Muhammad Sohail Ahmed
A Video Clip showing the Queen of England entering a mosque in London to listen to verses of the Holy Quran for self-therapy. The Qari can be seen reciting the verses from Surah-e- Rahman (called the bride of the Holy Quran) in his melodious voice as the Queen listens to the recitation with headgear on.
What is so good about the tone and melodious harmonics that are reportedly providing a healing effect to the Queen? What else one needs after being on top of the world with every possible luxury and comfort available at one’s disposal? Where the real comfort does come from if all possible physical and mental comforts are dispensable to the monarchy and still it has to go a mosque and that too being a non-Muslim?
Leaving the Queen aside, let’s look at our home ground, where a celebrity of Pakistan Hamza Ali Abbasi has announced adieu to show biz. Interestingly, he is not a street playboy or groomed from a suburban background. Educated in the USA for bachelors’ degree and doing his masters in Pakistan he went on to join civil services of Pakistan in the police department. Telling his own stories of becoming an atheist at the young age of fourteen years, he decided to quit the civil bureaucracy to join show biz as an actor to rise as a star.
In his video clip uploaded on social media that his mind was asking him questions like who made the universe. Who is the creator? Who we would be answerable to after we die? And so on……He would preach Islam. Some may speculate him for being an attention seeker or an unbalanced personality but the basic question remains to be seen or investigated as what is it that his soul is still in search of despite having earned a name, fame and stardom.
The month of December also reminds us of another pop singer turned into a preacher whose PIA flight crashed en-route Multan from Chitral in December 2016. He was on a preaching mission along with his wife and both of them had vowed to continue preaching Islam as a mission.
Like Hamza, he was also a learned person as he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering, raised in Air Force atmosphere to become a contractor before treading the path of stardom. Having a love for the Defense Forces of Pakistan, he developed national songs such as Dil Dil Pakistan through his team of Vital Signs. He used to sing this song equally well without the support of music.
His story of switching from show biz to a preacher is very thrilling as a roller coaster ride. This was the time when the World Trade Centre had been razed to the ground. The USA had waged war on Afghanistan. The Government of Afghanistan had refused to hand over their guest to USA. The socio-cultural and Islamic values were being discussed in the press. Daisy cutters explosives were all round the place, being the most devastating non-nuclear arsenal and rendering mass casualties in Afghanistan. Tribal areas were in turmoil. The society in Pakistan was under shock. Beard and turbans were highlighted as terrorist outfit kits.
A French team of journalists and media persons was arrested to be deported from the northern areas of Pakistan, trying to make a fake video with stars acting as Taliban, in the neighbourhood of Afghanistan. Show biz had adopted a new dimension of showing what was termed as Information Warfare and Psychological ops.
Islam was being projected as terrorist religion that ‘promoted hatred, murder without reason, and injustice through tyrant rulers’. Some religious people approached Junaid Jamshed in search of peace, soul satisfaction and internal contentment.
It was from this environment of turmoil and campaign that probably triggered him to quit show biz. He sold everything related to music except his melodious voice that scintillated the audience. From the money that he accumulated, he wanted to start a new project, Dressmaking and Drapers. At the outset, he purchased cloth in bulk and ordered it to be stitched as Shalwar Kameez for males in medium size. Since the medium is the most commonly used size, he expected to be sold quickly.
When he received the consignment, he came to know that by mistake an entire lot of dress was one size smaller than medium. Buyers of this size were difficult to find. He got a shock of his life as it appeared that his entire leftover wealth had been doomed in a venture that he thought would provide peace of mind to him.
There came the Devine help as narrated by him, a businessman from Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) came with the demand of Bengali Medium size. This was the same size that was stitched by Junaid’s team by mistake. The medium size there is one size smaller to our medium in Pakistan. Thereafter, the investment started to multiply and we see the emergence of a famous local brand called Junaid Jamshed (JJ).
He rose to fame again, this time it was with a new outlook. From jeans to shalwar, from singing to reciting naat/nasheet having his melodious sound like a common denominator. Occasionally a national song without music and a turban on his head depicting his mission like a soldier wearing his uniform, depicting his mission as defendant of the nation. Although he had not earned any religious qualification except for the rudimentary training that a preacher needs to go through to spread the basic message of Islam to all and sundry politely and humbly.
What invoked transformation in these persons? The answer given by these individuals is that they needed inner satisfaction. While talking to a friend on phone, Junaid said that he had enjoyed the best hotels in the world but the satisfaction he felt during and uncomfortable Sejour in a mosque during Tableegh-e-Deen mission was much more soothing and satisfying.
There were two lac people in the funeral of Junaid Jamshed. Probably the final proof of his popularity was his love for Islam and total submission to the cause of Islam. He has probably got what he wanted, the ultimate peace.
An adage, the ‘history repeats itself’ is getting proven and the obtaining environment is adopting post 9/11 traumatic colours. India has illegally annexed Kashmir, Muslims population in Kashmir is traumatized. Babari Masjid in Ajodhya, India, has been illegally destroyed and endorsed through an illegal decision dictated to the court by the tyrant administration of extremist Hinduism. Muslims in India are being harassed as taking the name of Islam is becoming difficult.
The indifferent attitude of the world community is adding to the frustration. Kashmiri Muslims have spent more than 100 days in lock up. Syed Ali Gilani, the Hurriyat Conference Kashmiri leader has asked the Prime Minister of Pakistan to take solid steps, revoke all agreements with India including shimla Agreement to save the Muslims of Kashmir. He says that it could be his last letter as he knows that he will have to pay the price of writing a letter in the form of his own life.
Our celebrities are also in the same world and feel the adverse effects of the environment and are in search of peace, soul satisfaction and love for Kashmiri Muslim brothers and sisters. Let us see how Hamza Ali Abbasi follows the footsteps of a real popular celebrity.
—The author is a freelance writer and Retired commodore of Pakistan Navy