The sudden death of our beloved sister Shaliya shocked all her family and friends.
Shaliya came all the way from England, her home for more than 35 years, to answer the call of her Creator. She was on a short holiday. She was destined to spend her last days in Sri Lanka, surrounded by relatives and friends reciting the Holy Quran with everyone praying for her.
Shaliya was the first girl from a conservative Galle neighborhood to enter university, in the ’60s. She graduated with honours in Economics, Special with a Class.
Her early schooling was at Southlands and Sacred Heart Convent, Galle, and at Ladies College, Colombo. These schools gave her insights into diverse cultures, and this helped her in the community service projects she was involved in, here in Sri Lanka and in the UK. She was a president and one of the founder members of the Young Muslim Women’s League. She had a wide circle of like-minded friends in England. After a spell as a tutor and assistant lecturer at the university, Shaliya joined the then Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research (CISIR) as an economist in industrial research.
In 1975, she moved to the UK with her husband Kamil. She never forgot the country of her birth, and insisted on retaining her Sri Lankan passport. She visited Sri Lanka whenever she could, and remained a central figure in family affairs.
She was blessed with two sons, Akram and Anver, both qualified doctors, and a daughter, Safa, who is a final year civil engineering student.
The writer is aware of the great personal sacrifices that Shaliya, in true Islamic fashion, made for the family and for those who sought her help. Nobody was ever disappointed. She lightened the burdens of many and brightened the lives of many others.
The steady stream of visitors who came to the nursing home to pray for Shaliya at her bedside speaks volumes for her character. She was not just a star, but a shining star. She was not just a light, but a bright light. She was a visionary. For her, the word discipline was spelled with a capital D.
May Allah grant her Jennathul Firidouse.