So Much More…

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By: Truth Revealer

I feel empty. I feel hollow. I feel lost. I feel scared, terrified, and frightened. Death haunts me. It’s true what the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said, the gist of it is: Remember the destroyer of pleasures…death. I seem to have lost taste of life itself. My mind is bare. I think yet I don’t know what I am thinking. The only phrase that races in my mind all the time is that I lost my 10-year long teacher. Sometimes this thought produces a reaction yet other times it's just an empty feeling within. You know, a teacher-student relationship is a very important one, about the same as a parent-child relationship and in some cases stronger.
He was many things. He was like a father to me but he was so much more. He was my inspirer yet he was so much more. He was a writer but he wasn’t just a writer--he was so much more. He was a role model for me but he was so much more…most importantly he was my teacher and for me nothing exceeds that status. For me, considering as a parent wouldn’t elicit the right reaction--it wouldn’t …it doesn’t describe our relationship correctly. He was my teacher and a great one at that. He taught me, oh so many things. He taught me how to read and build a passion for writing. He taught me how to love this deen, the beloved of Allah سبحانہ وتعالی and the Creator himself. He taught me to believe in the impossible being easier than that which is possible. He taught me to have faith in Allah سبحانہ وتعالی the one and only in any and all times. He taught me the difference between right and wrong. He taught me to love my country. He taught me the rights of my parents upon me and those of my family. He taught me to love the ilm of Quran and Hadith. He helped me build my passion for being an Aalima. Wanting to seek more and more knowledge. He gave the thirst for the knowledge of Allah سبحانہ وتعالی…and I can't thank him enough for a gift like that. He taught me to be a human being. He taught me to love, to have faith, and to believe in my strength as a Muslim. I owe him for all what I am today.
People look at me with pity when they see my tears and inquire about them. When I tell them that I mourn the passing of a great writer…the passing of my teacher they seem to misinterpret it for some teen's stupid love for a writer due to his work. I mean who cries for a writer? People would cry at the loss of a great scholar and so would I but at the end of the day he was not a scholar but just a writer. Yes, he was just a writer but a great teacher too. His books weren't just books…his stories weren't just stories…they were so so much more. They guided me to the light of Islam. Reading his Qadam ba Qadam series aided me in setting my views right. He helped me establish the best of people as my role models. It was because of his writings of the great scholars and the stars of our history i.e. Sahabah that made me want to be as strong as Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal in face of oppression and stand up against ignorance and what is wrong. They made me want to be as patient as Imam Abu Hanifa. He made me want to mother children who would be leaders like Hazrat Abu Bakr رضی اللہ عنہ, strong and pious as Hazrat Umar رضی اللہ عنہ, modest as Hazrat Uthman رضی اللہ عنہ and brave as Hazrat Ali رضی اللہ عنہ. Teenagers nowadays take Britney Spears or some other actor or actress as their role model. SubhanAllah.
People say that the youth of today is the future of tomorrow. This man spent his life using his skill working on the youth of a nation…of an ummah that follows the footsteps of the beloved of Allah سبحانہ وتعالی. If this man doesn’t deserve recognition than I don’t know who does. I still remember when I was in Grade VII, our Urdu teacher Miss Romana once asked the class what everyone wanted to be when they grew up. I don’t remember what the other girls had said but I remember I had said that I wanted to be an Aalima when I grew up. For some reason everyone had laughed; however, my teacher had praised me. I was what? Around 11 years of age. I don’t mean to sing my own praise here, rather I want the world to know the kind of man he was and what he accomplished. He had succeeded in making me fall in love with our real ideal…whom if I follow will lead me to Jannah, Insha ‘Allah. He made me blind to those whom Shaitaan had posted around the world to attract and trap young, innocent children. The only people I could look up to were the Tabaees, Sahabah and ultimately he made me love Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. If he could mould me, there are thousands of people out there whom he must have transformed. If he could manage to change my life he could've and must have changed millions more.
