An orphan in early childhood, my father Late Jamil Ahmad Sahab went on to live a long and successful life. His death on 10 January 2017 marked the end of a truly illustrious career.
Born in 1923, he had lost both his father and mother very early in his childhood and was taken care of by his brother Late Muhammad Yusuf Advocate who was about 10 years older than him.
His career as a student, first in Govt Inter College, Meerut and then Meerut Degree College as a student of law was marked by high achievements. Always passing in first division, he obtained 4th position in Law in the whole Agra University, UP, India.
Subsequently he started his career as an Advocate in his hometown, Saharanpur and soon became an established and highly reputed lawyer. He retired from profession at the age of 75 after performing Hajj.
The reason for retiring was that he thought howsoever one tries to be honest, the demands of the Legal Profession were such as did not allow one to remain totally honest and after Hajj he did not want to risk his honesty. He however continued to look after his mango orchards and farms till his death.
His achievements in the social arena were also remarkable. A social and community activist, he mainly concentrated on the rural areas of District Saharanpur and the adjacent districts of Muzaffar Nagar, Hardwar and Dehradun focussing on education (both religious and modern) and campaigning against unIslamic customs that prevailed in the area.
First as Secretary and then President of a community organisation, he established and developed two large Arabic Madrasas (providing Aalim and Fazil degrees) and dozens of small schools and madrasas. He also took lead in campaigning for girls’ education.
His organisations also provided scholarships to poor students from the rural areas. The areas of the four districts where he worked along with his colleagues produced hundreds of doctors, professors, engineers, bureaucrats, lawyers and Engineers.
He continuously fought against the malpractices in marriages and marriage ceremonies, campaigned for the written registrations of all marriages in Nikah Registers and formed committees to try to reconcile the couples on the verge of divorce.
What however I would specifically like to mention is his decision to bequeath full religious share to his daughters in his property, something extremely rare in the present Indian Muslim society.
He had initially willed only in favour of sons but when I reminded him of his religious duty to rewrite will in accordance with the provisions of Quran, he finally agreed and got another will written. After some initial reluctance, all the brothers happily accepted his decision. I feel this example needs to be percolated to the larger sections of Muslim society and can become a part of the movement to grant women the rights enshrined in Islam.
He was also a man of great discipline who would follow his duty in precise details and would never be late in whatever he planned. One particular event is enough to describe the power of his resolve.
He used to smoke Huqqa which used to be an integral part of gatherings at that time particularly in rural areas. When in 1983 I returned back after completing Medicine at King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, one day while having the pipe of huqqa in his hand, he complained, “Javed, I have this recurrent Cough”.
I replied, “Abbajan, this is on account of the pipe you are having in your hands and if you stop smoking, you will be fine, Insha Allah”. Listening to this, he took a smoke from the pipe and then left it with a jerk saying, “This was my last, and if I don’t heed the advice of my doctor son who else will?” He never smoked after that despite pressures from his friends.
He was gifted with 7 sons and 3 daughters. He took care to make sure that all his children got high education. One became a distinguished lawyer, myself became a doctor (now more known as a writer and thinker) and the other 5 brothers became qualified Engineers.
Mr. Zahid Jamil, a postgraduate from IIT Delhi settled in Sydney and is highly respected in Australian circles. All the sisters got postgraduate qualifications and were married to qualified professionals.
In his last few years, he had completely lost his vision due to Congestive Glaucoma and his hearing too had become largely impaired. But his spirits were never compromised and he remained as alert as ever in his mental abilities.
One day he asked me, “Tell me, when I am raised again on the Day of Qayamat, will I be raised blind and deaf?’ I said, “Insha Allah you will be in Jananh and you will be raised as a young man with excellent vision and hearing”.
He looked visibly happy and then I jokingly said, “And Abbajan, if Allah is merciful on me and grants me too a place in Jananh, I will be as young as you and you will not be able to look at me with your fatherly stare as you did here.”
He laughed and said, “I pray to Allah that all my sons, daughters, relatives, friends and the whole Muslim Ummah gets the Mercy of Allah and are granted places in Jannah!”
Dua for late Mr Jamil Ahmad in Sydney
A dua was organised by Mr Zahid Jamil, son of late Mr Jamil Ahmad on Sat 14 January 2017 at Himalaya Function Centre in Granville, Sydney.
Mr Jamil Ahmad passed away on 10 Jan in New Delhi, India and was buried with full respects in his home town Saharanpur, the next day. He was aged 92.
Well over 150 people, family and friends attended the event with recitation of Quran and an address by Maulana Nazir ul Hassan Thanvi followed by insightful advice and an emotional dua that brought tears amongst the audience.
Mr Zahid Jamil, a well known community leader currently heading the South Asian Muslim Association of Australia (SAMAA), while remembering his late father, described him as an exceptional human being who was not only a reputed lawyer but also played active social role in Muslim community of Saharanpur.
Dr Simmi Zahid, Mr Zahid Jamil’s daughter, described her grandfather as a highly virtuous man who had earned respect from rich and poor, his colleagues and contemporaries, community leaders as well as local MPs and Ministers due to his righteousness and humility.