This portrait of Arfa at 10 years old, by Dan DeLong, accompanied my Seattle P-I story about her in 2005.

Arfa Karim Randhawa, the computer programming prodigy who became the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at 9 years old, has passed away at the age of 16, according to reports out of her native Pakistan this weekend.

She had been in the hospital for nearly a month after reportedly suffering an epileptic seizure and cardiac arrest. Two weeks ago her outlook appeared to improve. In recent weeks, Microsoft had stepped in to help provide expert medical care.

As explained in this earlier post, I met Arfa and wrote a story about her in 2005 as a newspaper reporter covering her visit to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, when she was 10 years old. After seeing the reports this weekend, I went back and found some of the audio clips from my interview with her, including her talking about meeting Bill Gates, learning to program and what she planned to do when she grew up.

I’ve pieced together the highlights in this audio file, to provide a better sense for what she was like. One of the most remarkable parts, apart from her recounting the conversation with Gates, is hearing her talk with such authority about developing Windows applications.

As you’ll hear at the end, Arfa at 10 years old had also settled on her philosophy of life, and committed it to memory. She told me about it after our interview, when she was having her picture taken outside, so I turned my recorder back on and asked her to repeat it for me on tape.

“If you want to do something big in your life, you must remember that shyness is only the mind,” she said. “If you think shy, you act shy. If you think confident you act confident. Therefore never let shyness conquer your mind.”

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Ahmad86

    Thanks Todd Bishop God Bless u 

    • Hafizkkaziz

      Arfa, you did more than the ruling class did in 63 years. I have no doubt that more Arfas will appear in Pakistan. May Allah bless you in Heaven.
      Hafiz K. Malik (Canada)

  • Jibran

    We, Pakistanis are proud of you, you Arfa, left us shattered

  • Mariamriaz786

    we will miss u arfa may ALLAH gives u best place in Jannat i dont know what to say but i am very sad since i heard abt her passed away news.. :(

  • In10se

    Rest in Peace :'(

  • Saadia

    (إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ )She was our brillant star,May Allah swt grant her the highest rank in  Janna…Ameeen

    • Asia Rizvi

      thek kaha ap ny our prid or prrid of pakistn 

  • Inam Bibi

    It is painful day for all IT lovers and users, we lost an assest today.

  • Inam Bibi

    I created a page to show our love with her and give a tistibution on facebook, please all you must go on Arfa Karim Facebook and like it.



  • Guest

    I’m sad since I heard this news.  May her Soul Rest In Peace

  • Ashraf Khan

    This is a Great Loss and the Greatest Loss of Pakistan ……I am sure that she was a sensitive Pakistani and after seeing all the bullshits from the Govt as well as from the opposition she took it seriously and got an attack……none of the official has taken care of her as she wasn’t an assets of the state… in Pakistan the formula is 
    “JINA LUCHA ONNA UCHA” No one can fill this gap
    No one can be Arfa Kareem
    May her soul be rest in the Highest Places of Janaatul Firdoos Ameen

  • Azfar

    Rest in peace Arfa. You and your bright personality will remain in our hearts.

  • Muneeb
  • M Ahsan

    إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ ) God Bless You… It is painful day for all IT lovers and users, we lost an assest today. ALLAH TAALAH INE JANAT FARDOUS ATA FARMAI.AMEEN.

  • Faddy Qazi

    Regret for the loss, May Allah swt Bless her with peace in afterlife.

    She will remain in our hearts forever, A proud Daughter of Pakistan.


  • Hashmiibrahim68

    Irfa karim was proud of pakistan. Allah ussay jannat ul firdous main jaga atta farmaye Amin 

  • Hashmiibrahim68

    Irfa karim was proud of pakistan. Allah ussay jannat ul firdous main jaga atta farmaye Amin 

  • Mansoor7

    Thank you very much Todd for sharing your view and the voice byte of this great kid, may Allah gives her the highest place in heaven–  Aameen

  • Mansoor7

    Thank you very much Todd for sharing your view and the voice byte of this great kid, may Allah gives her the highest place in heaven–  Aameen

  • Sharmilarc

    May the young men &women of  today take a page out of Arfa’s book and follow in her example of excelling in their choosen fields.

  • chand

    Arfa, we will miss you, i dont know what happens after death, but m feeling like that other than a national loss, it is kind of my personal loss as well, i never saw u , never met u…but even sitiing in london, m crying for u like anything.i wish Allah bless u best life after death and may your soul rest in peace.Ameen sum ameen.

  • Ricardo D. Sanchez

    You will be missed, rest in peace.

  • Rembree

    What a sweet little girl – so much to give but time…..time ran out for her. Thoughts and prayers.

