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একাত্তরের মানবতাবিরোধী অপরাধের মামলায় আটকাবস্থায় মৃত্যুবরণকারী জামায়াতের ইসলামীর সাবেক আমীর অধ্যাপক গোলাম আযমের স্ত্রী সৈয়দা আফিফা আযম ছেলের সন্ধান চেয়ে রমনা মডেল থানায় সাধারণ ডায়রি করেছেন।
আজ (বুধবার) রাত পোনে দশটার দিকে রমনা মডেল থানার ভারপ্রাপ্ত কর্মকর্তা (ওসি) বরাবর এই ডায়রি করা হয়।
এ সময় আবেদনকারী আফিফা আযমের সাথে আরো ছিলেন দুই আইনজীবী ও এক নাতি। তারা হলেন অ্যাডভোকেট নুরুজ্জামান, অ্যাডভোকেট ইউসুফ মোল্লা ও নাতি বিলকিস।
গত ২২শে আগস্ট রাতে গোলাম আযমের ছেলে সেনাবাহিনীর সাবেক ব্রিগেডিয়ার জেনারেল আব্দুল্লাহিল আমান আযমীকে মগবাজারের বাসা থেকে ডিবি পরিচয়ে সাদা পোশাকের কয়েকজন সদস্য ধরে নিয়ে যায়। এর পর থেকে আর তার সন্ধান পাওয়া যাচ্ছে না।
সাধারণ ডায়রিতে অধ্যাপক গোলাম আযমের স্ত্রী নিজের বয়স ৮৪ বছর উল্লেখ করে বলেন, তিনি একজন বয়োবৃদ্ধা ও অসুস্থ নারী। তার ছয় ছেলে মেয়ের মধ্যে ৫জনই বিদেশে থাকায় তার কাছে থাকতো শুধুমাত্র তার ৪র্থ সন্তান আব্দুল্লাহিল আমান আযমী।
বাংলাদেশ সেনাবাহিনীর সাবেক এই ব্রিগেডিয়ার জেনারেলের বয়স ৫৭ বছর এবং উচ্চতা ৫ ফুট সাড়ে ৬ ইঞ্চি উল্লেখ করা হয় সাধারণ ডায়রিতে।
থানায় ডায়রি করার বিষয়ে মুঠোফোনে যোগাযোগ করে জানতে চাইলে অ্যাডভোকেট ইউসুফ মোল্লা টাইমনিউজবিডিকে জানান, রমনা মডেল থানার ওসি মশিউর রহমান সাধারণ ডায়রিটি গ্রহণ করেছেন। তিনি ইনস্পেক্টর (তদন্ত) আলী হোসেনকে এ বিষয়ে তদন্ত করার দায়িত্ব দেন। এ বিষয়ে পরিবারকে আগামীকাল (বৃহস্পতিবার) সিদ্ধান্ত জানাবেন বলেও ওসি জানিয়েছেন বলে টাইমনিউজবিডিকে বলেন অ্যাডভোকেট ইউসুফ।
এদিকে, সাধারণ ডায়রির একটি কপি সংগ্রহ করা সম্ভব হয়েছে। পাঠকদের জন্য ওই সাধারণ ডায়রির লেখা হুবহু নিচে তুলে ধরা হলো:
রমনা মডেল থানা
বিষয়: সাধারণ ডায়রীর আবেদন
যথাবিহীত সম্মানপূর্বক বিনীত নিবেদন এই যে, আমি নিম্ন স্বাক্ষরকারীনি বয়োবৃদ্ধা, অসুস্থ এক নারী সৈয়দা আফিফা আযম (৮৪), স্বামী মৃত অধ্যাপক গোলাম আযম, সাং ১১৯/২, কাজী অফিস লেন, বড় মগবাজার, থানা-রমনা, ডিএমপি, জেলা-ঢাকা আপনাকে অবহিত করছি যে, আমার ৪র্থ ছেলে আব্দুল্লাহিল আমান আযমী, বয়স ৫৭, উচ্চতা ৫’৬’’, গা্য়ের রং ফর্সা, বাংলাদেশ সেনাবাহিনীর সাবেক ব্রিগেডিয়ার জেনারেলকে গত ২২/৮/২০১৬ খ্রি: তারিখ রাত অনুমান ৯ ঘটিকার সময় উল্লেখিত ঠিকানায় ৭ম তলায় অজ্ঞাতনামা ২০-৩০জন দৃস্কৃতিকারী বাসায় জোরপূর্বক প্রবেশ করে বাসার গার্ড, গৃহকর্মী ও আমাদের ব্যবহারের ৭টি মোবাইল, ১টি ট্যাব ও সিপিওসহ আযমীকে বল প্রয়োগপূর্বক অজ্ঞাত স্থানে নিয়ে যায়। বাসার নিচে গার্ড ও প্রতিবেশীদের নিকট জানতে পারি বাহিরে আরো ২৫-৩০জনের দল অবস্থান করছিল। তাকে বহনকারী গাড়ি নং ঢাকা মেট্রো–ঘ-১৪-১৬৮০সহ বহরে ২০টির মতো গাড়ি ছিল। সর্বমোট ৫০-৬০ জনের দলের অনেকে নিজেদেরকে ডিবির পরিচয় প্রদান করে। পরে আমরা থানা ও ডিবি অফিসে খোঁজ নিলে তাহারা জানায় আমার ছেলে তাহাদের কাছে নাই। পরের দিন পত্রিকায়ও এ ধরনের আটক/নিখোঁজ খবর প্রকাশ করে। আমি বৃদ্ধা মানুষ। আমার ৬ সন্তানের অন্যান্যরা দেশের বাহিরে অবস্থান করায় এই ছেলের সেবায় কোন রকম বেঁচে আছি। আবদুল্লাহিল আমান আযমীর অনুপস্থিতিতে আমি বিভ্রান্ত, সাথে সাথে আপনাদেরকে বিষয়টি অবহিত করতে পারিনি।
এমতাবস্থায় আমার ছেলে আবদুল্লাহিল আমান আযমীর নিখোঁজ থাকার বিষয়টি আপনার থানায় সাধারণ ডায়রীর অন্তভূক্ত করে সন্ধান প্রদানে আইনগত ব্যবস্থা গ্রহন করে বাধিত করবেন।
সৈয়দা আফিফা আযম”
