1. Stefano Malachi

    Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near, so loved, so missed, so very dear.

  2. Dominic

    Baraka I was amazed by how much energy and determination you put into your charity work, even during periods that must have been the toughest for you. You are nothing short of inspirational.

  3. Lauren

    The star that burns twice as bright lasts half as long, and Baraka, you shone so very, very brightly…

    While we never met in person, you were and remain a true inspiration to me.
    You may no longer be on this world, but in your memory I promise that I will always celebrate each breath.

  4. Shahbaz

    The last time my friends and I sent a message to Baraka was Friday 12th February 2016 where we sent Baraka a message about the beauty and omnipotence of Friday’s and how reading Surah Kahf on a Friday means that a light will shine from you from one Friday to the next …. Friday 19th February. May a light always shine from and upon the Khan family in this life and the next. May Allah bless the Khan family and be reunited once again in Jannah.

  5. Seyhan

    Beautiful heart, beautiful mind…You live in our hearts forever…

  6. Nadine

    I got to know Baraka in dubai as a young child full of smiles and joy and I’m deeply saddened to hear of her passing. My heartfelt condolences to her wonderful mum and the whole Khan family.

  7. Caroline Bradley

    Rest in Peace Dear Sister Baraka. Your bravery and dignity is a lesson for us all. You will live on in this world,in your families hearts forever.

  8. Liesl

    I was always fascinated by the stories your father and family told about you. I admired you for your strength. You were a very brave woman and achieved so much in your young life. You will be missed by everyone whose hearts you touched.

  9. Besma

    Dearest Baraka,

    You were such an inspiration to us all. I wish I had been there more for you to share your sorrows and your joy. I can only hope you will forgive me.

    I find it difficult to believe that someone the same age as me has gone through so much: school, university, marriage and then the end of life in such a short space of time. But you bore it with such fortitude and such determination. We cannot dream to be half the person you were.

    The world only has the best to say about you. That you were so kind, so pure and so trusting in God. That you had a beautiful way with words. I still remember the first time I heard you recite one of your poems. I remember being in awe and thinking “wow. How can someone combine words so elegantly! ” I remember your fondness of nature. You once said that there is nothing more peaceful than praying outside on the earth. Believe it or not that was the first time I had prayed outside on bare earth and it was with you.

    I know that Inshallah you are at peace. May Allah have mercy upon your soul and give you gardens in Paradise. May Allah keep you cool in the grave. May Allah give sabr to your family in this difficult time. I will always remember you. Lots of love xxx

  10. Besma

    The world only has the best to say about you. That you were so kind, so pure and so trusting in God. That you had a beautiful way with words. I still remember the first time I heard you recite one of your poems. I remember being in awe and thinking “wow. How can someone combine words so elegantly! ” I remember your fondness of nature. You once said that there is nothing more peaceful than praying outside on the earth. Believe it or not that was the first time I had prayed outside on bare earth and it was with you.

    I know that Inshallah you are at peace. May Allah have mercy upon your soul and give you gardens in Paradise. May Allah keep you cool in the grave. May Allah give sabr to your family in this difficult time. I will always remember you. Lots of love xxx

  11. Ebrahim khan

    Baraka was very kind,confident and very brave.. I am proud to have had such a good sister

  12. Gazala Khan

    Dearest Baraka, Rest in peace. I remember you as a little girl with a ponytail running around my parents home in New Delhi. This would have been about 1998 or so. Its a pity we did not take any photographs but you are etched in my memory ever so distinctly. I hope to be able to donate to your charity soon. You will be missed by your immediate family and by the family comprising all those whose lives you touched with your grace. Always….Gazala Phuphi

  13. Terhi

    Baraka, seeing the work you did even during the most difficult of times continues to be an inspiration. While your song may have ended your melody lingers on.

  14. Rida-a-Zahra

    Dearest Baraka Khan,

    I cannot recall how we became friends or why, rather that we just were and have been. I have a vague memory of being in my gym kit in your room after having ran with the Laurence the white boy and saying you must meet him. I also have vague memories of planning trips around the world, the softness of your room and distinct resemblance of your and George the other white boy’s accent.

    My favourite memory of you was the week before your wedding when we went to Bond Street to get your dress. I passed out in the taxi and cut off the blood circulation in your hand but you never woke me up knowing that I needed sleep. I still think that’s the cutest thing EVER. After trying on every halal (and not so halal) dress in the shop, which we somehow had to ourselves, we walked up and down Oxford street looking for Yalla Yalla, only to find the air-conditioning in the restaurant made our sharwama a bit hard. But you never complained. I know you hated it too, I did. There’s nothing worse than a bad lamb sharwama. That’s the beauty of you: you see good in everything. You are grateful for everything.

    I write this, having just read a message on the train, daily commute prayers or something to that effect:” My heart. It still keeps beating. But what for? Show me how to measure my life in something more than years.”

    Baraka, in the last year of spending time with you and getting to know you, you have taught me so much on how to make living count. I have learnt a great many things about how we can make small differences in our everyday lives to bring as much goodness into the world as we can. You truly have a gift of putting others first, even as you suffer the most. I have learnt so much from you that to begin to articulate all the little changes that have been implemented based on your advice and actions would be trivial. My words are limited and I have often noticed how majority of time, I am not even aware of the change. This is all from one year of a few interactions.

    Baraka, I have missed you so much in the past week, I keep feeling like I can call you and if I pressed the button, I’d hear your pleasant voice and hearty laugh at my bad jokes. I want to tell you what’s happened in my week, hear your thoughtful and witty remarks about the events and get your wise advice on all these little things I feel so lost in without you. I miss you Beaks.

    I miss the warmth you brought to my life. I will try to hold on to the beautiful things you taught me; feed the homeless as you are passing by- never ignore another’s pain- we are all human regardless of background, say Salawaat, praise and thank God, and above all, face everything with absolute faith, conviction, good moral character, strength and dignity.

    You are the most beautiful soul I know. We weep without you and blossom in the light you shone upon us. Inshallah we will be with you soon (I will try to be- I should pray more to get to Jannat- I am pretty sure only the prayers you stood next to me counted). That’s the other thing I loved, praying with you- holding your warm hands at the end, hearing your soft voice, praying in the gentleness of any space that would contain you. I miss that. That was my Khalwat. You were the balm that would soothe my soul.

    I love you beyond words Baraka I. Khan. Always.

  15. Sherin

    Baraka a very beautiful soul that crossed my path of life, a soul that inspired me, in fact still inspires me, a soul that touched my heart, a soul that reminded me of the blessings of life, a soul that reminded me the value of every breath, a soul I missed the opportunity to meet in this world….. but a soul that’s left behind a light in our hearts and lives, a soul that I long to meet again. Baraka – a true inspiration.

  16. Zaffar Saleem

    Dear Baraka, even though I have not met you but I know your father very well – from what I have read and heard – you are a mirror copy him, bright, intelligent and humble. You will always remain with us in our hearts and prayers you were nothing short of inspiration to all of us – I pray to ASWT to give grant you a place in Jannat-el-Firdous and to your parents may he give them Sabr. I have gone through the process when I lost my son and I know how it feels. Beta we love you for all you were. love Zaffar

  17. Rajni

    Ahh..don’t want to accept this truth. Your beautiful smile still floting in my eyes. You will live in our heart forever ..stay in peace .

  18. Shrina

    One of my earliest memories of Baraka is from our English class in high school: I was at the front of the class presenting, terrified, and I looked along the row of faces, and there was Baraka- leaning forward, smiling and nodding me encouragement- and suddenly I wasn’t so nervous. To have known Baraka is to have known the amazing presence she had. She was insanely intelligent, yet extremely humble, and she had the unique skill of making the people around her feel instantly at ease. Her smile is unforgettable, her energy was infectious, and I am certain she inspired every person who came in her path. I am so glad to have met you and you will be missed dearly, BK xxx

  19. Natalie

    Baraka, from the very first time we met I admired your grace and calm in the face of any challenge. You were a wonderful friend to me through all the challenges the IB could throw at us and I will appreciate that forever. I felt sure that you were destined to go on to great success but I know now that instead you have inspired many people to go on and do amazing things in your memory. You will be so sadly missed by everyone who knew you. With love and great admiration always, Natalie xxx

  20. Saeed Al Muntafiq

    In Islam Baraka is the continuity of spiritual presence from God. Although i have never met you i have known your Father for some time and i know you have been a Baraka to him. He has and always will love you and i know we will all never forget you. May the Almighty bless you and embrace you in his mercy.

  21. Charlotte

    I didn’t know Baraka well – we met in Sixth Form and we shared a politics class. From the very first day, her shining intelligence was evident; whilst much of the class was rowdy and disruptive, she sat at the front like a beacon of calm and brightness. She always appeared wise beyond her years, her soothing and rational voice always issuing an admiring stillness amongst the rest of us. I am so deeply saddened to hear of her passing – the world could only have become a better place with her in it. I really hope she knew how admired she was by her classmates, and how even in death we continue to admire her strength, intelligence and beauty. Rest in peace Baraka.

  22. Omnya

    Reading all these messages, from familiar names and not so familiar names, makes me really emotional. You touched so many people’s hearts Baraka. But you did even more than that for me. You picked a spot and engraved your name, making sure i’ll never forget you.

    Uni was such a mix of emotions, highs and lows, but it was always wonderful to have you there to share it with. To have you there as an anchor. A reminder that life is beautiful, that we need to get our priorities right, and mustn’t forget God in all of the crazy mess! You were my call to prayer. And still are. Every time I think of you, i get sad. Really sad. And it’s even more difficult when I think of you by accident. Mentioning you in conversation, thinking ‘I’ll give Baraka a call’, or ‘Baraka would like this, I’ll send it to her’. But then I turn to The One you always turned to. The One you helped ME turn to. And say: kheir, inshallah 🙂

    I’ll miss you. But i know you’re heading to a much much grander place now. With everything you could possibly wish for. And i can only hope and pray that I’ll be able to join you one day so we can sit together on two rocking chairs, hands behind our heads, laughing at life and all it stories. Love and prayers xxx

  23. Fatin Aliah Phang

    It’s hard to sink in with the news when I first read about it in an email. I thought this must be a different Baraka. But this page confirmed it. MashaAllah, I only met her for a short period of time during her first year in Cambridge yet she has already left a deep mark in my heart. Her radiant, smile and warmth are inconsealable. I have never met such a happy and lively person during my stay in England. I pray that Allah will place her in the Paradise and shower her with love and mercy abundantly.

