How One Man Helped Hundreds of Muslim Families

Tribute to Hashem Ahmad Alshilleh.

photo courtesy of 

Cassie Santella, Staff Reporter

Hashem Ahmad Alshilleh was a man who lived in southern California and dedicated his life to helping others. Alshilleh helped bury hundreds of South Californian Muslims free of charge. He passed away from COVID-19 January 8th at 75 years old. He was an amazing man and impactful in his community and his story deserves to be shared.  


Before COVID-19 claimed Alshilleh’s life, he spent 30 years helping to bury Southern Californian Muslims. He stayed with each body until they were buried in the ground then he would ensure the deceased lay on their right side, facing toward Mecca. Additionally, he would provide for the living with prayers, breaking up arguments, and aiding to the family of the deceased.  


It wasn’t until after he passed that many people realized his true impact. It was much greater than anyone had imagined.  After he passed, his family received over 300 calls around the world with the same message “he buried my father”, “my mother”, “my aunt”.   


“We knew he was a great guy. But talking to people, that’s how we found out he was a legend,” said his son Ahmad. 


“There’s no Muslim family in Orange County or the Inland Empire who hasn’t directly benefited from Abu Ahmad’s help,” said the executive director of the council on American-Islamic relations Los Angeles office, Hussam Ayloush. 


Alshilleh’s family is planning on starting a non-profit in his memory to pay for the funerals of people who can’t afford them.