Syeda Afifa Azam, the wife of late Ghulam Azam, has filed a general diary entry at Ramna Model police station seeking the whereabouts of her son Abdullahil Amaan Azmi, who was recently abducted by men claiming to be members of Detective Branch of police.
The general diary entry was filed at around 10 pm on Wednesday towards Ramna Model police station Officer in Charge (OC). At the time, Mrs. Afifa Azam was accompanied by two lawyers, Advocate Nuruzzaman and Advocate Yusuf Molla, and her grand daughter Bilqis.
On the night of the 22nd of August, ex-Brigadier General Abdullahil Amaan Azmi, the son of Ghulam Azam, was abducted by men in plainclothes claiming to be members of Detective Branch of police. No trace of his whereabouts has been found till now.
On being questioned by media over the issue of the general diary entry at the police station, Advocate Yusuf Molla said, Ramna Model police station Officer in Charge Moshiur Rahman had accepted the general diary entry. Moreover, he had assigned Inspector (Investigation) Ali Hossain to the task of investigating the matter.
On the other hand, a copy of the general diary entry as been obtained as follows,
Officer in Charge,
Ramna Model Police Station,
Subject: Appeal for General Diary Entry
I, the undersigned, an old aged ailing woman, Sayeda Afifa Azam (84), husband late Professor Ghulam Azam, Address 119/2, Kazi Office Lane, Boro Moghbazaar, Subdistrict-Ramna, DMP, District- Dhaka, would like to inform you with due respect that my fourth son Abdullahil Amaan Azmi, aged 57, height 5’6”, skin colour fair, Bangladesh Army ex-Brigadier General, was forcefully taken away along with our house guard and the house maid to an unknown location on 22/08/2016 at around 9 pm by 20-30 miscreants who arrived at the 7th floor of the building at the above address, entered using force and also confiscated 7 mobile phones, one tab and a CPU during the ordeal. I came to know from a guard on the ground floor and our neighbours that there was another group of 25-30 more people stationed outside the house who had come to the location at the same time. They arrived in around twenty vehicles, and my son was taken away in one vehicle with the number plate Dhaka Metro-Gha-14-1680. In the group of 50-60 people, most identified themselves as members of the Detective Branch of police. Later, when we contacted the police station and the office Detective Branch, we were informed that they did not have my son in their custody. On the next day, news regarding the arrest/disappearance of my son was also published in several national newspapers. I am an old woman. Since the rest of my children stay overseas, I have nobody to look after my wellbeing and needs except this one child of mine. The disappearance of my son Abdullahil Amaan Azmi has left me in shock; thus I was unable to inform you of the matter of his disappearance immediately.
At this junction, I sincerely hope and pray that you would initiate the appropriate measures to record the incident of the disappearance of Abdullahil Amaan Azmi as a general diary entry and take appropriate legal measures and provide services to locate his whereabouts immediately.
