Dawat-o-Tabligh by Saeed Anwar

Saeed Anwar, the world-class Pakistani batsman commit himself to propagating Islam, is busy visiting various tents at Hajj here to lecture on Islam.

On Sunday night he chose tent  at the Mina-Muzdalifa boundry to address around 300 Indians and Pakistanis.

"A day or night spent in the way of Allah is better than any other worldly activity," 

said Anwar, now sporting a long beard and hardly recognizable as the face that made the front pages for heroic cricketing deeds for his century in his key day [though he did not make a brief appearance on the world stage when he returned to serve his country at the World Cup in South Africa last year].

Dressed in the Pakistani Shalwar Kameez outfit, Anwar captivated his audience with a narration on how he was able to attract his Pakistani team co-player Saqlain Mushtaq to the light of spiritual guidance.

For the past couple of years, Saeed Anwar has associated himself with Tabligh Jamat (an Islamic propagation party) whose religious scholars goaround Pakistan and abroad to attend various Islamic conclaves.

Anwar said his talk that he was able to convince Saqlain Mushtaq to spend half a day with the Jamat, offering prayers in mosque and taking a round of one's own residential area and calling the people to prayers (which is called gasht in Tabligh parlance). Saqlain joined us after Friday prayers. We had food and after a session of religious teachings we asked Saqlain to do the gasht in his residential area and call people to offer prayers.

In the company of religious scholars later, Saqlain offered obligatory prayers, listened to the sermons, had dinner with group, offered Isha prayers and went to sleep. "The next morning Saqlain came to me and said, 'What was this dose that you gave me last night?' 

Earlier I used to toss in bed all night and would not be able to sleep till 8 in the morning. I needed sleeping pills. What dose did you give me? I slept after Isha prayers and just woke up. And I feel damn hungry, get me some food...."

Saqlain's life changed that morning. He took that course for three days. Ten days later, he came back and asked to spend three more days in the Jamat, Anwar said.

Tabligh Jamat has been their job for the last 40 years. The jamat exhorts non-practicing Muslims to reckon the importance of worshipping Allah, understand the teachings of Islam, implement them in one's life and propagate Islam among non-muslims.

Anwar explained how Saqlain's inclination toward his Faith was met with a furor in his family, especially his wife. But later things changed....and now Saqlain's wife wears a Hijab. My father, who was a practicing Muslim but used to listen music etc., now he has changed too. My mother who was initially furious about my father attends Jamats (religious conclaves), later transformed herself and Allah has guided her to the right path....she now wears complete Hijab....and my three sisters, brother-in-law, two maternal uncles and five paternal uncles have returned to the Straight Path as well, Anwar said.

Before my travel for the Haj, Saqlain visited me and said he and his wife would be attending religious seminar together. If people work for the cause of Allah, He makes ways for them to gain ground and audience, Anwar said. 

Quoting one of his acquaintances who had returned to Pakistan from England recently, Anwar said that he saw famous Indian Film actor-actress Dilip Kumar and Saira Bano at a 15-day Jamat in London. It was stunning to see Saira Bano observing full Hijab. Anwar quoted his friend as saying.

Anwar went on to explain Jamat experience. "When you are sick, the doctor gives you the right kind of medicine and tells you what to eat and what not to eat..this is what we do to the people", he said about spiritual treatment. But that drew questions from the audience about how an ordinary man can ever attend to the Jamat when he has to work every day to make both ends meet, unlike Saeed Anwar who is already wealthy from his cricketing success.

Ninety-nine percent of the people working for the Jamat are not well-to-do financially. There are very few well-heeled people attached to the Jamat, Anwar replied. He said that even people with meager incomes, once they understand the purpose of their life, have undertaken local as well as foreign tours in Jamats.

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