My Dear Fellow Muslims,

As-Salaam Alay-Kum

“The human voice is the instrument of God’s making, therefore, it speaks to the human heart with a melody sweeter and more powerful than all the instruments of man’s fashioning. And therefore the printed page can never take the place of the living tongue,” wrote J. M. Scott, in his book, “Thought Etchings. (1886)

On the Father’s Day, I must sincerely confess that the very importance of “The Human Voice, was instilled during my early childhood days by none other than my beloved father Noor Mohammed Latif Lodhia (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace). Listening to Qari ‘Abdul-Basit ‘Abdus-Samad was something he took delight in with all his heart. Imagine, growing up in a house where “Surah Al-Rahman” and many other Qur’anic surahs were played on an old Grunding tape recorder! My father also loved to heare “Islamic Qawalis” and Indian songs and the house was thus constantly alive with all kinds of beautiful voices.

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My father was an ardent admirer of Maulana Abul Kalaam Azad. At a later stage of his life, he became fond of reading Maulana Wahiddudin Khan‘s spiritual message of Islam. He made a point to meet with Maulana Saheb and his son, Dr. Saniyasnain Khan whenever he traveled to India. He had tremendous respect for Mahatma Gandhi as well as Jawaharlal Nehru.  Though, my father is no longer with us, but his teachings about “Love For Humanity, has left a lasting impression on my outlook of life.

Born in the Buddhist country, and more importantly, taught to never hate our fellow humans, my sister and we three brothers, saw with our own eyes, how cordially our father greeted all of his Hindu, Christian, Jewish and Buddhist friends. He was down-to-earth human being, well respected and enjoyed the joyous company of many of his dear friends. Though, one of the most unforgettable moments in my life was to become a student of the famous Methodist English High School in Rangoon, Burma. Thanks to my father for striving hard to admit his children to the finest Christian school in Burma. My school days were such an overwhelming experience that the very spirit of the “School Song, has remained forever engraved in my heart. The first few lines read as follows:

Methodist English High School
Proud we are of thee!
Loyal sons and daughters
We would ever be.
Always united, we each feel the same,
Reverently we utter the name
Pledging our lives to bring thee fame,
Dear old M.E.H.S.

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Growing up by immensely appreciating the human voices, I for one, at an age of nine years old, fell in love with the voice of legendary singer named Mohammed Rafi (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace). Living in the house in Rangoon ever since I was born, till “The Lodhia Family, moved to Karachi, Pakistan, I became a huge fan of the great singer of the Indian subcontinent. No one summed up the essence of  music better than William James, an American philosopher, who remarked, “To some of us the thought of God is like a sort of quite music playing in the background of the mind.” Having quoted this, I would further add that there is no better song to express not only the thought of God, but also to pay a heartfelt tribute to one’s own father by attentively listening to an evergreen classic song of Mohammed Rafi, in which the lyrics was composed by Shaliendra (Shankardas Kesarilal) and it was the first released album of music director, R.D. Burman. Simply put, in “The Lodhia House, the spirit of living a life was to embrace the concept of “Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai – Sabko Mera Salam.

“Music is the universal language of mankind, said Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet and educator. Isn’t that so true? One comment by the listener on the YouTube video link gives a good example of why music is the universal language. He summed up his feeling about the song as, “True one who having a small traces of humanity in him won’t be able to stop tears emanating out from his/her eyes after watching such a heart touching song which makes you feel every line of it.” Every single time, whenever I listen to this particular song, “ILLAHI TU SUN LE HAMARI DUA, my tears brim with tears and it drops down in profusion. With such an intense feeling one can only feel like crying out loud to Almighty Allah as follows:

Siva Tere Mera Malik, Mera Kaun Hai Yahan
Bewafa Ye Hai Jahan, Kabhi Tu Bhi Hamako Na Dena Bhula

Ilahi Tu Sun Le Hamari Dua, Hame Sirf Ek Asara Hai Tera
Teri Rahamate Rah Roshan Kare, Salamat Rahe Saya Maa-Baap Ka

God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On the business front, the single vital lesson taught by my father was to always adopt “Honesty is the best policy, as the first and foremost business ethics. Not an easy task in these days and times, nonetheless, I have lived up to his earnest advise during my entire business career. One of the respected gentlemen from the U.S. Textile Industry paid a wonderful tribute to my father on April 30, 1998 by saying that that, “His name is legend and respected. I know many in both countries who are honored to call him their friend. He was always understanding, a tireless worker and a proud man. We shall all remember him with fondness.”

PaislayWe, the children of Noor Mohammed Lodhia, have been blessed for having a father who taught us all the right principles of life. I for one am greatly indebted to my father for opening the windows of my mind to “The World Of Music. Our parents taught us to steer far away from the madding crowd, and especially the fake preachers of Islam. It will be appropriate to take another extract from the book, “Thought Etchings, to sum up the lesson taught by my father in the words of J. M. Scott as follows:

“Life is a school and so ought to know nothing of dogmatism
and everything of questioning. To ask earnest question is to
sometimes find their answers. And this is better than to be
unwaveringly set in some faulty, incomplete knowledge. Life’s
best punctuation is an interrogation point, and not a period.

Jamane Valo Kitabe Gham Me, Khushee Kaa Koye Fasana Dhundho
Agar Jina Hai Jamane Me Toh, Hansi Kaa Koyee Bahana Dhundho
Aankhon Me Aansu Bhee Aaye, Toh Aakar Muskaaye

Ek Banjara Gaye, Jivan Ke Geet Sunaye
Ham Sab Jine Valo Ko Jine Kee Rah Bataye

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi
Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Singer: Mohammad Rafi

Listening to “The Human Voice, is key to understanding that life is a song and love is the music. On this Father’s Day, my sincere advice to Muslim youths is to learn to appreciate the beautiful voices of certain humans who are gifted by Almighty Allah. Be they reciters of Qur’an, singers of Naat, Qawali, or even song from any movie, as long as it celebrates the blessings of life. Meanwhile, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of life, never forget to always keep in mind the most crucial Qur’anic prayers as follows:

“Forgive me, Lord, and forgive my parents and all the believers
on the Day of Reckoning.”

Surah: Ibrahim (Abraham) – Chapter: 14 – Verse: 41

Compassionately yours,

Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia

 

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