Sayeda Afifa Azam
ব্রিগেডিয়ার জেনারেল (অবঃ) আব্দুল্লাহিল আমান আযমী এর গ্রেপ্তার প্রসঙ্গে পরিবারের সদস্যদের বিবৃতিঃ
২২ অগাস্ট সোমবার রাত ৮ টার দিকে ৩০ জনেরও বেশি বেসামরিক পোশাক পরিহিত লোকজন আমাদের ঢাকার মগবাজারস্থ বাসায় হামলা করে এবং আমাদের ভাই আব্দুল্লাহিল আমান আযমী কে অপহরণ করে। তারা সবাই নিজেদেরকে বাংলাদেশ পুলিশের গোয়েন্দা বিভাগের সদস্য হিসেবে দাবি করে।
তারা কোন গ্রেপ্তারি পরোয়ানা দেখায় নি এবং গ্রেপ্তারের কোন কারণও দর্শায় নি। বাংলাদেশ পুলিশের পক্ষ থেকে গ্রেপ্তারের কোন আনুষ্ঠানিক স্বীকৃতিও পাওয়া যায় নি। এই স্বীকৃতি না পাওয়ার ফলে আশংকা করা হচ্ছে যে আমান আযমীও অন্যান্য অনেক বিরোধী দলীয় নেতৃবৃন্দের পরিবারের সদস্যদের মত বিচারবহির্ভূত গ্রেপ্তার বা অপহরণের শিকার হতে পারেন। এই আশংকা মোটেই অমূলক নয় কারণ সাম্প্রতিককালে বিরোধী দলীয় নেতাকর্মীদের পরিবারের সদস্যদেরকে ঢালাওভাবে অপহরণ করা হচ্ছে।
তথাকথিত পুলিশ সদস্যরা বাড়ি সংলগ্ন সমস্ত সড়কপথ ঘেরাও করে রাখে এবং বাড়ির দরজা ভেংগে জোরপূর্বক বাড়ির অভ্যন্তরে প্রবেশ করে। এরপর তারা বাড়ির ম্যানেজারকে নির্দয়ভাবে প্রহার করতে করতে তাকে অচেতন করে ফেলে। আমাদের ৮৩ বছর বয়সী বৃদ্ধা মা, আমানের স্ত্রী এবং তার কনিষ্ঠ সন্তানেরা যাদের বয়স চারেরও কম সবাই তখন বাড়িতে ছিলেন। বাড়ির অন্যান্য কর্মচারীদেরও আক্রমণ করা হয় এবং শারীরিক আঘাত করা হয়। আমানের স্ত্রীকেও গ্রেপ্তারের হুমকি দেয়া হয়।
আমান আমাদের একমাত্র ভাই এবং আমাদের পিতা মরহুম প্রফেসর গোলাম আযম এর একমাত্র সন্তান যিনি বাংলাদেশে অবস্থান করছিলেন। আমান একজন পদকপ্রাপ্ত উচ্চপদস্থ সামরিক অফিসার ছিলেন (ব্রিগেডিয়ার জেনারেল) এবং তিনি ৩০ বছর অত্যন্ত কৃতিত্বের সাথে তার সামরিক দায়িত্ব পালন করেছেন। তিনি কোন রাজনৈতিক ব্যক্তিত্ব নন এবং তার বিরুদ্ধে কোন বেআইনী কাজের অভিযোগও নেই। তিনি আমাদের পারিবারিক বাসস্থানে থেকে আমাদের বৃদ্ধা মায়ের দেখাশোনা করতেন এবং আমাদের পরিবারের দেশে অবস্থানকারী একমাত্র পুরুষ সদস্য হিসেবে দেশে আমাদের পরিবারের অভিভাবকের দায়িত্ব পালন করতেন।
এই ঘটনা আমাদের পরিবারের সদস্যদের অত্যন্ত আতঙ্কিত করেছে এবং আমরা সবাই আমাদের ভাই আমান আযমী এবং আমাদের পরিবারের অন্যান্য সদস্যদের নিরাপত্তা নিয়ে ভীষণ উদ্বিগ্ন। আমরা আহবান করছি যেন এ ক্ষেত্রে আইনের প্রতি সম্মান দেখান হয় এবং আইনগত পদক্ষেপ নেয়া হয়। আমরা আহবান করছি যেন আব্দুল্লাহিল আমান আযমী কে অবিলম্বে মুক্তি দিয়ে তার পরিবারের সদস্যদের কাছে ফেরত পাঠান হয় অথবা যথাযথ আইনগত প্রক্রিয়া অনুসরণ করে তাকে আদালতের সামনে হাজির করা হয়।
সংবাদ সংশ্লিষ্ট অনুসন্ধানের জন্য নিম্নে যোগাযোগের অনুরোধ জানান যাচ্ছেঃ
সালমান আল আযামী
On Monday, 22nd August, at 8pm, more than thirty plainclothes men claiming to be from the Detective Branch of the Bangladesh Police stormed our family residence in the Moghbazar area of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, and seized our brother, Abdullahil Amaan Azmi.
