UAE: Russian expat swiftly passes away after Islamic conversion in Sharjah

Omar Abbas - | Mix

Liodmila Shtshebynia, a 62-year-old Russian exile who converted to Islam, died tragically 48 hours later.

Her death was tragically disclosed on the Instagram handle @Janaza_UAE. With no relatives in the UAE to oversee her arrangements, the post asked for caring people to become her surrogate family and attend her burial.

A Community Responds

The funeral rites for Liodmila took place on a somber Monday evening, coinciding with the Maghrib prayers at the Al Shahaba mosque in Sharjah. Abdulla Hussain Almarzooqi, the founder of @Janaza_UAE, swiftly shared the news upon receiving it. He emphasized the absence of familial ties and implored people to pay their respects at her funeral.

In the wake of @Janaza_UAE's post, messages proliferated across WhatsApp and various social media platforms, rallying residents to participate in the Janazah prayer. One poignant message implored, "Please ask everyone you know to join this Janazah. This sister has no family here, and please keep her in your duaa (prayer)."

For a decade, Abdulla Hussain Almarzooqi has overseen @Janaza_UAE, ensuring that no individual is laid to rest without the solace of prayers. With a substantial following on both Instagram and X, he disseminates information about funerals across the UAE, fostering a sense of community and solidarity among his audience.

Following Liodmila's passing, an outpouring of condolences flooded social media platforms, with one commenter remarking, "Her destiny is that she dies as a Muslim." This sentiment reflects the poignant unity and empathy within the online community during times of loss.

Tragically, Liodmila's story is not an isolated incident in the UAE. In March, Daria Kotsarenko, a 29-year-old Dubai resident, met a similar fate shortly after embracing Islam. Her unexpected demise, attributed to a heart attack, drew hundreds to her funeral, symbolizing the collective support and empathy within the community.

Embracing a New Faith

Daria's journey to Islam began three years prior, marked by a genuine fascination with the local culture and religion during her visit to Dubai. Through diligent research and introspection, she made the profound decision to convert to Islam, ultimately finding solace and belonging in her newfound faith.

Daria's passing elicited a poignant blend of sadness and hope among both Muslim and non-Muslim residents. While her departure left a void, the timing during the sacred month of Ramadan and her recent conversion provided solace and a sense of divine mercy. Scores of individuals, encompassing Emiratis and expatriates, congregated to bid farewell to Daria at the Al Qusais cemetery mosque, epitomizing the unity and compassion that transcend cultural and religious boundaries in times of grief.

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Omar Abbas
Omar Abbas
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