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Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
I am from Bangladesh and a software engineer as a profession

How Saeed Anwar changed his life

As Saeed Anwar begins preaching at a mosque, his former team-mates rethink religion too

Karachi’s Sonehri Mosque in the Martin Quarters area usually spills over with the faithful especially on a Friday. Even by normal standards the crowd gathered at the mosque was big.
A young, bearded man with a green turban was lecturing with a passion, his voice booming through the loudspeakers of the mosque.
The crowd was in rapt attention. While most were obviously there to listen to the young preacher, quite a few also wanted to get a glimpse of him, the face they had only seen on the TV screen and at stadiums.
The unglamorous preacher in a simple salwar-kameez was the once-glamorous opening bat for the Pakistan cricket team, the man whose 194 runs against India in Madras remains the highest score in one-day international cricket.
Saeed Anwar is a changed man, as he himself says. The sermon was not about cricket; it was about Islam, its fundamentals and why it is important for all Muslims to practise their religion and seek guidance from the word of God.
Saeed doesn’t want to talk about himself; gone are the swashbuckling days of the cricketer who would be thronged by crowds for his autograph.
The man now is one who has effaced the ‘‘self’’: ‘‘I am not here to talk about cricket or about myself,’’ he told the crowd, ‘‘I am here to talk about our religion.’’
The 34-year-old Anwar, who bid cricket farewell on August 15, reverted to religion two years ago after the death of his daughter, Bismah. It all happened suddenly and fans were surprised to see Saeed’s picture in a newspaper with a beard and a turban.
But he did not seek retirement at the time even as he took to his new Islamic look and dress off the field. So different did he look that at one point a groundsman refused him entry.

‘‘People say that becoming religious has affected my form. That’s not true. I never come late for practice and performed better than any Pakistani batsman in the World Cup. The transformation doesn’t mean I am going to quit the game. I am not distracted,’’ he told reporters some months ago.
But he has ended up retiring prematurely. Although Anwar managed to score a century and was Pakistan’s highest scorer in the World Cup, he was one of eight players dropped from the squad. He had read the writing on the wall.
Today, Anwar feels the time he spent off the field was a waste and wants to make amends. ‘‘After retirement there is only one aim in my life and that is to follow Allah’s path and to prepare for the Day of Judgment,’’ Anwar says. He is satisfied with his decision, ‘‘I am a different Saeed Anwar and to me the material world is meaningless.’’
After his transformation while he was still playing cricket, Anwar, a computer engineer from Karachi, announced he would not go to parties and functions that were not in keeping with his religious obligations. ‘‘I see nothing unusual in Anwar’s transformation. People sometimes change and discover God,’’ Anwar’s first captain, Imran Khan, says.
Anwar, now a preacher, also went on a 40-day mystic seclusion (chilla) soon after he was dropped following Pakistan’s first-round debacle in the World Cup. His father Mohammad Anwar, also an engineer, and wife Lubna, a doctor, are also religiously inclined.
‘‘I have turned to Allah for solace and am committed to spread the religion to all parts of the world,’’ Anwar says. He denies being a jehadi or a fanatic. ‘‘Islam is a moderate religion and I am not a fanatic or a jehadi.’’
Would the wristy sensation now only be found in mosques and religious gatherings? Anwar disagrees: ‘‘Whenever someone calls me for cricket I will be there. I would love to transfer my talents to youngsters so that they can serve the country.’’ Saeed’s passion for cricket is the same as it was when he took his inspirations from movies and music.
‘‘It’s a good omen to have our heroes follow Islamic teachings,’’ said Maulana Mushtaq, prayer leader at the Sonehri Masjid. ‘‘At least, the world would know now that we don’t only produce playboys,’’ he added, alluding to the legendary Imran Khan.
To be fair to Anwar, he is not the only one. The Pakistani team has emerged as a side with strong religious tendencies. This is evident from the gestures they make on the field. More often than not, they thank God for their success even before greeting team-mates.
Ramiz Raja was on bended knees as soon as he took the catch off Imran clinching the World Cup for Pakistan in Melbourne, 1992. Former captain Salim Malik has also jumped onto the Raiwind bandwagon. He has formally joined the Tableeghi Jamaat and is busy spreading Islam. Yes, this is the same Salim Malik who was banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board on the recommendations of the Justice Qayyum Commission investigating corruption.
In 2002, Malik spent three days at Raiwind accompanied by Anwar, Waqar Younis and Inzamamul Haq. A close friend of Malik’s, former test cricketer Akram Raza, arranged for him to meet with Anwar, who introduced Malik to Maulana Tariq jamil, the spiritual leader in Raiwind.

