A Tribute to Mohammed Abdul Mateen Chida
By Osman Ali Chida
It was indeed a great shock to everybody, all over the world, to know about the eternal departure of Abdul Mateen Chida from this world. He was a great person in the real sense.
Relationship is by chance and friendship is by choice. Mateen Chida was my first cousin and also a very close friend of mine. As such, we had a rare combination of relationship and friendship. His departure was a great shock to me as well and with a heavy heart and a clumsy mind, I mention here some of his virtues, which I observed closely for the last six decades.
He was an embodiment of modesty, simplicity, honesty, integrity, tolerance, politeness, patience, religious knowledge and above all faith in Allah. He entered the Deen of Allah, adopted and followed it completely and sincerely as per Allah's orders in the Holy Qur'an. He was a true Muslim. He studied Qur'an, understood and followed this great book of Allah along with Sunnah in every walk of life and at every stage. Allah (swt) likes those who possess His Taqwa and Mateen Chida possessed His Taqwa and he did not do anything throughout his life which Allah does not like.
I found him to have the least attachment with this world and he used to always think of the Hereafter. If he wanted, he could have led a luxurious life with a palatial house, luxurious car and other infrastructure of this modern world. But, he led a very simple life, living in a rented apartment for more than three decades. He always used to think about the poor and the needy and help them whenever required.
He had in him a great faculty of self-sacrifice which is rarely found. His personality had a magnetic attraction and his facial expressions were full of “Noor” (light). His every action and deeds used to be in accordance with the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah and his facial expressions were reflections of this. Anybody meeting him for the first time could not keep quiet but would say that he was a very pious person. He was a worthy son of worthy parents and we were all proud of him.
He was genius and intellectual. Inspite of his attachment to religion and religious activities, his academic career was very bright. He topped in Senior Cambridge and Pre-University exam in the state. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering with honours, completed his Master's of Science (M.S.) in the United States with flying colours, joined PhD in Mechanical Engineering but discontinued.
In his student life, in the engineering college, he gave shelter to a non-Muslim classmate to be in his house and study with him. When questioned, he replied that this colleague is a poor man who came from a remote village and did not have food, shelter and books to study. He not only provided him all the facilities but also helped him in studies by guiding him suitably from time to time. It was a rare example of religious harmony and help to mankind, irrespective of religion.
During this same time frame, his dignified father, Late Colonel Abdul Khader Chida (may Allah (swt) bless him with a choicest place in Heaven (Ameen) used to give him monthly pocket money. It is a matter of great surprise that Mateen Chida used to spend this amount for Arabic books and stationery for the poor children whom he used to teach the Holy Qur'an right after Fajr prayers, whereas he did not spend a single penny on himself. Inspite of his engineering studies, he used to give two or three hours daily to this noble cause. It is a great example of selfless character of the great departed soul.
In the past, important literature had to be printed by the Muslim Students Association of US and Canada (MSA; later the Islamic Society of North America). There was no suitable press to print this important literature. An Islamic press was located which was idle, old and was in a very bad shape. The great man, Mr. Mateen Chida, took charge of it, resigning the big job he was holding at that time. Perhaps, this responsibility he accepted without any remuneration or salary. During this time, he faced lot of problems and difficulties and managed to successfully overcome them. He carried out the herculean task with interest, hard work and sincerity and rendered the press in a very efficient condition. This was unheard of and it was a great sacrifice of the great man, Mr. Chida.
Fifty years back, when there was no concept of Halal in United States Mr. Mateen Chida accepted the challenge to introduce Halal meat in United States. Setting aside all his official responsibilities of the job, he purchased a truck and used to go 150 miles to the slaughter house and bring the Halal meat after zabiha at a small scale. Afterwards, with sacrifice, pursuance and hard work, his business slowly improved and finally he could establish Halalco in Washington DC, which is the result of the great man’s hard work and sincerity. Now, Halal meat has become common and other people also could supply it, following Mr. Mateen Chida's example. Indisputably, HalalCo Supermarket is the achievement of Mr. Mateen Chida.
I was very close to Mr. Mateen Chida and it was my longing desire that he should come to Hyderabad, India and be our guest. I made this request to the departed soul for years. Finally, he agreed and accepted our invitation. He along with his pious wife, Mrs. Maimoona, came in the month of June 2011 and stayed for 13 days only in our house. It was indeed a happy occasion for me and my wife, Amina, to offer our hospitality. We were extremely happy to have this couple with us in our house though for a very short time. His visit to our house, with smiling face and cutting sober jokes, left behind unforgettable memories and we are reminded of him day in and day out.
During his stay in Hyderabad, Mr. K.M.Arifuddin, a well-known educationist, owner and proprietor of Madina Group of Colleges arranged a big felicitation in honour of the great man, Mr. Mateen Chida, at Madina College, Nampally, Hyderabad. This function was attended by intellectuals and dignitaries of Hyderabad. Many learned speakers acknowledged the great services rendered for the Muslim community and the great work of establishment of HalalCo by Mr. Abdul Mateen Chida. The noble person of great modesty, Mr. Mateen Chida, in his speech, said that he was grateful to the speakers for praising him and said that he did not deserve any such compliments or appreciation as neither was he an Islamic scholar nor did he do anything extraordinary for the community. He also said that he was an ordinary man who could do something for the Islamic community to please Allah (swt) alone and not for any worldly appreciation award or reward. This is a befitting example of the modesty of a human being.
On the day of departure from Hyderabad to Washington, there were 3 or 4 persons who bought parcels to be taken to Washington. I was very much tensed as to how he was accepting all parcels when already he had overweight luggage. But, the noble man was calm and accepted all the parcels gladly. Finally, an hour before the departure time from our house, one gentleman brought another heavy parcel and handed it over to him to be taken to Washington. Again, the noble person accepted this parcel too gladly. Mr.Mateen Chida went inside the room, placed all parcels in his suitcase and removed 3 new pants, 3 new shirts and a big towel and handed them over to me calmly saying that these clothes and a towel may please be given to some poor and deserving person.
It will not be out of place to mention about an accident 8 months back which he met while travelling from Chicago to Washington along with 7 persons (5 adults and 2 children). He telephoned me to inform about that he was driving the car and it went out of control and fell in a ditch. He informed that no one sustained even a scratch and were saved by Allah (swt) micracously but the car was damaged badly. It was Allah (swt) who saved all of them due to the presence of this great, pious man. When I said you should have given “Sadaqa”, Mr. Mateen Chida, to my utter surprise, replied, 7 goats were ordered to be sacrificed as “Sadaqa” of the 7 passengers travelling in the car.
My salute to the departed soul, my salaam to you my brother, it is difficult to bear your separation.
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