Ml Harun Laher - 2021
IN THE SHADE OF A GIANT – A TRIBUTE TO MOULANA HARUN ISMAIL LAHER
All praise is for the Almighty, the Lord of the Worlds. The Most Merciful. The Always Merciful.
Salutations and blessings be upon all of the Prophets (AS), and, upon our noble Prophet, Nabi Muhammed (SAW)
On the morning of August 19th, when the announcement of Moulana Harun Laher’s passing was made, a thousand hearts broke across the campuses of Johannesburg Muslim School. The realisation that a painful loss had been suffered slowly started to root itself within the minds of educators, learners, and all staff alike. Undoubtedly, the effects of Moulana’s 28-year presence at Johannesburg Muslim School have been felt by all who spend their time within its walls.
Moulana started at Johannesburg Muslim school in 1993 as an Islaamiyyaat educator. He then went on to serve as Head of Department for Islaamiyyaat at both campuses, namely, the primary and high school. Having spoken to many of his colleagues, the words of admiration flow freely.
One quality which is mentioned frequently is Moulana’s love and care for his students. He took each learner as his own child and treated them accordingly. His care for his learners went beyond the walls of the school, as he would involve them in numerous philanthropic endeavours outside of school hours. Moulana involved his learners in Qurbaani as well as hamper collections for the less fortunate. For many years, Moulana would take learners to the Azaadville recreation centre at the end of the third term for a day of sport and relaxation. He would organise these trips himself – which included a braai and involving himself in the sport as well.
“He was a very good soccer player – he played the role of striker and scored many times too!”, says Moulana Shaheed Hendricks, who worked alongside Moulana Laher for 18 years. “In his time as HOD of Islaamiyat,” he continues, “he was very hands-on with his teachers, and spent much of his free time travelling to the primary school for teacher development. This included step-by-step workshops for educators and once-a-week resources facilitation; such was the ikhlaas with which he performed his duties”. When Moulana was concerned about a learner, he would not hesitate to contact the learner’s parents to resolve any problem the learner might have been facing.
Another one of Moulana’s qualities which stand out is the taqwa and dedication with which he operated at school. His punctuality was unparalleled. When asked about him, Muallima Suraya Bhyat says, “If I ever needed anything in terms of textbooks or resources, all it took was one text message to Moulana and I knew it would be sorted out”, after a fond smile she continues, “Moulana would always say that he isn’t going to class only because he has to teach, but because Allah is watching him”. To meet an educator with such dedication is beyond scarce, and Johannesburg Muslim School had him walk briskly through its corridors for 28 years.
In conversation with Ml Yusuf Sahabodien, who has been at Johannesburg Muslim School since its inception, the following had been said:
“Moulana Laher and I always sat next to each other through four different staffrooms. I travelled with Moulana over a period of 5 to 7 years. We were together on the Umrah trips with our students. Moulana even visited me when I was in hospital”. Speaking as if he wouldn’t be able to encompass all of Moulana’s qualities, he continues, “Moulana wasn’t afraid to say what was difficult to ensure the learners progress. His affection for people was clear through his actions”.
Earlier in the term, Ml Sahabodien received a phone call at the school from a learner whom Moulana Laher had taught 18 years ago, enquiring after his health. Such was the effect that Moulana Laher had, his students remembering him well into adulthood.
It would be impossible to encapsulate all that Moulana had achieved in his time at Johannesburg Muslim School, perhaps the only way to fully articulate this, would be to follow his legacy, not just as an educator, but as a human being. On a personal level, sitting with Moulana in a classroom on a February morning as learners collected their textbooks for the year, the words of wisdom which he imparted to me in those few hours will stay with me and hopefully provide some direction towards following his legacy.
May Allah grant our Moulana Harun Laher the highest stages of Jannah and fill his Qabr with Noor. May Allah grant his family and friends Sabrun Jameel and Aafiyah.
May Allah grant us at Johannesburg Muslim School the ability to continue the legacy of Moulana Harun Ismail Laher.
We request all our parents and learners to remember Moulana Harun in their good duas.
FROM THE JMS FAMILY
TRIBUTE TO ML HARUN LAHER WRITTEN BY MUNEEBAH LAHER (DAUGHTER OF MOULANA HARUN LAHER RA)
The days blur into each other. without you,time is stagnant. we try to carry on but the reality is that there is no us without you. without our father who read us bedtime stories, our father who took us to the library every week, our father who played with us in the park every afternoon despite a long day of teaching, our father who made sure we want for nothing, our father who shared jokes and stories of his childhood and studies that had us in laughter we long to hear,our father who answered any question about Deen, fiqh etc. without even refering to a book, our father whose smile that was cherished by those he loved most. there is no us without you. every room feels empty, every minute is one where we long for you, we long for you to call us for supper because we're taking too long, we long for you to give us your advice, to have you ask about our academics and see the pride in your eyes even if your words never said it. you were never a vocalist but someone whose actions always showed their stellar character. your simplicity and humility were your defining characteristics. you showed us you loved us by popping your head in our room doors and doing that smile while we pretended to be annoyed, you showed us you loved us by buying us something consistently for years after we said we liked it once, you showed us you loved us by doing what was best for us, you showed us you loved us by being a father who always showed up for us, at every first day of school/uni, at every speech contest, at awards and at every moment big or small, you were always there. you were the strongest person for us so now we will be strong for you. you were our moulana, our protector of the Quraan and the Deen so now Allah will protect you.