No warrant was provided by the officers, and no cause of arrest was expressed. No official acknowledgement of his arrest has yet been made, without which there are credible fears for a possible extrajudicial abduction, the latest in a string of such abductions that have targeted family members of opposition leaders.
The officers cordoned off the whole street before breaking down the door and forcibly entering the family home, blindfolding the caretaker and severely beating him until he fell unconscious. Our 83-year-old mother, Amaan’s wife and his youngest children, both under the age of four, were in the house at the time. Other members of the household were assaulted and his wife was threatened with arrest.
Amaan is our only sibling and the only child of our father, the late Professor Ghulam Azam, to currently reside in Bangladesh. A former decorated Brigadier General in the Bangladesh Army with 30 years of exemplary service to his name, he was neither a politician, nor charged with any illegal activity whatsoever. He lived at our family home caring for our elderly mother. As the only male member of the household, he was the guardian of our family there.
This has left the family deeply traumatized and fearful for the safety of our brother and our family. We call for the respect and observance of due process and the rule of law. We call for Abdullahil Amaan Azmi’s immediate release and safe return to his family, or for police to produce him swiftly before court in accordance with due process.
For press enquiries please contact Dr Salman Al-Azami firstname.lastname@example.org
MY JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE
PROFESSOR GHULAM AZAM
Translated and Edited by Dr Salman Al-Azami
Copyright – The Ghulam Azam Foundation
My Father’s Reaction to my Joining Jamaat-e-Islami
I joined Jamaat-e-Islami in April 1954 and at the end of May, my father suddenly appeared in Rangpur without any prior notice. My previous attempts to bring him to Rangpur, even after sending transport cost, were unsuccessful, so I was surprised to suddenly see him in my house. Moreover, I knew that he was supposed to be in Lahore via Delhi for the three Tablighi Chillas, hence my astonishment was even greater. He reached my house at the college campus at 1.30 pm when I had just finished my prayer. As soon as he came inside he started speaking furiously without any greeting:
“You gave the Three Chillas before I did. I need to know why you decided to leave Tablighi Jamaat after becoming its leader. You are the eldest in the generation and we have lots of hope on you. I introduced you to Tabligh in order to have salvation in the hereafter. You must tell me why you decided to join another organisation after progressing so well in Tabligh.”
I politely asked my father to first have shower, pray and eat so that we could discuss this in a relaxed manner. His rage seemed to subside a little and we started to talk after lunch. I spoke first:
“My dear father, your son has not become derailed. You brought me up since my childhood. Whatever I learned from working with Tabligh will benefit me for the rest of my life. I joined Jamaat-e-Islami after thinking very deeply. I didn’t know about this organisation before and you too can decide whether it is the right path after knowing more about it.” He became even angrier and said, “I don’t want to know about them and I urge you to leave that organisation and resume your work with Tablighi Jamaat.”
I said, “I never had the audacity to argue with you in my life, and never disagreed with you looking in your eyes. However, what we are discussing now relates to taking decisions on the basis of Qur’an and Hadith. I have decided to join Jamaat-e-Islami for the same reason when I joined Tablighi Jamaat.
By this time he was enraged. He said, “Doesn’t Mawlana Abdul Aziz understand anything? Why did he write to me saying that my son has joined an organisation that is worse than the Qadianis? I immediately returned to the country after getting that letter. I left Dhaka the following day to see you. I can’t tell you how worried I am.”
I could not control my tears after hearing this. What father would not get worried if he hears from a trusted scholar that his son has become worse than the Qadianis? He was worried because he was my well-wisher. I felt so wretched seeing his downcast expression that I cried out loudly. My father thought that I was crying because of repentance and that I had realised my mistakes. He also started crying and hugging me. It was such an embarrassing moment! When both of us became calmer and sat down, my father looked at me with expectation that I would immediately renounce my association with Jamaat-e-Islami and re-join Tablighi Jamaat. I tried to console him by saying:
“Father, one needs to take decisions on the Deen after properly reflecting on things and after much contemplation. I want to give you some books about Jamaat-e-Islami so that you know about them well. Mawlana Abdul Aziz has written such letter to you because he doesn’t know much about the organisation.” He became angry again and said, “I know Mawlana Abdul Aziz very well and am confident that he couldn’t write such a letter without knowing about it. You have to return to Tablighi Jamaat”.
