Obituary: The late Ghulam Shabbir, 1942 –2023

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun

[To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return]

We were very saddened to learn of and hereby announce the death of our former chair of trustees, our beloved brother Ghulam Shabbir.

Uncle Shabbir died at his home on Tuesday, 17 January 2023 (24 Jumadal Akhira 1444 AH). He was one of the foremost of our community and from an ever-dwindling select group involved in the administration of the Lewisham Islamic Centre (LIC) from its humble beginnings at Brownhill Road in the late 1970s. He served as Chair of Trustees for over 15 years.

We remember Uncle Shabbir as a truly respected and influential community leader who worked tirelessly in the service of a Muslim community that grew perennially to huge numbers. He injected focus, determination and, above all else, accountability, into the running of a growing community. He was a true and sincere man who carried out his duties in a collaborative and excellent spirit.

Under his leadership, the Lewisham Islamic Community flourished. Together with the leadership, he oversaw…

  • Increased capacity of worshippers from the Brownhill Rd mosque site with a capacity of 100 grow rapidly to 200 and then 400 with the addition of a large commercial tent in the garden t
  • The relocation from Brownhill Road to the existing site on Lewisham High Street
  • The purchase and incorporation of adjacent buildings that make up the extant Lewisham Islamic Centre
  • Rapid and remarkable expansion of community services
  • The establishment of viable interfaith and intercommunity collaborations which remain till this day
  • A funeral service
  • The formation and development of Olive Tree Islamic Nursery and Primary school
  • The establishment of a legally compliant administrative and management framework for a growing Charity

He was generous, subtle and approachable, yet dynamic and intense with an inner fire for the advancement of Islam. The Lewisham Muslim community always came first.

As a long-time spokesperson for the mosque, Uncle Shabbir lived the Sunnah of collaborating with people wanting to better society, be they religious or civic leaders. He urged the community and young people especially to carve out a visible Muslim identity in Lewisham. He leaves behind a successful and thriving Lewisham Muslim community forever grateful for the years of hard work, selflessness and determination, for an inspired vision of a Lewisham Borough bustling with thobes, hijabs, niqabs, halal markets and businesses.

Uncle Shabbir was an Accountant by profession with a successful independent firm of Chartered Certified Accountants & Registered Auditors established for more than 45 years in South East London. Everyone who had the privilege of knowing and working with him will sorely miss him.

Imam Shakeel has stated:

Uncle Shabbir was an inspiring person, a great role model and a visionary who was ahead of his time. All of us in the community must recognise that we are standing on the shoulders of our elders the likes of Uncle Shabbir, Hafiz Ijaz and Dr Sabiha Saleem and others. We are forever indebted to them and must ensure that we carry their Legacy which is Lewisham Islamic Centre onwards.

Our condolences to his family. We ask Allah to forgive him, envelope him with His mercy and grant him peace and tranquillity in the Barzak, with the surety of Jannah-Al-Firdaws, Ameen.

Posted in Press Releases.