  • Tanveer Singh Dhami

    Rest in peace.

  • Raheeljaved64

    and we know that her passing will leaving a vaccum in our lives, but in the hearts of those who knew them, our thoughts will be with her family in our future prayers.

  • sagheer malik…usa

    WE  will miss u and proud of you ARFA BABY …. ALLAH gives u best best best place in JANNAT….  ALLAH GLESS ON YOU ARFA.BABY…..WE will pray for U always ARFABABY.and remember u always …………and may ALLAH swt may gives HER heightest place in JANNAT FURDUS  Aameen Aameen Aameen

    • malik waqar ahmed awan

      Inna Lillahe Wa inna ilaihe rajioonShe was Genius, She was Pakistani(a terrorist), she met Bill Gates(Zionist Eugenics Funder) and died within an year!we can smell a big conspiracy!It is impossible for us to believe that a genius Pakistani Child was made Microsoft Certified Personnel and within less than a year from that, she is dead. Particularly keeping in mind that Bill Gates is one of the largest contributers to USZ secret Eugenics program in which genetic code of nature is butchered to support NWO through Genetically modified crops, farm animals etc and bullying with human minds of “specimen victims” subjecting them to cruel mental therapies, surgeries, brain modification experiments and trying to generate a perfect human slave able to reproduce more slaves. Bill Gates couldn’t bear a genius Pakistani child flourishing and perhaps becoming a Microsoft rival in future. Sister Arfa Karim must have been drugged or subjected to forced radiations during her previous visit to Microsoft which caused her death now after a painful hospitalization period. Microsoft’s offer of inviting arfa to USZ was just a face saving move and to bring in an intelligent young “specimen victim”. May Allah curse these Jewish Satans!For more info, Please watch these videos: Please share if you care!

      • Abc

        I am proud Pakistani. And I can assure you mr. Waqar is mad. He does not represent us.

      • Anonymous

        malik waqar – if this is your true name – you are definitely misguided and does not represent what we Pakistanis think about this loss. (I encourage you to please consult a doctor)

      • Gilbert Midonnet


        That’s a sad view of life. Genius’s such as Randhawa are treasures. She could have solved problems that others could barely comprehend. People such as Bill Gates would recognize and appreciate such genius. She was not a threat to him – she was an asset.

      • TR

        Less than a year??? From 2005 to 2012 is seven years. Hey genius (just to be clear, that’s sarcasm), maybe you better rework your whack job conspiracy theory because your timing is off just a touch.  While you’re at it, how about you pick a different time and forum to be an obnoxious idiot. 
        A very bright and accomplished girl died at the age of 16 – this is an incredibly sad thing. Posts here should respect her family, praise her accomplishments, and honor her memory.  And if you can’t do that – go find a more appropriate forum to be an a__hole.

  • Sehrish Javed15

    may you get reward in the heaven that has been denied you for your goodnes on the earth

  • Farid

    “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un”‘Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return’
    My heart goes out for her.

  • Adriel Dennis Mingo

    RIP Such an inspiration to me.

  • Imranhks


  • Amer

    May Allah Almighty Bless the departed soul. 

  • Hussein

    Talent is a gift we should use it wisely. God bless you Arfa

  • aftab ahmad

    allah pak ies pyare se beti ko janatul fardos de aaaaamen

  • Saqib Anwar

    May Allah rest her soul in peace….

  • Malik Jaffar

    I dont have words to say on dis huge lose, only I pray God give u a comfortable place in Jannah, n peace to ur family

  • Browningtd1964

    I am so sad of hearing of her passing… May you rest in peace Arfa.

  • Jina Princess61

    I am so sad of hearing of her passing.May Allah Almighty Bless the departed soul.

  • Fawadshoukat

    “ Shaheed –E- Arfa asal mai Marg-E- Jostajo Han ~
       I.T Zinda
    Hota Han Naam-E- Arfa  ky Bad”

    The loose of Miss Arfa Is the Biggest downfall of our
    Country success in Information Technology. God has honor us with a Great extra intelligent
    girl but our unfortunate she left us with her great dreams. May Allah rest Her
    Soul In Peace Ameen.
    By Fawad Shoukat

  • Hsnwali

     i am feeling so sad 

    • Iqu705

      dont fill sad she was our little star do what idieas she left for us.

  • Hsnwali

    god bleess   u  u coulnd fill your  dreamzzz  may allag bleess u 

  • Hsnwali

     am proud of  u arfa 

  • Anonymous



    May ALLAH give her place in JANAT-UL-FIRDOUS. AMEEN
    we will miss you.i gve solute to u

  • Aurangzaib Mughal

    I don’t have words to say on this greatest loss. May ALLAH give her place in JANAT-UL-FIRDOUS. (AMEEN)

  • Ben Lang

    What an amazing human being.

