Dr. Israr Ahmad, a well-known Islamic scholar and writer of several books, breathed his last at his residence in Lahore in the early hours of April 14. He was suffering from back-ache and cardiac disorder since long. He was 78.
Born on April 26, 1932 in Hissar (a district of East Punjab, now a part of Haryana) in India, Israr Ahmad graduated from King Edward Medical College (Lahore) in 1954 and later got Master’s degree in Islamic Studies from the University of Karachi in 1965.
He came under the influence of Maulana Syed Abul A’la Maudoodi as a young student, worked briefly for Muslim Students Federation in the Independence Movement and, following the creation of Pakistan in 1947, for the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba and then for the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan.
In 1971 Dr. Israr Ahmad gave up his medical practice to devote himself full time to serve the cause of Islam. In 1972 he helped establish Markazi Anjuman Khuddam-ul-Qur’an Lahore. He also founded Tanzeem-e-Islami in 1975.
Dr. Israr Ahmad first appeared on Pakistan Television in 1978 in a programme called Al-Kitab. This was followed by other programmes, known as Alif Lam Meem, Rasool-e-Kamil, Umm-ul-Kitab and the most popular of all religious programmes in the history of Pakistan Television, the Al-Huda, which made him a household name throughout the country. He was popular for his lectures and TV debates over current Islamic issues on Q TV and Peace TV and his grasp over Islamic history made him a front-ranking scholar of Islam.
Dr. Israr Ahmad was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 1981. He wrote several books in Urdu on various aspects of Islam and Pakistan.
In India, various organisations and individuals extended condolence on the demise of Dr. Israr Ahmad. Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, President All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, in a statement, termed his demise as “a great loss for the Muslim world and, particularly for the Muslims of the subcontinent”.
“A few years ago, on his visit to India to deliver lectures he was deeply impressed by the democratic freedoms which the Muslim Indians enjoyed and the resilience with which they preserved their religious and cultural identity,” Mr. Shahabuddin added.
Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) also expressed deep sorrow over his death. “The demise of such an outstanding scholar is a great loss particularly for the Islamic activism of our times,” said SIO National Secretary Shahnawaz Ali Raihan in a statement.
His Namaz-e-Janaza was held after Asr prayer at Khalid Market Ground, Model Town Extension, Lahore. His funeral, led by his son Hafiz Aakif Sayeed, was prominently attended by the JIP leaders including Syed Munawwar Hassan, Liaqat Baloch, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Hafiz Idrees, Head Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (S) Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, MNA Naseer Bhutta and other dignitaries of the society, and of course a large number of Dr. Israr’s followers.
In the Indian city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, hundreds of Muslims offered funeral prayers in absentia at Azizia Masjid, one of the biggest mosques in the city, after Maghrib prayers on April 14.
He was buried at the local graveyard in Lahore in the evening of April 14.