A Noble Soul in Quest of his Creator
Life, Work and Qualities of Mr. Naseer Ahmad Faruqui
by Razia Faruqui
The Light & Islamic Review (US), May/June 1992 Issue (Vol. 69, No. 3, pp. 10–12)
Editor’s Note: The author is sister of Mr. Naseer Ahmad Faruqui, the great stalwart of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore, and its Vice-President, who died last December .
My venerable father, Hazrat Dr. Basharat Ahmad (d. 1943), was a well-known scholar of the Holy Quran and a devout disciple of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. When he entered into the baiat [pledge] of the Founder, he became a changed person altogether. He would offer his daily and tahajjud prayers with utmost devotion and submission. When my mother was expecting a second child, my father fervently prayed for a safe and sound birth. One day, while he was engaged in his supplications to the Almighty Allah, he heard a voice, saying:
“This soul has come into the world to seek his Creator”.
Though this good news brought solace to the perturbed heart of my father, yet what he did not know or could not know at that time was that this yearning soul in the distant future was to attain eminence in the field of seeking knowledge of the Quran and spreading the word of Allah, not only to people around him but to nations living in the remote corners of the world too. My brother Naseer Ahmad related to me this good news received about his birth when I went to enquire about his health in Lahore. He advised me not to disclose it to anyone till he left this world. He also said, in his usual humorous way:
“When you write my obituary after my death, you may mention it”.
I could not enjoy this humour. My immediate reaction was:
“My dear brother, may Allah grant you long life and grant us your guardianship for long; I do not wish I should have to write such a note about you”.
But, alas, it was destined otherwise. He departed before me, and the unfortunate and sad moment has arrived which I never wished to see. An extremely grieved and bereaved sister is writing these few lines as homage to a brother who was an embodiment of righteousness, piety, affection and kindness. Inna li-llahi wa inna ilai-hi rajiun — we belong to Allah, and to Him do we return.
Brother Naseer Ahmad led a pious life dedicated to the noble cause of the study and preaching of the Quran. He pursued this task with missionary zeal and spent all his time, energy and wealth to achieve this noble objective. While a child, he mostly spent his time in studies, listening to religious lectures and performing the daily prayers regularly. In the evenings, when other children would play around, he preferred to accompany his father to the mosque and attended the dars-e-Quran (lessons in the meanings of the Quran) after the maghrib prayers. Being only three or four years of age, he would recline against his father’s knees and listen to the dars. In this way, love for, and knowledge of, the Quran was impressed upon the tender mind of the child. By the time he was a teenager, he would attend and understand the dars of his father, and stay in the mosque quite late, offering his isha prayers in congregation.
At home, the atmosphere was equally literary and religious. Table talk usually centred around some aspect of religion or the Quran. As there was no radio, television or cinema, after the isha prayers family members would either read a book or periodical, or go to sleep to rise early next morning. As our father was in government service, he was transferred from place to place after every two or three years. So up to matriculation, brother Naseer Ahmad studied in different schools in different places. But when the time came for him to go to college, he joined the Government College in Lahore and stayed there till graduation.
Shows True Islamic Qualities in Civil Service:
My father wished that after his graduation he should go to England for higher studies and become a professor in some higher education institution. But when he stood first in the B.A. in the whole of Punjab, friends of my father suggested that he should appear for the Indian Civil Service examination. He was successful, and this proved the starting point of his bright career. He rose to the highest positions in the Civil Service of Pakistan, retiring as Chief Election Commissioner. Throughout these high and lucrative positions, he did not deviate an inch from the path of honesty and integrity. There were ample opportunities for him to grab wealth and property and to favour his relatives and friends [and these are fully exploited by most officials — Editor], but he preferred their displeasure rather than misusing his office or influence in any way. While deciding cases and passing administrative orders he did not care for any pressure or intimidation, and dealt with each case on its merit. In fact, he distinguished himself as an outstanding, honest and diligent officer whom neither favour nor fear could entice.