  24. Renata

    Dear Baraka,
    We have met in very special circumstances… we have had difficult but important conversations… I am very grateful that we have had that opportunity. I am sorrowful I have not said goodbye. I am keeping you as a very special memory…

  25. Mohammed Alzahrani

    To all who loved Baraka, I include an excerpt from a book by Victor Hugo that I hope it will give you some comfort:

    I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads he white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
    Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”
    ‘Gone where?’
    Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear he load of living freight to her destined port.
    Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes on another shore watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :’Here she comes!’
    -Victor Hugo ‘Les Travailleurs de la mer’

  26. Hassan AlNumaimi

    I have not had the privilege of meeting Baraka but have had the pleasure of knowing her loving father. However from what I have heard about her and the words that her father shared tell me that she is the kind of spirit that brings joy to those around her even in death. After a long struggle, she was laid to rest and bid the world goodbye, leaving only sweet memories and remnants of her kindness in the hearts of her family and friends. I pray that Allah grants her loving family faith and patience for her loss and may their greatest condolence be that she is in a better place in which she will suffer no more. May Baraka’s soul rest in peace.

  27. Tariq Husain

    Dear Baraka, I knew you through your father. Through him, we developed a bond and i would often ask about you. You were a source of inspiration for me.
    God bless you.

  28. Hasan Ebrahim Alnuaimi

    I have not had the privilege of meeting Baraka but have had the pleasure of knowing her loving father. However from what I have heard about her and the words that her father shared tell me that she is the kind of spirit that brings joy to those around her even in death. After a long struggle, she was laid to rest and bid the world goodbye, leaving only sweet memories and remnants of her kindness in the hearts of her family and friends. I pray that Allah grants her loving family faith and patience for her loss and may their greatest condolence be that she is in a better place in which she will suffer no more. May Baraka’s soul rest in peace.

  29. Sue Scott

    I was working with Baraka’s father when she was born and can remember the joy of her parents on her arrival. I last saw Baraka when she was about 7 in Bahrain with her beautiful head in a book and explaning to me how different it was from London. I have kept in touch with her family and although I have been living for 10 years in Australia I have followed her amazing story of faith and her journey to achieve so much in a life cut short. She was a true inspiration to so many. God Bless you always and thoughts and prayers to her amazing family.


    My beloved niece, My love,
    The one I adore,
    I love her so much more,
    Someone to play with,
    Someone to cheer up,
    I watched over her through good times and rough,
    She made me happy,
    She made me smile,
    She made me want to stay with her for a while.
    I count the days till’ I see her again in Jannat inshallah
    My niece, My love
    The one I adore!


    Baraka Your life was a blessing
    Your memory a treasure
    You are loved beyond words
    Missed beyond measure

  32. Kamini

    Beautiful smile, beautiful soul. Rest in peace Baraka xx

  33. Ann Pettifor

    Bharaka was so vibrant, so bursting with commitment and life, so willing to challenge the status quo….it is hard to believe she is no longer with us. I have a wonderful memory of a bright, assertive young woman of deep faith and keen mind at the Khan family’s lively dinner table…a memory that will be lasting. My heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends in this great loss…

  34. Francesca

    I remember coaching you on the river during your first term at university – so many early cold starts and lots of near-collisions with other novice crews (as is always the way in Mich term), but it was always a lot of fun! We bumped into each other around college and you always had a beaming smile and were so full of positive energy. We exchanged a few messages after I left uni but I am sorry that we didn’t keep in touch more. I was so saddened to hear about your illness and passing; you achieved so much in far too short a life and certainly left an impression on me. Rest in Peace, Baraka.

  35. Abdul Aziz Rasool

    ‘To Allah we belong & to Allah we return’

    Engaging with Baraka from afar for just a few months, I felt her steadfast patience & positivity. A truly enduring attitude of a determined soul.

    From Baraka I learned more about resilience: her constant grip of belief, those contemplative self-reminders etched on her white board.

    May Allah grant Baraka an elevated place in the loftiest gardens of Jannat Al-Firdous.

  36. Emily

    Baraka and I met while rowing together at Cambridge. From the moment we met, I was taken by Baraka’s warmth and genuine kindness, her love of life and her positive outlook. While I didn’t know her well, we kept in touch over the years, and she was always a joy to be around. She had a genuinely warm, caring soul, that touched all that she knew.

  37. Jei

    From your father’s stories of how amazing and wonderful you are as a person, I had already a great impression of you. Looking at your images, you are still a beacon of radiance and your legacy of grace and kindness will live on.
    Earth has one less gentle soul; Baraka, may you rest in peace in the eternal paradise.

  38. Nadeem

    Every person you touch with your smile and warmth, your family and friends were truly blessed to have had you in their life’s , may they touch other with the same smile and warmth and keep your goodness alive, may you be the source of Junnah for your parents….

  39. Samia Aziz

    I’ll never forget the first time I met Baraka – she had been juggling several commitments that night but had promised she would swing by the ISoc fresher’s dinner to meet the new intakes, especially because there were a couple of PPS students in the mix this year – including me! She came almost running in, jumping between different groups of friends offering them hugs and smiles, yet never making anyone feel like a nuisance in her already packed evening. When it came to meeting me, Baraka exuded such warmth and a sense of familiarity, while at the same time making me feel really excited about the degree I was about to begin. Up until that day it had just been scary tales of essay deadlines and reading lists as long as my arm. She was muttering something about her younger brother’s birthday, rowing and needing to see college friends, but promised she would take time out for more in depth conversation. As she left, I remember smiling to myself, reflecting on how busy and happy she was! Over the next couple of years, Baraka offered me a lot of solace as I struggled to get to grips with elements of the course, and also taught me a great deal about how to remain grounded in my faith during more turbulent times. I’m so grateful BKay was a part of my journey, and am absolutely honoured to have been a tiny tiny part of hers. She is deeply deeply missed.

  40. Ghadir Siyam

    I have been trying to find the right words to describe how thankful I am for touching my life in so many ways, and how much your beautiful smile, your passion, and your kindness will be missed…
    I pray that Allah swt will gather us with you in Janat Al Ferdous and grant you the highest ranks.. I pray that Allah swt grant your family patience
    May Allah swt forgive you and have mercy on you and give you strength.
    إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

  41. Abdal Hakim Murad

    Like a comet, swift but luminous – and not to be forgotten! Now her pilgrimage is at an end, certainly in the mercy of the Infinite, all suffering over at last.


    Barka wasn’t an ordinary girl , l personally feel that ìt will not be incorrect if I address her as Hazrat Barka Rahmatullah Alaih.Yes she can be compared with Hazrat Rabia Basri RA.Her life was 100 % on Sunna. We can’t even imagine the Martaba she has in Allah’s eyes. She was Shahid, Auliallah and Hafiz and great Muslim .l haven’t seen a person of her stature in my life. I advise all the girls to follow her to become an ideal Muslim. Her parents are luckiest ones to have daughter like her. I am praying for her from heart. From.Dr Nafis.Aligarh

  43. Ferha

    The last time i saw Baraka, she was around 10years old. You realise how important some brief relationships are, when things like this happen. The more i learn about how she had grown into an amazing muslimah and made her time here count, the more urgency i feel to use my time well….and smile, like Baraka. May Allah swt give her the best station in jannah.ameen.

  44. Mohammad Khan

    Dear Baraka Api,

    This message is long overdue but I know you don’t mind. I’ve been putting if off because it’s hard to find words that even come near to doing you justice. I would often jokingly call you a perfectionist but the truth is you admirably strove for perfection in so many aspects of life and were close to perfect in so many ways. There were times during your two year and nine month battle with that horrible disease that I would feel very sad about the whole situation but when I would see how happy and positive you were, I had to ask myself how I could be feeling like that. At other times, I would forget you were ill altogether because you were so upbeat, active and busy! You handled so many challenging events with such elegance and grace Masha ‘Allah, I don’t know how you managed it.

    You showed remarkable bravery to fight until the very end and equally remarkable wisdom to accept that the outcome is ultimately never in our hands. Despite all the hardship you went through, you had something that very few people really have; peace. There were moments were I felt it when I spent time with you and when I hugged you.

    As for memories with you; there are too many to choose from. From my childhood in Dubai, a few include: ice skating, eating those Chocolate Sundae ice creams, patiently tutoring me and Abdullah, attempting to make a bookmark business and, of course, that time when you had to hide the Gameboy in your room and leave your laptop camera on to make sure we didn’t go searching for it (desperate times call for desperate measure eh – we really were playing it too much). I must now admit you were the smartest in the family; you helped me with academics right from primary school (with countless pieces of homework and projects) and I’m pretty sure I would have failed a few of my GCSEs without your help (especially French). Despite my consistently last minute requests you were always willing to help and you kept helping even after your diagnosis (you thankfully cut out a lot of nonsense in quite a few of my cover letters). I remember the motivational pep talks when I was feeling nervous before exams and when I was feeling lazy. For all that help, you never asked anything back and I remember how you were never disappointed when I couldn’t help you with something (for whatever inadequate reason). I remember your warm smile, your comforting embrace, your calming voice, your profound poetry, your affectionate teasing, your lovely laughter, our pleasant conversations at the dining table and our deeper ones during some of the evenings. Even though you are no longer with us, I can still learn so much from you from how you lived and what an incredible person you were.

    Baraka Api, you were the most kind, gentle and understanding person I have ever known. I am honoured to be your brother. I miss you so much but I know you are in a far better place now – I hope I see you there.

    I will never forget you. I see you in the stars.
    You live on in my heart- always,
    Love you sis,

  45. North London Collegiate School

    Baraka joined North London Collegiate School in Year 12. She was an extraordinarily able student and used her intellectual gifts to the full. Her kindness and sense of humour won her many friends at School. Baraka was a phenomenal debater and her passion and spirit will be missed greatly by all those who knew her at North London.

