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Dhaka Tribune

Hefazat chief Ahmad Shafi laid to rest on Hathazari madrasa premises

Hundreds of thousands attend namaz-e-janaza at the madrsa 

Update : 19 Sep 2020, 10:58 AM

Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh chief Shah Ahmad Shafi has been laid to eternal rest on the premises of Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam, popularly known as Hathazari Madrasa, in Chittagong.

Ahmad Shafi was buried around 2:45pm on Saturday at the graveyard next to Baitul Atiq Jame Masjid on the madrasa campus, said Mainuddin Ruhi, joint general secretary of Hefazat-e-Islam.

"Shafi's eldest son Mohammad Yousuf led the namaz-e-janaza which was held around 2:15pm on the madrasa premises," the Hefazat leader said.  

Also Read - How did Shafi lose his grip on Hathazari Madrasa?

Shafi breathed his last at 6:30pm on Friday while being treated at Asgar Ali Hospital in Dhaka, a day after stepping down as the madrasa's director general.

He had long been suffering from different old-age complications including high blood pressure and diabetes.

People pour into Shafi's janaza  

The funeral prayer of Shah Ahmad Shafi literally turned into a human sea, amid the Covid-19 pandemic that demands social distancing among people.

Defying health regulations amid the pandemic, thousands of people began to come from distant places early in the morning to see him for the last time and attend the last rites of the controversial Islamic scholar.

Also Read: Hefazat chief Ahmad Shafi passes away

The body of the Hefazat chief reached the madrasa premises around 9:30am on Saturday. 

As the day progressed, the crowd began to swell and traffic movement in and around the madrasa came to a halt.

People were seen coming to the madrasa on foot as the local administration suspended vehicular movement on the Chittagong-Khagrachhari highway.

Beefed up security

Meanwhile, the local administration deployed 10 platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in four upazilas of Chittagong, to avert any untoward incident over the last rites of Shafi.

The BGB members led by seven executive magistrates of Chittagong district administration remained deployed in Hathazari, Rangunia, Patiya, and Fatikchhari upazilas until further notice.

Of them, four platoons of BGB led by four executive magistrates remained deployed in Hathazari as a precaution.

Also Read - Ahmad Shafi resigns from DG post of Hathazari Madrasa

On Thursday night, Shafi stepped down as the director general of Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam following the student unrest over the last two days.

Soon after his resignation, he was taken to the Chittagong Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) as his physical condition deteriorated.

Ahmad Shafi was also the president of Bangladesh Qawmi Madrasa Board – Befaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh.

Called the 'Boro Hujur' (the oldest cleric) by Qawmi madrasa students, he is respected by a section of Muslims as one of the top Islamic scholars in Bangladesh. However, very little is known about his personal life.

Shafi, believed to be 98, was born in Chittagong's Rangunia. At the age of 10, he was admitted to the Hathazari Madrasa.

After studying there for 10 years, he moved to India in 1951 and enrolled himself at the Darul Uloom Deoband.

Four years later, Shafi returned to Chittagong and joined the Hathazari Madrasa as a teacher. He had been serving as the chief of the madrasa since 1986 before stepping down on Thursday.

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