Farewell, Qari Khaleel

Qari Ahmed Khaleel

With a heavy heart, the Laudium community bade farewell to one of our most esteemed ustaadhs, Qari Ahmed Khaleel. The Kalla family hosted a dinner in his honour on Wednesday, the 20th February 2019. Undoubtedly, it was a bitter-sweet affair as Qari Khaleel has always played an integral role in establishing the Madrassah Hifzul Quran, a pioneering role in Al Ghazali College and the Muslim community in Pretoria at large.

Qari began his journey for knowledge and memorisation of the holy Quran at the tender age of 14. Boarding the ship -SS Karanja- he travelled to India and Pakistan to pursue his Hifz and Qiraat Studies. Subsequent to his graduation in 1978, he returned to his hometown Durban. Accepting the requests of his close friends and colleagues, Moulana Ahmed Mukkadum and Moulana Abdul Hadi, to lead a salah at the Jewel Street Masjid, Qari visited Pretoria; unaware that it was actually his job interview. His intention was to serve the Pretoria community for one year, however, Qari is only returning home after 40 years of stellar service.

Whilst serving as the Imam at the masjid and ustaadh at PMT (fifteen years), he was offered to establish the hifz madressah in conjunction with the late Hajee Abu Bakr Kalla. The objective of the madressah was to ensure that the Pretoria community flourished with prolific Huffaz- an aim which has certainly been achieved. The affection and adoration which he had received by his former students at their respective farewell (held on the 16th February 2019) proved the significant impact Qari Khaleel had on every single student.

In the year 2000, Qari received a call from Brother Ismail Kalla, at 23:00.  Brother Ismail entreated Qari’s assistance to improve the Islamiyah department at Al-Ghazali College. The very next day, Qari shut down his businesses, thereafter, undertaking a new chapter in his journey- certainly a pivotal decision in his life. During the past 20 years, Qari Khaleel is one of the Ustaadhs who has spearheaded the Islamiyah department and has been an invaluable asset to the Al Ghazali College. His involvement at the school is surely instrumental and his wisdom, advice and legacy will be eternally treasured. AGC is yet to host an upcoming farewell for him.

Apart from his educational accolades, Qari Khaleel has also participated in the World Qur’an Competition of 1982. This prestigious competition, held in Iran, showcased the talent of eighty participants from twenty-four countries. To no surprise, Qari achieved 8th position and had the honour of reciting the Quran in front of the prominent Sheikh Abdul Basit Abdus Samad, his hero.

It was certainly impossible to express an adequate farewell to Qari Khaleel in a single evening, however, the event was as inspiring as his personality. The programme began with a melodious qiraat recital by Hafez Imtiaz Ismail, Qari’s former student and an enthralling recitation by Qari, himself.  The attendees were then mesmerized by the mellifluous zikr performed by the ABS Youth Group. Thereafter, Moulana Ahmed Mukkadum took the stand and urged the community to remember and uphold the legacy of Islam. Brother Ismail Kalla further expounded on Qari’s significance in our town and re-iterated Moulana Mukkadum’s message.

An earnest farewell was then conveyed by Hafez Imtiaz Ibrahim, on behalf of all of Qari’s students- approximately 45 Huffadh have graduated under his guidance. Sheikh Arshaad, also Qari’s student who graduated at the esteemed Al-Azhar University situated in Cairo, graced the audience with an enriching talk which left one and all awe-inspired. Assuredly, the highlight of the programme was Qari Khaleel’s heartfelt farewell speech, wherein he shared his  anecdotes of his experiences in Pretoria as well as expressed his sincere gratitude to every person he has befriended in this town . The splendid evening was concluded with a reverent salaat and salaam upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW), delivered by the guest of honour- Qari Khaleel.

On behalf of the Muslim community in Pretoria, we wish Qari Khaleel success in all his future endeavours and may this next chapter of his life be filled with contentment, joy and countless blessings from Allah (SWT). Our community has certainly flourished due to Qari’s efforts and his immeasurable ocean of knowledge.

Message from Qari Khaleel:

Dearest and loving people of Laudium and Erasmia, Asalaam-u-Alaikum…

Indeed, it is a very sad moment for me to say a final farewell, after 40 years, to each one of you wonderful people. All good things come to an end someday, and that day has now come for me. I will never forget your hospitality, love, friendship and all the memories which I have made with you. I have spent the best parts of my years in Pretoria and throughout this time, you have always made me feel as if I was one of you.

You have not merely given me a place in this beautiful city, but rather a place in your hearts. I wish to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. May the Almighty Allah (SWT) grant you success in this world and most importantly, in the hereafter.

Ameen. Please remember me and my family in your duas.

Your Brother and Humble Servant of Islam, Ahmed Khaleel