  46. Dr.Arif Hussain Khan Aligarh

    Baraka Khan a Sheen ever smile, optimistic, glittering bud suddenly untimely departed us for her heavenly abode,leaving us shocked, desperated in deep sorrow.
    She was an exemplary girl of great willpower and courage. She fought bravely the dreaded rare lung cancer disease but never expressed her unbearable pain to her parents and dear ones instead always expressed herself with cute smile God’s blessing”Alhamdulillah”.During her stress and illness period she never missed her salat and recited Quran regularly (hafiza of 15 siparah of Quran)her qirat was of par excellence. May Allah rest pious soul in peace in Jannatul-Firdaus “Ameen”.
    It is an unbearable and unrepairable lost to us.May Allah give us eternal power and endurance, solace to console. I and my family pay deep condolence from the core of our hearts to grieved family of Iqbal &Huma. Baraka and her sweet memories will always be remembered and will remain in hearts and mind forever.

  47. Dr.Arif Hussain Khan Aligarh

    I and my family pay deep condolence from the core of our hearts to grieved family of Iqbal &Huma. Baraka and her sweet memories will always be remembered and will remain in hearts and mind forever.

  48. Anna

    Baraka and I met in Cambridge through mutual friends. We both got involved in launching a (short-lived yet ambitious) student-run journal of politics. I remember her attending the meetings, always being full of energy, a great sense of humour and good ideas despite the heavy work load she had to deal with. She also sent the most hilarious, poetic emails!

    I was deeply impressed by her commitment to her faith — I remember her mentioning that she got up for morning prayers when it was still dark outside, when I could barely get out of bed no matter what time of the day! Growing up in Austria, I had never been in close contact with a religious, Muslim woman before I met Baraka. She has forever shaped my image of what it means to believe and made me admire her beautiful, devout life.

    For my final year dissertation, I was researching religious parenting and asked her for help with recruiting participants in the Muslim community. She generously offered to distribute my flyers at the community meetings she attended.

    I still remember the last time I saw her: It was around the time of our graduation and I was walking through town in Cambridge together with my parents, when we bumped into Baraka. She spoke German remarkably well and greeted my parents in their native language — which left us deeply impressed of my amazing friend Baraka!

    I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with Baraka. May her family have the strength to cope with this enormous loss. Baraka has touched my life in subtle, yet deep ways and her spirit will live forever in my heart.

  49. Antonio Lourenco

    I met Baraka a few years ago, she was a really nice lady, the best thing i can say about her is smile she always had a big smile on her face no matter how much pain she was in, Baraka’s smile was so catching that you could only smile back.
    R.I.P Baraka you will be missed.

    Head Porter of Abbey Lodge
    Antonio Lourenco

  50. Mel

    I dreamed of you last night, my lovely. You showed me you’d had a beautiful summer-house built, and I told you what I’d been up to since I saw you last. It’s been a month and my brain can’t quite work out that you’re not with us any more – but it’s exactly right that you’ll have used that month, wherever you are, making the best of things and finding the most beautiful view.

    I hope your summer-house is wonderful, and I hope I see you again soon. Because of you, there’s a place in my life where God might be.

  51. Fatima

    Baraka, I’d never been to the funeral of someone I’ve known before. They are surely difficult times, but Baraka, yours was blessed in ways you may scarcely have believed. It’s rare that you meet someone in whom you can see no flaws but despite all the good you see in them, you barely scratch the surface – you just hear more and more of the beauty and strength of their character. Your depth of faith drew others deeper; your light illuminated the paths of others.

    Throughout that day and the days and weeks after, I often had you on my mind. But my mental image of you, from all the the years we had in Cambridge, throughout tough times in London, and on, is you on the evening of your mendhi. I’ve never seen you so radiant, so full of life. I can clearly picture you now, every detail of your wide grin, your flashing eyes, your flowing dress.

    You taught me a lot about life. Seeing the beauty in the ordinary. Recognising our own flaws. The mighty strength of asking for help. I really love you as my friend and sister. Being with you, spending time with you, having hugs with you has been my honour and privilege. As has it been, being welcoming into the loving, warm fold of your family. I pray you have found comfort, much comfort. I pray your family find solace in the wonderful times they had with you and the love you nurtured among so many people and in so many places.

  52. Nina Nikiel

    Your soft and gentle manner will always be remembered….. Rest in Peace x

  53. Somaiya Khan-Piachaud

    I have been struggling to find words to give a fitting tribute to my beautiful sister Baraka, and even now six weeks after her passing, it isn’t any easier. Yet throughout this time of pain and loss, all the support and kind messages we’ve received as a family have helped me find peace. So many who knew her have shared wonderful memories of her, bringing solace at such a time of sadness. Baraka sharing poems, quotes and inspiration; Baraka rowing and coxing for her college at Cambridge University; Baraka riding her bike, shooting hoops, playing badminton; Baraka briskly walking across the green, looking up at the sun and clouds, and the stars in the sky; Baraka offering quiet support with copious cups of tea to friends, sending loving voice notes and epic text messages; Baraka munching crunchy apples with fingers inky from Arabic calligraphy, diligently tracing the letters over and over; Baraka, with a spark in her eyes, planning revision and sticking up post-its; Baraka resorting to eating bananas dipped in cinnamon when her cooking failed! – and Baraka, always but always holding fast to her faith.

    Baraka was exceptionally brave in the face of a bleak prognosis, and I saw in her eyes from that very first moment of being labelled as a cancer patient the clear determination that she wanted to live life to full, right to the last. Her first question to her doctor upon receiving her diagnosis was whether she might go on the Hajj pilgrimage, which sadly she was never able to do. Every sunrise and every sunset became significant, each seen through Baraka’s eyes as a gift from God. She went gracefully about each day with immense gratitude, continuously asking herself whether she was making the best use of her time. Whatever the weather, Baraka tried to go for walks every day whenever she had strength, and did as much as she could for herself, never wanting to trouble others. Baraka gave the best hugs, and never failed to take the chance to tell her loved ones what they meant to her. Her heart beat hard and fast to compensate for the reduced lung function, and when in hospital she would slow her heartrate and increase her saturation levels by looking upon someone she loved and saying “I love you”, or sometimes reading blessings upon the Prophet slowly. She would jokingly call this her party trick, and it was typical of Baraka when told to breathe deeply to find a function for so banal an exercise, just as she used her time doing physio to listen to TED talks.

    Everyone who came into contact with Baraka was touched by her tremendous dignity, courage and unfailing good humour as she battled this disease. Even at the very darkest times Baraka was never once self-pitying. To have cancer at her age was cruel and unfair, but Baraka never saw it that way. She was thankful for all the doctors and nurses who helped her, for the friends and family that stood by her, for what independence she was able to have until the last. Baraka always chose to recognise the good in everyone around her, to see the “khair” in every situation, and to her end she maintained her deep belief that the world is full of causes that are worth fighting for.

    On the day before her passing, Baraka told me again she believed that her time to go was pre-determined by God, and she had made peace with His will. She constantly prayed for a good end, not with any morbid sense but the pragmatic approach that death is something that must come to each of us. Baraka started every treatment (both conventional and holistic) with hope, but she was realistic about her prognosis too. She shared her beautiful vision of heaven with Ebi, and gently encouraged us to see death not as the end, but the transition back to God. Baraka had so many of us that she loved and left behind, but our youngest brother held a very special place in her heart. Of all the poems she wrote, Baraka said the poems for Ebi were the easiest to write. She has gifted us the treasure of her writings and her art, recitations and recordings, and these are beautiful echoes from her life that we are so blessed to have. We will carry the memory of her bright soul with us always, and strive to honour her legacy.

    Baraka was always amongst the best and most brilliant people that I knew, and just as she did so much so quickly in this life, she has gone ahead once again, this time rounding a corner I cannot yet reach. Still I see her in the dawn and the dusk, in every good deed, in every thing of beauty that brings joy and inspiration. I hear her soft low voice in prayer, in song and in poems we loved and shared. I miss her so very much, but I am really grateful for every golden hour I had with her, for every single day for 24 and a half years, for every shining memory. Baraka, like her name, truly was a blessing.

  54. Saba Ahmad

    I still remember my childhood days when me, Somaiya Khan-Piachaud and ayesha used to play together, and baraka in her tiny lacy frock, used to hop around us!! I was deeply touched by her diagnosis and still cannot build faith in her end. fought as a warrior, she shall deeply missed in our hearts. I feel pretty sure, that her end shall be accounted as one of a jihaadi ( means to struggle).May Allah give her the best, in the hereafter…. Ameen.

  55. Sultana

    Habeebat al qalb

    Adversity paves the way …
    Brilliance and intelligence hums away in the background of her presence
    Her very beauty resonated the complexity of rhetoric
    Tranquility in the light of His Grace and His Glory prevails in spite of her calamity

    She is light
    She is blessing
    She is simply remarkable


    They say that your name is part of your rizq (provision) in life and that it is a reflection in someway of you as a person. She is our baraka, our blessing… and I am humbled to be part of her life, memory and legacy.


  56. Iqbal Khan

    A Tribute to My Daughter

    Salam and warm greetings to all from the holy city of Madinah, where the tranquility of the city has both inspired me and greatly helped me find the strength to write the initial words of remembrance for my dearest Baraka – my brave and wise daughter who exhibited grace under pressure, and by God’s grace became an example of patience, gratitude and fortitude.

    I did the Umrah (a lesser Pilgrimage to Makkah in the Prophetic tradition) for and on behalf of Baraka on Friday 1st April 2016. It was the most uplifting, spiritually rewarding and enabling Umrah experience of my life. I felt Baraka’s presence deeply throughout the pilgrimage, during which everything became so easy – the weather turning from sunny and hot, to cool and cloudy. People gave me space and created a passage for me around the Kaaba, something which has never happened to me before.

    I heard Baraka’s voice whispering the prayers which she wanted me to read. There were prayers for each and everyone – for her Mother, her sisters, her brothers specially her little prince Ebrahim, her husband, her many friends and family members, her teachers, her doctors and nursing staff and for the many people across the world who prayed for her. Then there were the heartfelt and aspirational hopes of Baraka… for peace in our our world and for prosperity in her beloved country United Kingdom.

    At the end of the Umrah, it started to rain. Everything came into place, in the right way and at the right time, as a tribute to the memory of a blessed person.

    As I went around the Kaaba, during each of the seven rounds of walking around the Kaaba, called the “Tawaf”, my eyes were filled with tears of joy on feeling Baraka’s presence.

    If overflowing tears could build a stairway,

    and a father’s heartfelt prayers construct a lane,

    As a father I could have gone right up to Heaven,

    to bring our Baraka back home again.

