My Brother ” Dr. Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi رحمه الله تعالى “

We lived so close to each other for half a century that I could never learn to live this life without him. When he suddenly left, it was quite difficult to cope with the challenge of surviving him in this world. I felt like a lone traveler left behind the caravan amidst the confusing dunes of a wild desert.

But what Allah wills and decides is best for us. And indeed it is He who gives us strength to face and overcome every difficulty. All moments of crisis are traversed by Divine Support. The hours of grief become brief if faced with patience and solicitude. This inner strength could only be provided by our Sustainer Lord. Ere long the fleeting moments of sorrow are left behind.

It should also be remembered that the present is only a fine line between the past and the future. The present is constantly being turned into a bygone past. Therefore, we should keep our attention focused on the future. Because we could only improve our future, not our past. Therefore, we should be concerned with whatever is in our capacity and reach. This is the basic teaching of Islam. My late brother seemed to have learnt this lesson well. I can easily visualize what would have been his counsel for me in this crisis. However, as I said, maintaining this perseverant attitude requires effort as well as relying on our Creator and Master. It is He Who puts us to tests and it is He who enables us to pass every test and carry on our voyage into eternity. Our faith in Him and reliance on His Help is the greatest source of our strength and fortitude in all difficult times.

Now without celebrating what is past, my precious treasure are the memories of the good times we passed together, doing all things together, sharing many good things and enjoying each other’s company. It is like an attractive picture instilled in the view, a picture that constantly inspires me toward the good and emulate the example – for me a great ideal – that my brother set by every act and inferences I witnessed during the last fifty years of common shared, intimate and gratifying life. In this joint enterprise of shared living, however, I always remained at the receiving end. My brother showered his generosity upon me most lavishly. He was my role-model, teacher, mentor and the greatest benefactor in this human world after my parents and my late younger sister. May All┐h reward him by His Infinite Generosity; A reward which – I am sure – he is already receiving in abundance.

We always remained so integral  and attached to each other that many people who knew us from a distance thought that there lived only one individual. Such people – often times – took any of us for the other. When any such person met one of us, he would talk of things related to the other. And since there was hardly any secret between us, each of us would answer the query relating to the other with the same certainty and confidence. On many occasions, Shakespeare’s typical Comedy of Errors was enacted among us to our amusement. Once this comedy occurred with late President Ziaul-Haq. He had been well-acquainted with my brother. I was ‘summoned’ by him one afternoon to my surprise since I had no familiarity with him. The man who came to fetch me on his behalf suddenly walked in my office and informed that the President had called for me. My brother could not be traced on telephone to check whether I was being mistaken for him by the Protocol Officer waiting with the official limousine. I was obliged to accompany the ‘royal’ emissary. When I was received by the President he greeted me with warmth and an expression of familiarity. He even said: ‘where had you been all this while? And he uttered such other phrases  clearly indicating that he was mistaking me for my brother. At length, my true self was revealed to him. To overcome his embarrassment and to put mine at rest, he had a hearty laugh.

Likewise, often it was I who was met by his many friends, students and admirers whose ordinary questions I readily answered and later reported to my brother. Seldom  it happened the other way round. In fact, I had often been seen – and rightly so – to my great pride – as an appendage to my brother. And I had been perfectly satisfied with myself in this role of a lingering shadow, a sort of bur┴z┘ brother, as it were.  That is why when the real spirit, the archetype that provided meaning to this common existential pattern of a unique kind of unity in duality, namely, my brother was recalled and hopefully admitted to Heaven, this surviving inferior mortal part felt the greatest pain that a human could possibly suffer. If I were to try an  approximate description of this feeling, I could say that I felt like being cut into two uneven pieces, one of which (the real one) has been assigned to the blissful realm of the Hereafter while the other has been consigned to this tormenting terra incognita, – as it suddenly  turned for him – to face all its melancholy music, its travails and troubles. I hope and pray that with All┐h’s Infinite Help, unending Support and superabundant Mercy, this phase will soon be traversed and I will be joined with the already liberated major part of the soul once again – hopefully in Paradise – thanks to sheer Divine Grace – and by no means – due to any justification.

