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A Passionate Preacher of the Qur’ān passes away!
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

(Written on the demise of Dr Isrār Ahmad)

Dr Isrār Ahmad died in his sleep in the wee hours of 14th of April. The angel of death took him away from this world after he had spent almost eight decades in it. The restless soul which stirred the hearts of millions now rests peacefully till the time the trumpet is blown to herald the Day of Judgement.

He was born in Hisār (India) on 26th April 1932. He was a witness to and part of the Pakistan movement in his school and college life. During his medical education from King Edward Medical College Lahore (1950-54), he became a student leader and was elected the head of the Islāmī Jamī‘at al-Tulabā’, a student organization. Later he joined the Jamā‘at-i Islāmī but resigned in 1957 because of policy differences. In 1965, he did his MA in Islamic Studies from the Karachi University and topped the list of successful candidates. He remained closely associated with Abū A‘lā Mawdūdī (d. 1979) and Amīn Ahsan Islāhī (d. 1997) – two great islamicists of the last century. He was greatly inspired by Dr Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938), the brilliant poet and philosopher of the Indian subcontinent. He also drew inspiration from the works of Shāh Walī Ullah (d. 1762), Mahmūd al-Hasan Deobandī (d. 1920), Hamīd al-Dīn Farāhī (d. 1930) and Abū al-Kalām Āzād (d. 1958).

Dr Isrār Ahmad was perhaps the most passionate preacher of the Qur’ān of the current era. He devoted a greater part of his life in teaching the Holy Book. His life revolved around serving the cause of the Qur’ān in various capacities. He vehemently called the Muslims to re-establish a deep relationship with the Book of God – a relationship which stood severed since the last many centuries. Muslims to him were a nation which had lost its soul because it had forsaken the Qur’ān. In his opinion, the real reason for the decadence of the Muslim ummah was its alienation from the Qur’ān. So he took it upon himself to urge the Muslims to make the Qur’ān the centre of all their undertakings. To recite and to understand, to ponder and to preach and to adhere and to teach the Qur’ān sums up his life.

He was relentless and unyielding in his efforts. Ill-health could never deter his zeal and enthusiasm, which in fact grew when impediments would come his way. He was an embodiment of obedience to God and profoundly committed to his ideals. He would often quote the following lines to describe the military discipline he expected from his tanzīm members:


Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die.1


However, more than anything, these lines aptly portray his own profound commitment to his goals.

Beside other projects, he was the founder of the Qur’ān College of Arts and Sciences, the Qur’ān Auditorium, the Anjuman-i Khuddām al-Qur’ān (Society of the Servants of the Qur’ān) and the Qur’ān Conferences. For almost half a century, he continued to deliver weekly lectures on the Qur’ān and its philosophy. Many of his lectures have been transcribed and edited in the form of booklets and pamphlets. The audio-video cassettes and CD’s of these lectures have reached the farthest corners of this world. He was also the editor of the monthly Mithāq (The Covenant) and the monthly Hikmat-i Qur’ān (Wisdom of the Qur’ān). He appeared regularly on various TV channels to expound his views.

He was a man with a mission. He wanted to see that Islam prevails in the whole wide world. A global Islamic revolution was his dream. He expended every quantum of his energy in trying to realize this dream. He founded the Tanzīm-i Islāmī (1975) and later the Tahrīk Khilāfat (1991) to accomplish this goal. His sincerity and commitment to his mission was both amazing and exemplary. He was lucky that almost every member of his immediate and extended family became his ardent supporter in this cause.

Perhaps the most outstanding feature of his personality was that he was astonishingly true to his beliefs. He was an ardent adherent to what he stood for. He truly practiced what he preached. He was the least bothered with what people might say. He was bold and fearless in expressing what he thought was right. As long as he was convinced of something, he adhered to it with full might and majesty. He was an eloquent and articulate speaker. He could hold his audience spell bound with his fluent delivery and fascinating memory.

He was awarded the Sitārah-i Imtiyāz in 1981 by the government of Pakistan for his meritorious services.

Dr Isrār Ahmad was no doubt an inspiration to many. A person can differ with his views, but perhaps no one can contest his sincerity, commitment and devotion to his mission. He possessed many qualities of head and heart, but then he was a human being. We pray to God to forgive his blemishes and accept his services and grant him a place in Paradise. (Amen)






1. Cited from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade.

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