Press Release – First Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, Sheik Taj Passes

It is to Allah we belong and to Allah we return

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils mourns the passing of the former Mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj Eldeen Hamed Al Hilali. He became Imam at Lakemba Mosque in NSW (Ali bin Abu Taleb Masjid) in 1982.  In 1988 AFIC created the office of Mufti Australia (and New Zealand) appointed him as the first Mufti. 

We were saddened today to hear about the passing of Sheikh Taj in his home in Egypt around in the early hours of 5 October 2023 Australian time.  He had just returned from visiting two great cities of Mecca and Medina in the minor pilgrimage (umrah), leading a group of Australians and Egyptians.

‘We pass on our condolences to his family, and to the community. We have lost an individual of great knowledge and mark his contribution to the community’ said Dr Rateb Jneid President of AFIC. Dr Jneid went on to say ‘We ask Allah to accept this final act of worship from him, grant him forgiveness for any shortcomings and reward his good intentions’.

Sheikh Taj was a powerful and uniting force in the Australian Muslim community in the 1980’s till his retirement in 2013 and impacted the lives and institutions of all Muslims in Australia.

‘Sheikh Taj was a Pioneer in the modern Australian Muslim community, working tirelessly for over 40 years. He was one of the great scholars of Islam in Australia, his loss is loss for all Australians I have been humbled to be able to work closely with him for over 30 years. May Allah reward his efforts and grant him entry to Jannat Al Firdous (highest level in heaven)’ said His Eminence the National Grand Mufti of Australia.

Sheikh Taj was a fierce public speaker that would attract large crowds that gained him influence.

Those that knew him personally knew how humorous and generous he was, and how willing he was to serve the community in any capacity.

Since stepping down as Mufti and retiring from his role at Lakemba Mosque, he was involved in historical research projects on religious significance in Northern Africa, humanitarian work in rural Egypt and importantly continued to support the local Muslim community, with education, advice and answering questions of the day.

He will be buried later today in Cairo Egypt.


President of AFIC, Dr Rateb Jneid              
National Grand Mufti of Australia, Imam Abdul Quddoos Al Azhari

5 October 2023


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