Moreover, his novels weren't just some awesomely amazing and interesting mystery, crime fiction--NO! They were so much more. They taught me so much. The best part is that his novels weren't too Islamized. He had simply integrated small, yet fundamental basics in his stories and in my life. Reading his characters from a young age of eight, small lessons, though very important ones, got engraved in my soul. His characters, Mahmood, Farooq and Farzana taught me that Muslims don’t lie… ever. "Muslaman kabhi jhoot nahi bolta."  And the best thing they taught me of a being a Muslim was that "mushkilon say darnay walay ay asman nahi hum." Khan Abdul Rahman and Professor Dawood taught me that we must protect and love our country no matter how deep it falls in the gutter of corruption and destruction. "Hum watan kay liyay jaan bhi day saktay hein." Asif, Aftab and Farhat taught me lessons like nothing is impossible in the world, "Honay ko iss duniya mein kia nahi ho sakta," that no feat is greater than the might of Allah سبحانہ وتعالی, "Allah Malik hai," and that to always remember Allah سبحانہ وتعالی--to have faith in him, "Mayusi gunah hai, & Jab okhli mein sar dia tu mooslon ka kia dar." Inspector Jamshaid and Inspector Kamran Mirza taught me "usool pasandi", that Muslims don’t ever break their word. Muslims have honor and live their lives to set principles in accordance to Quran and Hadith. They taught me that Muslims are fair, honest and that we never cheat.  For example, at times my beloved characters would be facing a criminal, who like them would be a man of principle too, and if they were fighting and Inspector Jamshaid had the upper hand as he had a pistol he would rather lose the opportunity and be on an equal status with his enemy. His characters…my imaginary family taught me to be a Muslim… a Momin. Even the criminals depicted such an image that it wouldn’t harm one to look up to them either. I mean I love the character of Jairal who is an international criminal but what I love about him is that he is a man of principle such that he would rather suffer immense loss than break any of his principles. I admired that and still do. Basically the point here is that not only did his Islamic contributions help build my character but it was mainly his jasoosi novels that did the trick. Alhamdolillah…
 On 17th November, 2015 this world suffered an irreplaceable loss. We lost a star in literature. We lost a great role model. We lost an important symbol of hope, peace and Islam. We lost a beacon of light that guided this nation back to Allah سبحانہ وتعالی and I …I lost my teacher. I want the people to know what this Ummah has lost. He wasn’t an Aalim, nor a mufti. He was a simple writer. Yes! He was just a writer but now people know how much more and what he really was. I mourn and grieve his death not because I question Allah SWT's decision, Astaghfirullah…NO! I mourn him because I have lost an important personality of my life. I haven’t done justice to what he really means to me---the place that he holds in my heart. You know if only I could literally just write with blood and tears… I feel like these words are meaningless…I feel like they don’t seem to be able to the job of conveying what I wish to convey. This is so useless. If only tears and pain could be translated. I lost a teacher, a mentor. Those of you who have lost a teacher can relate to my pain. I feel like there is this huge gash in my soul, I feel that my heart has been impaled with the shard of pain and grief. I know to some people it will seem melodramatic …but honestly my world has turned upside down.
I mourn his loss but what I want to tell his fans, his family out there is that he still lives. For me, he is still alive. He lives in my actions as I implement all that he has taught me. He has taught me to be patient. His teachings are the teachings of Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. I mourn his death but I have also learnt from him to be patient…to have sabr so I shall be patient and do isaal-e-sawab, Insha ‘Allah. He will live in the future of our nation as we teach our children all that he gave us. He has left a legacy behind that will keep his name up high for centuries to come. He lives as we practice what he taught us. So guys, don’t worry, he lives in our hearts and through our actions we shall ensure his continuing existence.  
"I had no blood relation with him, he wasn’t even a far off relative of mine…I've never met him. We've never had any sort of communication between us via letters or any other means. He doesn’t even know me yet I know him very well and will always know him. The person for whom I have these feelings…I will say it…he was beloved to me, he is beloved to me and he will always be beloved to me. This love won’t die even if death claims me. {Because in this wide world he reminded us of the reality in a beautiful way. He brought back to life the Sahabah for us...for me.} I ask the winds, the snow-covered mountains to tell me how he is…these winds, these mountains don’t seem to understand me. What kind of wish is this? What kind of yearning is this? {I know he is the best of places Inshallah yet one is still left to wonder}." (Mairi Kahani page 430)
Who knew one day I would be using his very words to define…express my own grief.
I have said it before and I will say it again:
He was so much more, he meant so much more, he is so much more and he will always be so much more to me. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon.
This is a small tribute to a man who influenced me by his character. A man whom I’d never met. A teacher I’d never set my eyes upon (in-person). Ishtiaq Ahmed, taught me in more ways than physical. He lived when I had not yet taken my first breath. And he passed away before I took my last. I shall never forget him I am forever indebted to him. May Allah سبحانہ وتعالی shower him with blessings and give him place in Jannat ul Firdous as well as companionship of Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم,Aameen.