Introduction

Dr. Israr Ahmed was Islamic theologian followed particularly in South Asia and also among the South Asian diaspora in the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. He was born on April 26, 1932 in Hisar, a district of

Dr. Israr Ahmed


Professional Achievements


Dr. Israr Ahmed was Islamic theologian followed particularly in South Asia and also among the South Asian diaspora in the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. He was born on April 26, 1932 in Hisar (a district of East Punjab, now a part of Haryana) in India. He graduated from Lahore in 1954 and later received his Master's degree in Islamic Studies from the University of Karachi in 1965 While still a student and an activist of the Islami Jami`yat-e-Talaba, he became a Mudarris (or teacher) of the Qur'an. Even after resigning from Jama`at, he continued to give Quranic lectures in different cities of Pakistan, and especially after 1965 spent a great deal of time studying the Quran. He also worked with the tablighi jamaat but then left the organization due to some methodological differences.

In 1967, Dr. Israr Ahmad wrote “Islamic Renaissance: The Real Task Ahead”, a tract explaining his basic belief. This was that a rebirth of Islam would be possible only by revitalizing iman (faith) among the Muslims – particularly educated Muslims – and the propagation of the Qur'anic teachings in contemporary idiom and at the highest level of scholarship is necessary to revitalize iman. 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, Dr. Israr Ahmad gave up his medical practice to devote himself full time 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.

Dr. Israr Ahmad 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 and the most popular of all religious programs in the history of Pakistan Television, the Al-Huda, which made him a household name throughout the country. His television lectures generally focused on the revitalization of the Islamic faith through studies of the Quran. Ahmad also criticized modern democracy and the electoral system and argued that the head of an Islamic state can reject the majority decisions of an elected assembly. Although he did not like to receive it personally, Ahmad was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 1981. He has to his credit over 60 Urdu books on topics related to Islam and Pakistan, 9 of which have been translated into English and other languages. In 21st century Ahmad came on peace TV and taught Islam to people so they could understand Islam.

Dr. Israr Ahmed relinquished the leadership of Tanzeem-e-Islami in October 2002 on grounds of bad health. Supporters describe his vision of Islam as having been synthesized 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 Ahmad Usmani; yet he presented Qur'anic teachings in a scientific and enlightened way.

Dr. Israr 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 actualization 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, Dr. Israr 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 Indo-Pakistan subcontinent 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 emphasizes that iman (faith) among Muslims must be revived in "a significant portion of the Muslim society before there can be an Islamic revival.

While Dr. Israr Ahmed considered 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.

Nov 19, 2007 Dr. Israr Ahmed warned that 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 border 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.

Canada's National Post newspaper reported in 2006 that, according to Ahmad 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 Dr. Israr 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 July 27, 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, but a written statement, issued by his personal secretary in Lahore, went on to explain Mr. Ahmad's belief that the Holocaust was Divine punishment and that Jews would one day be exterminated.

The Post gave several quotes about Jews by Dr. Israr Ahmed including - It is apparent to any careful observer that the Jews have continued to suffer the floggings of Divine punishment in the present century – the Holocaust during the Second World War being a case in point.

The conflict between the Jews and Muslims is going to result, ultimately, in the total extermination of the former, according to the Divine law of annihilation of the worse.

Dr. Israr Ahmed died of a cardiac arrest at his home in Lahore on the morning of 14 April 2010 between 3:00 and 3:30 a.m. According to his son, his health deteriorated at around 1:30 a.m. 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.