    • Hensey123

      and amazing life she had, so very well spent.

  • TVD

    The world has lost an amazing human being and we have lost an amazing developer.

  • Shahid M. Ghulam

    Innalillahe Wa Innaileherajeoon.

    Inna Lillahe Wa inna Elehe Rajeoon
    great loss to my beloved country.

  • Abmaheco

    It’s very sad, and I would like to know how she died. As a MS programmer myself for over 20 years, I’ve witnessed more than a handfull of child programmers, albeit, uncertified. But then again the IT industry doesn’t place any weight on MS certification; it’s all about experience. If our author offered case examples where her programming knowledged was applied to a unified application system then I would agree that she’s a whiz. But “prodigy”? I doubt it.

    • Sarwatsohail

      i love u ifra tum nai pakistan kay liye kam kye allah nai tumay kitna damag diya hai

  • G_shah_g75


                     what a sad cute she was.she ll be alive request is  say surah fatiha for her plz plz,GOD give her a beautiful house in heaven.aameen

  • abeer

    i have a paper tomorrow, but i couldn’t study at all. i feel so touched. i still remember her interview on TV after the honors. i still remember the most beautiful blend of her innocence and genius. all v can do is, JUST PRAY 4 HER. Allah may keep her in the best of HIS places. Amin

  • urdu books pdf free download

    Its very sad to know about Arfa’s death, she was a very brilliant student. God bless her. RIP

  • Sabena

    What an incredible little girl, intelligent and such words of wisdom. I bet you’re programming up in heaven. May God give your love ones the strength to deal with your loss.

  • Ijaz Badar

    Her spirit and name will live forever. She is daughter of whole nation. May God give us strength to carry forward her mission!
    May God bless her soul in eternal peace.

  • Nasirbinbashir

    She was really genius, All Pakistanis and microsoft professionals will miss her. She was God given gift to Pakistan. May Allah rest her soul in peace and she goes to heaven directly.

  • Moe

    Died too young. She was such a smart little girl. Her quote about shyness left me with goosebumps.

  • Arfa Karim Randhawa

    Thanks for the audio, she was brilliant talent from Pakistan. along with the brilliant ideas  example in the audio.

    Microsoft should be take an forward step for Pakistani IT Engineers, and start few of their projects from Pakistan, as we know that most of their project directly going to Dubai companies that are affiliated from them.

  • Vicki Clark Harmon

    That is so sad, godspeed Arfa, your country Im sure is very proud of you.

  • Raihan

    a painful day for all IT lovers

  • SajiSoft

    Thanks Todd Bishop for sharing this..No doubt, she was an extra ordinary talented girl.. Pakistan just lost a gem.. 

  • Flamesword67

    That’s probably one of the best ways to live life ever.

  • Deniro Rm

    Too bad. May she RIP.

  • Deniro Rm

    Too bad. May she RIP.

  • Yazmina Gajardo

    Una lástima su muerte. Nada mas que decir. 

  • Kami

    Thank you for sharing this Todd. She will live on in our memories as a truly inspirational young women.

  • Mnbaig52

    I am very hurt and saddened, Arfa’s death made me feel like I lost my beloved daughter.  Inshaallah she will be taken care of and her soul will have a special place in the paradise. Although she is in good hands but left millions of people of the world in grief, my prayers are with her, may Almighty bless her soul (Amen).

  • Maryam

    Ive been sad all day today. May Allah ta’ala make for her a home near Him in jannah; may He give her parents sabrun jameel ameen.

  • Faisal azizi

    may she get the highest rank in jannah.
    no doubt she is in a better place now.

  • Jbabatola70

    Arfa is a young lady just a little younger than my two daughters. This is a grief for the family and the ICT world to bear. May her gentle soul rest in God’s precious arms. Nothing last forever, our world of living

    • Majidali60

      may she get the highest rank in jannah

  • Shahab Qureshi

    Oh meray khuda ye kaisi maslihat hai teri??? this feels like a much bigger loss than Steve Jobs (with all due respect), May Allah give her Jannat

  • Nhy

    We really miss you ” Sweet Arfa”

  • abbas h

    God bless u my child

  • Deepak X Kumar

    Rest in peace Arfa. You are certainly an inspiration to many young talent around. 

  • Phanuel

    Ur Brodas & Sistas Shall continue where You left off, to strive for a peacefull life with equal oppotunities. You are an inspiration. Rest in peace.

