|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
April 26, 1932
|Died||April 14, 2010
|Residence||Lahore and Karachi|
|Other names||Dr. Israr Ahmad Saheb|
|Notable work(s)||The Call of Tanzeem-e-Islami|
|School||Islamic philosophy, Quran and Sunnah, Realism, and Rationalism|
|Main interests||Islamic law and Quranic exegesis|
|Notable ideas||Call to Qur'aan, Revival of Khilafah, and Prophetic Model of Revolution|
Israr Ahmed (Urdu: ڈاکٹر اسرار احمد; April 26, 1932 – April 14, 2010; Msc, MBBS) was a prominent Pakistani Islamic theologian, philosopher, and one of the noted Islamic scholar followed particularly in South Asia as well as by the South Asian diaspora in the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America.
He was the founder of the Tanzeem-e-Islami and an off-shoot activist of the rightist Jamaat-e-Islami. Ahmed wrote and published 60 books on the different aspects of Islam and religion, nine of which were translated into English. Prior to that, he was a television personality and daily hosted a religious show on Peace TV.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Work
- 3 Health
- 4 Influences
- 5 Tanzeem-e-Islami
- 6 Criticism and controversy
- 7 Death and funeral
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early life and education
Israr Ahmed was born in Hisar, a province of East Punjab of British Indian Empire, on 26 April 1932. His father was a civil servant in British Government and had his family settled from Hisar to Montgomery, now Sahiwal, Punjab Province of Pakistan.
After graduating from a local high school, Ahmed moved to Lahore to attend the King Edward Medical University in 1950. There, he received MBBS from King Edward Medical University in 1954 and began practicing the medicine. During his university studies, he worked briefly for Muslim Students Federation and was Nazim-e-Ala of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba.
In 1950, he joined the Jamaat-e-Islami led by Abul Ala Maududi, but left the party when the latter opted for electoral politics in 1957. Ahmed resigned from the Jamaat-e-Islami in April 1957 because of its involvement in the national politics, which he believed was irreconcilable with the revolutionary methodology adopted by the Jama'at in the pre-1947 period. His interest in Islam and philosophy grew further and subsequently moved to Karachi, Sindh Province in 1960s where he enrolled in the Karachi University. After submitting his thesis in 1965, he earned M.Sc. in Islamic Studies from Karachi University.
Ahmed studied Islamic philosophy and recited the Qur'an while a student at Karachi University. At the university, he briefly lectured in philosophy and lectured in Qur'anic as well as Islamic traditions in different universities of Pakistan. In 1965, he sometime affiliated with the religious society but alleviated himself due to methodological differences.
Literature and philosophy
In 1967, Ahmed wrote and published the important philosophy book, the "Islamic Renaissance: The Real Task Ahead", in which he briefly explained the abstract idea of the Caliphate system. He vehemently maintained that only by revitalizing concept and importance of faith among the Muslims in general and intelligentsia in particular. His solution was to teach Qur'an in contemporary idiom backed by the highest level of scholarship. Commenting on scientific aspects, Ahmed wrote that "this undertaking would remove the existing dichotomy between modern physical and social sciences on the one hand, and Islamic revealed knowledge on the other."
In 1971 Ahmed gave up his medical practice to devote himself fully to the Islamic revival. In 1972, he established (or helped establish) the Markazi Anjuman Khuddam-ul-Qur'an Lahore, Tanzeem-e-Islami was founded in 1975, and Tahreek-e-Khilafat Pakistan was launched in 1991.
Ahmed first appeared on Pakistan Television in 1978 in a program called Al-Kitab; this was followed by other programs, known as Alif Lam Meem, Rasool-e-Kamil, Umm-ul-Kitab, the most popular of all religious programs in the history of Pakistan Television. The Al-Huda TV program made him a household name throughout the country. His television lectures generally focused on the revitalisation of the Islamic faith through studies of the Quran. In the beginning of 21st century he appeared on PeaceTV and lectured on Qur'an and Islam.