I remember my brother faintly since the age of four. We went to the same Maktab together for learning the Qur’┐n when I was five and he was ten. He had, of course, started some five years earlier. By the time I was admitted to the Maktab, he had already completed learning the Qur’┐n by heart with late Hafiz Nazir Ahmad. This centre of Qur’┐n learning was at Karachi.  I understand it still functions at a larger scale at the J┐mi‘ Masjid of Jacob Lines, in the vicinity of which we lived in modest government quarters from 1954 to 1964. When I was admitted to this Qur’┐nic school by my parents, I found my brother struggling hard in revising the Qur’┐n and rehearsing its recitation  according to the grammar of tajw┘d under the supervision of the seasoned scholar of the Qur’┐n namely, Q┐r┘ Waq┐’ullah ‘Uthm┐n┘. I was assigned to a junior teacher late Hafiz Muhammad Ilyas. This maktab had been established by the famous Mawl┐n┐ Iùtish┐m ul-Haq Th┐nv┘, reputed in those days as a popular public speaker in the religious circles of the country. The latter had been an old friend of our   father since their early youth.

Early in the morning, we would to go to the Maktab together and returned together by the twilight. After a quick evening meal and a brief family get-together at home, our father-himself coming after a long strenuous day of working in his office – would sit with us again for a kind of post-audit of that day’s learning. This session was no less vigorous and awe-inspiring than the whole day’s ‘ordeal’ at the Maktab. Those who have been exposed to the rough routine of a typical Quran school could well appreciate our situation.

We had a younger sister too. She never went out to study anywhere formally. She learnt the Qur’┐n reading from our father at home. Later at the age of forty, she also memorized the Qur’┐n by herself. With the generous help of my parents and brother, she easily learnt Urdu, English and Arabic and later rose to high standards of learning by her own personal interest and modest domestic efforts. She wrote and published many articles and booklets on Islam including Urdu translations of two important works from English, before she passed away at an early age of forty five in 2004.

After about a year, in 1960, my brother was admitted to Madrasa ‘Arabiyya Isl┐miyya – established a few years ago – by Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Binnouri at Karachi. My brother studied there for four years until 1964 when our family had to be shifted to Islamabad, the new metropolis, since our father was in Government employment.

At the Madrasa ‘Arabiyya Isl┐miyya, my brother had the good fortune to learn Arabic up to a higher standard than usually offered in our mad┐ris. He took lessons in Arabic linguistics and literature, mastering its depths and subtleties, from a very able and outstanding teacher coming from Egypt who was deputed there by the Al-Azhar University. This teacher namely, Ust┐dh Muhammad Y┴suf ‘A═iyya was virtually the founder of a new trend in Arabic learning in Pakistan and during his short sojourn in Karachi, he was able to produce a number of eminent scholars of Arabic in this country, my brother included. My brother benefited from the exceptional genius of this teacher far beyond the classroom coaching. He established a close personal relation with him and  greately relished this association throughout his life. He used to visit his revered teacher regularly at his house to supplement his learning at the Madrasa. At that early stage of his education (at the age of 15), he had not only learnt to write Arabic prose with facility but also developed a fine literary taste for the language of the Qur┐n. Thus, an  exceptional Arabic language proficiency remained my brother’s forte through his academic life. Another teacher who influenced my brother at that time was Mawlana Muhammad Hamid, the younger brother of the famous scholar and teacher of ùad┘th, Mawl┐n┐ Badr ‘└lam, a great scholar of repute who had migrated to Madinah in the later part of his life and taught ùad┘th at the ╓aram till the last moments of his life. When my brother joined the Madrasa in 1960, Mawl┐n┐ Badr ‘└lam was still on its faculty. Given the greed of my brother for knowledge and its worthy bearers, it is likely that he has had occasion – though brief – to benefit from this luminary too. The latter’s brother Mawlana ╓amid, who was no less accomplished than his renowned brother, – through little known – remained engaged in teaching at the Madrasa till the end of his life. For some months, my brother was also afforded an opportunity to study Us┴l al-Sh┐shi with Mawl┐n┐ Muùammad Y┴suf Binnour┘ himself. This happened when the regular teacher who was originally assigned to teach this text-book on u╖┴l al-fiqh had left for Madinah Munawwarah for advanced studies at the Islamic University there. My brother went straight to the head of the Madrasa, Mawl┐n┐ Binnour┘, agitated the issue before him and solicited his help to fill the gap. Looking at the keenness of the young student, the latter obliged and filled the gap by himself.

