Ikram, my beloved brother, was called by the Almighty at the comparatively young age of 50. He would have been 51 on the 4th of December, 2009. Young, I say, because Ikram was youthful all his life, until just three months before his death, when he succumbed to an incurable disease.
Steadfast in moral character and a pillar of strength, Ikram was my hero, always there to encourage me, cheer for me, and wisely but firmly advise me. He had the ability to feel the needs of those close to him, without having to ask them.
Ikram had a fanatical dedication to his job, but he never brought work home. He always found time for his family, whatever the time or circumstances.
Full of energy and enthusiasm, Ikram ably took on the responsibilities of head prefect at Zahira College Gampola, and those of Regimental Sergeant Major of the 2nd Battalion Cadet Corps, an unmatched achievement at his school. He played active roles in several school societies, and brought credit to the country when he participated in the Canada youth exchange programme in the ’70s. Not satisfied with the demands that these responsibilities imposed on him, he would represent the school in hockey and table tennis, and went on to play for the Kandy Blues hockey team. A talented trumpet player, he would liven up many a party with his rousing music. It was Ikram who taught me to play the flute, one of my favourite pastimes.
Always outspoken, Ikram never minced his words, a quality that earned him admiration and respect, as well as a few misunderstandings. He had a talent for making friends, and would mix easily with people, regardless of class or creed. His popularity was evident in the mammoth crowd that attended his funeral.
Ikram was one of the few people I could confide in, whatever the subject. I still unconsciously reach for the telephone to call him and talk about important things in my life, or to discuss politics or family matters. I replace the telephone receiver, sadly realising I would have to keep my thoughts to myself. I look around but find no one to take his place. The sense of helplessness can be unbearable.
Your parting has left a deep void in our lives. Your laugh, your smile, your loving and caring ways, the fun we had together – all these are gone forever from our lives and remain only as memories.
We can only hope to join you in the Hereafter, that is if we can match the merits you gained in the eyes of the Almighty. Wherever you are, Ikram, I hope you will read these words and know how much you are loved and missed.
May Almighty Allah grant you eternal bliss in Glorious Heaven.
M. Ayub Jabir