Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed
Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed.
The Sheikh follows in the path of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his companions, by strict denunciation of Islamic radicals such as the Wahhabis and Tabligh-i-Jamaat.
Islam reached India during the life of the Prophet. Sheikh Aboobacker has revived Muslim spirituality in India, but especially in Kerala, following other scholars. In the 1990s, leadership of the Kerala Muslims was in the hands of authentic Islamic scholars. Later it shifted to political leaders with the emergence of so-called Islamic reformers and radicals.
Recently, Sheikh Aboobacker has reestablished the balance of Kerala Islam by his public leadership and preaching, drawing large audiences. The popularity and the presence of social dignitaries and political heads in the recently held Keralayathra 2012 (an expedition through Kerala) was a living example of his work. Any history of the educational and social advancement of Kerala Muslims would be incomplete without mention of Sheikh Aboobacker. The Sheikh and his educational and social movement are centered in Jamia Markaz, one of the biggest universities in India.
Jamia Markaz is the sole Islamic university in India enjoying equal status with Al-Azhar in Egypt, which has a legacy of 1,000 years of educational development in the Islamic world. Jamia Markaz is a vivid example of an effective implementation of a dream about the future.
The Sheikh's leadership reflects the courage to dream big and create a grand vision, building trust in people by his initiatives. Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed is the director of the All India Islamic Scholars Council, the Islamic Educational Board of India and a delegate of Indian Muslims in many international conferences.
Jamia Markaz is a multi-faceted, non-profit, volunteer non-governmental organization (NGO) and a highly reputed and prestigious academic and charitable institution in India. It is a safe haven for the poor and downtrodden and for orphans, as well as a centre for scholars and individuals of genius. The Sheikh is the founder and chancellor of Markaz. He believes that value-based education, combining modern and religious aspects, is the present need of the Indian Muslims as crime daily increases. Right living, morality, modernity, spiritual uplift, a code of conduct, control of the senses, patriotism and non-violence should be mandatory elements of education.
The foundation stone was laid for the Markaz in 1978 by the blessed hands of the great scholar, the late Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi Al Maliki, and commenced its work with 21 orphans. Now, the Markaz offers training to 20,000 students from different social strata across the globe. Sheikhs believe that the driving force behind Markaz is Sheikh Alawi Al Maliki, may Almighty Allah reward him with paradise.
Daily readings of Sahih ul-Bukhari, the great collection of prophetic hadith, led by the Sheikh, represents the most important presentation of Bukhari in India, with the presence of tens of thousands of scholars from all over the globe.
Educational institutions at the Markaz reach out to orphans and the destitute, with an information and communications technology centre, a management institute, colleges of Islamic law, a centre for women's empowerment, and an engineering institute, among other programs. By this, Sheikh Aboobacker has brought about change in the Indian community because he treats India as a single unit for his educational activities, especially to strengthen national integration. It is now celebrating three and a half decades of educational and humanitarian services.
The charitable activities of the Markaz provide food, shelter and tuition, free of charge, to thousands at its own campus and off campus. The Relief and Charitable Foundation of India (RCFI), and Markaz Cares, are national and international NGOs under the supervision of Sheikh Aboobaker, for the social advancement of the Indian community. Under their aegis the Markaz has built 23 Islamic schools, 2,000 mosques, 1,650 wells, 26 educational institutions, and many more by spending 600 million rupees [USD 10 million] in a short period of time, all over India. Under the Sheikh's stewardship hundreds more Islamic schools are now operating in India. The RCFI targets two billion rupees [USD 36 million] for social projects in 2015.
To promote Islam-friendly business, the Sheikh has gathered the Muslim business leaders of India in one group, called the Markaz Excellence Club (MEC). They seek to make their businesses acceptable according to Islamic values and to avoid prohibited ways of earning income.
Markaz dreams include a big project, the Markaz Knowledge City (MKC), which will unite a Media City, an Islamic Law City, and a Health City. MKC will be a complete Islamic and cosmopolitan city occupying 500 acres in the heart of Kozhikode, Kerala. The project aims to make available a complete Islamic atmosphere for foreigners and others under one roof.
Literary works of Sheikh Aboobacker include:
Thoughts on the Muslim World
Introduction to the Study of Islam
An American Diary
Tariqa: A Study
The Mind of Islam
Imam Bukhari: Vision and Mission
The Holy Prophets
Congregational Prayer in Islam
Women and Friday Prayer
Prophet Muhammed [SAW]
Works in Arabic:
Idharul Farahi Va Suroor
Al Wahdat ul-Islamiyya
Al Ithiba'u wal Istidlal
Honors and Awards:
Ras-al-Khaima Islamic Academic Award, 1992, for the best social worker
Indian Islamic Centre Award, 2000, for the best social, cultural, educational worker in India
Hamil-al-Ghail International Holy Qur'an Award, 2005
The First MACC-UAE Best Indo-Arab Islamic Personality, 2006
Sheikh Abdul Kader Jilani Award, 2009
Islamic Heritage Award Jiddah, 2009
The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World, 2009 and 2011