I had never been in such a difficult situation in my life. The father whom I love so much; whose orders I had always obeyed even when I didn’t agree; in front of whom I had never dared to justify my wrongdoings; in fear of whose disappointment I had never disobeyed any orders – I was extremely uneasy for not having any other alternative but to argue with such a great father! Realising that he was imposing a wrong choice on me without even realising it I kept helplessly staring at him without a word while tears kept rolling down my cheeks. He also felt uneasy seeing that the son who had never disobeyed him before was holding on to his decision so firmly. He probably felt pity on me and softly, in a broken voice, said:
“I am alive with the hope that you will be the leader among your siblings to the right path, and that through you I will be able to achieve success in the hereafter. I was contended that I would be meeting Allah seeing you progressed in the path of Allah. I had never imagined that you would choose an erroneous path. Your grandfather used to pray for you a lot and left the world with huge expectations about you. I can’t express how stressful I am feeling at the moment.” He stopped speaking, but kept crying. I sat down holding his two legs and said:
“Father, I did not make such a decision for worldly gains. I had never had such extensive knowledge about Islam before. I had never heard so heart-wrenching explanations of the Qur’an before. I am confident that you can make the right decision after reading only a few books. I am giving you some books to read. I will be coming to Dhaka for a long two-month Ramadan and summer holiday in a week’s time and can then discuss about these issues in detail there.”
Looking at him, I felt that my worries were over for the time being. He returned to Dhaka the next day. I gave him the same two books Mawlana Abdul Khaleque had given me before I joined Jamaat.
Encounter with Father in Dhaka
I had thought that I would find my father in a favourable mood going back to Dhaka, but I understood that my crisis was far from over as soon as I looked at his face. I knew that the path of the Islamic movement had obstacles, but had never thought that it would come from such a person. It seemed that there was no positive effect of the three books I had given him to read and soon realised my mistake in giving him the book written by Mr Islahi, in wich there was a harsh attack on the Tablighi movement in the very first chapter. My father was so annoyed with the first chapter that he didn’t continue reading the book. This made me understand that criticisms of a religious activity should be done in a pragmatic manner and compassionate style so that people can consider it rationally. Unfortunately, Mawlana Islahi’s criticisms had neither pragmatism nor compassion and the sarcastic tone in which he criticised Tablighi Jamaat hurt my father’s feelings for which the other two books failed to make any positive impression. He commented:
“You and Mawdudi understand everything, nobody else knows anything. Is Tablighi Jamaat so bad?”
I tried to sit down with my father along with my younger brother Dr Ghulam Muazzam. My father asked me some questions, which I answered satisfactorily through the logic of the Qur’an. He also criticised some political activities of Jamaat and the way I answered them attracted my younger brother as well. However, instead of being satisfied with my logical answers, my father got angry and said, “Does that mean that everyone apart from you is in the wrong path?”
The relationship between a father and a son is such that it sometimes becomes psychologically impossible for a father to concede defeat to a son. The respect a father deserves means that a child should always listen to him. It was difficult for a father at that time to accept that the son was right and he was wrong. My father had no arguments to prove that I was in the wrong path, but he insisted on the belief that I was derailed. I proved through logical evidence that I was right, but the more I tried to convince him in a polite manner, the more irritated he would become. It was a hugely embarrassing moment for me. Then my younger brother managed the uneasy situation with a wonderful comment:
“Father, what has pleased me most is that we are having debate about the Deen in our house, whereas in other houses arguments between a father and a son or among brothers and sisters are due to property disputes. I learned a lot of things from this discussion and if you two continue more discussions like this it will increase my knowledge further.”
After much thought I gave my father another Urdu book to read, but he criticised the book in our next meeting. I tried to prove why the writer was right and my brother also tried to support me. By then I realised that even the book of Allah can be misinterpreted if it is not read with a neutral mind, so I decided not to give any more books to my father for the time being.
Words of Consolation
I started working with the Dhaka city branch of Jamaat-e-Islami while on college holidays. In one such programme there was tafseer (Explanation of Quran) session by a scholar who was explaining the verses from Sura Luqman where the prophet Luqman was giving some advice to his sons. The part of I liked most is how to manage the situation when there is a conflict with parents about the Deen. It seemed to me that those verses were revealed to resolve my situation. I had read them many times before, but never before had they appeared so meaningful to me.
I started behaving with my father according to teachings of those verses. If there was a situation where my reply to his comments would lead to arguments, I would remain silent. On the other hand I tried to please my father as much as possible in other worldly affairs. I tried to spend time with him as much as possible and attend to look after him to the best of my ability. After discussing with my brother I decided that I should not give him any book to read myself as we needed him to read with a neutral mind-set. My brother used a pragmatic approach to convince my father and said:
“Father, the books that my brother has been reading to choose his current path are in Urdu, which I struggle to read. As a scholar I request that you read them and explain them to me. He is progressing through his knowledge and logic, and it is wise not to argue with him without reading these books. His character has always been good, and now it has become even better. His mannerism is also very attractive. I don’t think he is that kind of person who would blindly take up a path. I suggest that you read those books with patience.”
