Sunday, April 25, 2010

Muslim World Lost Great Scholar: Dr Israr Ahmed Passes Away

Dr Israr Ahmed, prominent Islamic scholar and Tanzeem-e-Islami founder, passed away from this transitory world to the eternal world. 'We are all for God and to return to Him.' According to Hijri Calendar (Islamic calendar), Dr Israr was approaching 80. He spent most part of his life for the establishment of caliphate system and propagating the invitation of the holy Quran.
Although he was not a formal religious scholar, (who gets education from religious schools), because of which some of his religious interpretations became controversial, yet it is a fact that his knowledge about religion was superior than the contemporary educated people. He knew the terminologies of the present day world because of which his sermons and lectures on the holy Quran were listened with eagerness.

Phenomenal Career
Dr Israr Ahmed was born on 26 April 1932 in Hissar District in Haryana (India). He took an active part in Pakistan movement.

He was an active member and secretary general of Muslim Students Federation in his District, Hassar. He had the honor of meeting Qaid-e-Azam in this capacity. During his studies at high school, he established his intellectual and emotional relationship with the charismatic poetry of Allama Iqbal and nourished the desire for practical struggle for the renaissance of Islam in his heart. He walked on foot for 20 days along with a caravan to reach Pakistan via Sulemanki. After doing his FSc (Grade 12 of high school) from Government College Lahore, he did his MBBS from King Edward Medial College Lahore and his masters in Islamic studies from Karachi University with distinction.

While a student he was impressed by eminent religious scholar Maulana Maudoodi and remained the Chief Administrator of Islami Jamiat Talaba. He joined Jamaat-e Islami and remained closely associated with (late) Maulana Maudoodi . He was amongst the founding activists of the party. Dr Israr parted ways with the party in 1957 because of the electoral politics and intellectual differences with it. When he was a student and associated with the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, he started working as a teacher of the Quran. After submitting his resignation to the party, he continued to deliver lectures on the Quran in different cities of Pakistan.

He shifted to Lahore in 1965 and set up several circles for the study of the Quran. After that, he used to spend most of his time in learning the Quran. In 1971, he abandoned medical practice and fully devoted himself for propagation of the injunctions of Islam. In 1972, he set up Central Association of Servants of the Quran for the promotion of the teachings and ideas of the Quran. He stayed away from politics and associated himself with teaching. He set up the caravan of Tanzeem-e-Islami for the domination of Islam. in 1978, he participated in Pakistan Television's program, 'The Book.' At that same time, he presented many television programs including Alif-Laam-Meem, perfect prophet, mother of all books, and the most popular program of the history of Pakistan Television, 'The Guidance'. This program took him to the heights of popularity. His inculcated his impressive talk about religion into the hearts of the people and they were infatuated by him. 'Tamgha-e-Imtiaz' (medal of distinction) was awarded to him in recognition of his services in 1981.

He authored more than 100 books. He wrote famous exegesis of the Quran and books on the life of the prophet of Islam. Dr Israr Ahmed launched Tehrik-e-Khilafat Pakistan in 1991. In 2002, Dr Israr submitted his resignation to Tanzeem-e-Islami due to ill health and Hafiz Aakif Saeed took over as the new chief. Dr Israr was greatly impressed by the personality of Shah Waliullah. Besides, he was also impressed by Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi, and Maulana Hamiduddin Farahi.

Dr Israr started his religious struggle from the platform of Jamaat-e-Islami, but he resigned because of differences with the founder of the party, Maulana Abul Aala Maudoodi and set up his own party, Tanzeem-e-Islami. He does not declare his party a political party, or a religious group but an Islamic revolutionary party which, according to him, wanted to make Islam dominant in Pakistan, and then in the entire world, i.e., to establish the caliphate system. Dr Israr has steadily and sincerely been traveling toward the destination he set before him.

He has been raising voice for the caliphate system and calling people toward the holy Quran for approximately half-a-century. He believed that it was necessary to have that much manpower, which can make any protest effective, in case of need, and hence compelled the government to accept his demands. Even if the workers have to lay down their lives for this purpose, they may not refrain from doing so. According to Dr Israr, this number should be in hundreds of thousands that may compel the government to kneel down through their protest. How many people Dr Israr could prepare during the struggle for half a century? How far was the destination? This can be guessed from the statement of Dr Israr.

