By Javed Akbar
The city of Toronto mourns the loss of a true pioneer in the establishment of Taraweeh Salah - Hafiz Ishtiaq, known for his soft and captivating style of reciting the Qur'an.
He held a unique place in the hearts of those who gathered for nightly prayers during Ramadan.
His deliberate pace and clear articulation made the understanding of the verses a profound experience.
Despite battling heart ailments, Hafiz Ishtiaq's unwavering will and determination propelled him to lead Taraweeh prayers, demonstrating resilience that inspired those around him.
His commitment to this profound spiritual service became a testament to the strength of the faith transcending physical challenges.
Before making Canada his home, Hafiz Ishtiaq contributed to the cultural tapestry of Washington DC, where he taught Urdu to US diplomats.
His involvement in Urdu literary circles and participation in Mushairas (recitation of poems) marked him not only as a religious leader but also as a recognized poet, showcasing the rich diversity of his talents.
Hailing from the historic city of Aligarh where Sir Syed Ahmed Khan established the renowned Aligarh Muslim University, Hafiz ishtiaq embodied the cultural legacy of his hometown.
His roots in Aligarh's culture were deeply ingrained, making him a living specimen of the city's heritage.
Years ago, Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star's editorial Page editor emeritus, himself a Hafiz-e Qur'an penned a moving editorial celebrating Hafiz ishtiaq's 40 years of leading Taraweeh prayers in Toronto, recognizing the profound impact he had on the local community.
As we bid farewell to this remarkable soul, May Allah the Most Gracious, accept his good deeds and forgive his shortcomings and grant him a place in Jannatul Firdous.
May his journey to the eternal abode be eased, and may his legacy continue to inspire generations to come. Ameen.
Please remember him and his family in your prayers. May his soul rest in peace. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajihoon (Indeed, we belong to Allah, and indeed, to Him we return) ا ِلِلَّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُ