RANDOM THOUGHTS: Indomitable Prof. Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

Indomitable Prof. Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi
Dr. A.Q. Khan


We all know that the Quran is full of secret wisdom. One of my dear friends, Prof.Dr. Mahmood Ahamd Ghazi, elder brother of my equally close friend, Prof.Dr. Muhammad Al-Ghazali, was a towering personality and a religious scholar par excellence. He left us for the divine more than 17 years ago at the age of 60. In his book Muhazirate Quran he mentioned a very interesting and eye-opening event. Before discussing this, I would like to shed some more light on his life, in which I was greatly assisted by another friend, Prof. Azizur Rahman.

Prof. Ghazi was born in 1950 and died in 2010. He was fluent in Urdu, Punjabi, Persian, Arabic, English and French and was a great scholar of literature, Quran, Ahadees, history, education, Fiqqah, law, etc. He wrote more than two dozen books and gave hundreds of speeches and lectures. Many of his books have been translated into Persian, Sindhi, Pashtu, Chinese, Arabic, etc. He was an active member of a large number of local and foreign forums and organizations. His services for the Islamisation of the Constitution are highly commendable. He did not accept any government portfolio until the time of Musharraf, when he became a Federal Minister and Member National Security Council. However, he soon resigned realizing that his reputation was at stake. He was highly regarded at international level in the Islamic world and represented Pakistan at numerous seminars. Once in Kazakhstan, a Jew started accusing Muslims of all the evils in the world. The Muslim delegates elected Prof. Ghazi to respond to his accusations. He did this very efficiently and countered the Jewish rhetoric with historic facts and logical arguments. The delegates later hugged him and kissed his forehead. In another case in South Africa, he explained with logic and proof that Ahmadis (Qadianis) are not Muslims and were claiming to be Muslims to extract financial benefits and other facilities. Prof. Ghazi won the case and Quadianis were declared non-Muslims by the higher court. He was also instrumental in establishing the International Islamic University in Islamabad. He wrote Muhazirate Quran in 6 volumes dealing with Islam and the West, Islamic banking, the Ummah, Muhazirate Taleem and speeches.

Now back to the event mentioned above. Dr. Hamidullah was a Muslim religious scholar in Paris. He personally told me the following story. In 1957/58 a Frenchman came to him to embrace Islam. He asked the man to recite the Kalima and then gave him a brief introduction to Islam. He also gave the man some books to read. Like usual, he asked the Frenchman what had prompted him to convert. There was an average of 2 converts per day. The reason for their accepting Islam was noted down. This gentleman gave a different reason to the usual ones, one which was strange to me and I could not understand. He said his name was Jacques Xelbier (not sure of the spelling) and that he was a celebrated musician in the French speaking countries. He told me that a few days earlier he had gone to a dinner at the Embassy of an Arab diplomat. On reaching, all the guests were already seated and listening to some strange, unique music which he felt to be of high caliber – much superior to the work he composed. He wondered who had composed it. When he asked, he was told to be quiet. During our conversation, Dr. Hamidullah said, he used musical terms with which I was not familiar. After the performance he was told what he had heard was not music but a recitation of the Quran by the Qari. “But who was the composer”, he asked. The guests, all Muslims, told him that it was not a composition. This was simply the art of reciting the Quran and it was unique. When asked when this art of reciting had been invented, he was told that it had been in practice for more than 1400 years; ever since our Prophet (PBUH) received the Quran from Allah through the angel Jibrael. If that is so, the Frenchman said, then it is definitely a divine book. Modern music has not been able to achieve the perfection which is present in the recitation of the Quran. He had gone to many mosques to hear the recitation by different Qaris and he had become convinced that it was a divine book. Thus he requested to be converted to Islam. Dr. Hamidullah then asked an Algerian scholar to teach the Frenchman the Quran with Tafseer. After about 6 weeks both returned looking rather worried. The Algerian said that the Frenchman was expressing doubts about a Quranic verse and he was unable to clarify it. Dr. Hamidullah asked him about his doubts, to which he replied that he had been told that the Quran was like the original one that had been passed on by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to his companions. After reading the Quran he had found that there was something incorrect or missing in Surah Nasr, between the 2nd and 3rd Ayaat (110: 2-3). There is a pause between Ayat 2 Afwaja and Ayat 3 Fasabbeh which should not be there as it is not in conformity with the composition of the rest of the Quran. Dr. Hamidullah was shocked but the Almighty came to his rescue. He remembered that as a child he had been taught NOT to pause after Ayat 2, but to connect it to Ayat 3 and that it should be read jointly with a nasal noon (like Afwajaūn Fasabbeh - continuous), The Frenchman jumped for joy. “Yes”, he said; “It should be like that”. He picked Dr. Hamidullah up and danced around the room like a happy child. Dr. Hamidullah then sent him to another religious scholar, who taught him the whole Quran. He used to come and see me sometimes and used to say that, no doubt, it was a divine book. The Frenchman died around 1970. He was a fine, enlightened Muslim. This episode reminds me that the recitation technique of the holy Quran has not yet been fully understood by any scholar or researcher.

Posted on Jul 05, 17 | 12:21 am