In Memoriam: Dr. Abdul-Ilah Mikati
Dr. Omar Abdul-Ilah Mikati, who famously went by his middle name, was a man of many professions. He was a father, uncle, professor, thinker, mentor, organizer, and someone who cared deeply about Islam and its role in society. On January 23rd, 2021, Dr. Abdul-Ilah Mikati passed away after contracting COVID-19. He is survived by his wife, Hoda Soufi, and five children, Haitham, Randa, Rima, Lina, and Hania Mikati.
What followed after was an uncountable amount of social media posts praising and mourning the loss of this great Tripolitan icon. Dr. Mikati's academic background, coupled with his humble personality, allowed him to leave a positive and lasting impression on anyone who crossed his path. Tripolicy would like to take the opportunity to send our condolences to the esteemed Mikati family and pray that Allah (swt) grants him the abode of Paradise.
Dr. Mikati was born on May 6th, 1950 in Tripoli, Lebanon. He grew up in a conservative environment with his father, Hajj Abdul Razzaq Mikati, being a man of piety and devotion. After completing his high school in Tripoli, Dr. Mikati travelled to the USSR in 1969 to complete his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering in Moscow at the Energy Institute. In 1976, he went on to pursue his PhD in Electromechanical Engineering as well at the same institution. After graduating, he went on to work in Abu Dhabi, UAE for about 7 years for a construction firm. In 1986, sensing that his family, particularly his parents, were in need of him, he decided to go back to Tripoli, Lebanon and pursue his academic career as a full time Associate Professor at the Faculty of Engineering at the Lebanese University.
However, Dr. Mikati's credentials and achievements do not end at his engineering accomplishments. Randa Mikati, Dr. Mikati's eldest daughter, told Tripolicy how his impact went beyond his credentials and academic achievements; he was compelled to examine socio-political issues which affected the society, and to strive for solutions. He authored multiple books and articles that delved into these matters, in addition to the topics that dealt with education and Islamic Jurisprudence. Randa went on to mention that on behalf of her father, the family had decided to continue her father's generous offering of making all his works public and free. Dr. Mikati was an active social worker who was known to work long hours trying to better the economic condition of his hometown. He went on to help establish numerous businesses on a global scale while participating in various international conferences around the world.
In 2000, Dr. Mikati would be appointed as the General Administrator for Azm & Saade Association. In 2010, he would take on the momentous role of founding the Azm Educational Campus, which included a school, a technical institute (opened in 2011), and a university (opened in 2015). In 2015, Dr. Mikati was appointed as a member of the Islamic Shura Council where he played a crucial role advising the Islamic Awqaf regarding their strategic plans, financial endeavors, and balancing their overall budget.
Dr. Mikati leaves behind a corpus of knowledge and a fascinating legacy from which Tripoli and the Muslim world will continue to harvest. Utilizing his innate ability to empathize and speak the language of Lebanon's downtrodden, he was praised by people from all walks of life, from billionaires to the average fruit vendor. In a truly remarkable fashion and in a moment of great division in Tripoli, his death seemed to unite all of Tripoli's sons and daughters. It is a true testament to the character of this man and one can only hope that through his efforts that Tripoli and Lebanon will see more leaders sprout to take on the challenges that Dr. Mikati had so readily fought, head on.
About the Author:
R. Mahmoud Yamak is a petroleum engineer currently residing in Dallas, TX. He is a commentator on Arab and Middle Eastern affairs who has previously written for the Daily Sabah, The New Arab, Muftah Magazine, among others.