His teachers at this madrasah included Mawlana Muhammad Idr┘s Mairathi. The latter was an experienced and expert teacher of Islamic studies who left his mark on every student of his during his long and momentous career in Pedagogy. This Mawlana Mairthi later became the father-in-law of the well-known scholar and writer on Islamic Law late Dr. Ahmad Hasan who subsequently happened to be a colleague of my brother as a member of research faculty at the Islamic Research Institute.

After shifting to Islamabad, my brother spent some time in the pupilship of Mawlana Q┐r┘ Muhammad Am┘n, an outstanding teacher who was a graduate of the famous Madrasa Fatehpuri at Delhi and was known to our father since those early days as the latter had been teaching Persian language in that seminary run by the famous scholar of Persian Q┐╘┘ Sajjad Husain. After some time, my brother was admitted to D┐r al-‘Ul┴m Ta‘l┘m al- Qur’┐n, the best reputed seminary in those days at Rawalpindi, established and managed by its dynamic founder,  popular orator and Qur’┐n commentator Mawl┐n┐ Ghul┐m All┐h Khan. It was at this D┐r al-‘Ul┴m, that he passed his courses in Dars-i-Niz┐m┘  and completed the final year of ùad┘th studies in 1967.

During his stay in these Mad┐ris, my brother never confined himself to the curricular scheme that was in vogue there. He acquired and read books extensively and thus constantly expanded his academic horizons. Though he had never formally  learned Persian from any teacher but with little help from our father-himself a graduate of Ma╘┐hir al-‘Ul┴m, Saharanpur and AMU, (Aligarh), India, and well-versed in Persian, Arabic and English, my brother managed to acquire a fair  knowledge of  Persian and through regular reading, greatly enhanced his proficiency in this language. At an early age, he had developed sufficient taste for Persian literary works in both prose and verse. Later he passed with distinction the examination of F┐╘il-i-F┐ris┘ (Hons.) and was awarded a gold medallion. In the later years of his life, he even composed verses in Persian and used this medium with facility for his adventures in self-expression and occasional spiritual catharsis, as it were. Some of his Persian Poems had been regularly carried by Tahq┘q┐t, a monthly magazine published by Iran-Pakistan Research Centre, Islamabad.

While still at D┐r al ‘Ul┴m Ta‘l┘m al-Qur’┐n, my brother became greatly fascinated with the poetry of Iqbal and writings of Mawlana Maududi. These two figures were generally frowned upon in the circles of Madrasa in those days. But my brother did not care to hide his interest in these towering contemporary figures of Islamic thought and openly exhibited  his admiration for them. Despite his young age, he had earned great respect of his teachers as a keen student and earnest pupil. This respectability, which he enjoyed both among the faculty and the students of the Madrasa, prevented any unwelcome interference in his free pursuit of varied academic interests. It should be acknowledged in all fairness that the teachers of mad┐ris in general held my brother in high esteem both during his association with them as a regular student as well as thereafter. This was indeed a great concession made by these people for him as this was an exceptional departure from the rigid pedantic discipline usually imposed upon the students’ community in a traditional Madrasa.

Before he formally completed the courses of Dars-i-Niz┐m┘, he privately pursued other formal studies side by side with the Madrasa education and passed Matric, F.A. Ad┘b-i-‘Arabi, F┐zil-i-‘Arab┘ and F┐╘il-i-F┐ri┘(Hons.) examinations with distinction. He taught himself English from an ‘English-Made Easy’ sort of a small book that he per chance purchased from a dark alley frequented by him on our way to Madrasa where an old bookshossp was located. During about 100 minutes’ long drive between our Islamabad home and the Madrasa, he would immerse himself in this English reader. He learnt this foreign language so silently and imperceptibly that this never seemed to be any issue for him. I do not remember him taking any particular help even from our father for this purpose.

Also upon my late father’s insistence, after graduating from the Madrasa, my brother taught at another Madrasa Furq┐niyya, also located at Rawalpindi, which then worked under Mawl┐n┐ ‘Abd al-Hak┘m, a former member of the Parliament. This was an honourary assignment. My brother soon displayed his exceptional talents as an effective and successful teacher. The administration of the Madrasa was not quite reconciled to the intrusive presence of an alien looking non-conformist, somewhat unorthodoxly attired youth. Instead of opposing my brother’s entry, they conspired to collect for him all the hopeless students of the madrasa, clubbing this ‘human debris’ together into one class. All these ‘rejects’ of different classes and of different age-groups – all of whom were elder than their teacher –,  were required to be taught Arabic verse and prose, grammar and composition all at once within the span of few remaining months of the academic year. But when the result was announced, all these mediocres showed astounding success and excelled many ‘outstanding students’.

