Remembering Hicksville’s Muhtady Zaman
On the rainy night of Tuesday, May 28, around 9:30 p.m., a 63-year-old male was driving his 2019 Nissan northbound on Newbridge Road. At the same time, 16-year-old Muhtady Zaman was crossing Old Country Road on his bicycle. The Hicksville High School junior was struck by the Nissan and suffered a traumatic head injury after the right side of his head took the full impact of his fall from the bike. He was subsequently transported to a local hospital where he was listed in critical condition. Just two days later, on Thursday, May 30, Zaman passed away from his injuries.
“He brought a light to everyone he encountered and always left a lasting impact on everyone,” said Mubtasin Zaman, Muhtady’s older brother. “It was nice having someone to talk to, especially about family issues, as nobody understood things firsthand the way we did. We would also confide in each other often.”
In the wake of Muhtady’s passing, Mubtasin remembers his brother’s selflessness—something he remarked was a defining characteristic of Muhtady.
“He always put the needs of everyone, especially his friends’, over his,” he said. “He felt a sort of responsibility to help friends in need and wouldn’t stop until everyone around him was happy.”
Muhtady’s cousin, Sadia Yasmin, most remembers his honesty.
“A lot of times, as teens, there’s the pressure to put on a facade. But [Muhtady] never did,” she reminisced. “He was wonderfully open. I think that really bled into his art too. His portraits captured something eerily honest about the human existence—that there’s struggle in all beauty and art. That honesty and understanding of it made him more mature than any other kid his age that I’ve met.”
An art enthusiast, Muhtady was involved in Art Honor Society, Thespian Club and marching band, among others. But art was especially important to him, as Yasmin commented that the first thing to remember about Muhtady is that “he practiced his craft unapologetically, and I’m sure he’d urge everyone else to do the same,” she said. “I truly think he cultivated beauty and talent, and worked hard to inspire the same beauty and talent in others. Secondly, he never sacrificed who he was as an artist, student, Muslim, brother and human. So if anyone should learn a lesson and remember something about him, it’s that he was miraculously comfortable with who he was, and he wasn’t going to sacrifice his identity for anything or anyone. That level of self assurance—I could only dream of having that, and I’m 23. Every kid has flaws and doubts, but he overcame, never sacrificed. And that’s true beauty and honesty.”
As for Mubtasin, he said that “the most important thing to remember about [Muhtady] is how he brought people together. All he wanted was for everyone to love one another and be happy.”
In the wake of their grandmother’s passing more than a decade ago, Mubtasin commented that his family had drifted apart, but “this last week, it’s as if [Muhtady] took any issue we may have had with one another and made them disappear. It’s almost as if we forgot what problems we even had and put them aside just to be there for one another. I’ve never felt this close to my family before and that’s something I’ll be grateful for forever. It’s the greatest final gift he could have left.”
After Muhtady’s accident, a GoFundMe page was created with the goal of raising $5,000. In just seven days, 187 friends and family members raised $6,160. After his passing, an update was posted to the donation page stating that all proceeds raised would be donated to a charity in Muhtady’s name.