    Though we knew Baraka’s prognosis, we had got used to the regimen of hospitalisation and Baraka fighting her lung cancer with everything she had, coming back home to us to our joy, and to the continuous surprise of her doctors. Sadly however, on 18th Feb 2016 at 11.38 pm, with no farewell words spoken, and with no time to say goodbye, Baraka’s breath became air and she was gone. My heart still aches in sadness for our Baraka.

    Our Baraka was given to us as a gift for 24 years, 5 months and 27 blessed days. Though our children come from us they do not belong to us.

    Secret tears of a father still flow,

    Her lighthouse in my dream continues to glow;

    With time what it meant to lose Baraka continues to grow,

    All this and much more we are only beginning to know.

    But we also know she has gone to her Creator who loved her more than we ever could do. She is, by God’s grace in a better place, where she is in a state of bliss, surrounded by all the kindred spirits she loved and admired.

    I will leave you with the immortal words of the often quoted poet Ellen Brenneman, with words that continuously remind me of Baraka’s life:

    “We can’t know why the lily has so brief a time to bloom in the warmth of sunlight’s kiss upon its face before it folds into its fragrance and bids the world good night to rest its beauty in a gentler place. But we can know that nothing that is loved is ever lost and no one who has touched a heart can really pass away because some beauty lingers on in each memory of which they’ve been a part.”

    – Iqbal Khan
    Madinah, April 2016

  57. Bushra Khalid- aka Funky Khalajaan

    You left me beautiful memories
    Your love is still my guide.
    And although we cannot see you
    You are always at my side 🙂

    Miss you so much Bkay Jaan. With all my love always, your One & Only “Forever 21” Khalajaan

  58. Sheikh Bilal Khan

    Du’as and Prayers for Brother Iqbal’s Beloved Daughter

    Assalamu ‘Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh

    There is none worthy of worship but Allah (S.W.T.) and Muhammad (S.A.W.) is his final messenger!

    We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return (Surah al Baqarah, Al Qur’an, 2/156)

    With the Name of Allah and according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) (Abu Dawud, 3/314).

    Surely, Allah takes what is His, and what He gives is His, and to all things He has appointed a time so have patience and be rewarded (Bukhari, 2/80; Muslim, 2/636).

    O Allah, forgive Baraka and elevate her station among those who are guided. Send her along the path of those who came before, and forgive us and her, O Lord of the worlds. Enlarge for her her grave and shed light upon her in it (Muslim, 2/634).

    O Allah, forgive her and have mercy on her and give her strength and pardon her. Be generous to her and cause her entrance to be wide and wash her with water and snow and hail. Cleanse her of her transgressions as white cloth is cleansed of stains. Give her an abode better than her home… Take her into Paradise and protect her from the punishment of the grave and from the punishment of Hell-fire (Muslim, 2/663).

    O Allah forgive our living and our dead, those who are with us and those who are absent, our young and our old, our menfolk and our womenfolk. O Allah, whomever you give life from among us give them life in Islam, and whomever you take way from us take them away in Faith. O Allah, do not forbid us their reward and do not send us astray after them (Ibn Majah, 1/480; Ahmad, 2/368).

    O Allah, surely Baraka daughter of Iqbal is under Your protection, and in the rope of Your security, so save her from the trial of the grave and from the punishment of the Fire. You fulfill promises and grant rights, so forgive her and have mercy on her. Surely You are Most Forgiving, Most Merciful (Abu Dawud, 3/211; Ibn Majah, 1/251).

    O Allah, Your female slave and the child of Your slave is in need of Your mercy, and You are not in need of her torment. If she was pious then increase her rewards and if she was a transgressor then pardon her (Al Hakim, 1/359).

    O Allah, forgive her. O Allah, strengthen her (Abu Dawud, 3/315; Al Hakim, 1/370).

    May Allah have mercy on the first of us and the last of us (Muslim, 2/671; Ibn Majah, 1/494).

    Bukhari and Muslim reported that when the Prophet (S.A.W.) mourned the death of his son Ibrahim (R.A.), He said, ‘My eyes are tearful. My heart is full of anguish, but we will say only what pleases our Lord. O Ibrahim, your loss filled us with sorrow.’

    Caliph Umar bin Al-Khattab (R.A.) used to say, ‘Everyday we are told that so and so has just died. One day it will be said, ‘Omar has died.’

    Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz (R.A.) used to say, ‘A person who is not separated from Adam by a living father, is indeed deep-rooted in death.’

    The pious predecessor Hasan Al-Basri (R.A.) said, ‘Oh son of Adam, you are nothing but mere days. Whenever a day passes away, a part of you passes away.’ He also said, ‘Allah ordained that the ultimate resting place of believers will be paradise, no less.’

    Malik bin Dinar (student of Hasan Al-Basri) (R.A.) said, ‘The wedding of the one who fears Allah, is the Day of Judgment.’

    A poet once said:
    Offering condolences, we trust not living long
    The manners of this religion we follow along
    The consoled and the consoling may live today
    Tomorrow though, they‘ll vanish away.
    A suitable poem in this regard:
    We die and live every night and day
    One day we will die and move away

    I end with the words of the great commentator of Hadith, Imam Al-Nawawi (R.A.) (Kitab al-Athkar), ‘May Allah magnify your reward, make better your solace and forgive your deceased’.

    May Allah (S.W.T.) grant Baraka all the success that the Prophet (S.A.W.) prayed for through the various stages of the Hereafter and may He protect Baraka from all the trials and torments that the Prophet (S.A.W.) sought protection and refuge from through the various stages of the Hereafter. Aameen

    Brother Iqbal, may Allah re-unite you and your family with Baraka in Jannah al Firdaus and may He grant you all Sabr Jameel. Aameen

    Your brother

    Bilal Ahmed Khan, London (UK)
    18 Rajab 1437 AH
    Monday 25 April 2016

  59. Abdullah Khan

    Dear family and friends of Baraka Appi (“Appi” is a respectful urdu term for older sisters),

    Please do not feel sad about Baraka Appi’s death – she’s in a better place now inshaAllah (if God wills). She fought until the very end, my brother Mohammad told me how she chose to take the 4 chemos in the week before her death, that was her last stand. I aspire to have bravery like hers, courage in the face of death. She had a righteous life, she died as a righteous believer. Her cancer was a very hard test at such a young age. Surely her suffering was a purification inshaAllah, surely her suffering purified her of the few sins that even the best of the righteous believers have, surely she passed the test inshaAllah.

    And Paradise awaits those who pass the test! Please do not feel sad about Baraka Appi’s death – surely she’s in a better place now inshaAllah. Her soul has already been to Paradise and returned to her grave inshaAllah. She is in the company of her good deeds inshaAllah, literally. She is looking at Paradise through a window inshaAllah. Then in the Hereafter, by the Mercy of Allah the Most Merciful, she will be rewarded with Paradise inshaAllah – the eternal blissful peaceful reward of Paradise – and surely there is no better reward! So please, do not feel sad about Baraka Appi’s death.

    The devil wants the good people to feel sad so that they lose hope in God. Dear family and friends of Baraka Appi, you are good people, mashAllah. So please, don’t feel sad.

    Baraka Appi will always have a place in my heart, she was a good sister. I aspire to have courage and intellect like Baraka Appi had.

    Salam (Peace),


  60. Yaqub Yousuf

    In the name of Allah the most merciful the most kind.

    Baraka on Sunday I ran the London marathon in your honour.
    I have been fortunate enough in my lifetime to have met some incredible people but you stood out from the masses and I am truly blessed to have known you.
    I remember that every time we met you would be a complete ray of sunshine regardless of where we were or what the situation was. I especially remember our Dubai dinner in the Palace hotel nearly a decade ago now, where despite the varied topics of conversation there was not one moment where your intelligence, wit and charm did not resonate through.
    I remember when you were first diagnosed with the news and I remember the manner in which you told me. I was trying to hold back the tears, but you said it with such a smile on your face as if it was just a simple fact of life. I was truly blown away with the unbelievable courage and dignity that you showed and continue to show throughout.
    I remember when I was with your father near Regents Park and you had only just come out of hospital. You walked all the way over to the resturant, oxygen cylinder in hand, to join us for a lovely meal as nothing in the world was going to stop you from joining your father and I.
    I remember getting together the team to help you set up your Legacy and I promise you Inshallah it will be created as you rightly wished it to be, and we will introduce this Legacy to the world to ensure that all of the wonderful things you stood for live on. I’ve kept every one of your messages and they will be honoured as you so rightfully requested.
    Using my brand language, I can see the thread that runs throughout these messages, how your remembered and all these tributes to you. What defined you was your intelligence, your humility, your integrity and, of course, that radiant smile. Your smile and the smile of my late father ( Allah yar hum kum ) were your visible trademarks !
    I know you told me you would be at the finishing line but as you said, you were running your own marathon in life. I must say that training for this marathon wasn’t hard with the support of your prayers and memory – you said may Allah make your training easy and thanks to you I have now completed it in your manner, I smiled all the way Alhamdulillah ! I did shed a few tears when I finished and you weren’t there and then I remembered you would have smiled and I smiled as much as I can.
    Baraka I finish with one pledge to you. I pledge to run the next three London marathons in your honour, as long as God gives me the strength, and raise more money for all of the amazing causes that you were involved in. I know this would have brought a smile to your face as it did the first time I told you.

    Surely, Allah takes what is His, and what He gives is His, and to all things He has appointed a time so have patience and be rewarded (Bukhari, 2/80; Muslim, 2/636).

  61. Majid Dawood

    I had not the privilege to be blessed to meet Baraka in person but felt I knew her from the conversations over the years of her illness with her father, Iqbal Khan, who is a dear friend. Baraka was bright and had an engaging personality that touched the lives of those who came in contact with her and will be missed by all of them and more. One can pray that Allah Almighty will provide a special place for her and that the memories of the wonderful times her friends and family got to share with her will resonate forever.

  62. cliff Findllay

    I was lucky enough to meet Baraka on a life goals session I was asked to run by teens unite. She was awe inspiring. She was obviously ill throughout the day and was constantly being sick into a bag however not once did her demeanour and manner change. She was so powerful, gentle, careful not to draw attention, graceful and serene with her behaviour. It was one of my lasting memories from the day and one I have mentioned many times to others as a source of inspiration. I know it can mean little to the parents and family of Baraka with her passing but she was one of the most wonderful people I have had the luck to be in the presence of and I hope you are immensely proud of the child you brought and raised on this planet. Her memory will live with me forever along with her strength helping me to push on when times in my life trouble me. Thanks Baraka.

