“Inna lil lahi wa inna alayhi rajun” From Allah we come and to Allah is our return. 

I just learned of the passing of Dr. Ali Mazrui (posted Oct 13, 2014) and with profound sorrow I wish to share a little story with you.  Back in the middle 90’s while working with Barbara Nimri Aziz for her radio program Tahrir for WBAI in New York, I met Dr. Mazrui at a mid-town hotel in order to conduct an interview about the state of Muslims in America. He was gracious, kind and very enthusiastic about the prospects of  American Islam, in the hands of African American Muslims, finding a respected place in the modern world free from the cultural baggage of incumbent Muslim societies. He expressed his desire for the American Muslims to remain steadfast in their pursuit of the middle ground and not become sidetracked by the glitter of political Islam which, in his opinion, was a road that led to ruin. He praised the intellectual work of people like Dr. Akbar Muhammad and Dr. Suliman Nyang.  In his characteristic style saturated with humility, he  minimized his own contributions as being the result of intellectual curiosity. For me, his sense of clarity is what will be missed. I wish him peace in Allah’s Grace, Ameen.

Mahmoud Andrade Ibrahim

                                                  Photo taken in 1986 of Dr Ali Mazuri

                                                 Photo taken in 1986 of Dr Ali Mazuri

 

   An intellectual giant:     Ali Mazrui     (1933-2014)

Renowned Kenyan academic Ali Mazrui has died in the US aged 81 after being ill for several months. Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta said Africa had been robbed of one of its greatest scholars.

Mazrui had been "towering" academic whose "intellectual contributions played a major role in shaping African scholarship", he added.

He had been a professor at Binghamton University in New York at the time of his death.

Leading pan-Africanist

His body will be flown to Kenya for burial, said Khelef Khalifa, chairman of Kenya's Muslims for Human Rights group.

"His nephew, Alamin Mazrui, has confirmed that the professor's wish was to be buried in Kenya," he is quoted as saying.

Mazrui was a leading pan-Africanist whose academic research focused on African politics, north-south relations and political Islam. He had authored numerous books, including The Africans: A Triple Heritage and Christianity and Islam in Africa's Political Experience: Piety, Passion and Power.

In 2005, the US journal Foreign Policy and British journal Prospect listed him as among the world's top 100 public intellectuals. He is survived by his wife and six children.

Mazrui was born on February 24, 1933 in Mombasa, Kenya Mazrui studied in Columbia University, University of Oxford, University of Manchester, Nuffield College, Oxford.