96-year-old Indian Islamic scholar and activist Maulana Wahiduddin Khan passed away in New Delhi after contracting COVID-19, his family members announced on Wednesday, 21 April.
Zafarul Islam, Khan’s eldest son wrote on Twitter, “The great Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan breathed his last, late this evening. Doctors failed to revive his sinking heart. Pray for his maghfirat [penitence] and high station in Paradise. Amin.”
Khan was admitted to a hospital in New Delhi after testing positive for the virus.
A Padma Vibhushan awardee, he authored over 200 books, and was honoured with several awards in his lifetime. Khan was also internationally recognised for his contributions to world peace.
In 2009, US’s Georgetown University’s list of ‘500 Most Influential Muslims of 2009’ named him, “Islam’s spiritual ambassador to the world”.
In 2001, he established the Centre for Peace and Spirituality to promote and reinforce a culture of peace. In 1992, Khan tread a 15-day Shanti Yatra (peace march) in Maharashtra in the wake of the Babri Masjid’s demolition by a mob of Hindu zealots.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed that he was “saddened” by the loss, and tweeted, “He will be remembered for his insightful knowledge on matters of theology and spirituality. He was also passionate about community service and social empowerment. Condolences to his family and countless well-wishers. RIP.”
President Ram Nath Kovind, too, took to Twitter to express condolences and said, “Maulana Wahiduddin made significant contributions to peace, harmony and reforms in the society. My deepest condolences to his family and well-wishers.”
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