My brother was successful and my father started asking me for books. I felt much relieved for the improvement of the situation.
My Father’s Change of Heart about Jamaat-e-Islami
A few days after I returned to Rangpur after the holidays I received a letter from my father in which he asked me to go to Khulna where the Central president of Tablighi Jamaat Hazratji Mawlana Yusuf was supposed to attend a conference. I knew that my father had softened from his previous stance against Jamaat that he had developed through the wrong impression given to him about Jamaat by the then East Pakistan President of Tabligh. However, reading Mawlana Moududi’s books may have made his position softer, he still wanted to ensure that I was doing the right thing by making me have a face-to-face meeting with Tablighi leaders.
I reached Khulna as per my father’s instruction, while my father and brother Ghulam Muazzam arrived from Dhaka. There was no scope of meeting the Tablighi president in Khulna and we heard that Hazratji had assigned a leader of Tabligh Mr Faridi to talk to me. I took the reserved river boat along with Mr Faridi, my father and brother towards Dhaka so that the conversation could take place. However, my father was not at all satisfied with that conversation as Mr Faridi gave me little opportunity to talk and kept insisting that I should go for another Tablighi chilla.
Meanwhile I got arrested for my involvement in the language movement and also lost my job with the college due to that. After being released from jail, I joined Jamaat-e-Islami full time and in May 1955 I went to the then West Pakistan for some important political lobbying. Before starting for Karachi I left a shelf full of books related to the Islamic movement in my father’s bedroom, and asked my ever-helpful brother to convince my father to read as many of them as possible. When I returned in December, my father had read a number of those books and I learned from my brother that his attitude towards Jamaat was getting more and more positive.
Another Meeting with Tabligh Leaders
My father arranged another meeting between me and the Tabligh leaders. This time it was with Mawlana Ziauddin Aligarhi who was one of my teachers during my Chilla in India. We went to Kakrail Mosque for the meeting where I met both Mawlana Aligarhi and East Pakistan Tabligh President Mawlana Abdul Aziz. I could see almost 30/40 brothers of Tabligh sitting around me and praying. I realised that they were praying for my return to Tabligh.
Due to Mawlana Aligarhi our conversation was in Urdu. As with Mawlana Faridi, he too kept insisting that I should resume working for Tablighi Jamaat. When I requested them to give me some opportunity to say a few words, Mawlana Abdul Aziz said that we should talk exclusively about these matters instead of speaking in front of so many people. Only four of us went inside, the two Tablighi leaders, my father and I. I said to them:
“After reading the explanations of the Qur’an thoroughly I am convinced that the methodology and process of working for the Deen followed by our Prophet (PBUH) was much wider than the ones of Tablighi Jamaat.”
Mawlana Abdul Aziz tried to remind me that their methodology was right and was followed by many big scholars. When I tried to say that if those scholar read the full explanation of these Quranic verses, then they too would be convinced and many more people would get the real light of Islam, he became angry and said, “So you mean we have no knowledge about Islam? We don’t read any books if not suggested by our senior leaders.” Saying this he stood up while Mawlana Aligarhi remained silent. Soon, we returned home.
My Father’s Complete Change of Attitude
Coming back home after my meeting with the two Tablighi leaders, my father said to my younger brother in my presence, “They don’t have any ability to debate with your brother. They were not even prepared to discuss the matter. I took him to meet them for discussion, but they surrounded us with a group of Tablighi people and kept giving their own opinions in front of them. When he was about to speak, they moved him away from other people, probably in fear that others would be convinced by his words. They took him inside to talk in secret, but even there they stopped him and didn’t let him finish his side of the argument. What they said angrily when being asked to read the Tafseer of the Qur’an is completely illogical”.
I felt very relieved after this and felt happy that my father no longer accepted the accusation against Jamaat-e-Islami that Mawlana Abdul Aziz had made to him. A heavy weight was released from my chest. There was an effort to create an unfortunate conflict with my father by spreading fabricated accusations against Jamaat-e-Islami, whereas it was he who brought me up since my childhood in the way of Islam. This incident remains one of the saddest events of my life. Had they not given the fatwa “Jamaat-e-Islami is worse than the Qadianis” then I wouldn’t have endured that suffering and my father wouldn’t go through such stress for three years. How dangerous a fabricated fatwa can be!
Since that incident my father lost interest to go to Kakrail Mosque like before.
 The third largest city of Bangladesh
 Central Mosque for Tablighi jamaat in Bangladesh
MY JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE
PROFESSOR GHULAM AZAM
Translated and Edited by Dr Salman Al-Azami
Copyright – The Ghulam Azam Foundation
Mawlana Mawdudi’s Writings
Resigning from Tablighi Jamaat and Tamaddun Majlish
The first thing I decided to do after joining Jamaat-e-Islami is resign from my responsibilities in both Tablighi Jamaat and Tamaddun Majlish. It was a struggle leading the Rangpur branch of two organisations at the same time, but I had felt it necessary as I was compelled to be involved in both the organisations to fulfil my Islamic responsibilities. When I found the combination of both in Jamaat-e-Islami, I thought it was proper to leave both the organisations and concentrate on the new path I had chosen to pursue.