  63. Barbara A. Viaud

    Sincere Condolences for the loss of your loved one.

  64. N M

    There are a lot of Baraka memories I treasure and could share here. Today I particularly want to share one.
    I am struggling to finish my PhD. Studying is scary, I already have an extension and worry I am going to waste it. But no, I sit down with some fresh coffee and a blank piece of paper, staring at the crazy wind outside. I close my eyes. I plan what I have to do and it becomes more and more daunting. Then an image pops in.

    What would Baraka do?

    I haven’t thought of Baraka in months. But now I remember, clear as day. We are both barely 20, I come into Baraka’s college room. It’s a sanctuary of courage and hard work. Inspiration on every corner. Beautiful quotes on every wall. It’s early morning we’ve come back from rowing, but I can tell she has already been studying today (or late last night). But there is none of the classic moan or anxious sigh we all had in our early undergraduate years. There is a massive jubilant smile on the face of this amazing modest young woman. And suddenly it becomes apparent too me. She is going to change the world one day. She has this quite virtue of saints I have only read about.

    I open my eyes with the sudden realization of two things. I can do this. And my wet cheeks make me realize with a pang of surprise how much I miss her.

  65. Trisha Jeyabalasingham

    I met Baraka when we were in sixth form. She was brilliant and warm and humble. She was liked and respected by teachers and peers alike. I liked her especially for the way that she treated each person equally and would greet everyone with that amazing big smile. We all knew that she was destined for greatness even at such a young age.

    I don’t think I realised just how strong and brave Baraka was until after her diagnosis. She told me about it on the phone but soon after we decided to meet for dinner. I was scared to see her; worried that I wouldn’t know what to say and terrified about what the future held for her. She greeted me with a big smile and hug. Despite her whole world having changed she was calm, full of faith and also acceptance. It was so remarkable given how recently she had been diagnosed. We decided to go to a restaurant nearby which we could get to by bus. I saw the bus starting to pull in to the stop ahead further down the road. I looked at Baraka and she smiled mischievously at me. We ran for the bus and caught it. I remember thinking how incredible it was that Baraka was able to sprint like that, knowing that her lung cancer was already advanced and that most people would be limited in what they were able to do by that point. It made me feel better and I thought that if she was still so strong maybe everything would be okay. We laughed breathlessly on the bus and Baraka asked me not to tell Somi that she had run for it. (Sorry Bkay!)

    I can think of countless instances of bravery and strength that Baraka showed in the two and a half years after that, both physical and mental. The following Spring we rode bicycles around her neighbourhood on a beautiful bright day, she kept going all the way up the hill near her house. Later that year she fought through a long spell in hospital, one which the doctors said she may not recover from. Packing up her belongings when she was discharged and leaving that hospital room is one of my happiest memories. I am still so proud of the way that she got through that and went on to spend almost a year and a half out of hospital, strong and living life with more serenity, gratitude and faith than I had ever seen her before.
    I feel so lucky to have been her friend and she taught me so much. She was the best of us all.

  66. Modasser Siddique

    Baraka is truly incredible. Her grace and elegance in all situations was unfaltering, her humour shining always, her deep devotion to her Lord and her love for His Beloved (peace be upon him) ever-increasing.

    Her kindness and care for all around her was really quite remarkable. She was very thoughtful and would give full attention to whoever she was speaking with, remembering every detail. Sometimes in our pain we forget others are hurting too, but not Baraka. Even going through all that she was, she would forget no-one and would always be concerned for those around her.

    The discomfort she was in whilst in hospital did not change that at all. Even with the load she was carrying when she knew Ebrahim had come to see her she would sit up, and with the biggest smile she would greet him like there was nothing wrong and his arrival was the only thing in the world that mattered.

    Baraka had a calm and peace around her. She would often stop to savour the moment; whether it be whilst speaking about an ayah in the Quran or hadith, talking about a poem or in conversation, or even out walking be it in a park or elsewhere. She would find the beauty in everything around her and take the time to appreciate it fully.

    Allah gave us time with Baraka and has now chosen to take His amanah back. We wait for the day we will be gathered together once more, in His presence with His Beloved (peace be upon him), until then we will remain connected through the ruh.

    Baraka is truly a blessing from Him to all who were honoured to have known and been touched by her. I am extremely grateful and proud to have had her as my wife and my friend.

  67. Shadia Siddiqui

    Mother Teresa once said, “Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless”. This is how I will remember my dearest Baraka, forever kind with the nicest things to say.

    I remember when Baraka was a baby/ toddler. she had the most beautiful and inviting chubbiest cheeks in the world. I used to pull and kiss those cheeks for long periods at any one time and Baraka used to sit there and let me get on with it even though i’m sure it was annoying her! That was Baraka, kind and patient a trait that stayed with her throughout her life. I could not attend her wedding which i so wanted to attend, Baraka knew this and sent me messages and pictures so I would not feel left out. That was Baraka, forever thoughtful towards others. When Baraka was first diagnosed with her illness, my sister and I flew to London to see Baraka. We spent the day laughing so much, Baraka told me to stop as her cheeks were hurting from the laughter. When we were leaving, Baraka gifted us with a bracelet as a token of her love. That was Baraka, wholeheartedly generous.

    Baraka has changed my life in more ways than she will ever know. Whenever I am feeling down, I think of how Baraka smiled throughout her illness and treatment. Whenever I feel things are not going my way, I think of how Baraka accepted and never questioned Allah’s will for her. Whenever I feel I am losing hope and strength, I think of how determined Baraka was.

    Baraka was and will always be a true inspiration. Two nights ago, I was talking to a friend and telling her about Baraka. With tears in her eyes she said she wished she could have known her. I was one of the lucky ones to have had the privilege of calling Baraka my family.

    I love you Baraka, always.

    lots of love Shadia Appi

  68. Davina

    Although I have visited this site a number of times since Baraka’s death, I never quite knew what to write. Baraka was taken suddenly, and so soon after many of us shared her joy on her wedding day.

    I was in the year above Baraka at university, and because of this we did not see each other frequently while we were both there. When people graduate from university and are ejected into the wider world, it becomes easy to lose touch. However, I wanted to make a concerted effort to make sure Baraka and me maintained a connection – as you do with those who are special even though you may not see them often.

    Shortly after Baraka graduated, we had a proper ‘date’ at the National Portrait Gallery. I remember it was her suggestion to go there – I would have opted for something prosaic like a cafe. It is perhaps why I remember it so well. I remember how we caught up on life, interjected with remarks at the sometimes bizarre offerings at the gallery. It was the perfect sort of afternoon. Neither of us had been tainted by the reality of a full-time job at that time, so our conversation about the future was idealistic, full of apprehension and hope. She told me of her plans to learn Arabic and to work abroad for a while.

    Baraka was diagnosed with the cancer not too long after this meeting. Although she was unable to carry the plans mentioned, what she learnt of life, and what she gave to life, was far greater than perhaps most of us could ever achieve in our lifetimes. A dehabilitating illness can bring out one’s demons, but not for Baraka, who, though not without her insecurities, morphed into the best version of herself. Her faith was acutely deeper and stronger as time went on, and her spirit kind and generous. Even at her illest, I would receive emails and messages dictated by her devoted sister which were full of positivity and gratefulness.

    Our last communication was shortly before Baraka’s passing – a text message of a light-hearted poem about a porcupine which she found humorous. I cannot think of a better testimony to Baraka’s graciousness in face of adversity, and the strength of her soul which never waned.

  69. Alexandria Morgan

    I first met Baraka at South Hampstead. I think we only had science classes together, but would often sit next to each other and usually talk about books. When we’d finished the work for the class, we’d read, or talk about books, which the teacher must have allowed because we were so well behaved otherwise. I remember one conversation where she was frustrated by Homer’s need to describe every sunrise and sunset in The Iliad. A few years later, a mutual friend bumped into her at Cambridge and put us back in touch, a quirk of fate for which I am very, very grateful.
    I cherish all the time we spent together, whether it was in Norwood with her family and friends, in Regents Park, the flat opposite, or at UCH. Baraka was filled with kindness, intelligence, endless curiosity about the world, empathy and understanding, as well as humour and warmth
    I don’t think I’ll ever meet anyone with as many friends as Baraka–friends in the strongest sense of the word, people she knew well and shared a bond with that was strong and mutually enriching. This has come across so powerfully, at birthdays, at her mehndi and the wedding itself, so many times.
    We often talked about books and about writing. I feel very lucky that she let me read her poetry, which was so intensely Baraka but also equally universal in beautiful, clear and concise language.
    One of the last conversations Baraka and I had was over whatsapp. She was telling me about her trip to Bath, and sent me a Neil Gaiman quotation about wishes for the New Year:

    ‘May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art…And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.’

    I had seen this quotation online before but somehow, from Baraka, it meant so much more.

    I have another quotation to share, which I read just the other week, in Hayden Herrera’s biography of Frida Kahlo. The biographer quotes a friend saying of Kahlo, in the aftermath of her accident, and what the friend said reminded me so powerfully of Baraka that I want to share it:

    ‘She gave her heart. She had an incredible richness, and though one went to see her to console her, one came away consoled.’

    And that more perfectly encapsulates how I feel about Baraka then anything else.

  70. Ayesha Sayed

    I taught Baraka, Mohammed and Abdullah Quran when they were younger. I remember Baraka as a bright, loving and very intelligent human who was extremely passionate about her studies, she knew she would make a difference in the world and I guess she did in her own beautiful way.
    I found out about Baraka’s diagnosis whilst I was searching for all the kids I taught on Google and it really broke my heart.. I truly believe she is in a better place.
    Tonight might be Laylat Al Qadr and I dedicate my Khatm Al Quran to Baraka’s soul, may she be celebrating her first Ramadan in Jannah.

  71. Tazeen Richardson

    I remember when Baraka was born, she exuded a sense of optimism even then and a light started shining. From then on, whenever I met her she continued to shine.
    I wish I’d spent more time with her, she was always asking about others and being interested in others wellbeing.
    My dear dear Baraka, God wanted you with him and you are truly in a better place.
    I pray for you and all your family, always.