Yousaf Yohana became Muhammad Yousaf

In 1992, Yousuf Youhana dreamt that he was playing with Saeed Anwar (a clean-shaven and stylish left-hander opener). It took five years for his dream to come true. Saeed Anwar played a role in introducing him to the cricket hierarchy in Pakistan, played with him and then finally got him converted to Islam. Many people in Pakistan still question whether Saeed Anwar was Yousuf’s dream or vice versa. Saeed Anwar is part of a coterie of many former Pakistani cricketers who are consistently working at seeding orthodoxy among Muslim cricketers.

Three years ago, Anwar sported a flowing beard on his face and next year he formally quit the arena. The reason for Anwar’s conversion from a music and art lover to an orthodox Muslim is generally attributed to his three-year-old mentally-retarded daughter’s death.

He then became a part of the Tablighi Jamaat of Raiwind (a place in Punjab famed for the country’s biggest religious congregation held each year) and joined a select group of former cricketers to make the national team religious minded. Youhana has shifted his two children from an English medium school in Lahore to a modern Islamic madrassa and he himself will soon be seen sporting a flowing beard.

Anwar frequently addresses Tablighi Jamaat’s meetings across the country and recently he told an audience that he was regretful that his cricketing life was not also dedicated to Islam. He said the scales had fallen from his eyes and he was now completely dedicated to Islam.

He said Shahid Afridi, Mushtaq Ahmed, Inzamam ul Haq and Saqlain Mushtaq too had joined him and become a votary of Tablighi Jamaat. The crowd was crying as he made his speech.

Noted intellectual Khaled Ahmed condemns the Tablighi Jamaat’s influence on the team and asks authorities to be watchful.

“Tablighi Jamaat is converting Pakistani sports into a losing enterprise. Another decade and we might have to ground all the sportsmen. At least there would be no national humiliation after that.” He adds, “PCB bosses should take note of what is happening under their nose. Youhana’s conversion is an eye-opener.”

Ahmed has some disturbing facts about Tablighi Jamaat. “One has to be careful about the fact that Tablighi Jamaat is on the watch-list in the West, and our increasingly bearded cricket team could be targeted under the new anti-terrorist laws being introduced in the UK and Australia.

Americans say many al Qaeda members have claimed connection to Tablighi Jamaat, including the ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh, captured in Afghanistan.”

After becoming an orthodox Muslim, Saeed Anwar was given the primary task to work on his teammates and his former cricket mates. Soon the team emerged with strong religious tendencies.

This is evident from the gestures they make on the field. More often than not, they thank God for their success even before greeting team-mates who bring them victory.

Former Pakistan Captain Salim Malik has also jumped onto the Raiwind bandwagon. He has formally joined the Tablighi Jamaat and is busy spreading Islam.

This is the same Salim Malik who was banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board from domestic and international cricket on the recommendations of Justice Qayyum Commission for corruption.

Then Malik spent three days at Raiwind accompanied by Saeed Anwar, Waqar Younis and Inzamam ul Haq. Malik now prays five times a day. “Going back to religion is not seeking refuge,” Malik says, “It is simply going back to one’s roots.”

Youhana has been indebted to Anwar for bringing him into the team and
in the process developed a close friendship with Anwar’s brother, Javed.

The two siblings got the young Christian to attend the Raiwind gatherings while his wife Tania (now Fatima) has been handed over to the cricketers’ wives to take her to religious home gatherings.

Sources in the cricket team say Youhana had formally decided to convert and got the blessings of Maulana jamil and Maulana Abdul Wahab in Raiwind. Both clerics allowed him to keep it secret because he feared his conversion would ruin his relationship with his parents in the process.

“There were two things in Youhana’s mind. One, he wanted to cement his presence in the team and second, he wanted his bond with his parents to stay intact till he achieved a permanent place in the game,” a former Pakistani cricketer says.

Although Youhana denies his conversion is aimed at clinching the team’s captaincy in the future, sources say he was dejected when he was stripped of vice captaincy and replaced by Younus Khan. For many, religion is a viable solution in this Muslim-dominated country.

Youhana kept the secret successfully for three long years and even his mother only learnt about it after he offered Umrah (pilgrimage) in Saudi Arabia along with Inzamam ul Haq and other teammates who had originally went there to play three matches against the Lashings World-XI (the series could not kick off due to sponsorship controversy).

