Personal Narratives

The Death Of A Teenage Hafidh

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While on my Twitter account the other day, I saw a tweet from Sh. Abdul Nasir Jangda (instructor for Bayyinah Institute) which read, “Hafidh Salis Jibran, 18, has passed away.” After reading this, I thought to myself, “A Hafidh just passed away? An eighteen-year-old American kid, Hafidh, just passed away?!” Death can come to anyone at anytime, but as someone who studied in the American Madrasa system, I had never heard of any of the Huffadh passing away in any of the schools throughout the country. It was a shock to see someone of this caliber passing away, pure shock.

After speaking to Shaykh Abdul Nasir, I was told that Salis was an active member of the Dallas Muslim community. He was one of those kids that people loved, cherished, and enjoyed the company of. At his Janazah, there were thousands upon thousands of people who came to pray for him. In my opinion, this was a blessing the Qur’an had brought him.

The point of this article is not to grieve over Salis’s passing. In fact, we should be more worried about ourselves then him. As Muslim youth living in the west, we are the flag-bearers of Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) mentioned that it was the youth that were the ones who never disappointed him when there was a task to be done (paraphrased Hadith). Don’t finish reading this post and still tell yourself “I’m 18, 19, 20, and that I have my whole life to live.” Don’t tell yourself that you’ll make Hajj or repent later. Don’t say you’ll become “religiously committed” to Allah when you get older. Don’t think about then, think about NOW! Hafidh Salis didn’t have his whole life ahead of him to memorize the Qur’an. He took the time he had, properly invested it, and memorized 600 some pages, 6,236 verses of the Qur’an.

Now the question for us is what are we doing to get closer to Allah? Are we still stuck in the same mode of procrastination with the Qur’an? How often do we review our memorized Surahs? How often do we open this letter from our King and read what it is telling us? How often do we make the Qur’an the center of attention in our conversations? Have we embraced its essence and message? Or are we still in the phase of opening the Qur’an in Ramadan or when someone dies, and then putting it back onto the shelf? Let us rather open the Qur’an, read it, memorize it, and become closer to Allah through this book. Let it become a means of intercession for us and guide us towards the right way.

W need to know that we can leave this world at anytime. Instead of throwing our time and effort away into excessively playing Call of Duty, scrutinizing the lives of the NBA All-Star players, and constantly not putting our time into efficient things, let’s remember that life is too short not to open the Qur’an and see what it has to offer us.


Nihal Khan is currently pursuing a dual Master's degree student focusing on Islamic Law and Theology at Nadwatul 'Ulama in Lucknow, India and Religious Studies at the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. He was born and raised in New Jersey and holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Business from Montclair State University and a diploma in Arabic from Bayyinah Institute's Dream Program. He began memorizing the Qur’an at Darul Uloom New York and finished at the age of seventeen at the Saut al-Furqan Academy in Teaneck, New Jersey. He went on to lead taraweeh every year since then. Along with his education, Nihal has worked in various capacities in the Muslim community as an assistant Imam, youth director, and a Muslim Chaplain at a correctional facility.