CAIRO – Funeral prayer services were held on Friday June 5 for Washington metropolitan area Mufti, Sheikh Muhammad al-Hanooti, 78, at National Memorial Park in northern Virginia. Leading American Muslim organizations and thousands of community members gathered in remembrance of the imam, counted as among the most respected scholars locally and across the nation.
“To God we belong and to Him we return,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net after the imam’s sudden passing on June 3.
“Sheikh Hanooti’s legacy of scholarship and community service will serve as an example to this and future generations of American Muslims. He was a mentor to many leaders in our community. Our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones,” the CAIR statement added.
Born on March 12, 1937 in Haifa, Palestine, he learned Shari`ah from his father, Sheikh Ali Hanouti. At Al-Azhar University, Hanooti studied Hadith under the guidance of Sheikh Muhammad Said Azzawi from 1953-1958. He also held a Master’s Degree in Islamic Law from Punjab University.
In his dedication to community service Hanooti’s positions included imam of the Islamic Center of Capital District, Albany, New York, imam of Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center of Northern Virginia, imam of Islamic Center of Passaic, NJ, director of Islamic Center of Jersey City, NJ, and online Fiqh scholar, researcher and counselor for OnIslam.net, among others. He was also a member of the Fiqh Council of North America and had over 40-years experience in family and marital counseling.
“There were over twelve thousand people at Sh. Hanooti’s funeral today. The funeral service refused to accept money to bury him because of the love and the respect they have for him. Everyone I met has an incredible story about him. But, the consistent message is his love for the poor and his concern for the weak,” statedimam Suhaib Webb on his Facebook page.
Similar condolences were offered by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).
“We have indeed lost a great scholar. Shaikh Hanooti was a leader, a teacher and a resource for the Muslim community in North America for many years. He will long be remembered as an outstanding scholar in North America,” ICNA President Naeem Baig said in a statement published on its website.
“He is known for his knowledge in Fiqh, his deep faith, his intellectual strength, his insights and his passion for Da’wah here in North America.
“ICNA conveys heartfelt condolences and continuous Du’a to Shaikh Al-Hanooti’s family and to the community of Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center.
“We pray to Allah to bless Shaikh Al-Hanooti, forgive him and cause him to enter into eternal bliss and happiness in Jannatul Firdous (highest level of paradise). May his good work live on and be a source of perpetual reward for him,” the statement added.