However, whatever formal assignments might have engaged my brother at the madrasa, stray readings always fascinated him and he remained absorbed in them far beyond the requirement of completing curricula, passing exams or completing text-books. He frequented book-shops as his favourite pastime. He had located many untrodden hidden places where old books were sold at throw-away prices. He thus made a good collection of books at a very early age. Even during childhood and adolescence, he seldom took interest in any sport or entertainment activity and remained devoted to books that always remained his dearest source of fulfillment and proudest possession. In those early days of Karachi, despite the fact that our family’s income was quite modest, he was ever-ready to leave any other need of life for the sake of acquiring books. In later years, when All┐h eased his financial difficulties and increased his resources, he spent lavishly on buying books.

After shifting to Islamabad, my brother often missed the vigour of the academic life that he immensely enjoyed at the Madrasa ‘Arabiyya Isl┐miyyah of Karachi. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the only profitable class-room teaching that he ever received in his life was at this Madrasa which was a vibrant centre of Islamic education specially during the days of its great founder Mawlana Muhammad Y┴suf Binnour┘ whose spirit of devotion and depth of learning pervaded the entire institution during the latter’s life-time and even continued for many years posthumously and is still hopefully maintained to some extent. Courtesy and discretion – that always prevailed upon my brother’s thoughts and responses – however, prevented him from complaining of the deficiencies of the teaching system that was practiced in the Mad┐ris of Rawalpindi. Instead of any protest or wail, that would have been of little profit or avail, my brother took refuge in the endearing company of his books. He extensively read great works of his choice in diverse disciplines, and he read with exceptional speed. His concentration, grasp and retention were remarkable. When he was only fifteen years of age, he had already delved deep in the basic sources of Islamic studies and exhaustively studied the celebrated works of the leading Muslim scholars specially those from the sub-continent like Shaikh A╒mad Sarhind┘, Sh┐h Wal┘ All┐h and Mawl┐n┐ Ashraf ‘Al┘ Thanvi. Later in his academic career, he wrote several books on the thought and contribution of the former two among these luminaries. His readings covered works in Urdu, Persian, Arabic, English, and during the last three dacades of his life, even French and German. The only limit on his reading was non-availability of some works due to want of sufficient resources or inaccessibility of certain rare sources. He dedicated his limited fortunes to the procuring of books far more enthusiastically than a newly wed bride would spend on jewelry or cosmetics. In the pursuit of this passion, he often earned the ire of his family, but tolerated this displeasure as a price worth paying.

Some two-three years after we had been settled in Islamabad, one day my brother received a news that was the pleasure of his life. He could not hide his excitement when he revealed to me that the famous Islamic Research Institute of Karachi had recently been shifted to Islamabad. This was in late 1967. He took me along and we set about in search of this newly found treasure. Islamabad was then a small functional bureaucratic sort of city, the distances of which could be covered on foot. So off we went to look for the Institute’s premises in all corners of the city without any address or phone number in our knowledge. At last we found it situated in some residential houses in (Street 67) Sector G-6/4. It was quite late and dark when we succeeded in our discovery. From next morning, my brother became a regular visitor of Islamic Research Institute’s Library’s where he was warmly received by its founder and custodian Mawlana Abdul-Qudd┴s H┐shim┘. The latter – a disciple of Sayyid Sulaiman Nadawi – was an exceptionally gifted scholar. He was virtually a mobile library of Islamic studies and ever generous to share his learning with any sincere seeker of knowledge. My brother thenceforth starting frequenting his house as well. And indeed he benefited tremendously from the company of this great savent. Mawl┐n┐ Hashim┘ was no ordinary man. A graduate of Nadwat al-‘Ulam┐’, Lucknow, he had a sharp grasp, a photographic memory and was deeply versed in the vast tradition of Islamic studies with its main currents, prominent shades and significant diversities. Besides, he was an immensely pleasant personality to meet and one seldom felt bored in his company. He treated my brother like his own son and showered his fatherly graces upon him from the first occasion of their mutual introduction. It seems both discovered in each other something they had been searching for. This mental frequency, established between the teacher and the pupil from their first sight of each other, reminds one of the famous line of Mawl┐n┐ R┴m┘:

‘if the thirsty are searching for water in the land, the water too seeks the thirsty in this world’.


