A Tribute to Dr. Irfan Ahmed Khan

May 4, 2018

PWR Trustee Emeritus Dr. Ahmed Irfan Khan passed away in April, 2018. His life is remembered by the Chicago Sun-Times here. 

Dr. Irfan Ahmad Khan was a supreme scholar and activist who personified the wisdom of the Quran. Dr. Irfan lived and believed that at the heart of the Quran is a call, not only to Muslims, but all of humanity to embrace and embody unity and compassion. He was an activist committed to peace, justice and human unity. Motivated by selfless service, he became an inspiring leader in the global interfaith movement.

Dr. Khan lived his life as a PWR planter of seeds. The work of the PWR has blossomed in no small way due to his service.

In 1987 he began working with Swami Varadananda of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago. This Quran scholar and monk, together– along with many others, brought to life the 1993 Parliament as a celebration of interreligious unity reflected the very first Parliament that took place in Chicago in 1893. Throughout the preparations and celebration of the 1993 Parliament, Irfan was deeply engaged participant, leader and inspiration to so many of us.

For many years he served as a Trustee on the Board of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, serving a term as Vice Chair on the PWR. Recognized as a Trustee Emeritus, his commitment to interfaith dialogue and interreligious community building extended beyond his service to the Board up to the moment he breathed his last breath at the age of 85.

Irfan was a mover and shaker. But his desire to shake things up was always motivated by the deep commitment to bring diverse groups and individuals together as a sign that in the midst of our diversity there is a deep unity rooted in our humanity.

Dr. Irfan Ahmed Khan was the embodiment of Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of the “Beloved Community.”

Never putting himself first, he was forever reaching out to others because he believed in his heart of hearts, there is a place at the table of Allah, for each and every one of
us—for everyone, everywhere!

Rest in peace, dear Brother. The light of your spirit will continue to illuminate our path even though you are no longer with us in the body!

Land Acknowledgment

The Parliament of the World's Religions acknowledges it is situated on the traditional homelands of the Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Hoocąk (Winnebago/Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Missouria), and Baxoje (Iowas); Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee); Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki); Asâkîwaki (Sauk); Myaamiaki (Miami), Waayaahtanwaki (Wea), and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankashaw); Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo); Inoka (Illini Confederacy); Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), and Odawak (Odawa).

PoWR recognizes the region we now call Chicago remains home to a diversity of Indigenous peoples today and this land upon which we walk, live, and play continues to be Indigenous land.

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