RANDOM THOUGHTS: An Exemplary Pakistani - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

An Exemplary Pakistani
Dr. A.Q. Khan


Today an example of important pieces of literature about our golden Islamic traditions. This one is from Mr. Qudratullah Shahab’s famous autobiography – Shahabnama. He was a human being par excellence, a competent civil servant and an excellent writer and literary figure. I knew him personally and we had a special relationship. In August 1961, I went to Germany to study at the prestigious and famous Technical University of Berlin. I had already worked for 3 years as Inspector of Weights and Measures in Karachi after completing my B.Sc. from D.J. Sindh Government Science College. I preferred to go to Germany despite invitations from friends I had in London because of that country’s excellent reputation for engineering studies. The first 6 months were really tough due to language problems – hardly anyone spoke English, there were no English TV programs or newspapers, etc. During that time I learnt German, did 6 months of mandatory practical work and made some long-lasting friends. In August 1964 I moved to Holland since my fiancé’s (now my wife of 54 years) family lived there and I joined the famous Technological University of Delft. My fiancé and I had fixed our wedding date for 9th March, 1964, so I went to the Pakistan Embassy in The Hague to find out what the formalities were. Mr. Qudratullah Shahab was the Ambassador and Mr. Jamiludding Hassan the First Secretary at the time. They knew us both and were extremely friendly. They not only performed the nikkah ceremony but also hosted a small reception for us. My wife was wearing a turquoise sari sent from Karachi by my younger sister, Razia and I wore a charcoal-coloured suit. It was a memorable day for us. After that we attended functions at the Embassy regularly. After completing my Masters Degree and joining the University as Research Assistant to Prof.Dr. W.G. Burgers, we decided to make a month’s trip to Pakistan, where my family received my wife with open arms. We stayed in Karachi with my sister, Razia. It was a memorable trip and we travelled to Quetta, Peshawar, Landi Kotal, Swat, Abbottabad, Nathiagali, Murree and Rawalpindi. In a second trip we travelled to Delhi, Agra and Bhopal, the city of my birth. While visiting Rawalpindi, we went to see Mr. Qudratullah Shahab, then Federal Secretary for Education, and Mr. Jamiluddin Hassan, then at the Foreign Office, both thorough gentlemen, refined and competent.

Mr. Qudratullah Shahab, a former Deputy Commissioner of Jhang, writes in Shahabnama (free translation from Urdu). “One day a primary school teacher named Rehmat Elahi came to see me. He was to retire in 4 or 5 months’ time. He was extremely worried as he had 3 young daughters and no home of his own. He was extremely worried about his future, house, meager pension, marriage of his daughters, etc.He said that a few days before he saw our Holy Prophet (PBUH) in a dream who advised him to go to see the DC in Jhang who would help him. He confided that, being in great distress, he was offering nightly prayers for divine help. At first I thought I was being taken for a ride. When the man saw some doubts on my face, he got tears in his eyes and said: ‘Sir, I might have taken the liberty from the Almighty to lie, but I could never imagine of doing so in the name of our Holy Prophet (PBUH).’ At this I believed his tale and asked him to return after 3 weeks. During that time I quietly investigated and was told that he was an honest, God-fearing, simple person and a very poor one. At that time, the Provincial Government had empowered the DC to allot about 8 acres of unused land on lease to persons committed to using it for farming. Consequently, I asked my Land Officer, Mr. Ghulam Abbas, to find such a piece of land, suitable for quick crops and harvests. He thought I wanted that land for one of my relatives and came up in a jiffy with a piece located near the road. I allotted the land to Rehmat Elahi and asked the Land Officer to formalize everything and give the papers to him. After about 9 years, when I was working with President Ayub Khan in Karachi, I received a registered letter from Rehmat Elahi in which he informed me that he had worked hard and with the income he made he had managed to get his 3 daughters married and he and his wife had been able to perform Hajj. He had also managed to buy a small piece of land on which he had built a house for them to live in, so now he was no longer in need of the lease on the government land and he was returning all the relevant documents so that it could be given to some other needy person. I was sitting deeply in thought when the President entered the room to discuss some work. Taking one look at my face, he enquired what was worrying me. I told him the whole story. He was quiet for some time and then said that I had done a noble deed and that he would phone the Governor to allot that land to me. I thanked him very much for his gesture, but assured him that I did not need this land and was not interested in agriculture. At the end of my life, I said, I would need no more than a piece 2 yards long and that much everybody manages to get.”

This story should be highly inspiring to everyone. Even though none of those people are any longer alive today, the example of that simple school teacher from Jhang is a shining example for us all. May Almighty Allah shower His blessings on all those nice people – Ameen.

Posted on Mar 28, 18 | 11:34 am