Indeed in Mawl┐n┐ Hashim┘, my brother seems to have found the fountain he was looking for to quench his thirst.


This fatherly treatment of the Mawlana for my brother was so consistent and conspicuous that many people mistakenly took him to be his real son. After the Mawl┐n┐’s demise in Karachi, many people even offered condolences to my brother under the same impression.

It seems to have been so destined that a great deal of deficiencies left in his learning at the Mad┐ris of Rawalpindi – a source of silent agony for my brother – were adequately compensated – thanks to Divine Grace – by his seemingly casual encounter – evolving into close and lasting association with Mawl┐n┐ H┐shim┘. The visit to his house became a daily routine of my brother and a refrain of his life’s rhythm and train for many years – almost two decades. After each session with this Polymath, he would often share with this humble scribe and other family members, and with great zeal and relish, the essence of his daily academic earnings secured during these informal sessions.

Every meeting between the twain was an intellectual feast not only for the receiver but perhaps for the giver too in some measure. For the latter seemed to have discovered in my brother a real seeker of knowledge with unsatiable  thirst to quench himself from his overflowing fountain of knowledge, experience, sagacity and wisdom. Until the last moments of his life, the Mawl┐n┐ maintained his fatherly patronage of my brother and the latter on his part revered him as his real benefactor and a godfather of sorts. The Mawl┐n┐ would emerge from his house-located near present Holiday Inn, Islamabad-a little before sunset for Maghrib Prayers. He would pray at the Mosque in our neighbourhood in (Street 16)sector G-6/2, and after Maghrib, my brother would almost invariably accompany him to his house, spending several hours in his educative and inspiring company. The Mawlana would do most of the talking. The subjects of his talk ranged from tafs┘r, ùad┘th, Fiqh, Kal┐m, S┘rah and Islamic history to literature and poetry. Without any rigid formality of teaching and learning, this great savent and spiritual menter immensely benefited my brother and generously shared his deep and many original insights in the vast areas of Islamic studies. Indeed Mawl┐n┐ Hashim┘, with his varied and extraordinary accomplishments, represented the golden tradition of our great past in his grasp, memory, understanding, extensive knowledge and deep awareness about tafs┘r, ùad┘th, S┘ra, Fiqh, Kal┐m and Arabic literary tradition, their major trends, central issues and prominent exponents. The Mawlana who had been a disciple of great scholars of his time including gems like Mawl┐n┐ Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, displayed in his exceptional talents the superb qualities of his great teachers and mentors.

If one particular individual could be credited with exerting the greatest influence on my brother’s academic development and intellectual orientation, it was indeed Mawl┐n┐ Hashim┘. May Allah reward him tremendously for his kind favours showered upon my brother with lavish generosity. I am sure my brother has now joined once again his teacher’s company at a place better than this world where he used to miss him after Mawlana’s demise. The grateful student must have thanked his teacher personally for his valued contribution to his academic upbringing.

It is not possible to compress within the confines of a brief essay, the fascinating and eventful life of a matchless individual like my brother, however, hard this humble scribe might try to describe. Also the crushing excruciating pain of separation from his loving and caring company that he enjoyed for half a century will take time to heal. Therefore, an attempt – despite all limitations of expression and understanding and inhibitions of subjectivity and bias – is being made. Focus, therefore, has to be made here on highlighting the main factors that went into the making of the genius of my brother.

Also no less worthy of special mention is the influence that my brother received from another giant – a great and unique, towering figure of recent times who contributed immensely and decisively to many landmarks of our national struggle for independence. He was also solely behind some of the most momentous events in the life of the Muslims of the present age as a whole. Despite his massive substantive contribution to making Pakistan an Islamic Republic and to some other significant achievements made in this country’s short history, he was little known and almost entirely omitted from our annals of history. He was Mawlana Zafar Ahmad Ansari (1992) one of the lieutenants of Quaid-e-Azam and among the chief architects of 1973 constitution and an outstanding political thinker and constitutional theoretician, a master negotiator and an almost solitary and anonymous Muj┐hid of Islam in his own way. There arose hardly any significant move for the resurgence of Islam in the last century, in which this great Muj┐hid did not make a decisive and consequential contribution. His epoch-making contributions perhaps escaped notice by our historians if only because he was by temperament averse to publicity and self-projection.