  72. Priya

    Dearest Baraka,

    When we were young you told me that when God created us we must have been cut from the same cloth, and so we were always destined to be friends and sisters. That idea meant so much to me, and I felt really honored that you felt that way about me.

    Throughout your diagnosis what I admired most was your lack of self pity. Very early on you accepted the cards that you were dealt and were always able to find the positive in the situation. Most, including myself, would have found it very difficult to find any positive at all, but you always did. You continued to remind those around you that ‘‘there’s lots to be grateful for’’. This philosophy is something I am really trying to apply whenever I’m faced with adversity and I am so thankful you taught me this invaluable lesson.

    I am grateful that you aren’t suffering anymore and you are in a much better place, where you can run, cycle and row again! The last few years were a real test for you and I hope you are now being rewarded with all that you loved.

    I miss you dreadfully and think of you all the time. Whenever I want to talk to you, at first deep sadness overcomes me, but then in my head, I can hear what your response would likely be. I am so grateful that I had the honor of knowing you so well and you are still always with me, guiding and helping me through life.

    We have lot of beautiful memories together, which I will treasure forever, from sleepovers in Northwood when we were 7 years old to sleepovers with you in hospital in your last days.

    You were so special to me that I just can’t put it in words. Nothing I write will ever do you justice.

    I love you so much Bkay, you will always be my best friend, and I can’t wait to see you again.


  73. Amee Mehta

    Dear Baraka, though our time spent together was very brief, I felt like we just connected at our very first meeting and I so enjoyed our chats, your lovely smile & requests for your favourite idlis.
    Your calm and courageous soul was like a beacon for our whole family. My most precious memory is of your presence during our Diwali open house; the lovely smile in your twinkling eyes lit up our home and brought immense happiness in our hearts.
    The faith and spiritual strength possessed by you and your parents has been an immense source of inspiration for Sanjiv and me and we hope to honour and remember your presence in our lives with the same enduring spirituality in face of any adversity.

  74. Ahmed

    No words to express…Only “dua” to Almighty..O Allah shower Your mercy on my sister and peace on the family..

  75. Becky Palmer

    Baraka was, and I believe always will be, the bravest and most faithful person I know. She fought so hard and always saw the positives in each situation and thought how to make things better. Baraka had amazing passion for life, deep appreciation for everyone and everything around her, and so much love and desire for peace and happiness for her dear family, friends and society. Baraka always greeted me with abounding warmth and her beautiful beaming smile. She was so easy to talk to, so open, understanding, non-judgemental and with wise advice and views on life. Baraka is sorely missed every day.


    Dear Baraka

    Many add on years to their lives,
    A lucky few add life to their years,

    But you are one of the rare souls who added life in the lives of so many souls.

    I shall always remember your smile.

    Wherever you are now, may peace be with you.

  77. Maryam Achoukhi

    When I think of Baraka, my mind does not brim with memories or noise. The places visited, the meals shared and the trials faced are recallable, but are not at the forefront. Instead, I sense the presence of Baraka. This brings with it a sense of stillness, a quiet calm, and a trusting submission to something more powerful.

    Beyond personality, if penetratable, we discover a person’s character and there we find unspoken truths and we may build unbreakable connections. We testified to this truth in the hours we witnessed and the silences we shared. These days, whenever I am blessed to think of Baraka, He bears witness to the silences we still share. May Allah grant Baraka the highest station, and shower her and her family with His mercy.

  78. Nancy

    I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Baraka’s family… She will forever be loved and missed. This site is an amazing tribute to the beutiful person she was! I have enjoyed learning and seeing so much more about the person I became friends with some 3-4 yrs ago on a 9 day trip to China with ISLP. We walked the Great Wall of China, saw the Terra Cotta Warriors, spoke to Chinese college students, and the Ministry of Defense. Through it all I remember Baraka’s smile, humor, quick whit and willingness to share her views of the world but more her willingness to listen to others! In a world so full of voices clanging for attention, the calm peace Baraka brought to every situation will be missed… May peace be with you all always.

  79. Chrystalla

    My dearest Baraka…since I found out about your post-Cambridge experience, your smiling face is on mind. It was an honour to have met you, and you’ve been one of the most whole-hearted, generous and positive people I have met. Always grateful for all that was offered to us every single day, and always willing to listen to others and pass on some of your positive spirit. I have not been able to be next to you after our Cambridge years, but I believe you’re looking from above and smiling for all the good memories we all have of you, and certainly for the legacy you’ve left growing. We will be remembering you by being grateful for every single day that passes and by getting inspired by you.

  80. Devon Curtis

    I feel so privileged to have known and taught Baraka at Emmanuel College. From the moment I met her at her admissions interview, I was struck by her enthusiasm, determination and spirit. Her other lecturers also often commented on how much they enjoyed teaching Baraka. She was always engaged and curious about the world, and she also had a sense of humour, a love of life, and an appreciation of beauty and peace. She was a brilliant student and a voracious reader. Our supervisions would often run over time because we would be having such spirited discussions about issues ranging from environmentalism and the limits to economic growth, Middle Eastern politics, the construction of identity, the origins of the modern state. She was such a positive force in the world, and she touched the lives of everyone she met at Emmanuel and in Cambridge. She will be sorely missed, and very fondly remembered.

  81. Carmel

    My heart breaks for the beautiful family who must now find a way to live without their Blessed Baraka and reading their tributes gives such a poignant insight into the joyful girl that matured into the complete woman who graced this world for far too short a time. May I simply add that I had the utmost honour in meeting a young girl who had the biggest smile and whose shining soul will touch me forever. Deepest love and sympathy to all the Khan Family. Rest in peace Baraka.

  82. Glen Rangwala

    Baraka’s wit and wisdom made her a wonderful student to teach at university. She always had a wry observation to make about Cambridge, something she’d read, or just generally about life, to start off a conversation — she was someone one could talk to for hours, jumping from one topic to another, without ever losing interest, She was full of engaging ideas, of such wonderful potential, and just a lovely person to know.

  83. Aamir and Hina

    Baraka, your exemplary life taught us embodied timeless lessons.

    One is that the measure of a life is not the number of its years, but rather its virtue and its moral impact. Your moral legacy is evident in the relationships, projects, and worlds you have gifted us to move forward.

    Another is that teachers learn from their students, and parents learn from their children. Throughout your life, including the past two years, you have set an example from which we will continue to learn, and which deeply inspires us. Thank you for all you have given us.

    We pray that your family and loved ones meet you in Paradise with a radiant face and your signature BK smile.

    Much dua,
    Aamir and Hina

  84. Safdar Ahmad Wani

    Unbelievably amazing sister! I have no words to describe such a sister. She has set the standard high for other women around the world and left for us a treasure of lessons to learn from. She left us so soon. We miss her exactly from the day she left us. May Allah have mercy on her. May The Supreme Allah grant her Jannat ul Firdous. Aameen

  85. Khadija

    I knew BK for only six months! What a blessed gift.

    Our first proper day spent together started with a doctors appointment. All the usual awkwardness of getting to know someone new quickly made way for almost non-stop laughter, story telling and intimacy. And that was just the end of day one! I understood very quickly that I had stumbled into the presence of someone blessed. Peace defined her and filled the atmosphere around her. I felt like she had companions greater than us mere mortals and I was privileged to gain admittance. I once asked her in a jokey-but-serious way, ‘how do you spend your days B?’ She was like a mythical creature who eluded yet filled my imagination! Her answers confirmed my beliefs.

    One way or another she was always on my mind and continues to be. I recently came back from a trip and still bought a gift for her! I didn’t quite realise how much she meant until she went away. I miss her very much.

  86. Rizwan&Erum

    Baraka, the brave and brilliant girl with her radiant smile won our hearts and made her place which will stay with us forever.

    Beaming with joy and energy she had an
    infectious smile and we fondly remember our interactions with her….Whether it was guiding and advising Rida, complimenting Erum’s cooking or taking advice from Rizwan, she was always so alive and humble. The disease weakened her body but could not hurt her spirit, her smile or her courage. She is in our hearts and minds and we know that she is fine, at home with God in a life that never ends. We will meet again soon InshaAllah , for we all are from God and to him we are returning.

  87. Nishat, Ata , Mona and Mohammad Khan

    Baraka was a noble and pious girl. Although we last saw her as a child in mid 1990s, we used to hear a lot about her from her grandmother who is a family friend . May Allah grant her the highest place in Jannah in the life hereafter. Ameen

  88. Shaista Khan

    A Mother’s tribute:

    My youngest daughter, Baraka, returned to her eternal home after a valiant three-and-a-half year battle with Stage 4 lung cancer. The twenty-four years that she was with us seems far too short. It has taken me nine months to get the courage to write about my daughter, though I think of her every living moment.

    It’s very difficult to sum up Baraka’s life in a few paragraphs for she was, like the meaning of her name, truly a blessing – from the moment I was expecting her until she left this world.

    Baraka’s name was chosen even before she was born. It was in the seventh month of pregnancy that Allah put a book in my hand that had the story of lady Baraka (the blessed Prophet called her a lady of Paradise). By this stage in my life I already had two daughters and our mothers on both sides were hoping for me to have a boy. But I decided after reading the beautiful story of lady Baraka that I would pray for this child to be a girl and I would call her Baraka.

    “Die once and live twice” was Baraka’s motto; she believed in it and lived it with all her heart. Baraka lived a good life and had a deep impact on every person she met. Her life was based around sincerity and purpose. She had a good parting and left an enduring legacy which continues in the hearts of all those who got to know her.

    Baraka taught us how to live through her good times and also through her testing times. She beautifully portrayed how to part gracefully from this temporal life. She was blessed with so many wonderful qualities. Some we saw from her early life and some we discovered during her later life while she was suffering from her illness.

    From her youth, she was always humble and level headed. Baraka believed that there was no shortcut to success. With a twinkle in her eye she used to say “I have an average brain; I just have to work harder”. She never took any credit for her success and would remind us that wisdom could not be measured in test results! As she progressed through various schools, I was always happy to see that her teachers were very pleased with the quality of her work in each of her subjects. Baraka would often ask me to enquire: “why didn’t I get full marks, what could I do better?” The teachers would respond with a smile that they withheld full marks so as not to make her big-headed! Aside from her meticulous academic work ethics, Baraka was wise, witty and compassionate beyond her age.

