Worshippers mark one year since Sufi Muhammed Abdullah Khan’s death

Sufi Javed (right) - Photo credit Birmingham Mail

Hundreds of worshippers walked through the streets of Birmingham on Sunday, marking one year since Sufi Muhammed Abdullah Khan’s death.

Crowds gathered on the third day of commemorations for the respected spiritual leader who died in February aged 92.

The memorial ceremony began at the Central Jamia Ghamkol Sharif mosque in Small Heath, which was founded by Sufi Abdullah in 1996 following a £4m fundraising campaign.

The celebration was thought to be one of the first in Europe in which the religious leader’s mausoleum was on the site of the event.

Around 100 worshippers attended the Chadaar ceremony at the mausoleum in Golden Hillock Road before a procession led by Sufi Abdullah’s son and “successor” Sufi Javed.

More than 800 people joined the procession, which passed the former leader’s Warwick Road home in Sparkhill before returning to the mosque for a closing ceremony.

Sufi Abdullah’s grandson Abdul Hafeez said: “He was very important in many different ways.

“Obviously from a family perspective he was an inspiration and a role model for us.

“Then there is the guidance he gave as a spiritual leader and to members of the community at large through his work and the projects at the mosque which are all geared towards serving the community.

“He devoted his life to serving Islam and through that the community at large. He was always accessible.

“The procession passed by his residence on Warwick Road where tens of people would come on a daily basis, seven days a week, to seek his guidance and advice in all aspects of their lives.

“Some of them we knew, some of them we didn’t know, but he showed them all total devotion.”

The “Urs” anniversary – celebrating the life of a saint – will become an annual event offering religious scholars and community leaders the chance to pay tribute to Sufi Abdullah’s life and work.

Mr Hafeez said: “Today was special because it was the first Urs since he passed away.

“Physically he is no longer with us but he is with us spiritually, hence people come to the mosque to bless the grave and pay their respects.

“It’s very important for us to continue his legacy and the work he has done.”

Around 15,000 people attended Sufi Abdullah’s funeral in February.

As founder of the Central Jamia mosque, he was given the rare honour of a burial plot at the mosque, with planning permission secured seven years prior to his passing in preparation.

The revered figure is also venerated for serving in the British Indian Army and fighting in World War Two as well as his community work in Birmingham.

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