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MARYAM JAMEELAH An Inquisitive Lady

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, by OUR STAFF REPORTER

Maryam Jameelah should be counted among those rare personalities who enjoyed the test of Iman in this world and not only remained Muslim till their death but advocated for the religion strongly, said Dr. Waquar Anwar, Secretary Board of Islamic Publications, under which Radiance is published. He was speaking on “Maryam Jameelah: Life and Thoughts” at JIH headquarters in the capital on 25 December. The programme was organised by Delhi zone of Students Islamic Organisation of India. Mrs. Jameelah died on 31 October, 2012 at the age of 78.

Dr. Anwar further said that Mrs. Jameelah was in search of satisfactory answers to her questions about religion. She studied Christianity and Judaism only to know the distortions and mix-ups in these religions. Then she came in contact with Maulana Maudoodi to find every question of hers answered in a very satisfying way. Dr. Anwar stated that it was strange to see the first Bible in the Roman language while the language of Jesus was Aarami. He said he was unable to understand the connection between Rome and Christianity while the Christianity was originated and developed in Palestine.

Dr. Anwar said, quoting Mrs. Jameelah, that she found the real oneness of God in Islam which is described in Judaism. She criticised the Muslim society in Pakistan and said that Islam cares much for cleanliness but the Muslim society seems not to take it seriously. Dr. Anwar quoted a text from Mrs. Jameelah’s Islam in Theory and Practice, saying if a civilization grows, others start to follow it blindly. Same is the situation with Muslims. They are running into the footsteps of the west though the Islamic civilization is much better than theirs.

Mrs. Jameelah writes in her book that there are three kinds of Muslims. The first kind consists of those who are influential and powerful in the society but they are the great admirer of western culture. The second kind is comprised of those weaker Muslims who follow the Islamic traditions strictly but are not able to take any revolutionary step. Persons belonging to the third category are well aware of both Islamic and western civilizations but they are not only the followers of Islamic traditions but promoters of the same as well.

Addressing the gathering, Ms Najmus Sahar, research scholar at Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, said the westernised people think a woman cannot perform her duties while following the Islamic etiquette. But we have the example of Khadeejah, the wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). She was a successful businesswoman with strict Islamic traditions. And now, Maryam Jameelah has proved that it is practical for women even in this modern era to follow the Islamic principles while performing their filial duties and others.

Ms Sahar said Maryam Jameelah was interested in music since her childhood. Once she happened to listen to an Arabic song on radio and her interest towards Arabic and Islam started from there. She went to the embassy of Syria in America and got a handful of collections of Arabic songs and the recitation of the Holy Qur’ān as well. In 1953, she got ill and demanded an English version of the Holy Qur’ān from her parents in order to utilise her leisure time. They got her a book of a biased Christian who had manipulated the stories and proved that the Qur’ān is not a divine guidance. But this did not stop her will to study the original version of the Qur’ān. She got the translation of the Holy Qur’ān by Mohammad Marmaduke Pickthall and studied it.

Ms Sahar said, according to Maryam Jameelah, it was not Arab people who helped Islam but it was Islam that helped in their establishment. She said Ms Margret Marcus, as Maryam Jameelah was called before coming to the fold of Islam, was not interested in dance parties, pubs and vulgarity since her childhood.  She always asked her parents the questions such as ‘what is life for’ and ‘what would happen after death’. She was in search of truth when she came in contact with Syed Abul A’la Maudoodi and got all her problems solved by embracing Islam.

Ms Sahar said it was her most courageous venture to leave America and settle down in Pakistan. She did it only to save her religion from being polluted and to follow its traditions properly. Her act should be termed as Hijrat (the holy migration). Post-embracement of Islam she preferred to become wife of a man who had been married to another woman only to support the principle of ‘polygamy’ in Islam.

Mrs. Jameelah criticised her contemporary writers very intelligently. She targeted the western society and said the western people seem to be happy but are not in real. Mr. Khan Yasir, member Central Advisory Council SIO and research scholar at University of Delhi, addressing the house said that usually people criticise someone for three reasons. Some people criticise to show their responsibility and want to provide an alternative for the society apart from the writer’s idea. Some others criticise to display their intellectual show-off while there are some whose habit is to criticise and they cannot live without criticising others. Criticism has become a disease for them. Mrs. Jameelah belonged to the first category and she criticised responsibly. Whenever she condemned someone’s idea she provided another one. She writes in a book of hers, “It does us no good merely to condemn our enemies. In order to fight our enemies effectively, it is essential to understand them and to know how their minds work.”

Mr. Yasir said that one should not judge someone on the grounds of impacts he/she left on the world. Rather we should judge him/her based on their heroic deeds no matter what impact it left on the world.

Mr. Azaharuddin, national president of SIO, said that we could not realise the importance of someone until he departs from us. Mrs. Jameelah would be remembered for her quest for truth and for her distinctive intellectual contribution she offered in the field of Islam.



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