You loved your students and I don't know how it was possible but you remembered every single one of them. You always said that your teaching was your biggest amaanah and this was a trust that you undoubtedly fulfilled. You taught students how to read salah, how to make wudhu, how to read Quraan, you made so many students into huffaz: every piece of knowledge that you have imparted, the reward is yours.
You loved ulema and there was nobody that you respected more. You loved your Darul Uloom friends, you told me they were your brothers and you were bonded forever. I'll never forget how excited you were for you safr with them earlier this year.Your ustaadhs were your life, and you never stopped being thankful that Allah chose you for his Deen.
You loved every single student but Suliman Surtee was your golden boy as you told us. You were so proud of him for making effort with his hifz and everything that he did. You loved the taraweeh you read at his house with your students and you were so proud of all them. We always said he was your other son and you loved him, his wife and children like your own.
You had so much respect for your colleagues. You never hesitated to lend them a helping hand. You loved your staffroom friends and often told us anecdotes of your moments. From Muallim Mentoor to Muallim Shahabodien, Ml. Hendricks, Ml. Motara, Muallim Jaafar, Mr van nie Kerk, Mr Simbi, Ml Chavoos, Ml Kara, Ml. Shabeer, Ml. Shaik Ml Waseem Ml Nana Ml Abdullah Ml Ibrahim and everyone in Jms, you adored them. You devoted your life to that school and I only hope that they uphold your legacy, your work ethic and your regard for the children.
You were notorious for your student umrahs/umrah trips and everyone who went with you knew the side to you that words cannot do justice to. Allah would often call you to his house and now he has called you forever.
You were always family orientated and made an effort to visit everyone whenever you had the chance. You told us of moments with your siblings and your aunts and how fond you were of them. You loved ammi's family with all of your heart and you always said their presence gave you warmth.
Your respect towards your parents is something we always admired. You never uttered an 'oof' to either of them. You never raised your voice even once.
You loved ammi and you'd always buy her danya each week joking that it was flowers. You gave us such a beautiful life. You taught us everything except how to live without you.
A habit of yours was attending the janazah of everyone you knew and Allah honored you for fulfilling the rights of a Muslim.
You always stood up for haq, everything you did was for us and we will spend the rest of our lives trying to repay you.The light of Quraan always emanated from you, in your speech and your actions. There was not a single day that you did not read the Quraan and it will be your savior. In your last days I will never forget how strong your fikr for salaah was. Our father, our door to jannah has closed, but your doors have opened. May Allah grant you jannah al firdous and may you experience the gardens beneath which rivers flow (you always taught your students the translations when teaching Quraan so may you experience every bounty in the akhira that you taught us about ).
Everyone that talks about you only utters good words, they speak of your aqhlaaq, your respect , your regard for everyone from the youth to the elderly, your love for Quraan, your love for Deen and this is but the smallest insight into your life and confirmation of the way you lead it. You live on in us, in Muaaz's respect, in Muhammad Azhar's strength, in my opinionated ways, and we are so lucky to be half of someone we love so much. We love you,our father, our love, our life.
The world was not deserving of a resident of jannah but we are so grateful for our borrowed time with you. This separation is only temporary. Allah knew that one lifetime would never be enough with you so Insha Allah may Allah reunite us in the most beautiful way.
A death of a shaheed on a mubarak day. Nothing is more fitting for a beloved of Allah.
LETTER FROM DARUL IHSAN
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
A Tribute to Moulana Haroon Laher (R A).
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
I am ambivalent in paying tribute to more than just a colleague, nay, a brother who has preceded me to the Aakhira. And so, with tears clouding my vision,I would simple like to say...
We (Ml. and I), taught together for many years, and in my humble opinion, I know that he was hardworking and fully committed to his tasks at all times.
He fulfilled his Amaanat to the best of his ability.
Despite his work pressure, I found him quite humorous too.
Moulana had many good qualities, far too many for this short memorial.
However, what stands out for me the most was his caring and khidmat for others, visiting the sick and attending funerals with regularity.
Moulana dedicated his life to JMS and has left quite a void, nay, a legacy.
May Almighty Allah reward him for his sacrifices, and may it become a means for his Maghfirah In Shaa Allah. Aameen.
There is no doubt that his passing is a big loss for the family, but know too that Allah has blessed him with Martyrdom, Alhamdulilla. He will always be remembered in our Duas.
Indeed we are from Allah, and to Him is our return.
Ml. Anwar Mentoor.