Mohammed Saleem Kayani passed away on 19th November 2016, at his home in North London, aged 82. He had devoted his life to Islamic causes, first in Pakistan, and from 1970, in Britain, where he settled. Ustadh Kayani was actively involved in activities relating to conveying the message of the Qur’an for forty years, both as a translator and editor of its English renderings and as a teacher in tafsir study classes.
Saleem Kayani Sahib completed a Masters in Urdu (1961) and English (1963) from the University of Punjab. It was during this period that he began attending Maulana Islahi’s dars on the Qur’an, also studying under him Arabic and ahadith from 1963 to 1969. He was charged with setting up the first youth Qur’anic study circles in Lahore as part of the Jamaat Islami’s welfare programme. He also took up journalistic work in the organisation’s publication ‘Tasneem’, under the veteran Naeem Siddiqui. This was an eventful period in the Jamaat’s history, facing an external challenge created by a Government ban and arrests of its leadership, and later a momentous internal debate on whether to continue as a social welfare and educational movement, or also enter the political arena and contest elections – a debate that had led to Maulana Islahi’s break from the Jamaat in 1954. Saleem Kayani continued his Qur’anic studies under Islahi, who noted of his student: ‘We have a gentleman’s agreement – he doesn’t question me on politics and I only teach him the Qur’an’. Islahi also once told him, ‘I am a student – don’t call me a sheikh. Once you are a sheikh you are dead. A student retains a sense of curiosity.’ This remained Saleem Kayani’s style of teaching as well.The recordings of his Qur’an Study Circle were made in a family setting in North West London. He passed away in London in November 2016.