NEW YORK, NY (Feb. 22, 2019) – Dr. Khurshid Khan, President of ICNA (2005-2008) passed away last night at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He was 81.
Dr. Khan was also the former Vice President of New York Majlis ash Shura, the umbrella body of all Muslim organizations in New York and the Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Catholic-Muslim Dialogue.
He was an educator by profession and after receiving his Ph.D, from University of California, Berkeley, he dedicated his life for the development of Islamic Schools in the US. He helped start many schools throughout the country and especially in New York and New Jersey. He was a firm believer in the idea of Islamic schools where Muslim children would not only get the best education but also would be trained to be role models for the society. He was the former Principal of MDQ Academy, a private school in Bayshore, Suffolk County, New York.
He was among the founders of Islamic Center of Flushing, New York and also helped in establishing many other Islamic Centers in New York City. He served as member of ICNA Central Shura and ICNA New York Shura for many years. His funeral prayers were held today after Friday prayers at Masjid Bilal in Long Island, New York.
ICNA President Javaid Siddiqi said “This is indeed a big loss for our organization. Khurshid Bhai has been one of those truly sincere soldiers of this organization. His sincerity and dedication to his faith and to the Islamic movement requires no introduction. He served ICNA in one of its most difficult and turbulent moments.”
In a statement today the Majlis Ash-Shura of New York, for whom Dr. Khan served as the Vice President, stated “Dr. Khan has left behind a legacy of activism, community building, and dawah. He had been an instrumental figure in the empowerment of our communities, he was involved in the community in various capacity, from leading Islamic schools, local mosques, all the way to national institutions. He was truly a pillar of the Muslim community in the U.S.”
Dr. Esam Omeish, former President of the Muslim American Society (MAS) said “A beautiful, wise, humble servant of Allah SWT and a dear teacher and a brother.” He added “I was blessed to be the president of MAS when he was the Ameer of ICNA. We met many times and were on stages together, I have always had the warmest affinity to his purity, humbleness and towering spirit. He would call just to check on his younger brother and would send the warmest messages. He was a man of deep spirituality and a worker of immeasurable devotion.”
Dr. Muhammad Yunus, ICNA President (1978-81, 84-89, 91-94 & 97-2000) said “In ICNA he was one of my closest friends and advisor. I will always miss him”. He added “I met him first time in early 80’s at ICNA’s new central office in NY. He with his wife started an elementary school for children there. It soon became very popular school. Later, he moved to bigger schools teaching thousands of Muslim children in NY area. He helped and advised many Islamic schools. He was closely involved with Muslim Center in Flushing, NY.
He was always loving, caring person who met everyone with smiles and even strangers felt they knew him for long time. He was always keen to follow the Sunnah etiquettes and advised the same to others. He stressed upon Tarbeyah and adopting Akhlaq of our beloved Prophet (S). He was given responsibility of Ameer of ICNA in a difficult crisis but he led the organization out of it with grace. After that, he served several times on ICNA Shura and its many committees with sincerity and utmost dedication.”
Dr. Talat Sultan, ICNA President (1968-75, 77-78, 2003-04) said “You were an embodiment of patience, steadfastness, balance and cool and calmness amongst us. While teaching a Sunday school class in ICNA Headquarters, you were commissioned by the Shura to be our Ameer all of a sudden. You performed your task very well and successfuly brought us out from a dark episode of our history”.
Dr. Zahid Bukhari, ICNA President (2009-2012) said “Apart from his dedication to Islamic work, commitment with Islamic education and sincerity in personal behavior, his one of the major contributions was sailing the ICNA ship in a smooth way through the stormy waters during his tenure as ICNA president. Those four years will be remembered as turning point in the history of ICNA. His two extraordinary qualities of showing great patience and doing extensive consultation with ICNA Shura helped him in those turbulent years. His departure is certainly our collective loss. However, It is also personal to me. My four children have lots of wonderful memories of Khurshid Uncle from their childhood when they were his students in the Sunday school at ICNA HQ, Al-Markaz.”
Naeem Biag, ICNA President (2013-2016) said “He spoke softly but with a deep sense of conviction about his vision of an ideal Islamic school. That was my first time meeting with Dr. Khurshid Khan, in ICNA HQ in New York. He was convincing in his arguments and one could see the passion in his eyes. He was an educator and loved doing it.
He was like a quarterback, moving forward towards achieving his goal, taking his whole team with him one yard at a time. Making sure that no one is left behind, and it didn’t matter who took the limelight at the end, what mattered was that the whole team succeeded.
