Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 26 Shawaal 1436/12 August 2015
“I said, ‘I leave you and I trust in Allah’, and I can now say with Yaqeen that he fulfilled that trust”.
This is how a tearful but steadfast Moulana Sayyid Jalaluddin Ajimuddin recounted the moment he entrusted his son to Allah SWT’s Care and saw to his settling down in Port Elizabeth for the commencement of his tertiary education two years ago.
Letting go of his eldest son was no easy task for the Aalim who originally hails from Warrenton, but had subsequently made Kimberley his home, after a tragic accident a while back that had rendered another of his sons incapacitated.
Yesterday, Moulana Sayyid once again found himself in Port Elizabeth for a farewell. Like the previous rendezvous two years prior, it again was for his son.
The difference on Tuesday however was, that this time the send-off was for good.
Asadullah, his 19 year old son who studied computer science and applied mathematics and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, had been declared dead after spending more than 3 days on life support machines at Port Elizabeth’s Life St George’s Hospital.
On Saturday, the teenager was the victim of a ruthless burglary at his Summerstrand flat that saw him being bludgeoned with a cricket bat and sustaining severe brain injuries.
Should he have emerged from the resulting coma, doctors predicted that Asadullah would have the left side of his body paralyzed and this ability to speak taken away.
But that is not how it was destined to be.
“He was very humble and sweet, Asadullah never troubled anybody,” a mourning Moulana Sayyid told Cii Radio this morning.
“Even though he was 800km away from his hometown and had all the freedom to do what he wanted, he never did any wrong. Even the (non Muslim) landlady of the flat at which he was residing confided that when she saw Asadullah for the first time she had told him, ‘You are an angel’, and allowed him to reside in the flat not usually allocated to students”.
The aalim reflected on the numerous telephone calls Asadullah would make to his mother, including one just hours before the tragic attack.
“Uncharacteristically for him, he requested to speak to me as well that day. We spoke about his studies, and he specifically sought advice from me on how to give Da’wah to a fellow student who had expressed interest in Islam. I promised to contact him about the matter in the new week, but then this happened”.
The father said the suburb where his son was attacked was not a crime hotspot per se, but had seen an upscale in burglaries in the last two months.
Commenting on the violent nature of the assault on his child, Moulana Sayyid said investigators have suggested that the perpetrators could have been gang members undergoing some form of ‘initiation’ or could have been under the influence of drugs at the time of the attack.
Apple of her eye
Speaking alongside her husband, Apa Fatima, the mother of the deceased, said she was accepting of her fate.
In a faith-filled conversation, she reflected on various Quraanic verses which she said she looked to for strength at this difficult time.
“Allah SWT promised that he would test us with our children. There is no promise made that we would keep them forever. We knew that we are going to be tested. We do not have a choice. (But I always say) if Allah puts you there, he will (also) put you through.”
Apa Fatima said her son was her pillar of strength, especially at the time of the accident that rendered his younger sibling paraplegic.
“He was also my tutor, teaching me many things I didn’t know, over the phone,” she said.
Apa Fatima also quipped over the challenges Asadullah faced living so far away from home and having to take responsibility for his daily chores.
“I always encouraged him to learn from me how to cook, but he never really got the knack of it”.
In retrospect, the resolute mother said, the 4 years that had elapsed since her other son’s mishap, were the training ground that equipped her to deal with this loss.
“I feel so much peace..When Asadullah was laying on the bed, there was one specific moment when I put my nose on his face and breathed him in, and I thought if I could just breathe in enough, then I could keep him with me. But at the end of the day it was Allah’s decision – I could breathe as deep as I want, but Allah is the one that decides at the end of the day”.
“Alhamdulillah, Allah has given us this opportunity to experience Imaan, that is what carries us through”.
Asked to tender advice to other parents, the mother of the deceased said that parents should simply love Allah and teach their children to do the same, through their words and deeds.
Although Asadullah was pursuing his BSc degree in computer science and applied maths, Moulana Sayyid revealed that it always remained his son’s dream to memorise the Qur’aan.
“He would always phone me and say ‘Abbi, I want to do my Hifdh as well”
Concurring with the father’s sentiments, close friend Mohammed Talha Haspatel said he nurtured a friendship with Asadullah on the basis of his love for the Qur’aan.
“We met at the campus musallah and he asked me to test him his Dhor. From there we became very close and would eat out and regularly cycle together”.
Haspatel, who runs the Aswaatul Qurraa website, disclosed that Asadullah – who had memorised 2 Juz of the Qur’aan previously – had indicated his desire to continue his Hifdh journey, and was formally due to commence classes on the day of his demise.
The Race for Jummuah
Haspatel also spoke of the deceased’s enthusiasm when it came to the Day of Jummuah on campus.
“Jummuah Salaah at NMMU takes place in a classroom,” he explained. “So you have to set up the classroom, move desks and lay carpets in advance. Asadullah would do all that”.
Moulana Mohammad Badsha, an Imam in Port Elizabeth, said it was through these very meticulous planning arrangements made for Jummuah at the university by the deceased that he first came to know him.
“He was the MSA contact person for Jummuah at university,” Moulana Badsha said.
“When I met him, I found him to be really humble. Every week without fail, he would do a follow up with me on the Jummuah speaker at the university and then personally take it upon himself to call the Aalim and make arrangements.”
“What was really amazing is that there is this long distance from the entrance of the university to Jummuah venue. He would stand at gate, wait for Khateeb, and then escort him in all the way to the venue”.
Moulana Badsha said the scale of Asadullah’s Janaazah on Tuesday was testimony to the lasting impact the young man had made.
“Most of those in attendance did not know him – even the mayor[Danny Jordaan] and several non Muslim students were present – it was one of the biggest Janaazahs we have seen here in Port Elizabeth”.
The aalim said he was amazed by the sense of brotherhood engendered by the tragedy.
“Asadullah’s family(from Kimberley) were made to feel most welcome and all their food and accommodation needs were seen to. In turn, his father’s strength was so amazing – how he accepted the Will of Allah SWT. His father actually consoled us”.
“Here is a student that came from out of town, little known, but Allah SWT has now made it such that the entire community, Muslim and non Muslim has got to know him, and learn from him,” Badsha said.
Haspatel said Surah Yaseen was being read often by Muslim students on campus for the deceased, and a fellow MSA member said plans were also afoot amongst students to rally for the perpetrators of this and similar crimes to face the full might of the law.
A special online hashtag,
#JusticeForAsadullah has also been created.