  • Javed_hu1985

    Arif you were really great but unfortunately we have missed you,May Allah bless you in heaven.

    M Javed KHAN (Oghi,Pakistan)

    • Whitelillyksa11

      hazaron sal nargis apni benoori pe roti hy

  • Vlastimil Cerny

    Bad news. When kids are dying its always realy sad.

  • Fayxaan

    They say this world is not for Good..Rest in Peace ARFA..our little Angel..

    • Whitelillyksa11

      rest in peace


    Rest in Peace sweet angel. You achieved so much in such a short time, much more than many lifetimes put together. Its not just your genius that touched the hearts of millions, its the beauty and purity of your soul. Each and everyone whom you touched through your interviews fell instantly in love. Your passing is like the loss of one’s own child and the heartache is unbearable. Yet you have jolted us awake from our cynical,  materialistic, petty reverie and reminded us of the goodness of the human spirit. Perhaps that’s the real and only reason for your short stay in this world; to inspire humanity in the human soul once again. Thank you for that special gift. You will always be in our hearts.



  • Ali Rehan

    Nice Post Todd Bishop.
    RIP Arifa.

  • Kiran Mazhar

    Its indeed really really sad that we have lost such a great human being…..i mean i m impressed by listening her interviews in such a small age…..:(
    May her soul rest in peace…Ameen…..

  • Rijalsubodh

    So disappointing and cruel happenings to the life of Arfa. People usually say, god also never keep making alive the good people on this earth. we everyone are here the harmful insects of this society. Small memories from me Arfa. 

  • Murtaza Raaz

    khuda apko jannat ul ferdus naseeb kre ameen… aur hamey khuda apki jaga koi aur bej de ameen….

  • fatima chaudhry

    Arfa we all will miss u alot….. u r the shining star of our country….. but we lost u nd we can do nothng……:(:(:(:(:( still in shocked tht u r no more…..:( May ALLAH give u best place in HEAVEN nd Patience to ur famliy……………… we miss u alt nd u will be in our heartx , our minds….. Though u r no more but u r still alive in our hearts ……… we love u nd miss u alot……………………:(:(:(:(

  • fatima chaudhry

    Arfa we all will miss u alot….. u r the shining star of our country….. but we lost u nd we can do nothng……:(:(:(:(:( still in shocked tht u r no more…..:( May ALLAH give u best place in HEAVEN nd Patience to ur famliy……………… we miss u alt nd u will be in our heartx , our minds….. Though u r no more but u r still alive in our hearts ……… we love u nd miss u alot……………………:(:(:(:(

  • Jon D. in NYC

    A tragedy. I believe we must understand that the world is not a fair and just place.  Bad things happen to good people every second of everyday… and many times, the ruthlessly motivated thieves and swindlers get away with murder.  Relying on a divine judge will not lend any honest sense that their is justice… because it is beyond the grave, where nobody knows what truly lies.  This is a tragedy. This young prodigy, with her brilliance and humble genius, is a loss to this world we cannot afford.  There are too many jaded, greedy power-mongers.  Perhaps that makes her story ever more beautiful… her message and example, a gift.

  • S.Nawaz

    Todd Bishop,  Thank you for sharing the audio file of her interview. I loved the questions you asked and her cutest replies. Certainly lot of inspiration in the tender voice of the genius kid. She left lot to be learnt in just 16 years of her life.

    Todd, thanks a lot once more.

    May Allah bless her in the next world as well, ameen.

  • Atif Aslam


    This nation  can not be Failed State, which develops such a mind and Intelectual at such age among much turbulence. Dear americans u have failed again. We will not Surrender. We Will come back.

    This nation is special. …….:)

    • dconeray

      don’t blame all Americans for what our government does, we are as hopeless as any other country when it comes to that. We can all be independent strong countries no God condones violence.

    • Gilbert Midonnet

      America failed how? Genius such as Randhawa come along once in a great while. Who knows what she might have done.  Scientific advances help us all. A few people dreamed of sending data via packets 40 years ago and look where we are now. All of us have had our lives improved.

  • Fantacy_d


  • Yousafjaved

    We proud our sister Arfa..

    • Nirmi1

      Simply WOW! It’s a very sad story and we lost one of the best upcoming Microsoft talents. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Sunny

    I still dont believe that she left us :( i am weeping since she died 

  • ssherman

    It’s sad that the world lost such a great mind.  And at so young an age.  

  • Haider Zaman

    Thank you, Todd for sharing this invaluable audio with us.

  • Jamal

    We have only tears to give you.

