Remembering a great soul

Dr Israr Ahmad was born on 26 April 1932 in Hissar (present day Haryana) India. His father was a civil servant in the British government and post-partition period they shifted to Punjab Pakistan, where Israr Ahmed got selected in a medical course in King’s Edward Medical Collage Lahore for MBBS degree; besides he also received his masters in Islamic Studies from the University of Karachi in 1965. He practised medicine only until the late 60s, subsequently dedicating himself to promoting Islamic teachings, spending almost four decades in trying to reawaken interest in Quran-based Islamic philosophy.

Highly inspired an influenced  by the thought of Allama Iqbal and Maulana Abul A`la Maududi at young age he for brief stint  associated himself  with Muslim Student’s Federation in the Independence Movement and, following the creation of Pakistan in 1947, for the Islami Jami`iat-e-Talaba and then for the Jama`at-e-Islami. Dr. Israr Ahmad resigned from the Jama`at in April 1957 because of its participation in the electoral politics, which he believed was irreconcilable with the revolutionary methodology adopted by the same in the pre-1947 period. While he was still a student and an activist of the Islami Jami’iat-e-Talaba, Dr. Israr became a teacher (muddaris) of the Quran. Even after parting ways with the Jama`at, he continued his mission of spreading the Qur’anic education in different cities of Pakistan.

He authored almost 60 books the famous among them are; Bayan ul Quran, Allama Iqbal aur Hum, Rise and Decline of Muslim Ummah. His teachings about Al-Quran and about the Prophet (S.A.W) influenced the young generation all around the Muslim world.  Israr Ahmad believed in a dynamic conception of Islam, and in this regard he is a disciple of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Maulana Sayyid Abul A`la Maududi. Before joining Jama’at-e-Islami, he was the core member of the student wing of Jama’at-e-Islamia from 1950-54. In one of his interviews he reiterated that   Jamiat Tulbha played a vital role in his life towards the cause of Islam and learnt a great deal with jammat which he likened to as ‘child learnt everything from his mother’. He carried forward the spirit of using the tradition and modernity skilfully, as in the context of Qur’anic understanding, and exegesis Dr. Israr Ahmad was a firm traditionalist like Maulana Mehmood ul Hassan Deobandi and Allama Shabeer Ahmad Usmani; yet he presented Qur’anic teachings in enlightened and scientific way, being also a disciple of Allama Iqbal and Dr. Muhammad Rafiuddin. Concerning the intrinsic coherence and the principles of deep reflection in the Qur’an, he essentially followed on the path of Maulana Hameed Uddin Farahi and Maulana Ameen Ahsan Islahi.

A critic of electoral system and the modern democracy, Dr Israr exhorted in his writings that the intellectual and spiritual centre of the Muslim world is shifting towards the subcontinent. He became popular and turned into a household name during the 80s when he started the PTV programme, al Huda during Zia-ul-Haq’s time.  Dr. Israr Ahmad had been actively engaged not only in revival of the Qur’an-centered Islamic philosophy and world-view but also reforming the society in a practical way with the ultimate objective of establishing a true Islamic collective. He believed that Islamic teachings must be implemented in public spheres and he was also exceptional in offering the idea of the prophetic revolutionary teachings to the community. Throughout his lectures, he emphasised on invitation, association, education, discipline, non-violence, progress, obstacles and modern warfare. About  his flowing and animating speech Maulana Abdul Kareem Parekh had once said “When he speaks, it seems as if the whole Qur’an is unfolded in front of him.”

Tailpiece

Dr Israr Ahmed established Markazi Anjuman-i-Khuddamul Quran in 1972, and Tanzeem-i-Islami in 1975 . He relinquished the leadership of Tanzeem in 2002 on account of poor health.  He was also honoured with a Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 1981 for his services in the field of religious education. Founder of several organisations like Anjuman-i-Khuddamul Quran, Tanzeem-i-Islami and Tehrik-i-Khilafat, he had followers in Pakistan, India and Gulf countries, especially in Saudi Arabia. And the great Islamic scholar died in 14 April 2010 due to cardiac arrest. He was popular for his lectures and TV debates over contemporary Islamic issues and his grasp over Islamic history made him a front-ranking scholar of Islam. May Allah give him highest place in Jannat.

Author is a Research Scholar and hails from north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.