Name: Waleed Shaalan
Age: 32 years old
Major/degree: Civil Engineering/Phd
Marital Status: Married, 3 years with one child
Waleed Shaalan, 32 years old, first stepped onto the Virginia Tech campus in August 2006. An international student originally from Zagazig Egypt, with no family members in the United States, Waleed was quickly adopted as an essential member of the Blacksburg Muslim community. Among those mourning his death are his two roommates (Fahad Pasha and Irfan Waseem) to whom Waleed was their loving older brother, cook, academic and spiritual mentor.
Waleed initially began his PhD program in Egypt, but when Virginia Tech offered him an assistance-ship position, he chose to leave his original degree path and continue it in Blacksburg. Following in the footsteps of his father, Waleed was a dedicated and passionate student of Civil Engineering. Though he had a hectic schedule, juggling classes, PhD research and TA responsibilities, he always made time for the people around him. Waleed was known for his broad smile and wave that he gave everyone.
Waleed left behind Amira his wife of 3 years, and Khaled his one-year old son.
As we express our grief and sympathy for the families of all those directly affected by this senseless tragedy, we honor them through memory and reflection; and Waleed will always be smiling in our hearts.
From Virginia Tech MSA:
Salaam, Inna Li Lah Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji3oon. Br. Waleed Shaalan has been confirmed to be amongst the victims of yesterday’s shootings. What is needed right now is a lot of Duaa for his wife and son, and his family. Incha Allah, we will soon update you on what how his body will be handled and his Janazah will take place. JAK Wasalaam ~The MSA~ (source)
Sidi Omar H sat with his roomate, Fahad, and talked about Waleed:
I was just with brother Waleed and brother Fahad, Waleed’s room mate on Sunday. We talked for almost an hour. Waleed was a very funny brother and extremely nice.
Please read many fatihas, and Surat Yassins for him and ask Allah to forgive him his shortcomings. And please tell everyone you know and every imam to include him in the du’a on this jumu’ah PLEASE in your local masjids.
It is at times like this we must remember the qadr of Allah. Imam Nasafi said about our creed and belief in this, “al-qatil maqtul `ala ajlilhi wal ajl wahid” – the killed is killed at his appointed fate and time and his fate is one. Everyone dies at his time. In Islam nobody dies before their time.
We do not express anger or ask “Why” but Allah already told us in the Qur’an that he would test us with the loss of money and loved ones etc. Instead we expect this and we are happy with Allah’s will. As the Prophet (SAWS) said “Do not say what if, for ‘what if’ is the door of Satan.” “What if” is the door to apostasy, disbelief, and depression. Instead we say, as our dearly Beloved Prophet (SAWS) taught us, “Allah willed and his will was done.”
We remember that the greatest calamity that our ummah ever faced was the loss of our dearly Beloved Prophet (SAWS), go back and read that story and reflect on it.
Brother Waleed will be missed but his loss although it is hard on us was Allah’s will and Allah’s will is beautiful in so many ways. As Shaykh Faraz put it to me once, we are drowning in an ocean of Allah’s mercy.
Through this tragedy we reflect on the shortness of life, and as Ibn `Umar said “I do not wake up expecting to live until nightfall.” We reflect that we must repent and hasten to good deeds. We reflect on how needy we are to Allah and how Allah does not need us at all. We are patient and Allah reward us by forgiving our sins and giving us something much greater than what we lost in the afterlife. We are united together as an ummah and we have brotherhood — something that brother Walid found very important. Who knows maybe those last moments of Brother Waleed’s life of pain and anxiety would give him expiation from the pains of the hellfire.
As our dearly Beloved Prophet (SAWS) said, “Strange is the affair of the believer, and it does not happen to anyone except a believer — if good happens to him he thanks Allah and that is good for him, and if bad happens to him he is patient and it is good for him.” Shaykh Nuh when he was explaining this hadith said, “This is why someone who is depressed does not know what is going on in the world.” Allah just through this event has brought so much good about it spiritually. We realize our need and make du’a to him which is the core of worship, we thank Allah it was not worse, we remember our brothers and sisters in Iraq who have it much worse, we are patient, we ask Allah for forgiveness for our sins, etc. What more of a spiritual benefit can we ask for?
It was for this reason that the Imam ibn `Ata Allah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said two great statements which I have reflected on greatly in this situation:
The days of need are the ‘eids of those who seek Allah; and it may be that you benefit more from a calamity than by much praying and fasting.
The amazing thing about this is it shows the difference between the Muslim and the kafir worldview. Fahad and I were discussing this earlier, and so were Ustadh Abdullah and I. While others are asking Allah why, and in confusion, while others are cursing Allah and disbelieving, the Muslim understand that hard times do exist and sees the positive aspects of everything. If this alone was what we knew about Islam it would be enough to provide certainty. For this is the only view of the world which makes sense.
Allah promised us that with hardship comes relief. Al-Hamdulilah. Yet let us remember that this life is also filled with tests. Allah (SWT) told us in Surat al-Balad:
“Verily, We have created man in toil. He thinks he that none can overcome him? He says (boastfully): “I have wasted wealth in abundance!” Thinks he that none sees him?” Read the whole surat and reflect upon it. Subhan’Allah.
“Patience is at the moment of grief” as our Beloved Prophet (SAWS) told us. Let us remain patient now for the hardest times will be gone very soon. Imam Shaf’i said, “Let the days do as they will, and prepare to cure yourself with destiny strikes, and do not stay up at night in worry, for none of the worries of this world are permanent, no sadness remains, nor relief.”
We do not blame anyone and we are not angry at anyone. Allah willed and his will was done. We expect the best from Allah and we understand that every event is what you make of it and everything has good and positive aspects to it.
For this reason and many more, let us be overjoyed and happy for we possess the greatest of Allah’s blessings which is the blessing of guidance and faith. It is this blessing that will insha’Allah be our keys to the garden, and which comforts us in this world. We realize that we love Allah and his Messenger more than anything else because Allah is the one who provided us with this comfort of iman, and his Prophet (SAWS) is the one who taught us this deen. And lastly we realize that we love one another only for the sake of Allah and we unite in love as Muslim brothers. If the only realization this event gave to us was that this blessing is amazing and that we thank Allah for it then it would be enough. Indeed, insha’Allah this will cause us to taste the sweetness of iman. As the Prophet (SAWS) said narrated Bukhari and Muslim:
“Whoever has three things discovers the sweetness of iman: that Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to him than all else, that he love another only for the sake of Allah Most High, and that he hate to return to kufr (disbelief) as he would hate to be thrown into fire.”
May Allah make this event a means for us to taste the sweetness of iman.
wa `alaykum as salam wa rahmatallahi wa barakatahu.