It was his desire for knowledge that I admired the most. He loved to read the Quran and he wanted to do it in the best way possible. He made continuous efforts in improving his tajweed and also encouraged others to do the same. He used to say, “It hurts me when I see our educated Muslims making mistakes in reciting al-Fatiha.”
I never saw him getting frustrated on any issue. If things didn’t go the way he wanted, he accepted it with patience. He was a firm believer in Shura, and would always consult Shura even on matters that others would consider not very important. He lead ICNA at a very challenging time and did his best in keeping the organization on track.”
Islamic speaker and fellow member of the ICNA General Assembly, Imam Omer Suleiman said “(I am) heartbroken at the death of a humble pioneer”. He added “He meant so much to this community, yet mainly worked behind the scenes. I remember when I gave the most difficult lecture of my life about my mother (may Allah have mercy on her) at ICNA. Dr. Khurshid, the President at the time, saw me backstage in tears and came and hugged me and cried with me, then gave me some of the most meaningful advice I had ever received. He was always humble, and always looking after young Islamic workers. I always felt a great sense of affection and admiration for him. These are the people you don’t hear much about that do incredible grassroots work.”
“He was involved in helping to establish Muslim schools across the country. His was a humble, kind, and forgiving spirit whose presence will be sorely missed.” said ICNA Vice President, Imam Khalid Griggs.
Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan, head of the Tarbiyah Department of ICNA, said “I still remember in 2005 when we had to call him to tell him that the Central Shura has appointed him as the Ameer of ICNA. He cried at every word of the oath of Ameer. By the Blessings of Allah (SWT) and by his dedication, simplicity and sincerity we were all able to overcome those turbulent times. Whenever we met he always expressed concerns about the tarbiyah of the MGAs. He will be missed tremendously. For our generation of MGAs he’s definitely the one who is the closest to the heart who would have passed away.”
Waqas Syed, Assistant Secretary General during Dr. Khan’s tenure as president said “I worked long hours with him and admired his extraordinary humility and wholehearted sincerity to his commitments”. He added “As a leader, his very unique decision making process was so straightforward and pure. He would consider the best interests of ICNA always as the top priority. He would never worry about what people would think, but always respecting deeply the very structured decision making process in ICNA. He used to tell me that as President, he would never move forward unless he had the unanimous support of the national board of ICNA, because the decision would not be worth it even if a single person opposed it.” He added “his attention to detail when it came to the English language was admirable. As a perfectionist and a true master of the language he would not miss a single comma. He had the habit of always reviewing English content and pointing out mistakes as little as an extra space or a missing underline.
He always said that the only way for ICNA to be successful as a movement was to strengthen its NeighborNets (religious study circles). He was a strong proponent of NeighborNets in any planning meeting.
He did not prefer travelling but as the President he used to personally make calls to every single member of the ICNA General Assembly, about 400 at that time to remind them of their commitments to the organization. He continued to call many even after. These are the people whose humility and sincerity keeps community institutions strong and blessed. We will miss him dearly.”
Imam Shamsi Ali, Chairman of the Al-Hikmah Mosque and the Director of Jamaica Muslim Center said “Since the day I came to this country I knew him, as the Secretary General of Majlis As-Shura. Principal of Ideal, then Amir of ICNA, became Principal of Darul Quran School and many more. He was highest in character, most humble person I’d ever known. Insha Allah nothing but “khaer” in this person.”
Mir Muhaymin Ali, member of Young Muslims (YM) in New York said “We were having a YM meeting 2 weeks ago and Dr. Khurshid Khan, asked us if he could join and say a few words, just something he said came up in his mind. He was reminding us that every action we do should be an act of ibadah (worship). That YM is facing a huge challenge with the way society is oppressing Islam, and it was our job to develop the Muslim youth in America, so that they can be proud of their religion. He reminded us that the work we are doing is for the sake of Allah, and that will be the only thing we have to bring with us to the hereafter.” He added “May Allah let his legacy live on in the work that ICNA and YM is doing.”
Ammar AlShukry, former Sunday school student of Dr. Khan said “I have always ever known him as my Sunday school principal, teaching countless students throughout multiple decades and generations their morning adhkaar and imani mufassal, his voice clear in the minds of those students as he would make us repeat, “Amantu billahi, wa malaa’ikatihi, wa kutubihi..” There is a beauty to those who are able to hold national leadership positions and still recognize the importance of and commit to, teaching a seven-year-old how to say the kalimah. A beauty that is increasingly rarer.”.
Also see:About Islam.Net