Revolutionary Struggle
Dr Israr came to Multan in March 2009 and delivered lecture on the topic of, 'The reality of antichrist.' I invited him for a cup of tea at the branch of the Jamia Khair-ul Madaris and he affectionately accepted the invitation. During the conversation, I enquired from Dr Israr as to how many people he prepared so far for the enforcement of the Islamic system and the revival and establishment of the caliphate system, he said with a yearning, '5,000 maximum.' If 5,000 persons are prepared in 50 years, it can well be imagined as to how many centuries will be required to take the number to hundreds of thousands.

Dr Israr declares Hazrat Sheikhul Hind, Maulana Mahmudul Hassan as the founder and ideal for this revolutionary struggle. According to him, the lower lineage was thus that Maulana Abul Kalam got inspiration from Sheikul Hind, and Syed Abul Aala Maudoodi received the lesson of revolutionary politics from Maulana Azad and Dr Israr was inspired by Syed Abul Aala Maudoodi. He termed it the 'family tree' of the revolutionary politics. Undoubtedly, the first two chains were golden. However, it remains to be seen whether Maudoodi and Dr Israr followed the same course of faith and action that was fixed by Sheikhul Hind.

Literary people differed with some of the ideas of Dr Israr during his lifetime. But Dr Israr insisted on the righteousness of his opinion. For instance, the religious scholars of later ages believe that one must follow some established imam to save him from his cardinal desire and the path of evil. The learned people have termed it illegal that some imam is followed on some issues and then he is ignored in other issues, and another imam is then followed because such practice gradually takes a person to the path of evil instead of the path of Islamic teachings. Such a person always looks for 'ease' and follows the imam in whose teachings he finds it easy.

This is not, in fact, the following of the Islamic teachings, but following of the self. Dr Israr believed that interpretation of any of the four imam (Imam Azam, Imam Maalik, Imam Shafeh, and Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal), which is nearer to the holy Quran and teachings of the holy Prophet should be acted on. The fact is that a dangerous theory is being implied in these pleasing words that there is no need to fully follow some specific imam, but act on what you consider right.

Overwhelming Ideas
Like the ideas of Dr Israr, some of his interpretations also remained doubtful. For instance, it is the collective belief of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat that emancipation in the hereafter depends on one's belief and if a Muslim has an iota of faith in his heart, he will, with the blessing of God, get deliverance without any sentence, or getting sentence according to his sins.

On contrary, Dr Israr believed, 'The overwhelming majority of Muslims have incorrectly been under a notion that deliverance of one who recites Kalima (declaration mandatory to recite to enter into Islam) will get deliverance.' It means that only faith and its verbal confession is enough. If he does some good deed, it will be additional goodness on his part and it will only heighten his stature, otherwise good deeds are not necessary for salvation (the Rah-e-Nijat, authored by Dr Israr, page 11). When attention of Dr Israr was drawn that his opinion was contrary to the collective belief of the Muslim community, he expressed renunciation from it, but kept the aforementioned writing as it was and made no amendment in the same.

Despite some of his intellectual lapses, his following of religion, and his steadfastness were appreciable. He was an enduring, content, grateful, and self-respected person. His domestic life was immune from luxury, pomp and show, and affectation while Islamic veil and eastern tradition were followed in his home and full arrangements made for acting on them.

A prominent facet of the lift of Dr Israr was that he openly expressed what he considered righteous and never demonstrated any fear or cowardice. In his capacity as the founder of Tanzeem-e-Islami and its chief, he could have benefited from the government's privileges and offers, but he never took any benefit on any occasion. He remained content on living a life like a dervish and hermit.

He has been a member of the Majlis-e-Shura (Islamic consultative council) for some time when President General Ziaul Haque nominated him during his rule. However, when he felt that religious expectations pinned on parliament were not being fulfilled, he submitted his resignation without any hesitation. His stance about the veiling of women's face and wearing of scarf was emphatic and he considered it a binding injunction of Islam, and declared it necessary for the protection of the honor and chastity.

Dauntlessness and Straightforwardness
Another instance of Dr Israr's dauntlessness and straightforwardness is that he termed standing in respect for the national anthem and saluting the national flag illegal and a type of polytheism. He was opposed tooth and nail to it and he stood firm in his stance throughout his life. The opinion of Dr Israr carries weight because we don't show same attention and respectfulness when the holy Quran is recited as we show, while anthem is being played. This is nothing except the mimicry of alien nations and following customs that are polytheistic.

Anyhow, despite some human weaknesses, and some intellectual lapses, Dr Israr was a great Muslim, a mujahid who called people to Islam and remained a harbinger and champion of Islamic revolution and system of caliphate all through his life. He was a great independent thinking individual.

May God shower His blessings on his departed soul.

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