Tribute Message to Imam Shahid Raza Naimi

‎ Hazrat Allama Shahid Raza Naimi has passed away. His loss brings immanence grief to many hearts around the world. 

Hazrat Allamah Shahid Raza sahib (RA) was a one of the senior Imams in the UK. He was great scholar, remarkable and humble individual as well as a dedicated leader. He was a courageous Imam, who didn’t shy away from addressing challenging issues facing British Muslim communities. 

He was an eloquent orator, able to engage diverse audience and convey a context-based message of substance. He was a pioneer in many ways, who served British Muslims with incredible sincerity. He was an interfaith champion and a wise counsellor during turbulent times.

In a time of confrontation and confusion, Maulana Shahid Raza (RA) was a breath of fresh air. With deep knowledge, profound thinking and vast experience, Maulana led many intra-faith and interfaith organisations. Maulana Raza was hugely respected by all communities because of his passion to bring about greater harmony in our world. He was closely involved with interfaith work throughout his leadership roles, travelling around the world to meet other religious leaders, including the Pope.

Allamah Shahid Raza was an ambassador of the peace-loving message of Islam. He followed the Prophetic teachings and Sufi methodology to nurture broken-hearts and infuse compassion and harmony.

Allamah Shahid Raza was born in 1950 and continued further studies in Islamic sciences having graduated from university with a science degree. After arriving in the UK in 1978, he began his service as Head Imam at the Leicester Central Mosque. He later moved to London in 1984 to join the Muslim College focussed on training of Imams and community leaders. Allama Shahid Raza further served at higher level in numerous organisations and led many projects including the Muslim Food Board UK, the World Islamic Mission, the Muslim Law (Shariah) Council UK, the British Muslim Forum, and the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board. 

Allamah Shaid Raza was instrumental in establishing the only Sunni-Shia umbrella organisation in the UK in 2005- The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB). He served as Chair of MINAB for more than 10 years. I had the privilege of working with Allamah Shaid Raza at MINAB and on many other initiatives. I found him a leader with vision, passion, sincerity, dedication, as well as a pleasant character and gentle heart. As the Chair of MINAB, he proved himself to be a voice of reason, a man of dialogue and optimism. He was a man of firm conviction as far as his own beliefs were concerned but respected diversity of thought and beliefs and promoted inclusivity. He worked hard to improve the governance of mosques and make them vibrant, dynamic and inclusive institutions. 

For his services , Imam Shahid Raza was awarded the OBE in 2008, and awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Leicester.

May Allah the Exalted accept his services, bless his soul and elevate his ranks and grant him Jannatul Firdaws. May Allah Almighty grant Sabr and Rida to the family, friends and followers.

‎ انا لله وانا اليه راجعون

موت العالم موت العالم

Imam Qari Asim

Chair, MINAB and Senior Editor ImamsOnline

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