his wife and children. He was a mensch in the truest sense of the term.

Dad saved my life twice when I was really young. He once saved me from drowning in the pool and once when I was choking. I am alive today because of my father. I can never repay him for what he has done for me. But I can, for sure, walk in his footsteps to be even a fraction of the amazing man he was. I can never fill his shoes but I can wear them and continue his walk for him, no matter how small my steps may be, on the path of goodness and compassion that he always gracefully walked upon.

In my own journey of growing up, my dad always encouraged me to pursue whatever my dream career was. He suggested I become a doctor but he never forced it on me. When I became a doctor, he was very proud of me. When I decided to become a teacher and graduated as one, he was very proud of me. And a few months before he died, when I got the opportunity to become a polyclinic administrator, he was very proud of me. I know the day I am a published author, my father will continue to be proud of me.

During my 19s and 20s, I started a personal journey of inquiry into my religion and decided to walk the less-trodden path of critical thinking, studying my religion for myself. My journey led me from being a traditional Muslim kid to being an agnostic, an atheist, and eventually coming to God and spirituality as a religious pluralist. Not once did my father castigate me for seeking my own path to make sense of my existence in the grand scheme of things. In fact, during my atheistic years, he told me that he thanked me for encouraging him to read the entire Qur’an in English for himself as he began to understand his religion better. Dad was a Muslim by beliefs and more importantly by actions. He truly embodied the Qur’anic principles that there was no compulsion in religion and that the individual should take the responsibility of finding his or her own path to divinity. Even when he disagreed with my theological and philosophical perspectives, he was always respectful and loving to me. He never stopped being my father. I was truly blessed.

To those outside his family, Dad was a real philanthropist. His heart was so huge that it extended beyond his family. During the period of his financial success, he helped educate a lot of people. I honestly do not know how many people he educated but after his passing away, all we hear as his family from people who have been giving us condolences was that either dad educated them or their loved ones or that he helped them and they will never forget his generosity and kindness. I know that he did have a very generous hand to those in need. I recall he once told me that when people came to his office for help and if he couldn’t help them, they would still leave his office with a smile. “It’s nice to be nice.”, he always taught us.

Those who came in contact with my father will always remember him. For those who did not know him, he was like the character George Bailey from Frank Capra’s classic film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ When I watched that movie starring the brilliant James Stewart, all I could see was my father. Even the sacrifices Bailey made were parallel to those of my father. For me, Dad was the real-life George Bailey.

My father is gone. He has stepped into the next realm of existence of which we mortals on this plane have no idea. We only have scriptures and prophets who have reminded us of our final destination, though we will never know the experience of that reality until we, each and every one of us, transition into it.

All I have now of my father are his memories. Genetically, he lives in me and my siblings. Spiritually, he is forever in our hearts. As I look at old photographs of him from his childhood to adulthood, all I see, in every picture of his, is a person who was full of life and joy with an effulgence that burst forth from his very soul.

My father’s name was Akber Roshanali Hameer. And he had a heart of gold. May he rest in eternal peace and bliss. Amen.

 

May Allah SWT repose the departed soul in the abundance of His mercy and rest him amongst the chosen ones – Ameen. We request our readers to remember marhum and all the Marhumeen with Sura-e-Fateha.

 

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