March 21, Florida – Dr. Syed Jaafar Mohiuddin Al-Quaderi, long serving religious advisor to the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, passed away recently in Florida. Dr. Al-Quaderi was one of the earliest Islamic scholars in North America who attempted to learn the intricacies of modern food production and ascertain the status of food and related products from an Islamic standpoint.

In the 1980s, when there wasn’t much awareness about halal issues in North America he was part of the IFANCA team that visited food companies in Illinois and elsewhere, educating them about the needs of the growing Muslim community.

Born into a prominent family of scholars and academics in Hyderabad (India), Dr. Quaderi was a graduate of the famous Jamia Nizamia Islamic University. In 1970, he completed a doctoral degree from the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo. His PhD dissertation was on the Resolutions and Permissions in Islam at the Faculty of Shariah and Law.

His command of the Arabic language was outstanding, evidenced by his 11 years as a Radio Cairo Announcer. Concurrently, he taught Arabic at the American University, Cairo, and also conducted classes at the Indian Embassy in Cairo. Dr. Quaderi also worked at the Osmania University in India as an editor of Arabic manuscripts of historic significance. After moving to the USA in 1980, Dr. Quaderi taught Arabic at Chicago’s North-Eastern University, and American Islamic College for 6 years, as well as Sunday school at the American Islamic Association in Frankfort, Illinois. An inspiring and motivational speaker he was much sought after at Islamic conferences. He also served as the president of Al-Sira Society of North America.

Dr. Chaudry recalls Sheikh Quaderi as extremely accessible and knowledgeable. For thirty years, he played a vital role, guiding IFANCA to its status as a leading organization in halal education and awareness.

“Whenever the IFANCA staff had questions about an ingredient or process, he was always ready to take their questions. He would look at the matter in light of all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence, before arriving at a recommendation,” said Dr. Chaudry. “He was part of the IFANCA family from its inception. We really miss him.”

Dr. Sadek remembers Sheikh Quaderi as a larger-than-life, warm and loving personality, with meticulous attention to detail in every phase of life. “We would go on audits to client plants and he was thorough and particular about how the plant or food processing should be. He was not one to shy away from challenging questions and about expressing himself,” said Dr. Sadek. “When the issue of the use of cochineal extract first came up a decade ago, it was Sheikh Quaderi who did the research, concluding that it was halal. At that time, there were conflicting views amongst the halal certification agencies in different countries. Now almost everybody accepts that opinion.”

“He was like an elder brother,” says Dr. Sadek. “He could counsel us on any topic whether it was about halal or other Islamic matters. He was very approachable.”

“He was a dynamic Muslim, a scholar and very active in the local Muslim community,” says fellow IFANCA religious advisor, Dr. Ahmed Sakr. “He was a speaker, educator and imam (religious leader). He had good knowledge that comprised a Sharia point of view, the halal and haram point of view, a scientific point of view and a Fiqh point of view. He contributed significantly to the community he lived in.”

We pray to God that He bless Sheikh Quaderi and give him a place in heaven.