One of the most influential Muslim leaders, in Britain, who was respectfully called Hazrat Hafiz Patel has died. It is believed he had just returned from a trip abroad and had been quite poorly and died on Thursday peacefully at the age of 92.

Hafiz Patel, who originally came to the UK in the 1960’s from India was well respected by the Muslim community and had spent most of his life dedicating his time and efforts in ‘Tablighi Jamaat’ (missionary work)
Huge crowds of mourners attended his funeral in Dewsbury on Friday and many have taken to social media to acknowledge him as a pioneer of ‘Islamic identity in Britain’

Thousands of mourners attend funeral of Hazrat Hafiz Patel
Thousands of mourners attend funeral of Hazrat Hafiz Patel

Hazrat Hafiz Patel had helped set up the Islamic centre, Markaz in Dewsbury, and was responsible for the attendance of large numbers of Muslims from around the world to converge as ‘tablighs’ (missionaries).

Such was his influence that the popularity of the Tablighi Jamaat movement grew across the UK and Dewsbury became home to the movement’s European headquarters.

Haroon Adam, who runs Engage in Dewsbury, a Muslim led initiative which aims to bring together people of all faiths, said: “Hafiz Patel was an inspiration and a spiritual mentor to tens of thousands around the world. He made the effort of propagating Islam throughout the world from the Dewsbury headquarters of Tabligh Jamaat.

“Our community in Dewsbury had made a great loss – he was a giant amongst men, a leader leading by example and also a gentle human being who had an amazing memory and relentless energy in pursuing his aim as ameer of Tabligh Jamaat.

“He has travelled to almost every country in the world to spread the peaceful message of Islam. Dewsbury will miss its leader, who many see as irreplaceable.

“Having grown up in Dewsbury in the 1970s, Hafez Patel was not just a natural leader but a warm and big hearted man. Full of concern for the community and it’s wellbeing. He gave his life for others selflessly working to bring happiness to others. Today a light has gone out. Dewsbury will not be the same without him. May His soul rest in peace. We will miss him dearly.”

Councillor Masood Ahmed, (Labour, Dewsbury South), who helped to organise the funeral said: “Hazrat Hafiz Mohammed Patel was one of the most important figures in making Tablighi Jamaat (which means society for spreading faith) a global movement, particularly in spreading its work throughout  Europe and the Americas.

“People from across the world have met him, they respected him very much. He genuinely followed the Quran and Sunnah, he changed the position of Islam and the Muslims in this country. He lived a very humble life full of simplicity and certainly practiced life for the greater good of all mankind, regardless of creed, colour or religion.

“He also tried to emulate the way of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.  He very much was a spiritual leader, with no greed, no personal agenda and a respectful, humble and also an instrumental figure in building the Markazi Mosque in Dewsbury to make sure there was a place of worship for the community.

“This was a testament shown by the 15,000 or so people who have travelled from across the UK and the world to pay their final respects.”

Many took to social media to express their thoughts and pay their respects.

Ash Milnes@Ashmilnes

Thousands of people making there way to Savile fields Dewsbury for the funeral of Hafiz Patel, UK & European leader of Tablighi Jamaat

Rashid Khan  ‏@11iez

Inna lillahi WA inna ilayhi rajihoon. So sad to hear the passing of Hafiz Patel from Dewsbury! Im so happy I met him when I was young

Islamic Reminders@DawahDaily

Jumuah will never be the same at Dewsbury marqaz. I had the honour & privilege of praying next to hafiz sahib patel last week. ?

Dominic Casciani@BBCDom

Hafiz Patel, hugely important Islamic spiritual leader in UK you’ve probably not heard of, has died. Expect huge turnout @ Dewsbury funeral

Qari Ziyaad Patel@QariZiyaadPatel

It’s a sad day for the Ummah. We’ve once again lost anther great luminary, Hafiz Patel Saheb of Dewsbury, UK.May his great efforts continue.