Reflections on the passing of our quiet but determined, dear Sister Zubaida Chowdhury (date of death 25.4.2021).
It was some 8 years ago when Sister Zubaida, who was already a student of SAIS (School of Arabic & Islamic Studies) was diagnosed with cancer. Despite her battles with the illness, that she fought quietly and privately, she completed the three Madina Arabic Grammar books, she studied the three levels of Tajweed and was our first student to have read the whole Qur’an, page to page, to her teacher Sister Nadia and obtained the ‘ijaazah’ from us. She also studied Tafseer Ibn Kathir and Fiqh Hanbali. During the early years at SAIS, students used to sit exams twice a year and Zubaida used to be amongst our top performing students. She was the first student of SAIS to get Ijaazaat from her teacher, Sh Ahmad Barouni in all the Islamic fields, including Hadith, Tafseer, Fiqh and Aqeedah.
In Sister Zubaida’s journey with SAIS, she was known for her focus and relentless determination. To summarise, she was a perfectionist! Everything she touched had to have her full effort, no matter what was happening in her life she wouldn’t give up until she achieved her targets.
We remember Sister Zubaida would even take part in our cake sale to raise money for various charities, despite her illness she would muster up the energy for the greater good.
We cannot even begin to count the number of courses she secretly funded and supported at SAIS.
The passing away of Sister Zubaida is not just a loss for her family, it is truly a loss for our whole community…
When her illness started taking over her, she came up with the initiative of setting up Al-Zahoor Foundation, to help the poor people of Bangladesh. This is now one of the most authentic Charities locally where the money goes from the pocket of the donor directly to the most deserving.
Sister Zubaida was the definition of sabr, she never complained about her illness. Only her very close family and friends knew of her long term illness. She never once used her illness as an excuse nor allowed it to become a hindrance on the path of achieving her goals in life.
About a month ago when Zubaida was given a short time to live, she speeded up her arrangements to depart from this world, although the Will preparation had been done some time ago. She had the time to get all her affairs up to date, forgive others and ask for forgiveness for herself – Subhan Allah hil adheem!
Allah ta’ala rewarded her efforts by taking her soul in the most blessed month of Ramadan. She took her last breath on Sunday 25th April, at about 7.00pm at home with her family around her. Within half an hour, the Doctor arrived and was able to issue the medical certificate. The undertakers had already been alerted, and she had made known who was to give her the ‘ghusl’. The following day, Monday 26th April, her burial certificate was issued and after the bathing of the body in Hendon, her Salat ul Janazah was held, as per her wishes at the Sri Lankan Masjid. It was led by her Teacher, Sh Ahmad Barouni, as she had wished. Br Ajmal Masroor, who was a University colleague, also attended her janazah and spoke briefly how he had known Zubaida and spoke the most befitting words for this occasion. Allah ta’ala works in mysterious way and sends who He Wills and when He Wills!
Her body was buried in her last resting place, as per her wishes, at the Gardens of Peace Cemetery – from death to burial – all in less than 24 hours, alhamdulillah! The whole process was done in a very calm and dignified way.
We would like to say ‘Jazakum Allah khair; from the depths of my heart and ask Allah ta’ala to reward each and every person who participated, supported and showed their love for the Sister and her family, in whichever way they could, at this very difficult time for the family. Allah ta’ala reward you without measure. Ameen.
The intention to write this to encourage us to reflect on our lives and see how we are spending it and how we can benefit ourselves and others and leave behind good memories and a legacy that will help us in our akhirah, inshaAllah. Sister Zubaida’s death is a clear example of preparing well for this certainty.
We ask our Creator to have Mercy on Zubaida, forgive her sins and grant her Jannat al Firdaus. We pray her good deeds stand before her as a shield in her next life.
May Allah ta’ala the Most Merciful write her amongest those people who He is pleased with and who will have no fear and will not be sad. Aameen.
Sister Zubaida will forever live on in our hearts as a role model in our community.