Tributes, condolences and prayers have been pouring in after the death of the beloved principal of Tshwane Muslim School. There were broken hearts all over social media after Sir Mohammed Iqbal Areff (67) sadly passed away in the early hours of Friday morning.
“It takes a big heart to reach young minds.” Shahzaadee Mohamed tweeted.
Chairman, Muhammad (Eric) Dockrat: The Tshwane Muslim School has played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of thousands since our foundation 30 years ago. Today we have lost a pillar that has supported our school for over 25 of those years. Our beloved Principal Mr Iqbal Areff has this morning passed away peacefully in his sleep. Mr Areff was an outstanding Headmaster, a special individual and a friend to all those who worked with him. On behalf of the Board of Governors, Management, Staff and thousands of your 'children’ we give thanks to Allah for your life and service. May you rest in eternal peace in the Gardens of Jannah. May every good deed of everyone of your students be credited to your account. May your character, kindness and special relationship with those who interacted with you never be forgotten. May Allah grant your family and all of us the patience and strength to endure in these trying times. We salute you Sir.
Zaid Mall, headboy (2016) and Zahraa Mall, deputy headgirl (2019) wrote: Our dearest Mr Areff. We were fortunate enough to have grown up from a very young age at the Tshwane Muslim School. To us you were never just a principal, but family. Someone who has been in our lives since before we can even remember. May Allah swt reward you for all those that were taught by you and for the many lives that you touched. May Allah swt grant you the highest stages of jannah and may he shower his mercy upon your family and grant them sabr.
Solly Bhai of Tshwane Muslim School said: “How do I bid Al wida to a friend / brother for the past 25 years. You have left a gap that will be almost impossible to fill. You were a source of inspiration to so many. We laughed, cried and worked hard daily for the embetterment of our school. May Allah SWT have mercy upon you,grant you the highest stages of jannatul firdous and ease to all those near and dear to you.”
Secretary of Tshwane Muslim School, Faatima Dockrat wrote: How do you say goodbye to a boss of 18 years? You have been my father, my mentor, my best friend and pillar of strength for the past 18 years. You have been my source of inspiration and motivation. Working under your leadership was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career. May Allah SWT have mercy upon you and grant you Jannatul Firdaus and grant your family, friends, colleagues and the countless people whose lives you've touched ease during this difficult time.
Moulana Mohammed Moosa wrote: We at TMS have not only lost a principal, but together with that, we have lost a father, mentor, guide, well wisher and a friend. In my twelve years of working under Marhoom Mr Areff, never did he once ever say NO to any request nor did he ever raise his voice or shout at me despite me being one of his students. This speaks volumes of his noble character. Marhoom Mr Areff was one of a kind when it came to loving the Ulama and displaying respect towards them despite them being younger than him in age and experience. He will always be missed as he has left us with fond memories. May Allah fill his Qabr with Noor and elevate his status in Jannah. May Allah also grant his family the necessary strength to try and cope and grant them Sabrun Jameel. Aameen.
Daya Chetty, IDS Tshwane South district wrote: My heartfelt condolences on the passing of Mr Areff. A huge loss to the teaching profession. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
A colleague, a friend and a brother who has left this world for a better world. Iqbal Areff served education well over many decades. The TMS school community benefitted tremendously from his leadership, expertise and his management for more than two decades. His contribution and inputs in many Principal's forums and within the Association of Muslim Schools (AMS) is well known and appreciated. The many learners, educators and parents that were guided by Mr Areff will attest to his kindness, warmth and generosity. To our sister school TMS, we say your loss is our loss. We make dua that Allah (SWT) grants him a beautiful abode in Jannah. Ameen. (Yusuf Dadabhay Principal of Central Islamic School)
Nothing could have prepared us on this cold Jummah morning for the tragic news of the passing of our beloved Principal Mr. Iqbal Areff. The grief that came over each of us as a family left us shattered and impossible to explain in words. Mr Areff was not just a teacher or a principal to me but a principal to my children too and yet so much more. A father, a motivator, a mentor, a role model, a friend to the thousands that walked through the gates of Tshwane Muslim School. He was a kind, caring, gentle and a humble soul who possessed all the qualities of a great leader and this could be seen throughout my years that I've worked with him be it as a student or parent of TMS or through my work in Laudium Today. His warmth will always linger. As we all felt the immense pangs of grief today we bid our farewell to who will always be a hero and every message of condolence only bears testimony to Mr Areff’s iconic stature. Today we ask Allah (Swt) to grant Mr Areff the highest abode in Jannah & ease to his family & loved ones. Fi Amaanilla. (Ziyaad Suliman, Editor Laudium Today).
Mr Areff’s younger son Zaid wrote: Jazakallah for all the khatams, du’aas and heartfelt tributes to our father. Each one brings tears to my eyes. Remember him and my mother in your du’aas. He cared greatly for his students and always tried to be as fair and as fun as possible. May Allah grant him jannatul firdous.”
A kind, compassionate and understanding principal, Mr Iqbal Areff is survived by his wife, Fatima and three children, Yusuf, Zaid and Bahiyya, all three past pupils of Tshwane Muslim School.
Mr Areff was laid to rest at the Westpark Cemetry in Johannesburg at 9:30am on Friday, 26 June.
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