Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Maulana Bashir Ahmed Diwan was born in 1931 in Lajpur, Surat, Mumbai. He initially studied Islamic Theology in Madrasah Dahbel and completed it at Darul Uloom Deoband under Shiekh-ul-Islam Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani Rahimahullah. He then taught in Dahbel Madrasah for three years before coming to Fiji in 1957 at the invitation of the Fiji Muslim League.
In Fiji, his services were utilised as the Imam and Khateeb of the Suva Jaame Masjid. During school hours he taught the Holy Qur’aan and Deeniyaat at the Suva Muslim School. From the School, he moved onto opening Madrasah Nur-ul-Islam in 1976. He taught a three year Alim/Khateeb course to over 200 students, issuing Diploma in Deeniyaat to graduating students, many of whom continue in the pious work of imparting religious knowledge. At the Madrasah he also served as the Mohtamim/Principal as well.
He served the Suva Muslim League as the Chairman of the new Suva Masjid Project which was built in 1966 at the cost of £9,000 pounds. It was the first large-scale Masjid in Fiji catering for around 1,000 Musallees. A beautiful Masjid with three domes and four minarets, and glass stone-like tiles at the entrance. The Masjid is now registered as a historical heritage.
He also served the Fiji Muslim League as the Chairman of the Board of Islamic Affairs which oversaw the Islamic activities of the League. He introduced the daily Salaah and Ramadan Fasting Timetables for the whole of Fiji. He oversaw the Halal Slaughtering system and the perennial issue of Ramadan and Eid Moonsighting program and issuing of religious edicts. He also held the Chairmanship of Khatm-e-Nubuwah.
Since the first Tablighi Jamaat came to Fiji in 1969 from Zambia, he remained the Ameer of the Tablighi Jamaat until the 1990s, and then served as a member of the Shura Committee. He steered the Jamaat through many rough patches ensuring Masajid remained open for their stay and advocating the building of Marakiz in smaller remote areas. To quickly and firmly establish the Tablighi Jamaat movement among the masses and to ensure continuous khuruj of Jamaats throughout the year, he scheduled Ijtimas at every 40 day period.
One of his great assets is that of oration. In a sea of orators, his speeches stands out with wisdom, beautiful preaching and powerful delivery. He regularly gave speeches on Radio Fiji emphasising Islamic values, Muslim unity, human values and patriotism. Some of his speeches on the radio have been compiled and published in Urdu as ‘Islahi Bayanaat’. He also regularly spoke at Ijtimas and Government recognised Annual Seerah Jalsahs.
He undertook overseas lecture tours of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, New Caledonia and had opportunities to deliver speeches in England and India. He performed a number of Hajj and Umrah.
While in Fiji he always emphasised Muslim unity and following of the Islamic Shariah. To this end, he encouraged the Fiji Muslim League officials to attend the Ijtimas and the Jamaat brothers to attend Fiji Muslim League functions.
Maulana Bashir migrated to New Zealand in 2002. He is still active, delivering speeches on the radio, speaking at functions and conducting Nikah ceremonies. He recently undertook a lecture tour of Canada and several tours to Australia and Fiji. He is currently the Chairman of the recently formed Ulama Council of New Zealand and a Trustee of the Auckland Islamic Trust which runs Madrasah Uthmaaniyah and the Darul Uloom.
May Allah Ta’ala accept all of his efforts and grant him good health and longevity to continue with this excellent work. Wa ma taufeeqi illah billah.