It was the good fortune of this younger brother that he had the privilege of making Mawl┐n┐ Ansari’s acquaintance before the elder brother. The vivid memory of his first casual encounter with him is still fresh in his mind when he first saw this giant on the fateful day of 20th December 1971 at East Pakistan House. The anguish of the dismemberment of Pakistan had taken this humble scribe to East Pakistan House, where a meeting of our national leaders was in session to deliberate over the great debacle and its implications for our country. He had gone there in great pain and sorrow searching for solace from lips of those national leaders he trusted and knew.  After a brief meeting with late Mr. Mahmud Ali, a great Pakistani Patriot from the Eastern wing, he was coming out with a heavy heart when a small cab stopped in front of the East Pakistan House. An old weather-beaten, seasoned looking but attractive elderly figure emerged from the cab and eagerly enquired from this humble scribe: ‘Where could I locate Nawwabzada Nasrullah Khan Sahib? I felt immediately tempted to escort him to the interior precincts of East Pakistan House (a building later used for years as the headquarters of the Supreme Court of Pakistan located at Peshawar road). I asked for late Mr. Mahmud Ali again with whom I had a prior acquaintance and whom I had met minutes ago. While walking across the lawns of that specious mansion, the Maul┐n┐ introduced himself as simply: ‘Zafar Ahmad Ansari’, in his typically humble self-effacing manner. On my request Mr. Mahmud Ali re-emerged from the conference room, warmly received this veteran national leader and ushered him in. This was my first encounter with the colossus called Maul┐n┐ Ansari.

The first week of April 1972 brought Maul┐n┐ Ansari to Islamabad to attend the opening session of the constituent Assembly of which he was an independently elected member from Karachi. Thereafter, he regularly came for the Assembly Sessions and stayed sometimes for weeks at the MNAs Hostel at suite No.112. I and my brother became his regular visitors. Being younger, I often was sent by the Maul┐n┐ for small errands in the city of Islamabad for ordinary day to day needs like fetching medicines or purchase of pans from a nearby shop. On a couple of occasions, I was sent to fetch a taxi cab to take the Mawl┐n┐ to the Prime Minister’s House at Rawalpindi where he needed to go in connection with resolving important national issues with late Mr. Z. A. Bhutto. Despite the latter’s highest regard for the Mawl┐n┐ and his ever-obliging attitude to him, the Mawlana refrained from seeking the smallest facility from him. Hence the need for the taxi to travel some 30 KM to see Mr. Bhutto at his Rawalpindi palace. I undertook these ‘tasks’ with a sense of pride. I felt elevated by feeling to be of some use – though in ordinary matters – to a national leader of highest calibre engaged in pursuing some national cause. However, my brother soon earned a place of love and respect in the heart of Maul┐n┐ Ansari for his keenness and commitment to pursue higher aims and objectives of national development that occupied the thoughts and initiatives of Maul┐n┐ Ansari. Like his teacher, Maul┐n┐ Hashim┘, Maul┐n┐ Ansari was no less instrumental in refining the intuition and defining imagination the right direction for my brother’s later academic orientation. Maul┐n┐ Ansari – who usually evaded public appearances and often maintained great reserve in mixing with people and sharing his views, increasingly trusted my brother and gradually even started entrusting him with specific research tasks required for many of the grand strategies pursued for national development specially in the fields of constitution making and Islamization of Pakistani society and polity. An immediate example of this trust that comes to mind is the task of presenting the Islamic point of view with regard to the famous or infamous Qadiani problem before the South African Supreme Court in 1987. It was at the behest of Maul┐n┐ Ansari that my brother was invited at the Supreme Court of South Africa to appear as an expert witness on behalf of the local Muslim community. This task he accomplished to the satisfaction of the Maul┐n┐ under whose active guidance, he appeared before the Court daily for five weeks during October-December 1987. The other example of both trust and discipleship of Maul┐n┐ Ansari – an honour that few others shared – is my brother’s association with the national commission on the Islamization of the Constitution setup in the early 1980s, again on the sole recommendation of Maul┐n┐ Ansari, in which my brother made a humble contribution under the supervision of the Maul┐n┐. These and many other activities of national significance initiated by the Maul┐n┐ in which my brother became involved thanks to the former’s patronage and guidance greatly enriched my brother’s fund of knowledge and experience and expanded his intellectual horizons. It was due to this close association with this great genius of the world of Islam that my brother developed unusual skills in comprehending and resolving complex problems in the spheres of education, law, constitution and judiciary. He employed these skills of his master with great deftness and discretion subsequently when he was invited to hold certain important offices in the state. Thus my brother had the singular privilege of enjoying long association, trust and patronage of the Maul┐n┐ who had dedicated his life with his whole heart and soul to the service of Islam, Pakistan and the Muslim Ummah. May Allah rest his soul in peace and reward him profusely, └m┘n! It seems probable to me that side by side with transmitting deep insights and original ideas, the Mawl┐n┐ also transferred to my brother some portion of his great spirit of sincerity and zeal for the service of Islam and Pakistan as well.