He criticised modern democracy and the prevalent electoral system and argued that the head of an Islamic state could reject the majority decisions of an elected assembly. Although he did not like to receive it personally, Ahmed was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 1981. He has to his credit over 60 books in Urdu on topics related to Islam and Pakistan, nine of which have been translated into English and other languages.
Ahmed relinquished the leadership of Tanzeem-e-Islami in October 2002 on grounds of bad health and Hafiz Akif Saeed is the present Ameer of the Tanzeem to whom all rufaqaa of Tanzeem renewed their pledge of Baiyah.
Supporters describe his vision of Islam as having been synthesised from the diverse sources. He has also acknowledged the "deep influence" of Shah Waliullah Dehlavi, the 18th century Indian Islamic leader, anti-colonial activist, jurist, and scholar. Ahmed followed the thinking of Maulana Hamiduddin Farahi and Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi, concerning what his followers believe is the "internal coherence of and the principles of deep reflection in the Qur'an". Furthermore, Ahmed followed Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi in regards to what he believes is the "dynamic and revolutionary conception of Islam."
"In the context of Qur'anic exegesis and understanding, Ahmed was a firm traditionalist of the genre of Maulana Mehmood Hassan Deobandi and Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani; yet he presented Qur'anic teachings in a scientific and enlightened way ..." Ahmed believed in what he called “Islamic revolutionary thought,” which consists of the idea that Islam – the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah – must be implemented in the social, cultural, juristic, political, and economic spheres of life. In this he is said to follow Mohammad Rafiuddin and Muhammad Iqbal. The first attempt towards the actualisation of this concept was reportedly made by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad through his short-lived party, the Hizbullah. Another attempt was made by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi through his Jamaat-e-Islami party. Although the Jamaat-e-Islami has reached some influence, Ahmed resigned from the party in 1956 when it entered the electoral process and believed that such an involvement led to "degeneration from a pure Islamic revolutionary party to a mere political one".
Originally a member of Jamaat-e-Islami, Ahmed became disappointed with its electoral activity, "significant policy matters", and what he saw as the "lack of effort to create an Islamic renaissance through the revolutionary process." He and some other individuals resigned from JI and in 1956 founded the nucleus of Tanzeem-e-Islami, an attempt to create a "disciplined organization." "A resolution was passed which subsequently became the Mission Statement of Tanzeem-e-Islami."
Along with his work to revive "the Qur'an-centered Islamic perennial philosophy and world-view" Ahmed aimed with his party to "reform the society in a practical way with the ultimate objective of establishing a true Islamic State, or the System of Khilafah".
According to the Tanzeem-e-Islami website Ahmed and the party believe "the spiritual and intellectual center of the Muslim world has shifted from the Arab world to the region of Khorasan and "conditions are much more congenial for the establishment of Khilafah in Pakistan" than in other Muslim countries.
According to Tanzeem-e-Islami's FAQ, while both Hizb ut-Tahrir and Tanzeem-e-Islami share belief in reviving the Caliphate as a means of implementing Islam in all spheres of life, Tanzeem-e-Islami does not believe in involvement in electoral politics, armed struggle, coup d'état to establish a caliphate, and has no set plan of detailed workings for the future Caliphate. Tanzeem-e-Islami emphasises that iman (faith) among Muslims must be revived in "a significant portion of the Muslim society" before there can be an Islamic revival. Thus there is a lot of difference in ideas, beliefs and methodology between the two.
Abul Ala Maududi
While Ahmed "considers himself a product" of the teachings of "comprehensive and holistic concept of the Islamic obligations" of Abul Ala Maududi, he opposes Jamaat-e-Islami's "plunge" into "the arena of power politics," which he considered to have been "disastrous.". Dr Israr also developed ideological differences with Maulana Maududi.
Danger of foreign powers
In response to the state of emergency in 2007, Ahmed called for lifting the emergency, reinstatement of Supreme Court justices, and withdrawal of all actions taken in pursuance of the proclamation of emergency and the PCO law besides resignation of President Pervez Musharraf.