    When her twin brothers were awaiting their GCSE exam results in Ramadan, she bought them a cake to eat and celebrate before the start of the fast. I said: ” should we not wait until the results?” And she replied: “they should know that we love them no matter what their exam results will be tomorrow”. That was a great consolation to her twin brothers and a lesson for all of us.

    If my patience was running low with her siblings she would remind me of the story of Jacob (peace be upon him); how he waited so many years patiently for his sons to realize their mistakes and repent. She would say “wisdom comes to everyone at different stages, so give them time Mama.”

    Baraka had a very active and healthy life till her diagnosis. She loved sports and was a good all-rounder at all of them. She was a rower at her college in Cambridge and loved cycling, swimming, tennis, basketball, skating and other sports. When she was diagnosed after four months of tests with the worst possible news anyone can get at the prime of their life, it was the bitterest blow to her entire family and friends. Baraka accepted the news of her cancer with tremendous faith, grace and courage. From the moment of her prognosis she thanked Almighty God for His many blessings and started to learn everything about her terminal condition. She knew after some research that there were very few treatment choices in the medical world. So she sought divine guidance through her prayers before resorting to chemo. She sought the goodness in a very difficult situation and never complained.

    She had a very caring soul and got on with people of all ages, making them all feel very special; a quality not many of her age possess these days. She believed in the jurisprudence of priorities and made time for friends and family. She loved reading and learning and was proficient in several languages – Arabic, French and German, with English being her first language.

    Baraka was blessed with strong faith and many good friends from all backgrounds. Her easy going and happy personality was due to the fact that she was never judgmental towards anyone. Everyone who knew her respected her and loved her very much. Baraka was blessed beyond measure throughout her life. At every stage of her life she had the best teachers, friends, and mentors. Two such mentors were Sheikh Faid Mohammad Said, her Quran teacher, and Ustadh Mustapha, her Arabic calligraphy tutor. Even in her short marriage she was blessed to have the best husband and friend in Modasser. May Allah bless Modasser and elevate his rank for the joy he brought in her life. It was as if she had known him forever.

    Although the last three and half years after her diagnosis had altered her life drastically, she continued to love life and enjoyed it fully to the end. She bore her illness with grace and faith; living her life with a pure and forgiving heart. Her faith and strength gave her peace and tranquility till her last breath. She taught us not to worry about her pain and suffering. She had everything under control by God’s grace and through the prayers of the multitude of her friends, our friends and our families.

    Amongst her many great gifts which she left for us to cherish forever were her beautiful recitations of several chapters of the Quran, her amazing poems, and above all her unflinching faith in Allah that He is the best disposer of all our affairs. She would say: “for a believer it’s a win-win situation, no matter how long our duration is in this world.”

    Baraka executed her will discreetly, not showing that she was always prepared for the return journey! She lived with peace and trusted that, whatever the outcome was, it would be for the best. She was always grateful for the extra time that Allah bestowed upon her despite her aggressive chemo treatment. She was courageous and very grateful in every state. Baraka left this world very gently and peacefully with my husband and I both praying for her by her side, by Allah’s mercy, and being witnesses to an inspiring life lived with purpose and dignity.

    She achieved this state of tranquility right up to her last breath by Allah’s mercy and through the love, prayers and support of all her good friends, our families and our friends across the globe and at home. May Almighty God bless each and every one of you for your love and prayers and untiring support at our deepest moment of need. May Allah in His mercy forgive Baraka and elevate her rank to be amongst those who are in the highest level of Paradise. Ameen.

    She used to lovingly call me “Mammy amie” (Mummy my friend). I miss my daughter and my friend beyond words. Every day I live with the belief that she is in a better place and I am grateful to have been blessed with my Baraka.

    She was truly a star that never diminishes,
    glowing right until the end,
    With my heartfelt best wishes to you all for your support and prayers,
    Shaista (Baraka’s Mammy amie)

  89. Nicholas Piachaud

    Do you remember when you’d get a card or a note from Baraka?

    If you’re smiling right now, you’re probably remembering a time you dashed off a quick note or text to Baraka and got back a couple sides of solid text in return.

    Baraka believed in the long read. You corresponded with Baraka.

    Baraka always founds the right words. Her words were her own. They were never banal or boring, nor did she choose them cheaply.

    Her words were extraordinary. And they were true.

    Most of us don’t write anymore – we let our phones do it for us; it’s easy for a phone to predict what word comes next when every text we send is almost the same. But Baraka wrote. The Baraka I knew liked best to write in her own hand, with her own pen, in good ink, in that faultless copperplate.

    Poetry and to-do lists. Always more to do. Quotations that were important to her. Arabic and English calligraphy. Handwritten missives on postit notes. “Wonky calligraphy”, she called it in one of her notes to Somaiya. She must have spent hundreds of hours on that immaculate handwriting.

    I think Baraka liked it when she could reach out and touch the words. When she typed, she preferred the buttons of an old Blackberry to modern smartphone glass.

    Seeing her handwriting again is wonderful, and it’s a punch to the gut and it’s both of those things.

    Baraka read. She read everything she could get her hands on, and she wondered about what it meant. Baraka listened. She listened to everyone and she asked questions that would turn you on your head and then she made up her own mind and once her mind was made up, that was it.

    I miss those questions so much. More than anyone I’ve ever met, she came to every subject without ego or pretension. She wanted to understand and because she never took anything or anyone for granted she made us want to understand too.

    When Baraka got sick, she never looked for easy answers. It would have been so easy for her to have just been a patient. She could have been a passive victim, ministered to by remote professors with their regimes of too-complicated-to-explain pills and chemotherapy. In her place, I think that’s what I probably would have done. That would have been the easy thing to do.

    That was never Baraka. Baraka made it her business to know the name of every pill and what it did, the small print of every treatment plan. She knew every consultant, junior doctor, nurse, every ward cook and cleaner – and because she was genuinely interested in them, they got to know her too. She was a partner in her treatment. She made the big choices.

    She made herself a survivor. Baraka made superhuman her everyday. For so long, it was so easy to forget that she was sick. But when you saw Baraka out for a walk in the park, you were looking at a pearl diver holding their breath a hundred feet under the ocean; a sherpa climbing a Himalayan mountaintop without an oxygen tank; a veteran with their legs shot to pieces on the home stretch of a 26-mile marathon.

    That was Baraka’s everyday. And when you asked how she was, she’d smile and tell you she was fine, by the grace of God. And then she’d ask how you were doing.

    I don’t think Baraka believed in easy words, and I’ve tried to avoid them here. They will never be enough. She loved the big, complicated words that have lives of their own. She eschewed the bargain-basement adjectives, do-nothing verbs and empty superlatives that most of us make our everyday. That wasn’t her.

    The way she wrote was the way she thought about things, the way she cared about people, the way she believed and practised her faith. She was a writer and so too did you have to be to keep up with her.

    When Somaiya and I were married, Baraka gave us an Oxford English Dictionary as a gift and in it this dedication: “…may you find infinitely more meaning in your lives than can be derived from a mere dictionary.” Use it much, she said, think of us often and may all that you do be blessed always.

    Amin, Baraka. With all of our love and prayers that go beyond words and cannot fade away.

  90. Ayesha Khan

    “I’ll love you forever!”. This was one of Baraka’s favourite sentences to me, from a young age. I often wondered why she said this so often and what she meant by “forever”. It is now clear to me that by “forever”, Baraka was referring to the life of the world and the life in the Hereafter and she said this often because she wanted me to remember her. It is impossible to forget my sister Baraka.

    The day that Baraka was born was the happiest and brightest day of my life. It was a beautiful day in the summer holidays when my older sister Somaiya and I went to the hospital to see her for the first time after her birth. I was so excited – I remember skipping in the hospital ward with Somaiya, my older sister, singing: “It’s a girl, it’s a girl, it’s a girl!!! ”. When I saw Baraka and held her for the first time, I felt peace and joy in my heart and I felt she was like balm to my soul.

    Growing up with Baraka, I remember many remarkable characteristics that she had from a very early age. She was like a little soldier – when she was about two years old, she would sometimes hide and we would find her behind a door, asleep standing with her head leaning against the wall!

    She was very intelligent and my mother taught her with the Montessori technique, which sometimes involved separating and counting different beans and seeds into petri dishes. When she and I shared a room, I remember coming back to our room from school one day and there was a strong scent of plants in a green house! I soon discovered that in addition to counting and separating beans and seeds, Baraka had quietly taken the initiative to conduct an experiment! She had lined up the shelf above the bathroom sink with petri dishes full of seeds and beans and added some water! And they had all sprouted and created what looked like a small green jungle in the bathroom! I was amazed that such a small child could nurture so many plants! Latter on in life I was to witness Baraka had the ability to planting seeds of love, friendship and great ideas which will grow into plants of lifelong friendship and movements across the world .
    Baraka and I used to invent and play games together like ‘Catch the train’ and ‘Mother and Baby’, where I would be the baby even though I was older than her and she would be my mother, wearing our mother’s high heeled shoes and pushing me around in her doll’s push chair and patting me on the head!

    Baraka and I learned to ride horses together with Somaiya , under the warm desert sun in Bahrain – even though Baraka was tiny, she would ride a great mare called Maggie. The two shared a great bond and had a mutually loving and trusting partnership. Maggie never once misbehaved with Baraka and Baraka in return was a caring and naturally competent rider.
    Baraka was our family’s quarterback – I will never forget how brave and noble she was, when she was just a small child of three or four years of age, she stood up for me unasked, and took responsibility for an embarrassing accident I had to protect me from being bullied and humiliated by a group of older children. This incident and countless others are forever engraved in my heart.

    When we lived in Bahrain, we would go cycling and swimming together and we would explore the park and compound where we lived. As children, we took part in many activities together, such as ice-skating and large obstacle courses. I remember Baraka as being brave and she used to like accompanying me when I went out for activities. We used to hand feed the camels in the local Nature Reserve (Al Areen Wildlife Park) and I remember that even though Baraka was small, she was not afraid to feed the huge camels with her own small hands.

