Imam Maajid Faheem ‘Ali, a pillar of the Muslim community in Savannah and the Lowcountry, was born July 18, 1953 in Savannah, Georgia. He was raised with his siblings, Carl and Patricia, by his mother Mrs. Luellen C. Walker. Maajid graduated as the Senior Class President, with honors, from Alfred Ely Beach High School in 1971.
He is a 1976, cum laude graduate of Savannah State College, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Criminal Justice. During his matriculation, he was on the dean’s list, freshman class president, and, he was a member of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society.
In February of 1974, he became a member of the Nation of Islam movement, under The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and in 1975, he transitioned to Al-Islam, under the global leadership of Imam W.D. Mohammed. In November of 1976, he was elected Imam (religious leader) of the mosque in Savannah, Masjid Jihad, Inc., where he continued to serve until his passing. In his early years as Imam, Maajid provided exceptional and progressive religious leadership to the local Muslim community and the inmate populations at regional correctional facilities.
For almost 40 years, he gave weekly Jumu’ah khutbah’s (lecture and prayer service), and he led Arabic and Islamic studies classes at the Masjid. He was also at the forefront of several Islamic-based, community engagement and awareness initiatives, including C.R.A.I.D. (Committee to Remove All Images of the Divine), and Islamic Neighborhood Watch.
In the early 80’s and 90’s Imam ‘Ali continued to increase his Islamic knowledge and develop his Islamic leadership skills through training and travel. In 1978, he was selected as a participant of the Muslim World League’s (Rabitat Al-‘Alam Al-Islami) sponsored Imam’s Training Program. In 1984, he served as the regional leader for the Southern Region’s Council of Imams (Majlis Ash-Shura). In 1992, he was again selected to study Quranic recitation, Arabic, Fiqh and Islamic Studies at Sayyid Maududi International Islamic Institute in Lahore, Pakistan. Additionally, he performed the Hajj pilgrimage, a once in a lifetime journey, to Makkah, Saudia Arabia in 2003. He made this pilgrimage for a second time in 2007 with his wife, Sakinah and daughter, Sadaqah, where he delivered the khutbah in ‘Arafah for his delegation.
As the Imam of Savannah’s first and oldest masjid, Maajid was an advocate for religious integrity, ensuring those who he encountered were left with an understanding of true Al-Islam. Over the years he has lectured to thousands of individuals, including congregations at other Masaajid throughout the southeastern United States, as well as school aged students, college students, and the general public.
Engaging the community as the representative for Muslims in Savannah, Imam ‘Ali was involved in several regional civic events. He gave the Interfaith Benediction for the inauguration of Mayors Floyd Adams (1996 and 2000), Mayor Otis Johnson (2004), Eddie DeLoach (2006), and Edna Jackson (2012). Imam ‘Ali also gave the benediction for City Council meetings, and he was the first Imam to deliver the Invocation for the Chatham County Commissioner’s Meeting in 2013. Additionally, Imam Maajid was a 1998 graduate of the Chamber of Commerce sponsored Leadership Savannah program.
A celebrated leader, Imam Maajid Ali received countless awards, and recognition from various community, services, civic, and religious organizations. More recently, he was highlighted in The South Magazine “Faces of Faith” feature. In 2007, this same feature was subsequently highlighted as 27 out of 50 of The South Magazine’s fifty greatest moments. In 2013, he was an honored guest at The Atlanta Society of Muslim Men 10th Anniversary Weekend.
Maajid has three sons from two previous relationships. His oldest is Shawn Castle, whose mother is Tina Herb of Savannah, GA. He was married to Jacqueline Burch. Out of their union came two additional sons, Rashid Castle ‘Ali, and Raphael Castle. Maajid is married to Sakinah Ziyadah ‘Ali, they would celebrate their 38th anniversary on March 3, 2016. Sakinah worked tirelessly alongside her husband in several of his Masjid, leadership, and community activities. Maajid passed February 27, 2016 after suffering from a heart attack during one of his favorite leisure activities, walking. He is preceded in death by his mother, Luellen C. Walker (2004); and his father, Nelson David (2006). He is survived by his dedicated wife, Sakinah Ziyadah ‘Ali; his sister Pat Chi (Sungwon); and his children: Shawn Castle, Rashid Castle ‘Ali (Julia), Zarinah ‘Ali Johnson (Kevin), Muslimah ‘Ali Najee ullah (Tariq), Ikhlaas ‘Ali (Ebony), and Sadaqah Ihsaan ‘Ali; and his four grandchildren Amirah Aris ‘Ali (9); Tanzeelah Bilqis Najee ullah (5), and Yusriyyah Duhaa Najee-ullah (2); and Quddus Abdullah ‘Ali Johnson (2 months). He also leaves behind his beloved congregation at Masjid Jihad, members of the broader Muslim community, and the community at large.