2014.09.25 | 30 Dhul Qa’da 1435
Guest contributor Saajida Malvina shares lessons she drew from the death of Yusuf Talia.
The death of Yusuf Talia has saddened the people of South Africa. People from all walks of life attended his funeral on Monday with tributes pouring in from the Witwatersrand University, the ANCYL, and the Secretary General of Jamiat South Africa, Moulana Ebrahim Bham.
I personally didn't meet or speak to Yusuf Talia, though I was in awe of someone around my age, who achieved so much, with so much zeal and concern for humanity.
Yusuf Talia suffered from muscular dystrophy, for which he was diagnosed at the age of 5. At the tender age of 10 he was wheelchair bound. This certainly didn't stop him from being an active key role player in the community. Some of his roles included:
- Member of the disabled students movement
- Prominent activist for issues on human rights and Palestine
- Head of mentorship at Redineo (an organization that mentors underprivileged children)
- Deputy president of the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) in 2010
- One of Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans for 2013,
- He represented student’s interest on the higher education at the Disability Service Association
- President of the Union of Muslim Students’ Association of South Africa.
He attracted positivity and would not allow his disabilities to lead to self-pity or self-loathing. He achieved what many able-bodied persons did not bother to attempt or care for. He attained 2 degrees and was studying to gain his third. He was formidable. Once while achieving his second degree he was hospitalised for 42 days but as soon as he was out, he strove to complete that degree.
Against his colleagues’ advice he played an active role in demonstrations etc. He was also very passionate about Islam hence he revived the MSA – Muslims Students Association. He brought it to what it is today and was its’ union president until his demise.
A Hadith is mentioned in Bukhari and Muslim, wherein 7 people will be under shade on a Day when there will be no shade, viz. Qiyamah. One of them is a young person who grows up in the worship of Almighty.
Yusuf's life was such that he served people in order to serve Allah the Almighty. I pray for his forgiveness and may his grave be from the garden of the gardens of Jannah. I also pray for sabr to his family, colleagues and loved ones.
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