In a television press conference, Ahmed called for resignation of Pervez Musharraf from both president and chief of army staff. Ahmed appealed President General Musharraf to lift the state emergency and stepped down for nation's greatest interests. At the television news channels, Ahmed also predicted and warned the nation that:
"If the situation worsens, the NATO forces are waiting on the western front to move into Pakistan and may deprive the country of its nuclear assets while on the eastern front, India is ready to stage an action replay of 1971 events and has alerted its armed forces to intervene in to check threats to peace in the region."—Dr. Israr Ahmad, calling for Musharraf's resignation and pointing out the anti-Pakistan elements in the country, source
Criticism and controversy
Canada's National Post newspapers reported in 2006 that, according to Ahmed:
"Islam's renaissance will begin in Pakistan... because the Arab world is living under subjugation. Only the Pakistan region has the potential for standing up against the nefarious designs of the global power-brokers and to resist the rising tides of the Jewish/Zionist hegemony.
Asia Times reports that in September 1995 Ahmed told the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America that:
The process of the revival of Islam in different parts of the world is real. A final showdown between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world, which has been captured by the Jews, would soon take place. The Gulf War was just a rehearsal for the coming conflict.
He appealed to the Muslims of the world, including those in the US, to prepare themselves for the coming conflict."
On 27 July 2007, VisionTV, a Canadian multi-faith religious television channel, aired an apology for broadcasting lectures by Mr. Ahmed. The channel had taken Ahmed off the air earlier that week for his derogatory comments about Jews. In reply, Ahmed "strongly refuted the impression that he hated the Jews or he held anti-Semitic views," according to the National Post
Death and funeral
Ahmed died of a cardiac arrest at his home in Lahore on the morning of 14 April 2010 between 3:00 and 3:30 am. According to his son, his health deteriorated at around 1:30 am with pain in the back. He was a long time heart patient.
His funeral (Namaz-e-Janazah) was held after the Asr (afternoon) prayers at Central Model-town Park (near Barkat Market) in the city of Lahore. It is reported that around twenty thousand people attended his funeral. Great tribute was paid to Dr Israr Ahmed by Allama Ibtisam Ilahi Zaheer of Jamait-e-Ahl-e-Hadees, Mufti Rafi Usmani of Daarul Uloom Karachi, Qazi Hussain Ahmed of Jamaat-e-Islami and many other personalities.
- "The Founder – Dr Israr Ahmad Rahmat-ullah". Tanzeem.org. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
- Hashmi, Salima. "On the Philosophy of Dr. Israr Ahmed". Grand Strategic review. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- Our Staff Reporter (April 15, 2010). "Prominent scholar Dr Israr Ahmed dies". Dawn Archives, April 15th, 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- islamabad.net, "Dr. Israr Ahmed"[dead link]
- Peace TV. "Media profile:Peace TV". Peace TV. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- Peace TV. "Dr. Israr Ahmad". Peace TV promotion. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- "About the Founder:Dr. Israr Ahmad". About the Founder:Dr. Israr Ahmad. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- Mumtaz Ahmad, "Media-Based Preachers and the Creation of New Muslim Publics in Pakistan," NBR Special Report 22, February 2010 
- "The Khilafah Movement Famous Personalities". Khilafahmovement.org. 26 April 1932. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
- "Tamzeem-e-Islami Frequently Asked Questions". Tanzeem.org. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
- Our Reporter (November 20, 2007). "Dr Israr advises Musharraf to call it a day". Dawn News Archives 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "FBI's Latest Outreach Outrage", by Steven Emerson, IPT News, 7 November 2007
- ""Al-Qaeda clone takes root in the US," by B Raman, July 3, 2003". Atimes.com. 3 July 2003. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
- News, Arab. "Renowned Islamic scholar Dr Israr Ahmed is dead". Arabnews.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
- Veteran religious scholar Dr. Israr Ahmed passes away[dead link]
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