Sister Latifa Ilyas Remembered

Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Rajioon.

Sister Latifa Ilyas passed away on March 9, 2014 in the early morning. As one of the pioneers of the Baltimore jama’at, she was 76 years at the time. She was survived by her son, Jamal Ilyas, and will be deeply missed. Sister Latifa is remembered as a kind, funny, honest, humble, and giving person.

Sadr Sahiba relates that at times cold water would be only coming from the sinks, and Sister Latifa would wash dishes never to complain. Sister Latifa made many contributions to the jama’at, though her presence was enough. For instance she had the inside of the mosque painted, with not a penny from the mosque’s funds. Her service to humanity (khidmat-e-khalk) was enormous. She would buy supplies for a nearby handicap school, the list is never-ending.

Sister Latifa was introduced to the community in her teens through Halima Aina’s family (parents).She went to live with her uncle(Halima Aina’s father) after her parents were deceased. Sadr Sahiba says she can still see Sister Latifa walking down Garrison Blvd toward the old Baltimore mosque. She was truly a loving, and forgiving human being that is an example to us all. May Allah grant her an elevated status in Janat-ul-Firdous, and may God grant her loved ones the strength to bear this sad loss.

2 thoughts on “Sister Latifa Ilyas Remembered

  • Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Rajioon

    I read somewhere (origin unknown), “When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” As I reflect on Aunty Latifa’s life and what she meant to all of us, I realize that irrespective of who writes her story, we all seem to arrive at similar conclusions. I had the pleasure of knowing her for a little over 23 years. When my family first arrived in Baltimore and came to the Baltimore Masjid, I remember Aunty Latifa, Aunty Amina Parker (May Allah rest their souls in peace) and Aunty Halima Aina as some of the first people within the Jamaat that we were introduced to, and since then we continued to build our relationship of mutual love, respect and trust.
    To me, Aunty Latifa was a pillar of strength, humility, and generosity. She lived her life with the fear of Allah in her heart and taught us all lessons in expressing our gratitude to Allah, time after time. Despite her ill health, she always said “Alhamdollilah” each time she was asked how she was doing. Aunty Latifa was kind and considerate, and yet commanded respect. She needed no words to convey her message during Security duties at Jalsas and other events at the Masjid. Her gestures were enough for all of us to sit up, listen and pay attention. She always had Eidi for my kids (and they are not even a part of the Baltimore Jamaat). I remember when she started giving out free hotdogs after Juma prayers, I was so excited to help and be a part of this good deed, and so grateful to be a part of the Baltimore Lajna, where we were involved in so many activities that truly helped to build a community. I went to a Homeless Shelter for the first time with Aunty Latifa taking boxes of blankets, toiletries and school supplies that we had collected at the Mosque and remember being so thankful for having a roof over my head. Aunty Latifa loved to clean the Mosque. I remember coming in early one Friday morning with my mother and sister so we could paint our Lajna Prayer Hall before Juma with Aunty Latifa and Aunty Halima. There are so many fond memories of days past that have had a profound impact on me. I am grateful for the time that I got to spend with Aunty Latifa and to have been able to learn from her. I pray that Allah may grant her an elevated status in heaven. Ameen.

  • inna lillahi wa inna illahi rajioun
    I did not know Sister Latifa, but masha’Allah reading about her makes me think that we need more people like her in this world, may Allah grant her family strength and patience at this difficult time Ameen

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