In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful
Today, we buried a stalwart of the Muslim community in the greater Chicago area. Today, we said farewell to man who touched the lives of so many people that the extent of his altruism and generosity cannot be fully contemplated. Today, we laid to rest a man who was instrumental to my spiritual upbringing: Dr. Mohamed Ali Hassan of Chicago.
I have known Dr. Hassan ever since I was a very young child. He was the spiritual leader of the small Muslim Egyptian-American community here, and ever since I can remember, Dr. Hassan has led our prayers, our community gatherings, our religious ceremonies, and he has been there when we said goodbye to our loved ones, including my own child one year ago today. Moreover, Dr. Hassan was my religious teacher, and he taught me everything I know about my religion, and he also taught me (along with his wonderful wife) how to read and speak the Arabic language. I grew up listening to his Friday sermons, and along with his religious classes, they helped shape the Muslim I am today.
He was, however, more than just my teacher. He was like my father. Whenever I had a burning religious question, I would always call him, and he would always give me an answer that was wise and on sound religious footing. More than that, however, whenever you would ask him a favor, he would do it without thought of reward or even thanks. He dedicated all his life to his family, his friends (among which my family was honored to be included), and his community.
I remember being in College, and there was a personal crisis that had plagued me. When I called him, he could not have been more kind, more caring, and more compassionate. It was difficult for me to share what I was going through, but he made it comfortable for me. He really came through for me when I was in a bind.
Stories like this abound with Dr. Hassan, and you could fill a large auditorium with those whom Dr. Hassan had helped make their lives better. He and his family were pillars of, not only the Muslim Egyptian American community, but the larger Muslim community as well. Few did not know who Dr. Mohamed Ali Hassan was, and anyone who did know him could not help but speak of him with the loftiest of praise. In short, he was as absolutely great man.
All of this is in addition to his medical brilliance, and he was an astute and accomplished Emergency Room physician in the Chicago area. His colleagues – and I am honored to call myself one of them – have nothing but good things to say about him, and he was an excellent clinician who did not hesitate to help anyone in need, whether known to him or not.
There are very few people left in this world like Dr. Mohamed Ali Hassan. There are very few people with the caring, compassion, beauty, and knowledge of Dr. Hassan. There are very few people that could have done so much good in their lives like Dr. Hassan. A dear, dear friend of mine said that, at his wake, there were scores of people who were there out of pure love and gratitude. No one came out of obligation, but because they actually wanted to be there. That was the kind of man he was.
As we look toward the years we will have to spend without Dr. Hassan, there is a pain in our hearts: a pain from knowing that our leader, our captain, our Shaykh has gone back to his Lord and cannot be with us any more; a pain from seeing his family strain under the sadness that their beloved husband, father, and uncle will not come back; a pain from realizing that the beautiful Dr. Hassan is no longer just a phone call away. It will be hard, and I ask that the Precious Beloved Lord make it easy for his family as they cope with this sad, sad day.
Yet, this one thing I know: Dr. Mohamed Ali Hassan was a beautiful man who reflected God’s love and beauty on this earth among His people.
Farewell, my captain, and may the Lord bless your afterlife with the highest of Gardens of bliss. If I can be half the man you were; if I can achieve half of what you have achieved; if I can have half the people at my funeral as there were for yours, then I have been nobly blessed indeed. Throughout my life, you were always there for me and my family. It was an honor and privilege for me to be there today to pay my respects and say my final farewell.
May God bless Dr. Mohamed Ali Hassan with all that is good, pure, and holy in this universe. Amen.