By IBRAHIM T.K.
The friendly relations and mutual cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Jamaat-e-Islami has a history of many decades. It dates back to the era of King Faisal. Abul A’la Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, submitted recommendations to King Faisal to establish an Islamic University and expand the Mathaf of Ka’aba. Both these recommendations were implemented by King Faisal.
Whenever Maududi visited Saudi Arabia, he would prefer to stay at the residence of Amir Abdurahiman to staying at a hotel. King Faisal Foundation honoured Maududi with King Faisal Award in recognition of his services to Islam.
Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan leaders had been keeping strong bonds with Saudi rulers and other top officials. Three years down the line, the then Pak Jamaat Ameer Quazi Hussain Ahmad was interacting with foreign delegates (especially the leaders of Ikhawanul Muslimun and similar Islamic Movements) who had come for All Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami Conference. A special summit indeed! This writer was fortunate to be a part of it. Shortly one could see Quazi sahib leaving the venue, for meeting none other than King Abdullah who was on his visit to Pakistan.
The leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind too had been frequent visitors and well acknowledged figures in Saudi Arabia. Former President of Jamaat, Late Mohammed Yousuf was an active member of Muslim World League. He maintained a very cordial and family-like bondage with Shaikh Mohammadali Al Harakan, former General Secretary of Rabita. This writer still remembers the instance of bringing bitter gourd for Harakan’s diabetes treatment. It must be around 35 years ago.
Another eminent personality from Saudi Arabia who had high regard for Indian Jamaat leaders was Shaikh Ibn Baz. On visiting him at his office in Riyadh, he would say at the end of conversation: “Algada Indana” (have lunch with me, please!). Once you reached Shaikh’s residence for lunch, for a couple of hours it was like a family gathering. He would want every leader to sit near him and eat. Being blind, he would instruct his servants to take special care of his guests. It is known that Muhammad Yousuf was a poor eater. Shaikh would especially find out if he had proper food. The food was served on the floor. It is less likely to have a day without ten to twenty guests for lunch, all scholars, propagators, leaders of Islamic movements.
To the leaders of Indian Jamaat sitting next to him, Shaikh would enquire with great enthusiasm and extreme compassion the condition of Indian Muslims in general and the Jamaat activities in particular. It can be said that the connecting link between Shaikh and Muhammad Yousuf was zuhd (indifference towards worldly comforts) and their aspirations for unity of Muslims and desire for propagation of Islam.
The relationship goes on...
The Saudi-Jamaat relationship still continues to be strong and clear. It was quiet evident from the visit of Jamaat delegation under the leadership of Prof. Siddeeq Hassan, Naib Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. There were four members in the delegation. Besides Siddeeq Hassan, the delegation consisted of this writer, the external affairs secretary of Vision 2016 Mr. Rizwan Rafeeqi, and Sahulat Microfinance Vice President Mr. Arshad Ajmal. We reached Riyadh as the official guests of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs under the Crown Amir Sultan Abdul Aziz. The Secretary General of the Supreme Council Dr. Swalihubnul Aaed extended a hearty welcome to us and arranged for our stay in a five star hotel.
A delegation under his leadership visited Jamaat headquarters in New Delhi a few weeks before and personally observed the Jamaat activities, especially the ambitious initiatives under Vision 2016. It was from this visit that the idea of inviting a delegation to Saudi emerged.
The very next day of our reaching Riyadh, he arranged appointment for us with distinguished personalities.
Our first appointment was with the Under Secretary of Ministry for Islamic Affairs in Auqaf Dr. Abdul Aziz Ammar. He is known to me for long years. The manner he received us itself was indicative of his great regard for us. The usual practice for high officials like him to receive the delegates was to remain in the seat and shake hands. In our case he personally came to receive us in the waiting room.
Our conversation lasted for hours on end covering a variety of issues. One of the prime topics of discussion was the Jamaat-Saudi relationship. On his narration of this long relationship, he shared his personal level relation with the Jamaat as well. He is a person who knows ins and outs of the Jamaat in both India and Pakistan. He is a frequent visitor to these organisations both officially and even otherwise. Many of the facts he shared was new information for us. Such was the depth and breadth of his understanding about the Jamaat. See us off after a very long conversation, he said: we shall meet again.
Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al-Shaikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia cordially welcomed us at his office. Stepping into that gigantic white palace, we were reminded of the greatest Salafi scholar of the last century Shaikh Ibnul Baz. It was his base towards the end of his life.
The Grand Mufti enquired us about the Jamaat activities. He is blind. His secretaries explained to him various aspects of our work with the help of the leaflets introducing the Jamaat and Vision 2016.
Next, we met Shaikh Mutkhal, Assistant of the Grand Mufti. He too came out of his seat to extend cordial welcome to us. Then it was a long conversation. He was extremely appreciative of the contribution of Indian Muslims towards Islamic knowledge base especially interpretation of the Qur’ān and Hadith. The academic contributions of Daruttasneef of Hyderabad were especially lauded. We were overwhelmed with pride being a part of Indian Muslim society. I would have explained his appreciative notes more but for fear of the length of this article.
The Vice Chancellor of Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University received us with all the privilege of a high level official delegation. He offered so much for Indian Muslims especially in the field of education. He is a personality with updated knowledge, deep insight and kind-heartedness. The university he heads has no comparison in the Muslim world. This university is run on a scheme especially prepared after studying the top American Universities like Oxford and Harward, adopting the best practices and avoiding the undesirables.
Its branches are established in different parts of the world, including America. It is a university which gives hope to the Muslim world. Around five thousand students are studying here. Those who ridicule Saudi Arabia as primitive and out-fashioned, must pay a visit to this university. It would have taken days on end to visit the whole of campus which consists of many huge and gigantic buildings spread over 50 square kilometres. A quick visit of the campus was facilitated for us in an especially arranged bus.
WARM WELCOME IN WAMY
World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) is a world Muslim youth organisation working from last half a century, imparting the youth with Islamic spirit, organisational glory and inspiration for Islamic propagation. This organisation, which is a member of United Nations as well, has made its exemplary contributions not only to the youth, but to the Islamic organisations world over. Shaikh Muhammad Akif, who was later the Murshid Aam of Iqwanul Muslimun of Egypt, had worked in WAMY for some time.
This writer has contact with the Secretary of WAMY Dr. Swalih Sulaiman Wuhaibi from the very day of his appointment. He is a man with vision and deep insight. I was convinced of his organising capacity and leadership ability when I participated in its international conference held last year in Jakarta, Indonesia.
We were accompanied to the huge WAMY building of Riyadh. In spite of our visit being at a very short notice, we were happily welcomed by Dr. Wuhaibi, with his unique smiling face. He behaved with our delegation leader Siddeeq Hassan as if they had known each other for years. Amidst our discussion on different issues, it was time for Zuhr (Afternoon Prayer). There is a somewhat big mosque in WAMY building itself. After the prayer, Dr. Wuhaibi introduced us in brief but comprehensive words. It was followed by a series of hand shakings and huggings. A warm expression of affectionate fraternity and high regards!
Back in his office again, we continued our discussion on a variety of topics. Opening of WAMY’s office in Delhi was also subjected to our deliberations. (Dr. Abdussalam is representative of India in WAMY).
Dr. Wuhaibi came up to the elevator with us to see us off as an expression of his hospitality.
Jeddah was our next destination. As per schedule, only two days were planned for Jeddah. Prominent personalities like Dr. Ahammed Muhammed Ali, President of Islamic Development Bank; Shaikh Basfer, an eminent scholar and president of International Qur’ān Recitation Competition Organisation; Dr. Abdullah Naseef, former Secretary General of Rabita and Advisor to the King, were all in our list. But in the absence of prior appointment, we had to postpone many of them for the next time.
However, we managed to meet Dr. Naseef. When we reached his office in Jeddah, he was extremely busy with phone calls and signing of various papers, etc. Anyhow, on the basis of our forty years long relationship, we were successful in bringing him to the conference hall and introducing Vision 2016 to him. Within minutes, he drafted and signed two important letters to Dr. Muhammad Ali (IDB) and Dr. Yasir, son of recently expired Dr. Muhammad Abu Yamani. In these letters, he introduced us as ‘the Leaders of Muslims in India’.
The relationship of Jamaat with Saudi Arabia does not end here. Penning it down would require many more pages. It is getting deeper and wider day by day. Walillahil Hamd!