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Random thoughts

March 11, 2020

Just nice things

Opinion

March 11, 2020

A few days ago, Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Sirajul Haq, Mian Muhammad Aslam and Mr Attaur Rahman came to see me. We discussed educational matters and character-building of the youth. Siraj Bhai liked my columns in “Jang” (translated for 'The News') and said they were like a fight against evil. He said I should continue writing about good things, especially about good character, ethics and life.

First of all some comments on a nice book – 'Rijaus Saliheen' – written by a learned scholar, Arshad Ali Al-Baredi and published by T & T Publishers, Lahore. This book is all about The Almighty. While reading it, one finds peace of mind and heart, just like the Quran tells us we will find when we remember the Almighty. The author has criticized the prevalent practice of grave worshipping. He points out that well known good people from the times of Hazrat Noah (a.s) and Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s) are being presented almost like idols.

Nowadays, religious-minded people make grand graves, which they then worship. In Karachi one can buy fake pictures of Ghause Azam. It is rather painful to see educated people not being aware of the basic teachings of Islam. Ashraf Ali has done a commendable job by clarifying Islamic values, which are being neglected nowadays. He explains the noble character of the Quran and the Hadith and clarifies the un-Islamic practices prevalent in our society. He has an appealing and knowledgeable style of writing. My best wishes go to Mr Ashraf Ali.

Last week I received a beautiful autobiography from Major (r) Aftab Ahmad titled 'Harn Khed Faquira' and published by Munawwar Mirza from Mustafa Town, Wahdat Road, Lahore. It contains 896 pages, so I first read a few reviews by experts and then proceeded to read much of it myself. I soon realized that Maj Aftab is a well-read, educated gentleman with a strict discipline. He suffered at the hands of Gen Zia for criticising his illegal actions and use of Islam for his own purposes. For this he was court-martialed in Attock Fort and dishonourably discharged from service. He had fought both in East Pakistan and in Kashmir.

One commentator, Riaz Ahmad, has summarized this autobiography by saying that Maj Aftab spoke and wrote against Gen Zia for exploiting laws and religion. Gen Zia had the habit of listening calmly and quietly to all criticism, but the very next day that person would be looking for a job – and unable to find one. Maj Aftab did not hesitate to face this danger and in this book he has told the truth without fear or favour. It is highly commendable.

Late Qudratullah Shahab was a competent and honest civil servant. I came to know him personally when he was ambassador to the Netherlands and I was a graduate student at the Technological University of Delft. My fiance and I wanted to get married and Mr Shahab and the then Charge d’ Affaires, late Jamiluddin Hassan, offered to do it at the embassy. Mr Jamil performed the nikkah and Shahab was my witness. When we came to Pakistan the first time in 1967, Mr Jamil was in the Foreign Office and Mr Shahab was the education secretary.

Shahab was a prolific writer. He wrote his autobiography titled 'Shahab Nama', which is full of interesting anecdotes. One of them I reproduce here: “I was posted at a far-off place. On a Friday I went to an old mosque where a semi-educated maulvi was giving a long khutba with narration of old stories. One episode mesmerized me. It was the story of the love of a father for his daughter. The father was our Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the daughter was Khatoone Jannah, Fatima (r.a). Maulvi Sahib was saying that, whenever the Prophet (pbuh) was not inclined to accede to any request from a Sahabi, the latter would request Hazrat Fatima (r.a) to intercede on his behalf with her father as he always acceded to her request.”

Shahab goes on to say that he remained in the mosque after prayers and offered some navafils, also for Hazrat Fatima (r.a). He prayed that he be guided on the right path and do good deeds. He did not mention this request to anyone. After nearly seven weeks, when the episode had been almost forgotten, he received a letter from his German sister-in-law who had converted to Islam and was a practicsng Muslim. She wrote: “The other night I had the good fortune to see Hazrat Fatima, daughter of our Holy Prophet (pbuh) in my dream. She talked to me most graciously and said: ‘Tell your brother-in-law, Qudratullah Shahab, that I have submitted his request to my exalted father, who has very kindly accepted it.’” Mr Shahab goes on to say: “I was a changed man, felt like flying in the air.”

Note: Singer Shahzad Roy has done a highly commendable thing by going to court to have the beating of children banned. Let us hope something comes of it.

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