He was married to a noble lady, Salima Khan, daughter of Mr. Agha Safdar Khan, a well-known person of Sialkot. She proved an excellent companion and took a keen interest in all his ambitions and aspirations with faith and conviction. She not only encouraged him in his noble pursuit of acquiring knowledge of the Quran but contributed her own share as well in donations for the translation and distribution of the Quran. In fact, she was a true colleague for her husband’s noble cause. She has lived a lifestyle depicting sobriety, piety and decorum of a true Muslim lady. Brother Naseer Ahmad and his wife were an ideal couple, fostering mutual love, sincerity and affection. We all enjoyed staying with them.
The late Sayyid [Syed] Asadullah Shah, a distinguished and saintly elder of the Jamaat, often visited our parents. He also received several divine inspirations before brother Naseer Ahmad was born. One of these was:
“A general of Promised Messiah’s army”.
My brother’s righteous and dedicated life for the cause of the Ahmadiyya Movement stands witness to the truth of this inspiration. Throughout his service, and after his retirement, he took keen interest in the affairs of the Anjuman, paid one-tenth of his income regularly as his monthly contribution, and responded spontaneously to all appeals made during the annual December gathering [Jalsa Salana] and on other occasions. Besides these known donations, he would quietly help members of the Jamaat, his friends and relations as well.
Early Service in Bombay:
After joining the Indian Civil Service, his first appointment was as assistant commissioner in the Bombay Presidency. In spite of his official duties and engagements, he never missed the annual December gathering at Lahore. But away from Lahore he missed his father very much, especially his dars-e-Quran. After his retirement [in about 1930], my father Dr. Basharat Ahmad undertook the laborious work of writing the commentary of Parts 27 and 30 of the Holy Quran and the 3-volumed biography of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. He also made regular contributions to the paper Paigham Sulh and delivered dars-e-Quran at the Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore. This continuous hard work told upon his health. Brother Naseer wanted to have his father with him in Bombay so that he could acquire deeper knowledge of the Quran, and also to look after him. Finally, he asked him to come over to Bombay, and my father agreed, despite his ill-health.
With the arrival of my father in Bombay, the study of the Quran was resumed. At times, brother Naseer would call on him two or three times a day to discuss and fully understand some difficult point he came across during his study. He even took his father along with him on official tours so that he might not miss a single day without studying the Quran. Unfortunately, my father’s stay in Bombay did not last long, and he breathed his last while there in April 1943 — Inna li-llahi wa inna ilai-hi rajiun — and his body was brought back to Lahore for burial.
As a worthy son of a worthy father, brother Naseer fulfilled his father’s wishes and gave dars-e-Quran throughout his life. He also gave Friday khutbas [sermons] regularly. After retiring from government service, he settled in Lahore and continued giving dars-e-Quran, first at the Ahmadiyya mosque in Muslim Town, and then at the Darus Salaam Mosque, New Garden Town, the Headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore. He got both his dars and his khutbas recorded on tape, and these were, by great demand, sent to members of the Jamaat and his relations in Pakistan and abroad. He wanted to publish all his dars-e-Quran in book form, but was able to publish only one volume consisting of lessons on the 2nd Chapter, Al-Baqara.
Translations of the Quran:
He also revived our Movement’s long-standing ambitious plan to produce translations of the Quran (based on Maulana Muhammad Ali’s English translation and commentary) in all the major languages of the world. This project was then pursued by our members in u.s.a. and Canada. He also made regular appeals for funds for this project.
The first translation to come in this line was in Spanish. To ensure correctness of the translation, brother Naseer invited the translator to Pakistan, and worked with him for a couple of months, checking it word by word. The Spanish translation was then published, with the help and hard work of the late General Abdullah Saeed. It was followed by the French translation, and others are in the process of publication or completion.
Throughout his life, brother Naseer worked very hard to study the Quran and follow it in his daily life. May Allah grant him an abode of bliss and everlasting peace in the hereafter! Ameen.