Kodappanekkal (the house of Syed Shihab Thangal) was in gloom yesterday as the head of the family was not present to witness the demise of the lady of the house.
He had called the previous day from Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA where he was admitted for treatment. They shared light jokes as well as health conditions with each other. She had wished to make ready the residence at Koyilandi when Thangal would return from his overseas treatment. She expressed the same desire when they conversed on the phone. But she unexpectedly parted before her dear husband would return home. It was her reign in the household kitchen which ensured that the countless visitors to the ‘court of Kodappanekkal’, irrespective of their creed or status, would be served tea and sweets.
Closeness to Qur’an
She insisted that Thangal carried Holy Qur’an in a case whenever he would travel. She would herself hand it over to him while he got ready to travel. At times, she would remind him. Never did she neglect this habit. She was very particular in the study of the Holy Book, said her brother Hamza Bafaqi. He recalled her playing the CD of Qur’an two days ago at her residence in Calicut for hours and contemplating over its teachings.
The day Thangal left for America for treatment (April 1), she packed his favorite clothes and kept the Qur’an as well. Despite numerous helpers at home, it was Fatimah Beevi who did everything for Thangal.
On Thursday night (21Apr 2006), she was at the residence of late Grand Qazi of Calicut, Syed Mohsin Shihab Thangal, along with her brothers and other family members. She returned to Panakkad at 11pm after attending the funeral prayers of her husband of her sister, Khadijah Beevi. She began to experience increased breathing problems (She was already undergoing treatment for heart disease).
She was the first among the girls to pass away from among the 21 children of Syed Abdur Rahman Bafaqi. Her brothers Hamid Bafaqi, Muhammad Bafaqi, Usman Bafaqi had earlier passed away.
Fatimah Beewi and Syed Shihab Thangal tied their nuptial knot in 1966, at a ceremony that was attended by Gargantuan political leaders like EMS Namboodirippad. Her death was the loss of a historic link between the Bafaqi and Shihab families, two prominent Syed Qabilas of Arabia. The Shihab Thangal-Fatimah Beewi alliance had the specialty of distinguished leadership. Their alliance was the product of the sincere friendship between the then national president of Indian Union Muslim league, Syed Abdur Rahman Bafaqi and Syed PMSA Pookoya Thangal, the darling of Malabar Muslims. In an earlier publication, Fatimah Beevi recalls the occasion when her father revealed the name of her would-be better half: ‘It was she who would read the newspapers and magazines for her father. One day he came with a book and asked her to read an article. Then he asked her to read the name of the writer. ‘Panakkad Syed Muhammad Ali Shihab Thangal’. “Do you know who this is”, asked her father to which she remained silent. He then said, “He is the boy going to marry you”. The marriage took place when Syed Shihab returned from Egypt after completing his studies.
Kodappanekkal house is never free of crowd, especially on Tuesdays, the designated day for visitors. Women formed a large part of the guests, with whom she behaved with humility. But one had to ask if there were women in the house: such was the calm atmosphere in the house. She did not prefer to appear outside the house or in the verandah. She used to advise regularly the girls and daughter-in-laws about the ladies’ discipline at home. She used to mend her own clothes. Some of her husband’s, children’s and grandchildren’s clothes were tailored by her. She was satisfied with the prayer robe made by her own hands. Syed Shihab Thangal had sent special instructions to the press not to publish the photos of the ladies of Kodappanekkal house. Her eldest son, Syed Basheer Ali Shihab, led the funeral prayer of his noble mother. The route to Panakkad was jammed, due to the flow of crowd to Kodappanekkal House. May Allah bless the noble lady and shower on her His Mercy and forgiveness. Ameen!
(Based on a report published in MadhyamamOnline, on 22/04/2006.)
The funeral procession of Syeda Shareefa Beevi,
wife of Syed Muhammad Ali Shihab, moves towards the Panakkad Juma’ masjid
GM Banatwala, national president of Indian Union
Muslim League, embraces Syed Basheer Ali Shihab at the Kodappanekkal House,
Panakkad (Malappuram) (Photo: Middle East Chandrika)
MP Abdus Samad Samadani, E. Ahmed, Veerappa Moili conveys their condolences to Syed Haidar Ali Shihab
PK Kunhalikuty and PV Abdul Wahab consoling
Syed Basheer Ali Shihab
Dr .MK Muneer and Ahmed Siraj
K. Muraleedaran meeting Syed Basheer Ali, along with Najeeb Kanthapuram and Ahmedkutty Unnikulam
Syed Shihab Thangal (center) accompanied by his son, Syed Munawwar Ali Shihab Ali Shihab and team of doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester prior to the surgery. (Photo: Middle East Chandrika)