A Tribute to a Community Legend – Farewell Hajjeh Hiam Nahas

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إِنَّا لِلَّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ‎

“Verily we belong to Allah and verily to Him do we return.”

It is with a very heavy heart that we informed our community this week that our dear sister Hajeh Hiam Nahas returned to her Creator. 

Her departure from this world is a big loss to our community and all that knew her.

Hajjeh Hiam is remembered as a passionate individual who always went above and beyond to help those in our community who needed it most. She was an integral part of the Muslim Women Australia team, dedicating her time to serve society’s most vulnerable through sincerity and dedication.

It was not too long ago that Hajjeh Hiam received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the SHS Good Practice Awards 2020, for her work with Linking Hearts, providing domestic violence and homelessness support to women and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with safe and supported crisis and transitional accommodation.

Hajjeh Hiam began her journey with MWA as a volunteer in the year 2000, while working full time in Aged Care.  She then took on a position as a Support Worker back in May 2006 which was the beginning of a whole new journey for Hiam working in the space of domestic and violence.

Hajjeh Hiam took on further education and managed to complete her studies in community welfare, while working full time and raising a young family. 

In 2014, with the Going Home Staying Home reforms, Linking Hearts was established to provide services to CALD families escaping DV/Homelessness and other hardships.  While others were spending most of their time living in fear of what to come in the sector, Hajjeh Hiam trusted the team she was working with and played a vital role in leading the way with her colleagues. 

For over 20 years Hajjeh Hiam served with gratitude, sincerity and authenticity.  

It wasn’t just the “what” of how Hajjeh Hiam did, but the how she did it. It was her beautiful, kind heart and her caring, motherly nature that saw her become a source of love, guidance and light to all those around her. 

She had the incredible human gift of being able to make other people happy in a unique way. In her presence people felt tranquil: safe in the company of someone they knew was genuine, caring and always wanted the best for them. 

These are indeed unique characteristics in a time defined by suspicion of others and a collapse of the human relationships our deen commands. Yet she lived, breathed and personified them and exuded them to others around her with a radiance that our deen seeks for us to achieve in our character.

Hajjeh Hiam Nahas was a beloved colleague, sister and friend to all of us at MWA and worked for many years with our team. Hajjeh Maha Abdo expressed the pain of the shocking news and the ways in which Hajjeh Hiam touched the lives of so many.

This week, Hajjeh Maha’s pain was palpable, and her words shared on social media have touched the entire community. Hajjeh Maha had the following words to share about the painful week that was: 

The pain of grief is not like any other pain; it keeps swinging from one side of the heart to the other while fluctuating its rhythm in a motion that’s indescribable. At times it feels like a yoyo, then it settles before it sets off again like a roller coaster, and the pain continues to be felt at every moment.

I keep on reminding myself that we need to take time to process grief of loss, especially when this loss is a sudden one and if we need to take time to not just feel the constant change of emotions but to be aware and remember Allah (SWT) does not send us more than we can handle. And with every hardship there is ease. That’s what we need to remind our aching heart and mind, otherwise we are left tense and exhausted.

My dearest sister Hiam Nahas: InshAllah you are in a better restful place and I just can’t believe how you and I spent time together just last Wednesday and what amazing adventures we experienced in just the few hours you spent; good, quality time with my parents who love you and continue to make dua for you while still trying to deal with the shock of you leaving so suddenly the following day. It felt like you came to say goodbye, and I did feel you were acting differently. I remember how you were talking about your mum to my mum, telling her how much you miss her and can’t wait to be reunited; you were saying it differently than any other time, and Alhamdulillah you are InshAllah with her now!

With an aching content heart we are all praying that you are accepted in the highest of abodes amongst the best of Creation. Ameen

Hajjeh Hiam’s legacy will live on through all her sisters here at the MWA. We ask our broader community to keep our sister and her family in your Dua. We ask Allah to give strength and patience to her family. Ameen! 

The MWA is also here to support the community in these challenging times. Please get in touch with us via info@mwa.org.au or 02 9750 6916.

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