    We started our first Qur’aan lessons together and attended the same Syrian Quran School – Al Noor Qur’aan Centre. Baraka loved the Quran and would happily practice what she learned when she came home. As a child, she was often found skipping and reciting verses of The Holy Qur’aan with an ear-to-ear smile on her face. As she matured, her love for the Qur’aan deepened and grew and we would often recite together and we would be struck by similarities in the passages we both found to be inspiring and uplifting and moving. Baraka always appreciated a beautiful recitation of The Qur’aan and her own recitation was very beautiful MashaAllah, even after her diagnosis of lung cancer.

    When she was in junior school, she would write me lots of letters, whenever I was unwell, they were to wish me a speedy recovery, many letters simply said “I love you” in them. When I was unwell with flu or any other ailment, she would visit me and ask to help. She would regularly prepare plates full of biscuits and cheese and washed fruit and she would bring them up two flights of stairs to share with my older sister and I.

    In her Junior School days, I would often walk her into school, which she and I both enjoyed and we participated in After School Judo Club which was a lot of fun .
    Baraka and I often worked together to tidy the house and we turned it into a game where we pretended to be decorators!

    Baraka loved to read from an early age and worked hard at school.
    When I went to boarding school, Baraka sent me lots of postcards and letters, with motivating and encouraging words. She was excellent at drawing and she began to excel in calligraphy too. Many times, she sealed her letters in the traditional way with wax and a seal with the letter ‘B’. She lent me her favourite books and we looked forward to our holidays together.
    Baraka helped me to put together many school reports and helped me to write an important French Oral presentation which I did well on thanks to her help.
    Before Baraka chose her GCSE subjects, she asked me for advice on which subjects to choose, which made me feel honoured and appreciated.

    When we lived close to Regent’s Park, it snowed heavily during the holidays when I was visiting from school and together we decided to go for a walk in the park and have fun in the snow. Together we constructed an enormous mound of snow which was as tall as us! Some tourists soon came by and asked if they could take pictures with our construction – I said to Baraka, “we should set up a business and start charging for all these photos!”. She laughed and gently shook her head, which meant that I couldn’t set up my business in the park!

    I asked Baraka to be my rowing partner on the lake in Regent’s Park. I had done some basic rowing during my time in boarding school. Baraka was the best rowing partner, she very quickly learned all the proper techniques and she loved her time on the water. We used to go rowing in all seasons, even in winter, when no one else was taking boats out onto the lake. We found out that it was probably for a good reason! Once, during winter, we were the only ones out on that lake and we were doing well when we rowed past the island. We were just about to head back when a group of coots started to watch our boat. Suddenly, they formed a v-shaped formation and began to chase our boat at a very high speed. I was worried they would board the boat, but Baraka smiled and was very calm. We increased our efforts and managed to outpace the coots and we were very relieved when we made it back to shore!

    When our youngest brother was born, Baraka held him so gently that he would fall asleep easily in her arms. She would often tuck me in at night too, and once, she carefully removed a wasp that she discovered whilst saying good night to me from the wall hanging above my bed.
    Baraka had a great sense of humour! She could find the funny side of many difficult situations and she was able to see the light and positive side of them.

    She often organised celebrations in the family and invited friends over. Her lively presence and beautiful smile made gatherings special and happy occasions. She was a blessed person.
    In the summer before she started her IB, I taught Baraka AS Level Mathematics, which she always appreciated. She was the best student I have ever taught because she worked hard and was organised and effective. She genuinely loved to learn new subjects and she asked great questions and she understood new concepts quickly. It was a real privilege to teach her.
    Baraka was my best friend and was the first to agree to join me on my quest for adventure to explore new places on bike such as in Bahrain, Dubai, Milton Keynes and Northwood. Once while we were in Dubai, we decided to explore a network of lakes by night on bike. I was leading the Baraka and my brothers, but it was so dark and the paths were not all lit, so I almost led them into the lakes a few times. After a few hours and discovering that the network of lakes was much larger than we had originally anticipated we decided to turn back, and Baraka was the only level – headed member of the expedition, which helped immensely in getting us back to our starting point in safety.

    Baraka was a true friend and compassionate companion. Whenever I followed her advice, I benefitted. When we travelled together and I fell ill with food poisoning, she went to supermarkets to buy herbal aniseed, chamomile and mint teas, she also went to pharmacies to buy remedies. She patiently and carefully nursed me back to health on many occasions. Whenever I was very ill, she would sit by my bedside and read Qur’aan for me.

    I was blessed to have the opportunity of performing Umrah (The Lesser Pilgramage) with her in Makkah. On one occasion, we performed the rites very early in the morning and while we were walking between the two Mountains As Safa and Al Marwa, I dozed off and Baraka gently caught me just in time and carefully walked me to a place where I could renew my ablution. She helped me to finish the rites of Umrah and kept a very close eye on me throughout.
    In Medinah Al Munawwarah (The City of The Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon him), we visited the Prophet’s (Peace and Blessings of God be upon him) Mosque together and enjoyed the peace and happiness of The Blessed City.

    Baraka was a great listener and always made time to help me when I faced difficulties. She was always available to help in problem solving and I always felt comfortable in her presence – I could be myself in her company. She was always encouraging me to do good deeds and to keep good habits and to carry on learning and exercising regularly.
    Baraka liked me to sing with her. We liked to sing meaningful and devotional songs together. I always felt at ease to sing in her company.

    We often remembered The Creator together, when we went on walks, admired the constellations in the night sky, appreciated all the colours of the British Skies during sunrises and sunsets and in all seasons and we even spotted double rainbows. Baraka valued the all different qualities and hues of light in the sky, which changed depending on the time of day and the weather. When she saw beauty in nature, she would recite the following verses from the scripture:
    (3:190-191) “There are truly signs in the creation of the heavens and earth, and in the alternation of night and day, for those with understanding, who remember God standing, sitting, and lying down, who reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: “Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose – You are far above that! – so protect us from the torment of the fire.”

    Baraka was kind, caring and humble. If I was too tired, or had to travel, she would often wash my clothes that had piled up for me. She even used to clean my bathroom for me and empty the toilet bin. Everything she did for me, she did with such kindness that I never felt that she had been put out of her way, inconvenienced or overtaxed. She always tried to help me, in any way she could, if she knew I needed something, she would buy it for me. If she saw me struggling, she would lighten my burdens. She was one of the few people who could tell, just by one glance at my face, if there was something troubling me. She could also tell this just by hearing my voice on the phone.
    She was a fabulous chef and made the most delicious dishes. She appreciated good food and always tried to find good recipes to follow. She encouraged us to eat healthily and exercise regularly.

    I feel fortunate to have observed many Ramadhaans with Baraka. She was a deeply spiritual individual and she loved the fasting month, where she took the opportunity to recite the Qur’aan and attend the night prayers.
    Baraka was a very trusting soul, she saw good in all those she met, she believed in good and great causes. She was a brilliant student and a great person, with a genuine, loving heart.
    When Baraka told me about the cancer in 2013, she explained with strength and courage that she would do what she could to get well. She was brave and strong throughout her treatment. She was always thinking of her family and friends and putting them first and she carried out all her affairs to have the least impact on all of us until the very end.
    While she was undergoing treatment, Baraka attended an Arabic Calligraphy Course that she had a natural talent for, developed in part from her interest in calligraphy at an early age. She put a lot of effort into that course and enjoyed every moment of course time and practice time. She produced some stunning work MashaAllah.

    When she decided to marry, she was so considerate that she consulted all her family members, to ask if they wouldn’t mind if she held one event at home.
    She was a beautiful and peaceful soul, with a clean and loving heart. She passed on peacefully in the presence of my parents and having recited the Shahada – the Declaration of Faith. I feel she was the best sister in the world anyone could have and it is a blessing to have known her from the beginning. She left behind her many good deeds and her clear planning, I often feel her presence still, I am reminded of her when in the midst of my day-to-day work, I come across her writing on files she helped me to organise, in the systems she created at home and in the charities she supported, amongst other things.

    As a family, we miss her tremendously. She has passed on to the other side of the veil which we cannot see at the moment, but she is still alive and well in The Kingdom of God.
    We loved her a lot, but God loves her most and He chose to call her back from all that she suffered in this world and We ask Him to keep her in the best company and in the best place always and to unite us with her in the Hereafter in Jannatul Firdaus, Aameen.

  91. Tabassum Awan

    Dear Beautiful Family and Friends of Baraka Khan,

    Today’s memorial was almost like an encounter with Baraka. Hearing from her family and friends about her character, her life, the people she inspired, and the remarkable things she did was so deeply moving for us all. Thank you all for sharing these stories with so much courage and strength. It truly reflects Baraka’s strength, dignity and kindness. I am greatful to have come to know about this incredible lady, for she is the greatest form of inspiration to anyone and everyone. I know I only have a glimpse of how amazing she was, but this glimpse is enough for me to hold on to and remember her in times when I need courage, inspiration and hope. I will always keep her in my dua’s and pray that Allah gives her the highest ranking in Jannat. Ameen.

  92. John Brown

    It was a great honour to be invited to the second Memorial of your beloved daughter, Baraka. Her goodness and kindness shone through at the event on Sunday, and in all the wonderful contributions of family, her school and university friends, and her study supervisor at Cambridge. Sarah Joseph’s thoughtful talk about the impact of grief – and the importance to grieve – was enlightening. Your words, the readings from Qur’an recorded by Baraka and translated by Ayesha directed our thoughts to the Most High. It was a most uplifting experience; in fact the most uplifting memorial event I have ever attended.

    I know The Baraka Khan Foundation will take forward the goodness and kindness Baraka excuded in her short life; the early projects for the Foundation are exciting and will certainly be a continuing legacy of Baraka’s life.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.

    With many thanks,

    Yours sincerely


  93. Jenny Brown

    Baraka shone from the moment I met her in the South Hampstead classroom. She threw herself into the delights of the GCSE English language and literature course with such energy and talent. Every essay from her was a gift. I will not forget her: her grace, her intellect, her mature navigation of the angularity of adolescence. Her questing scholarliness and drive combined with a delicious sense of humour and a great determination to do good in the world. All of this made her delightful company aged 16 and it is so heartwarming to read of how they found expression as she grew up and in her later learning. She had the gift as one of her GCSE poets, Wordsworth put it, for ‘see[ing] into the life of things’. She had a poised Augustan mind and the heart and great imagination akin to some of the Romantic poets she wrote about so very well. I will never forget her – she had great integrity and great talent. She also studied T S Eliot so these final words are also for her, ‘Not farewell, but fare forward voyager’.


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