Fazal Karim’s wife: Live each day as if it was your last

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

GOODBYE MY LOVE: Judy Karim gazes at her husband, former People’s Partnership minister Fazal Karim at a funeral on Tuesday at the Greater Love Christian Centre in Carapichaima. PHOTO BY ANGELO MARCELLE – Angelo Marcelle

NO matter how good people are, no matter what position they hold in life, no matter what their accomplishments may be, the one thing no one can escape is death, and people must make things right with God now.

Apostle Dr Judy Karim, widow of Fazal Karim, former minister of tertiary education and skills training in the People’s Partnership coalition government, made the statement at his funeral on Tuesday.

In delivering the sermon before a packed congregation at Greater Love Christian Centre at Carapichaima, she pleaded with people to live every day as if it was their last, adding that time was running out.

UNC members, including Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the funeral for former People’s Partnership government minister and MP, Fazal Karim. PHOTO BY ANGELO MARCELLE – Angelo Marcelle

Hundreds of people, including the Opposition Leader and other politicians, including Rodney Charles, Barry Padarath, Ravi Ratiram and Planning Minister Pennelope Beckles, attended the funeral.

Judy, the church’s CEO, said Karim had asked her to deliver the sermon.”You may not have the opportunity to put things in order. Do it now! Most importantly, put your life in order to stand before your maker by embracing the gifts of his son Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour,” she said.

Karim, who turned 70 on October 8 last year, died on Monday, reportedly surrounded by relatives holding his hands and expressing their love for him. The father of three and grandfather of five was the Chaguanas East MP from 2015-2020.

Fazal Karim –

She recalled that ten years ago, Karim was diagnosed with prostate cancer while he was a minister. She thanked UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who was prime minister at that time, for giving him the opportunity to have surgery and treatment in Florida. When Karim recovered, he continued serving as a minister and MP, as well as a family and community-oriented person. His widow said he served not because of his position but because of who he was. She recalled that in 2021, the disease returned.

“It was a sad time for him, because he wanted to do well, to do so much more. He had a vision of how many things could happen in our country. He really was a visionary,” she said.

The widow said people have questioned their relationship, as Karim was a Muslim and she a Christian pastor. They were often asked how they worked that out.

“The answer was always, ‘We let love do the work. We support each other’ – but my prayer was that one day he will embrace (Christianity),” Judy said. “The highest level of relationship is the spiritual level, and my prayer was that one day we will share the faith.

“Over the last few months, Fazal had the opportunity to embrace the gift of salvation and did so with his whole heart.”She said the road had been difficult over the last few months and thanked everyone for their outpouring of support and love.She described Karim as her soulmate, most ardent fan, loudest cheerleader, hero and encourager.”Fazal ran his race. He ran well. His death was not a defeat, but his moment of greatest trial, when mortality put on immortality.” “I know he is there fixing up the mansion, because he knows what I like. He knows my standards. Jesus said, ‘In my father’s house, there are many mansions and I go there to prepare a place for you.’

“This is not goodbye, but we will meet again. You are safe in the arms of Jesus. No more pain.”Judy’s and Karim’s children, Rhonda Karim-Samuel, Ria and Rhion Karim, eulogised their father and shared fond memories.

Several other people paid glowing tributes to Karim. Karim’s body was taken to the Carapichaima masjid hall for final prayers and burial at the nearby cemetery.