During the last few years Ethiopian Muslims have lost several precious personalities - within the seven months alone we lost at least three people of exemplary devotion and success: Professor Hussien Ahmed of AAU (June 2009), Shaykh Mohammed Rafae (Ethiopian Bukhari, July 2009), and very recently Al-Hajji Dawud Bashir (January 2010). These fathers devoted the whole of their life for the benefit of their community and their country so much so that their work surpassed their name while they were alive but destined to keep them alive long after they departed us. May Allah Reward them with the best of rewards and admit them to Janat-ul Firdous.
At every stage of their history, communities/nations produce unique figures and these individuals passed leaving a legacy that remained alive long after their generation. However, the greatness of the nation is determined not only by what these people could achieve during their life time but by its determination to continue with the works and visions these pioneering individuals started with. As a community Ethiopian Muslims have also given birth to several distinguished fathers and have their own way of upholding at least keeping their memory. Naming their children, mosque, village etc after them are just few examples. This trend has lately got another dimension by establishing funds and prizes that directly contribute to Muslim oriented research work and education. The Mufti Dawud Fundation established by the Addis Ababa Islamic Research and Cultural Center (IRCC) is just an example.
Shortly after the death of Prof. Hussein Ahmed last June, 2009, his students and colleagues came to the conclusion that the best way to keep the unique work of the late professor alive is by establishing a foundation in his name. The foundation was inaugurated immediately and since then the founders toiled day and night to turn the dream a reality.
Last Sunday, February 14, 2010, a special program was organized at Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa. About 200 people attended the program. Two Ministers and senior staff members of AAU were among the attendees. During the program the life history and the works of the professor were displayed. Distinguished figures went on the podium and shared their memories of the late professor, expressed the gap his death created in the study of Islam and Muslims in Ethiopia and emphasised on the need to fill that gap as soon as possible. What was remarkable was a passionate speech delivered by his daughter, sister Semira Hussien. Her words and unique love, respect and admiration she displayed for her late father sent every participant to tears. It was not only tears. The participants immediately went to action and promised a total sum of about 375, 000 birr (three hundred seventy five thousand) to support the work the professor started with.
It is to be recalled that the diaspora Muslim organizations particularly the Badr Ethiopia and Network of Ethiopian Muslims promised to set up Prof. Hussien Foundation on their own with the objective of promoting the study of Ethiopian Muslims at international level. It is time that these organizations live up to their words and fulfill their promise by formalizing the initiative. While working on launching their intended foundation, it is important that they help the initiative at home by providing both technical and financial support.
Insha Allah Negashi OJ will try to get a video clip of the last program held at Ghion Hotel.