Returning to my brother’s informal association with the Islamic Research Institute, it so happened that within weeks of my brother’s newly found interest in the library of the Institute and its erudite librarian Mawlana Hashmi, he came across Shaikh ╗┐w┘ ‘Al┘ Sha’l┐n. The latter was a renowned Egyptian Poet invited by late President Ayyub Khan on the advice of Qudratullah Shihab, the then Education Secretary, to translate Allama Iqbal’s poetic works into Arabic verse. The Egyptian guest was looking for a Pakistani scholar who could assist him in that assignment. When he met my brother, he was overjoyed to identify in him the scholar par excellence he was frantically looking for. My brother – himself a great lover of Iqbal – who had by then virtually memorized almost all his verse and digested much of his prose – was more than happy to work with this Egyptian literary luminary. He remained associated with this leading literary figure of Egypt and helped him translate, into versified Arabic, selections from Allama Iqbal’s poetic works in Urdu and Persian. After about a year of vigorous activity fully shared by my brother, Shaikh ╗┐w┘ suddenly left one morning for his home country without leaving a trace behind. My brother naturally regretted this abrupt departure of his senior associate and lamented the loss of this fertile literary resource provided to him by the Providence. He always thanked Allah for this opportunity whereby he was able to further refine his skills in Arabic and greatly improved his linguistic capital and literary sensitivity through this year – long association with this old and mysterious Egyptian fugitive. Soon, thereafter, my brother was offered a job of Research investigator at the Institute and thus he formally joined the institution with which he had been already so closely familiar, passionately attached and informally associated with his heart and soul.

After joining service at the institute, he became even more closely attached with Mawl┐n┐ Hashim┘. In those days, (1969-) the Mawlana used to start his day with a short lesson in ùad┘th from Mishk┐t al-Ma╖┐b┘ù. My brother naturally joined this class enthusiastically alongwith other senior scholars of the Institute. In the course of time, my brother also made acquaintance with some other prominent scholars associated with the institute at that time like Prof. Mazharuddin Siddiqi, Professor Muhammad Sarwar, Professor Sagh┘r Hasan Masumi, Professor Qudratullah Fatimi, Professor Detlev Khalid (a visiting Professor from Germany) and Professor M. A. Khan. The latter belonged to the then East Pakistan, and under his guidance my brother wrote initial articles on Allal al-F┐s┘, a Moroccan revivalist scholar of the last century. Later, he was assigned to work on the ‘Sanusiyyah movement of North Aftrica’. He completed this project in a matter of months which was published later under the auspices of the Shar┘‘ah Academy, IIU by the same title. In the meanwhile, he passed M. A. exams in Arabic and Islamic Studies with distinction from Punjab University. Apart from his official assignment to work on al-F┐s┘, he wrote several articles on different other topics related to Islamic studies. Most of these articles were published in the Fikr-o-Nazar, the then monthly journal of the Institute which was edited in those days by the outstanding scholar namely, Prof. Muhammad Sarwar, the famous authority on the thought of Sh┐h Wal┘ All┐h. Later, (in 1980), this monthly journal was turned into a quarterly and my brother became its Editor alongwith his main editorial duties in Al-Diras┐t Isl┐miyyah, the quarterly journal of the Institute in Arabic. After sometime, he got himself registered as a Ph.D. student at Punjab University. For his thesis, he wrote a dissertation on the Role of Shah Wal┘ All┐h in Muslim Revivalism in India. In the writing of this dissertation, he was supervised by Prof. Muhammad Aslam, the famous historian of Punjab University. However, due to some petty politics between rival groups of the University teachers, he could not earn the degree. Least discouraged by this mean maneuvering by unknown elements inimical to his illustrious supervisor, he submitted another thesis to the same University and secured the ‘printed sheet of printed paper’ called ‘doctoral degree’, though since many years he had been far too advanced in knowledge, erudition and scholarship than any of these gradations could testify.

