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Dr. Shakir Mukhi: An Obituary by Dr.Aslam Abdullah

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah


Dr. Shakir Mukhi at AFMI’s International Convention of Dalits and Minorities held in NY in 2008. He chaired the convention. He is seeing with Ram Vilas Paswan, Chairman of the Dalits and Minorities receiving a citation of honor from the Nassau County, NY, USA.

When they are amidst you, you do not pay much attention to what they have been doing, but when they leave this world, you feel a void, a void that is difficult to fill. Dr. Shakir Mukhi was such a person. He was like thousands of silent unsung and unknown heroes of Islam. He was a God-conscious human being, a physician, a successful business man, a loving husband, a compassionate father, a community worker, an AFMI past president and a devout Muslim whose spirituality was evident in his demeanor. Thousands and thousands young boys and girls who are graduating from schools that he helped establish, hundreds of poor families that he helped to stand on their feet, may probably never know his name, yet he did what each one of is reminded of to do in the book that we all believe in, the book of guidance, the Quran. Shakir came from a Ithna Ashari family that had settled in East Africa after migrating from India a few hundreds of years ago, but he never felt stranger among people whose religious understanding were different from him. In fact, he was instrumental in bringing the two communities together through his philanthropic work. Whether in the slums of Poona or the villages of Uttrapradesh, he was there with his resources to help establish schools and support deserving students. Last year, the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, held its annual convention in Florida that was attended by more than 700 people of Indian origin in the US and Canada. It was a remarkable event as the leadership of the two sects came together on the stage pledging to work for the upliftment of the poor and the needy through combined efforts, Shakir never missed an AFMI convention in India. He was instrumental in always inviting non-Muslims to AFMI events, He would always visit India together with Dr. Nakadar and Ali Bhai Qureshi of New Mexico to the venue of the convention in India to ensure that all arrangements were secured. He would always spend from his pocket and whenever AFMI would embark on any project in any part of India, he would be the first one to offer his resources.

Shakir never sought any limelight in AFMI conventions. He would not seek any recognition of his work and contribution. He would not even ask to be given an opportunity to speak at the convention. But he would seek recognition for those whom he had introduced in AFMI. He introduced Muslims of Indian origin from Kenya, and other East African countries to AFMI and inspired them to visit AFMI’s convention in India.

During the 20 years friendship; he had with other AFMI workers, we never had a discussion on the issues that divide shias and sunnis. We always focussed on the positives and worked for a common cause. Our purpose was and is to empower Muslims in India so that they live as a dignified citizen proud of their religious and cultural identities without wasting time in sectarian and communal strife. Shakir was committed to a unified Muslim community.

Shakir was a very successful physician on Long Island. He treated thousands of patients voluntarily. He would risk his own comfort to help anyone regardless of their faith. He ran successful businesses in different parts of the country that provided employment to hundreds. Yet, he never neglected his family. Last time when we visited him in his newly bought him in Florida after our annual convention, he introduced us to a few young physicians from some of India’s remotest areas where people are struggling to establish schools. They were the ones whom Shakir had helped acquire education from grade one to MBBS with his funding. He never acknowledged that he was instrumental in their career. Rather, they were the ones who told the story of his generosity and while they were telling that, Shakir admonished them to be quiet and when they did not listen, he left the room.

In India, we the AFMI members always traveled together in distant places to visit schools that we had funded. Whether it is by train, or car, or cart or even on foot, he was always there with his usual sense of humor and wit ensuring that we all stay in high spirit.

Of course, it is a big loss for the family, the community and in particular the AFMI, yet we know that he left this world as a contended soul. He gave all that he had to his family, community and the organization he fell in love some 20 years ago. He accomplished in his young age what many leave this world wishing for. We know that soon we would also join him but we want to be grateful to God almighty for the life that He gave to Shaikr, for the resources that he endowed him with, for the love He instill in him and for the care He build in him for the poor and the needy. We celebrate his life as he leaves us hoping and praying that God almighty is please with him. May Allah grant him the best in the hereafter.


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