Indian Islamic scholar and peace activist Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has died in the capital New Delhi after contracting novel coronavirus, his family members announced. He was 96.
Khan was recently admitted to a hospital in New Delhi after testing positive for Covid-19.
“The great Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan breathed his last, late this evening. Doctors failed to revive his sinking heart. Pray for his maghfirat [penitence] and high station in Paradise. Amin,” Zafarul Islam, Khan’s eldest son, tweeted on Wednesday, 21 April.
The author of more than 200 books, Khan has been honored with several awards. This year, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honor.
Born in Azamgarh, India, in 1925, Khan has been internationally recognized for his contributions to world peace.
In 2009, Georgetown University in Washington, DC’s list of 500 Most Influential Muslims of 2009 named him “Islam’s spiritual ambassador to the world”.
In 2001, he established the Centre for Peace and Spirituality to promote and reinforce a culture of peace. Khan went on a 15-day Shanti Yatra (peace march) through the western Maharashtra state in the wake of the demolition of the 16th-century Babri Mosque by Hindu hardliners in the state of Uttar Pradesh in 1992.
He also wrote a two-volume commentary on the Holy Quran.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “saddened” by the news of Khan’s loss.
“He will be remembered for his insightful knowledge on matters of theology and spirituality. He was also passionate about community service and social empowerment. Condolences to his family and countless well-wishers. RIP,” Modi wrote on Twitter.
India’s president Ram Nath Kovind said he was “deeply grieved” by the demise of Khan.
“Maulana Wahiduddin made significant contributions to peace, harmony and reforms in the society. My deepest condolences to his family and well-wishers,” he said.