One great quality of my brother among so many others, was that he was least dissuaded from pursuing his academic passion by unending animosities, oppositions, jealousies and conspiracies that were hatched by insincere elements against him throughout his career. Such evil machinations continued almost all the time unabated by the devil’s disciples against my brother till the last hours of his earthly life. Far from being discouraged by any amount of treacherous tricks – tricks that were more often planned and endlessly played against him by those he favoured immensely – he did never even speak ill of such malice continuously visited upon him. Even if mention was ever made of any individuals and their betrayls in his presence by others, he never gave vent to any complaint and simply dismissed the topic with a slight smile. Far from nursing any vendetta in his bosom, he continued to treat such individuals with warmth and courtesy and always frowned upon backbiting against his unrelenting unilateral practitioners of wicked but vain animus. I am sure he must be enjoying the abundant reward from his Lord for his long patience with such wanton enemies. May All┐h forgive the latter too.

It is perhaps such rare moral qualities that characterized my brother which earned him so much love and adoration, honour and respect in such wide circles of the world of Islam apparently by a special Divine Grace. At the young age of thirty, he was widely acclaimed as a first rate scholar in the farthest corners of the world. He was invited to assume highest offices that any ambitious man could ever dream of, though he never entertained any worldly ambition for self-promotion. Nor he ever demanded an office for himself. In fact, the truth is that he never demanded any favour for himself from any one all his life. At least, I do not remember a single instance of this pursuit of interest – though  a valid act otherwise – by my brother even in the days of his adolescence. However, his constant and quick rise in the ladder of worldly positions of power, misled many to hold an erroneous view about the inner motives of my very pious, innocent and well-meaning brother, facts to which I have no hesitation to testify. Honours and acclamations my brother continuously received in his country and abroad endlessly without slightest suggestion, initiative or effort on his part. Despite being extremely shy and reserved and characterized by self-withdrawal, almost bordering on introversion, he received highest distinctions of honour and prestige both within his own country, in many Muslim countries from Morocco to Malaysia, Kazakhstan to Qatar and even in some foreign lands inhabited by non-Muslims. It has perhaps been a Divine Practice that if a talent is ignored or a bright man of consequence is slighted in his own milieu, All┐h compensates him by a wider unreserved acknowledgement from distant quarters. This is indeed a true acknowledgement untainted by selfishness or typical contemporaneous jealousy.

However, his occupying such challenging offices as Federal Minister, Judge of the superior courts, Member of the National Security Council (a super – cabinet created in Pakistan after the change of government from civilian to Military rule in 1999), and President of International Islamic University did not least diminish his preoccupation with academics, his passion for reading and writing, teaching and preaching, guiding and supervising research by enthusiastic young students and promising scholars. He was perhaps the only sitting member of the Federal cabinet in this country who took regular classes in regular academic programmes of the International Islamic University, an institution he so sincerely and diligently served and helped conceiving, then creating from scratch and then laboured hard to develop it for three decades with his sweat and blood. For IIU, my brother sacrificed prime of his youth since the age of 28 till the age of 59½ when the University dispensed with his services on 25.3.2010. The University administration hastened to retire this highest calibre scholar and the most dedicated and of sincere soldier relentlessly serving its cause even before its conception – much to his disappointment – without a moment’s hesitation – upon his slight indication to leave service a few months before his due date of retirement. He, however, had little regrets afterwards. At least he never complained. For Islamic education remained his real love and dearest vocation, his overriding passion throughout his life. It was for the sake of an intense academic struggle for exalting the word of All┐h and establishing All┐h’s writ in human life that he lived and toiled to his utmost capacity till the last breaths of his life. For rendering some worthwhile service to the Muslim education and academia, he dedicated his whole soul and devoted all his being, working day and night with endless zest and zeal with his utmost abilities and optimal resources.

May Allah forgive my brother’s failings and lapses – something from which no human could be immune –. May He reward him profusely, exalt his station in Paradise and admit him to the august company of those he loved most: the Prophets, the Truthful ones and the Pious elders of the community of the faithful. Am┘n.

Muhammad al-Ghazali

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