On his return, Youhana formally announced his conversion by offering prayers in Qaddafi Stadium during a training camp along with skipper Inzamam and teammates Shahid Afridi, Abdur Razzaq, Taufiq Omer, Rao Iftikhar, Kamran Akmal, Arshad Khan and many PCB officials.

Interestingly, the prayer leader was Naeem Butt, who was formerly a TV and stage artist and has now become a preacher. After the prayers, all the teammates hugged Youhana and congratulated him for embracing Islam. Yousuf says Prophet Muhammad is his ideal and would follow his teachings for the rest of his life.

Now, Danish Kaneria is the only non-Muslim (a Hindu) member of the Pakistan cricket team. PCB officials fear he may be the next target for Saeed Anwar and company.

Allah Commands us to do tabligh

Allah commands all of us to do tabligh. Allah says in the Quran:

061.014 O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of God: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) ALLAH?" Said the disciples, "We are ALLAH's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved..

Allah makes this command to all the believers. We must be helpers of Allah and convey the message that Allah gave to His final messenger (May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him). Muhammed (May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) fulfilled his duty by conveying this message to his sahabah, its now for us to convey it to others.

Also in Bukhari hadith:

4.667: ------- Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr: The Prophet said, "Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire."

In the above hadith from Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad (May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) commands us to convey the message. In arabic the word for convey is baligh. That is what is tabligh. This command is for everyone. The prophet (May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) orders us to convey the message even if it were a single statement. The prophet (May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) also commands us to relate the stories of Bani Israel, and whoever says a lie about prophet Muhammad (May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) will find his seat in the hell fire.

What is dawah & tabligh

Dawat e Tabligh is a international network of propagation of Islam based on the footprints of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam)and Sahaba (Radhiallahu Anhum Ajmain). This is the only way of propagation of Islam which is the remedy of muslim degeneration.

"You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al Maruf (all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah." (Al Imran 110)
Therefore, whoever among this Ummah acquires these qualities, will have a share in this praise. Qatadah said, "We were told that Umar bin Khattab (RA) recited this Ayah during a Hajj that he performed, when he saw that the people were rushing. He then said, "Whoever likes to be among this [praised] Ummah, let him fulfill the condition that Allah set in this Ayah." Those from this Ummah who do not acquire these qualities will be just like the people of Scriptures whom Allah criticized. (Tafsir Ibn Katheer)

Similarly, if people do not prohibit evil and sin in the society, the entire society - innocent and evil - will equally suffer.

Hadhrat Abu Hurayra (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) states that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, "Command good and prohibit evil or else Allah will send such a punishment that will destroy everyone." (Ibid)

The above quotations of the Qurãn and Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) are clear that commanding good and prohibiting evil is an emphasised injunction of Allah and His Rasul. Every person must carry out this injunction. All the Prophets (Álayhimus salaam) followed the footsteps of their respective Prophets and after the demise of their Prophet, they carried out the same mission. The Sahaaba of Rasulullah (Radhiallaahu Ánhum) spent their entire lives in commanding good and prohibiting evil. Since there is no Prophet to come, every Ummati of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) is the deputy of the Prophet and has to carry on the mission of the Prophet. The people of Tabligh Jamaat sacrifice their time, wealth and comforts to undergo difficulty and hardships to go in the path of Allah - to carry out this Sunnah of the Prophets - commanding good and prohibiting evil.

As far as the Tabligh Jamaat is concerned, it is our humble view that they are acting upon this injunction of Allah Taãla and are fulfilling this obligation of Shariáh. the Jamaat advocates strict adherence to the Sunnah and confines itself within the ambit of the Shariáh. The purpose of any individual taking part in the noble work of Tabligh is firstly to reform oneself and dutifully save mankind from the fire of hell. The overwhelming success of the Jamaat is mainly because of the manifestation of the six points which involves the purification of the Naffs and the entity of Tawheed.

Start of a Blogging

Assalamualikum to all

This is my first blog in this site.In this blog i try to share something with my reader about different usool(Rules which are obeyed) in the tablighi movement and also some sayings from the elder of this movement.So those people who are engaged in this noble movement will be helpful from this site.I also share some kargujari(description of the happening) in this site.I also share how and why i engaged with this movement and my happening with this movement also.So, dear reader who are doing this noble tablighi mehonot are invited in this site.