  • Afreylee


  • Shah Faisal

    Inna Lillahe wainna Elaihe Rajeoon….! Ek Taare Zameeen per se….Phir se aasmaan main chala gaya….This is a Huge loss for this world…..I salute this by born genius Arfa Karim….may Allah Give her the Highest place in Jannatul Firdaus.
    Listen this wonder girl’s Interview taken by Todd Bishop.

  • Shahrukh Azeem

    May Allah Bless her soul. She was indeed a Computer prodigy. 

  • Tariq Malik

    Arfa was a great and lovely daughter. Allah may rest her soul. It is prayed that little and children in childhood  may remember her message. Tariq Malik Lahore

  • dconeray

    May Jesus and Allah hold her in their arms and take care of her forever. Prayers to the family. In this world of wild teens doing crazy things she was an example to all.

  • Jai


  • Debra Paxton

    My prayers go out to her family, friends, and colleagues… she is an inspiration …

  • Anonymous

    When I read this, I was filled with sadness. This is the type of person that is a true role model. She died far too soon. What a huge loss. All the blessings for her and her family. Rest in peace.

    I heard that the Lahore Technology Park was renamed the Arfa Software Technology Park. May her legacy inspire others to greatness.

  • A82273

    In the exceptionally competitive employment market of Pakistan and India, a child and her parents possess the intelligence to secure her future.

    “Train your child in the way they should go, and they will not depart from it.”

    — Proverbs 22:6

    • A82273

      P.S. To Geekwire: You * are amazingly stupid  and clearly promote paediophilia *  for having a sex toy “news article” on the same page as Araf’s.God, no wonder Humanity is is such trouble.

  • Malay Sarkar

    It’s a very sad news.  May her Soul Rest In Peace.

  • Uzuimran

    may allah rest her soul in peace. bt i think iska kam dunya mn shaed itna he tha. she bloomed like fower gave fantastic fragrance and gone after opening new words 4 others.


    Arfa, you did more than the ruling class did in 63 years. I have no doubt that more Arfas will appear in Pakistan. May Allah bless you in Heaven.

  • Syedmubashir92

     irfa i will never say that you hv were ahead of time and you will reappear when your time will come.GOD BLESS U .PL PRAY FOR THE MUSLIMS.

  • Prince Vakas

    God bless her soul 

  • Srujan Ashok

    got tears in my eyes when i heard your confident words… you were a hero we needed.

  • Quratulain_ainnee

    miss u princess… may ALLAH PAK  rest ur soul..AMEEN

  • Shelalay


  • Reen Rinu

    May allah place u in jannat ameen …

  • Iqbal

    May her soul rest in peace .

  • fromBrisbane

    Indeed. Remarkable. Such a well spoken girl – a sad loss.  RIP Arfa.

  • Subramanya Krishna

    It is so sad that such an uplifting gifted mind had such short life. I guess her memories will live long.

  • Ramli Mohdisa


  • Sowmya

    You are the yongest computer geek I have ever come across…..such an amazing thought…you have left your shine among all of us according to the interview I just heard! God bless

  • Humayun Mujahid

    Nothing could be more shocking than to believe Arfa has departed or passed away; she has rather achieved an even exalted position by being bodily invisible. That little genius might just be existent before, but now she’s turned immortal.

  • Micha King

    Thanks for the articles, I read the archived ones too. Thanks for informing us about Arfa and writing so beautifully, Todd.

    Arfa you were 16 when you passed away but in such a short time on earth you made a name for yourself.

    Allah Giveth and Allah Taketh away. I am happy that I came to know of you because

    A lily of a day,

    is fairer far in May,

    Although it droop

    and die that night,

    It was the plant

    and flower of light.

    In small proportions we just beauties see;

    And in short measures, life may perfect be.

    Ben Jonson’s words are apt here.

    Rest in peace and may God grant your loved ones the strength to bear your passing away to a better world. Love………..always.

  • Jason Gerard Clauss


  • Sachjee

    Arfa…we miss you

  • Waseem Tahir

    It is a big loss for our are asset of our country.ALLAH gives u best place in Jannat and give patience to your parents.

  • Qasimabbas219

    i like irfa karim

  • Najmiahmad49

     Arfa u r just like my daughter.I will love u forever n remember u.


    may her soul rest in place 
    +{MISTER 4X}+

  • nuzhat

    it is nice to hear when she was nine she was a microsorft and its sad to hear when she died

  • nuzhat

    rest in peace

  • nuzhat

    we allare sad to hear this news

  • OnoMrBill

    Thanks, Todd, and may Arfa rest in peace.
    I would really like to hear what she said, but the link to the arfa.mp3 file doesn’t work, nor the audio player… is there an alternative link?

Job Listings on GeekWork