Starting Jamaat Activities
I was given the responsibility of opening new branches in Rangpur and soon two branches became active – one in the city and the other in my college campus. Mr Abdul Khaleque, who inspired me to join Jamaat, came to Rangpur a few days later and was very happy to know of the speed of the work. In the first meeting of the college unit, Mr Khaleque’s speech about understanding the Qur’an was very inspiring. My previous efforts to have an in-depth understanding of the Qur’an by reading the English translation by Yusuf Ali and the Bangla translation by Ali Hassan were not very successful, but Mr Khaleque made me believe that it was possible for me to make an in-depth study of the Qur’an without knowing Arabic. I couldn’t know what others felt, but Mr Khaleque’s speech was a milestone in my efforts to understand the Qur’an. The summary of that speech is given below:
Even an expert in the Arabic language will struggle to understand the Qur’an properly as a book. To understand the Qur’an one has to first understand what responsibilities, as a Prophet, were entrusted upon the person to whom it was revealed. The Prophet’s (PBUH) main responsibility was to guide humanity towards peace in this world and salvation in the hereafter by establishing the only pure, perfect and balanced way of life in every sphere of society. The Prophet’s life in his last 23 years was the practical example of this responsibility. Angel Jibrael (May Allah be pleased with him) would come at different stages of the Prophet’s life and reveal verses from the Qur’an, which were later compiled as the whole Qur’an consisting of 30 parts. Therefore, whatever the Prophet said and did are the practical explanations of the Qur’an. It is not at all possible for one to understand the verses of the Qur’an by just mastering the Arabic language, separating them from the history of the Islamic movement that the Prophet led, from receiving the first revelation in the mountain of Hera until his death at the age of 63. The Qur’an is the guide book for the Islamic movement and it is completely impossible to understand it by separating it from the movement. Only those who follow the footsteps of the Prophet in striving to establish Allah’s Deen can internalise the essence of the Qur’anic message, because they can relate their own issues to the ones the Prophet faced, and to the solutions Allah provided for them in the Qur’an. They will feel that the Qur’an was revealed for them.
Introduction to Tafhimul Qur’an
I had the opportunity to listen to his explanations of the Qur’an for three consecutive weeks, which completely blew me away, particularly the process of trying to understand the Qur’an. I was wondering where he learned his amazing system. When asked, his simple answer was that it was not to his credit as he got everything from Tafhimul Qur’an by Mawlana Mawdudi. When I heard that it was available only in Urdu, I decided to learn the language to have access to the treasures hidden in it. I had learned Urdu while working with Tablighi Jamaat, but I knew that would not be enough to understand Tafhimul Qur’an. I made an agreement with Professor Mahfuzur Rahman of the Urdu department that he would teach me Urdu and I would help him learn Bangla.
Mr Khaleque had told me to first read and internalise the introduction. The language seemed quite difficult initially and I had to ask for the meaning of a number of words from my Urdu mentor. By that time I got completely absorbed into learning the language, and my Arabic background helped me a great deal as many Urdu words have been borrowed from Arabic. It took me a while to grasp the introduction of Tafhimul Qur’an, but once it was done, I developed the technique of how to approach studying the Qur’an. Later, I wrote a book called Qur’an Bujha Shohoj (Easy understanding of the Qur’an) on the basis of the introduction in order to provide tips for the common people to understand the Holy book. I feel that the sin I had committed by stopping the study of the Qur’an can be slightly compensated through this small effort.
The Pleasure of Learning a Language
After a few months’ effort I started feeling that I had achieved some command over the Urdu language. It is not possible to describe the pleasure of learning a language. I felt even more encouraged when I heard that almost all the important books in Arabic on Islam had been translated into Urdu, so a well-rounded knowledge about Islam was possible to achieve.
I found learning Arabic much more difficult than Urdu and realised that I would need much more effort to learn Arabic than I had to give for Urdu. I regret that I could not achieve a full command over the Arabic language. I wasn’t able to give more time for this, being too busy with the work of the Islamic movement. There was an opportunity to learn Arabic during my exile life from 1972 to 1978, but I was engulfed in too many problems and I was not able to concentrate on this task. I am having to leave this world with this feeling of guilt.
