The history of Syed Shihab family
The Panakkad Syed family has a separate history of its own. The Syed Ali Shihab who migrated to Northern Kerala from Hadramaut of Yemen is the founder of the Shihab family. He belonged to the 33rd generation of Ahl Bait family of Holy Prophet .
His son Syed Hussein married from the Arakkal Dynasty, which enhanced the influence of Syed family. The newly wed Syed shifted his residence to Calicut. The majority of Syed families settled near the coasts. Purity of heart was the chief characteristic in the public life of Syed family in Malabar.
Birth & Education
He was born in 1936. He has two sisters and brothers are – Syed Umar Ali Shihab, Syed Haider Ali Shihab, Syed Sadiq Ali Shihab and Syed Abbas Ali Shihab.
After his tenth grade in school, he received religious education for 5 years. As per the recommendations of the visiting Egyptian cultural team, Syed Shihab left for Egypt for higher studies in 1958.
After studying at Al Azhar University for 2 years, he joined Cairo University and studied for 5 years. He did his post graduation in Arabic literature and thereafter returned to Kerala in 1965. He could establish good relationships with world leaders while his stay in Cairo. His colleagues included prominent statesmen from different parts of the world.
With a mastery over English, Arabic and French, Syed Shihab was offered posts in Saudi airlines and Egyptian embassy. But he refused them under the instructions of his father.
In 1968, Syed Shihab married Shareefa Fatimah Beevi, the daughter of Syed Abdur Rahman Bafaqi. (Syed Abdur Rahman Bafaqi was a sage whom Kerala held with great respect. He was a noted figure among the iron willed politicians of the state. His visitors included top politicians of his times. His words were the last say in the matters of the party.) This was the fusion of Syed Shihab and Syed Bafaqi families. Destiny was unfolding itself…
Syed Shihab has 3 girls and 2 boys- Syed Basheer Ali who has completed his MBA and Syed Munawwar Ali Shihab who is completing his graduation in Malaysia.
Syed Abdur Rahman Bafaqi was the state president of League from 1956- 1973. When he passed away on January 18, 1973, Syed PMSA Pookoya, Shihab’s father, held the reigns of the party. In 1975, on September 1, Syed Shihab was chosen to lead the Indian Union Muslim League. The then All-India Secretary of League, C.H. Mohammed Koya proposed the name of Syed Shihab. He was the youngest person to assume league’s leadership at age of 31. In 1979 October 12, C.H. Mohammed Koya became the chief minister of Kerala. Thereafter Syed Shihab began to be noticed in national politics.
The Kodappanakkal residence at Panakkad
This is the Panakkad Kodappanakkal residence. The compound is flooded with crowd on Tuesdays. They are of different caste and religions – but their destination is one. They want to relate the sorrows of the aggrieved heart. They want to find a solution to the stressful problems. When they return, their hearts are emptied of the sorrows. Syed Shihab’s words are healing to their aching hearts.
Syed Shihab who lives like an open book has no secrets to hide. Everyone feels that he is personally their own. A beloved leader, a dear brother… the crowd never makes the Syed restless. There is none to replace him.
Syed Shihab’s domain is not restricted to politics alone. He is equally active in socio-cultural and educational fields. He is the Qazi of numerous localities as well as the chairman of numerous charitable institutions.
His is the final word while declaring the sighting of the moon for various occasions. He tries to find time for supervising the working of different institutions. He has always given priority for institutions that blend religious and secular education..
Syed Shihab emphasizes on the importance of integrating spiritual values with the activities of trade unions as wells as the need to assume responsibility along with the struggle for rights. He never finds it difficult to mingle with the workers. No other leader can sit and dine with the low class workers on the same table. Such is Syed Shihab.