Hajjah Ikhlas Mu’Tasim was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey.She was the daughter of the late David and Carolyn Gunn. She was the middle child of three sisters. Newark, New Jersey was where she went to school, received her associate degree from Essex County College, married and raised her family. Like many native to Newark, she began her journey in
Islam through the Nation of Islam in the 70’s and was later blessed to join the global community of Islam following the Sunnah (Prophetic Way). With the support of her late husband Aiyub Mu’Tasim, she was able to retire from Macy’s and later founded Smart Start Academy, an Islamic Home School Network for kindergarten-6th grade students. She was also a member of the
Safety Pins, a network that provided educational and childcare to the community. She ran the academy for 13 years. She was blessed to make Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) on two occasions- thus earning her the favored title of “Hajjah”. In addition to her volunteer work and support for many of the programs and functions throughout the Islamic community for many years, her biggest accomplishment was her consistent generosity to family, friends and whoever she could help. She never bragged or boasted about all the people she was a blessing to. She would always say “you can’t take it with you”.She wasn’t always visible, but always reliable. She was later blessed to marry again after finally closing the academy for good. She tried her hand a small business ventures, as well as a quiet pursuit of poetry and free-style writings that impart penned her journey. She was an avid reader of books from which she gleaned much knowledge.
ALLAH, SWT (Our Creator) strengthened her faith through a test we perceive as an illness. Upon completion of her test, HE called her to see her reward on March 10, 2018 (Jumada II, 23. 1439AH) She was 75 years of age. Hajjah Ikhlas will be loved, missed and loved. From her book of love, she leaves her love to her husband Saleem Mohammed: her children, sons
Anthony Gunn and daughter-in-law Kemalyn Sumpter-Gunn, Idris Mu’Tasim and daughter-in-law Janisia Sims; daughters Sonja Thomas, Baheej Khabirah Thomas, son-in-law, Elliott Williams. Her grandchildren: Ruqaiyah Ottley, Amir Gunn, Amaan Williams and Inara Mu’Tasim; her sister and brother-in-law Hamidah Abdullah and Karriem Abdullah; nieces and
nephews, James, Ricardo, Shana, Insan, Qiyamah, her cousins who were like siblings, Mary, Sylvia, Ronald and Patricia and abundance of great nieces, nephews, cousins, a body of friends that made up her network of sisterhood and brotherhood.
Her interment will take place on Tuesday March 13, 2018 at Forrest Lawn Memorial Gardens, Iselin, NJ 08830