Imam Qasim Abdul Sharief was born on September 17, 1951 in Brooklyn, New York, son of the late Rudolph and Iris Larmond who immigrated from Jamaica in the 1940’s. He was educated in New York City and accepted the religion of Islam in 1971 while a student at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, Long Island. In 1977 he moved from New York City to Hartford, Connecticut where he became a member of the Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford under the national leadership of Imam W. Deen Muhammad. At that time he was employed by Electric Boat in Groton, CT. Later that year he made the journey of all journeys and performed the hajj (pilgrimage) to the Holy City of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. In 2004 he was blessed to make a second hajj to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina.
From the 1980’s to the present, Imam Qasim has served his Muslim community in numerous capacities, including masjid (mosque) treasurer and Islamic Studies teacher. In 1988 he was elected as Resident Imam of the Muhammad Islamic Center and director of The Clara Muhammad School. He has continued in those roles up to the time of his demise. Imam Qasim was a tireless worker for his Islamic community. In addition to his spiritual duties, he took the time to organize numerous tour groups to such destinations as Montreal, Senegal, Egypt, Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong, as well as several Caribbean cruises. In 1985 he led a group of eighty-eight persons, including World Boxing Champ, Muhammad Ali, on a four-city tour of Morocco. There they were met and hosted by religious leaders and dignitaries from the Moroccan government.
As a supporter of the ministries of Imam W. Deen Muhammad, Imam Qasim has worked hard to establish positive interfaith relations with members of other faith traditions. He has been in the forefront of establishing strong bonds among the ethnically diverse local Muslim communities. The membership of The Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford, where he served, represents a shining example of the cultural diversity which he championed.
Imam Qasim held membership in numerous religious organizations as well as civic and community groups: some of which are the New England Council of Masajid, the Islamic Council of New England, the North American Continental Conference of Masajid, the Hartford Seminary Corporation Board and the Hartford Hospital Clinical Pastoral Care. The Imam was also a staff member of the Central Connecticut State University Campus ministry, the Connecticut Inter-Religious Committee and was the first Islamic chaplain appointed for the city of Hartford Police Department.
Imam Qasim Sharief’s life was dedicated to the worship of Allah ,The Most High, and the strengthening of the Islamic community. He became ill and departed this life on May 2, 2006 at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center. He was married for almost twenty years to Sajdah Sharief and was predeceased by his parents, Rudolph and Iris Larmond. He also leaves behind two brothers, Edward and Gregory Larmond, his stepmother, Naomi Larmond, a cousin, Carolyn Tomlinson and others. Imam Qasim Sharief leaves a host of friends and countless persons whose lives he touched in so many different ways. May Allah, the Most High, reward him for his good deeds and grant him paradise. AMEEN.