Moulana Yunus Patel (1946-2011)
(Article for Daily News paper in Durban, South Africa – written mainly for non-muslim readership)
The sudden demise of a leading, renowned and well-respected Durban Scholar and Cleric, Moulana Yunus Patel on a pilgrimage journey in the holy city of Makkah has plunged the community in deep grief and sorrow. Aged 65, Moulana Patel (1946-2011) is survived by his widow, two daughters, a son and their spouses and children.
He was a dedicated, selfless, community service-orientated person, who stayed up till the late hours of the night, almost everyday of his life to render assistance to all who called upon him. Never was any person turned away from his door. In the recent years, despite suffering a series of heart attacks and the resulting impact on his health, he continued serving the community and humanity without any consideration for his own wellbeing.
He was a much-sought-after-person in the community, in his capacity as a social counselor, especially for solving marital problems, youth-related problems, family disputes, depression and the like.
Imam (Prayer leader) of the Masjid-un-Nur (Mosque Congregation) in Asherville, Durban with a magnetic appeal, he was very moderate and balanced. Open hearted towards all and sundry, Moulana Patel will be sorely missed by the thousands whose lives he had touched.
Moulana Patel served the Jamiatul Ulama KZN (Council of Muslim Theologians) in various positions over several decades. He served as the President of the Council for a number of years and resigned due to ill-health towards the latter part of his life.
He was particularly passionate about providing guidance to the community on living a life based on morality, ethics, justice, honesty, mercy and kindness towards one and all. He emphasised the great importance of compassionate and loving treatment of husbands towards their wives and advocated strongly the importance of the family unit. He travelled extensively around the country and to many parts of the world - USA, UK, France, Mauritius, Reunion, Kenya, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and neighbouring states to preach and advocate this very message, where his message was well received and greatly appreciated.
His was a familiar voice on numerous radio stations - the local Radio Al-Ansaar, Channel Islam International & Radio Islam International among others. Through his popular radio programs as well as audio-streaming from his very popular website, he was able to touch the lives of thousands of people nationally and internationally.
Indeed, immediately upon his demise, messages of condolences began pouring in from around the world from thousands who mourn the demise of a person who was so well-loved and respected.
He was a man who lived by his words, and practiced what he preached. He lead a verysimple, frugal life. He was an embodiment of humility, selflessness, generosity, mercy, kindness and concern for others. He was extremely accessible for the most ordinary of people at all times.
He dedicated many years of his life towards education, which was a burning passion of his life. Moulana Patel established a girl’s school as well as a boy’s school in his community where hundreds of learners have studied and continue to do so. Besides this, he was regarded as a patron and a spiritual guide to scores of organisations, institutions and societies.
He was also the author of numerous books and his book titled “Kick the habit” is very popular in motivating drug addicts to give up drugging, alcoholics to give up drinking, gamblers to give up gambling and smokers to give up smoking. His very popular website www.yunuspatel.co.za is a wealth of information on moral and spiritual upliftment.
Through his extensive travels and services, he put Durban on the map. The city of Durban and the country at large will be poorer at the loss of a person who advocated the principles of good citizenship and peaceful co-existence between communities in almost every talk, lecture and sermon that he delivered. His demise has indeed left a deep void that will be difficult to fill.
We take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, associates and congregation in their moment of grief and bereavement. May the Almighty continue to bless his soul and shower him with divine mercy, love and benediction.
Mufti Zubair Bayat
President, Darul Ihsan Community Centre, Durban, South Africa
Source: Darul Ihsan
See Also : TSHS, SF