Propagations against Mawlana Mawdudi’s Literature
I continued to study the Tafhimul Qur’an with deep satisfaction and within six months I developed tremendous love for Mawlana Mawdudi. He was then serving life imprisonment having been relieved from the death sentence. I sometimes became so emotional while reading that I would interrupt my reading only to pray for him. The dua for him was spontaneous particularly when I was able to understand the proper meanings of some verses that I had not been able to grasp before.
When I returned to Rangpur after the winter holidays in 1955, I found some Urdu books sent to my address from Delhi and Karachi. I started reading them with curiosity and found that all the books contained fatwas against Mawlana Mawdudi and Jamaat-e-Islami. I realised that these books had been sent to me by the efforts of my respected Tablighi leader the President of Tablighi Jamaat in the then East Pakistan Mawlana Abdul Aziz; otherwise no one in those places would know my name and address in Rangpur. I felt that he loved me so much that he was desperate to ‘save’ me from the ‘wrong’ path. He sincerely believed that Jamaat-e-Islami was worse than the Qadianis (the Ahmadiya community).
I felt worried when I saw the names of those who gave the fatwa, which included some of those whom I considered major scholars in Islam. I don’t know how I would have reacted had I not been already passionate about Mawlana Mawdudi. I didn’t accept the fatwas simply because they were major scholars, but decided to go deep into the issues they raised. I first read the fatwas thoroughly and then started reading all the books that the fatwas referred to. I must admit that because of the fatwas I read so many books of Mawlana Mawdudi in a year that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It certainly made me wiser about many things and enabled me to know many different aspects of Islam I had not known before. The summary of my conclusions on the criticisms are below:
Some writers did not show personal hatred towards Mawlana Mawdudi, but criticised some of his works through logic and from a neutral point of view. This taught me that it would be wrong to consider Mawlana Mawdudi as infallible and follow him blindly. No person other than the Prophets is infallible, so everyone has to be judged on the basis of what the Prophet said.
Some writers spread hatred while criticising him. They were more eager to confuse the readers than correct any mistakes. They tried to do this in three ways:
While quoting Mawlana Mawdudi, they deleted things he said before or after the quoted elements so that it would look extremely offensive to anyone reading it.
Sometimes they added words or phrases to Mawlana Mawdudi’s writings and attributed it all to him.
Sometimes they quoted a sentence from Mawlana Mawdudi’s books that Mawlana actually quoted and criticised himself in his books; but here they attributed those controversial elements to him.
I found one writer who did not show hatred but disagreed with everything Mawlana Mawdudi said about prayer, fasting, alms giving and pilgrimage; which made me convinced that he considered Islam only a religion and not a revolutionary movement.
Reading these books helped me in the following ways:
These books made me read many books by Mawlana Mawdudi in a short period of time that I wouldn’t have otherwise. This enhanced my knowledge on the Islamic movement, Islamic organisation and different aspects of Islam in general.
These books helped me to be careful not to consider every view of Mawlana Mawdudi as infallible just because of my deep respect for him. It helped me to resolve that I would not consider any book as a document unless it is backed up by the Qur’an and Hadith.
It enabled me to understand the difference between the language of sincere and constructive criticism and the language of hatred so that I accepted the former and rejected the latter.
It is with great sadness that we share the news that Prof Ghulam Azam’s younger brother, Prof Ghulam Muazzam, passed away today 22nd Jan at 3.45pm in Dhaka at the age of 90 – Innalillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Rajiun.
Prof Muazzam was one of the leading medical scientists of Bangladesh and a top pathologist. A gold medalist from Koltkata Medical College, he taught at Dhaka Medical College, Rajshahi Medical College and served as Principal of Sylhet Medical College and later Rangpur Medical College. He was the founder of Ibn Sina Laboratory where he also fulfilled the responsibility of founding chairman. He served as a fellow in medicine in London at the Nuffield Foundation UK, as a Professor at Al-Fatah University in Libya and as Professor of Pathology at the University of Ghana. While holding important positions both home and abroad he never compromised his principles as a true servant of Allah. Among his works, he published research into the medical benefits of the Islamic fast in Ramadan and on the Qur’an and science.
He was extremely close to Prof Ghulam Azam and had always supported him in his efforts for establishing Islam. He was also extremely loving to Prof Azam’s children and grandchildren. He had spent the last 10 years in illness, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. We request all to keep him and his family in your prayers. May Allah forgive all his sins and grant him the highest place in Jannah. May Allah grant the family patience to bear this loss. Prof Ghulam Muazzam is survived by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
His janaza prayer will be held after Jumuah on 23/1/15 at Moghbazar Qazi Office Lane mosque, following which he will be buried at the family graveyard next to the mosque, joining his parents and his brothers already laid to rest there.
Prof Ghulam Muazzam can be seen in the following picture seated on the far left. His brothers the late Prof Mahdi Uzzaman is seated centre and the late Prof Ghulam Azam is seated far right.