AUGUST 30, 2011

From: Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia
To: My Fellow Muslims

My Fellow Muslims,

As-Salaam Alay-Kum

On August 9th came an email with a subject title “Leave all nasty talk listen to the voice of Mohammed Rafi.” This message was from an honorable Muslim brother named Rafi Farooqi Saheb while paying a small tribute to Mohammed Rafi, a legendary Indian playback singer (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace). This sweet reminder refreshed in my mind the ever melodious memory of the time I spent with late great Mohammed Rafi and his orchestra while they were on musical tours of the United States of America during 1977 and 1979.

“Music is well said to be the speech of angels,” remarked Thomas Carlyle. Mohammed Rafi Saheb was an angel of a man with a heavenly voice. His Islamic Qawalis induced me to draw “Masjid Nabwi” during early 1970’s when I was living as a bachelor in New York City. The very drawing with colored pencils took me nine months to complete. Not only this, the golden picture frame of “Masjid Nabwi” has been hanging in my house ever since. To be quite candid, the driving force was the following lines:

Meri Zindagi Sirf Ishq-e-Nabi Hai
Jo Ghum Mujh Ko Isma Mila Wo Khushi Hai
Isi Ghum Ki Rahon Mein Aankhen Bicha Kar
Main Palko Sa Khaka Harram Choom Loon Ga

Yes, I am deeply saddened with the downright lack of acknowledgement, the outright censoring of my messages, and not to mention, the outburst of a handful of Muslims who are just uncomfortable with the expression of my personal thoughts. This Holy Month of Ramadan has also opened my eyes to the harsh reality that many amongst us have sadly turned into what can be safely termed as “Thoughtless Devotees.” Of course, as always there are a few exceptions, but it is hardly a fraction so to speak. My sincere gratitude goes to those who have at least taken time to respect my writings. Mind you that, I do not claim to be a scholar, nonetheless, I am a “Human.

We Muslims claim to love our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), but kindly allow me to ask you, “How many of you have had time to read an astute comment of Albert Kenneth Cragg, an Anglican priest and scholar?” In his book “The Event of the Quran – Islam in its Scripture, there are two excellent paragraphs as follows:

For our present purposes they may be seen as simply underlining,
in their down-to-earth character and their sharp, individual quality,
the honest particularity of the Quran. It is a book within a society,
with a mores and culture of its own, a book via a personality with
impulses and concerns, as well as charisma, of a vigorously human

One of the most revealing of these personal incidents is that which
gives its title to Surah 80, ‘He Frowned’. According to the related
tradition, Mohammed was in converse with certain Meccan notables,
whose accession he anticipated, when the interview was interrupted
by a blind man seeking instruction. The Prophet apparently showed
some annoyance and the passage firmly rebukes his implied preference
for the influential converts and his impatience with the eager, but
disabled, intruder. The very presence of the story in the texture
of the Surah would seem the clearest proof of its authenticity and
in its honesty and utterly human quality it provided an eloquent
witness to the actualities of the real history. In no other verses
do we come quite so close to Muhammad as a living person in the
very suqs of Mecca or to Islam as a faith in the making.

My fellow Muslims, has anyone reflected upon the ignoring of “A Message of Good Will”? We are so quick to “Unsubscribe” without thinking let alone reading the very spirit of the messages of our fellow human beings. Never mind, Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia, as I merely happen to be an ordinary Muslim who unlike many of you, convey my thoughts in a much different manner. “Style is the Man” so reminded my dear friend and a teacher, Jamil ul-Horani Saheb from Karachi, Pakistan.

With my deepest respect to those who have spent their valuable time to read my email messages for the past one month; I think it will be appropriate to remind all of my Muslim brethren of one very thoughtful paragraph from Syed Ameer Ali, an Indian Muslim jurist (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace) book “The Spirit of Islam” as follows:

The Islam of Mohammad. It is not “a mere creed; it is a life to be lived
in the present” – a religion of right-doing, right-thinking, and right
speaking, founded on divine love, universal charity, and the equality of
manin the sight of the Lord. However much the modern professors of Islam
may have dimmed the glory of their Prophet (and a volume might also be
written on the defects of modern Mohammedanism), the religion which
enshrines righteousness and “justification by work” deserves the
recognition of the lovers of humanity.

THE LOVERS OF HUMANITY was the core belief of the Prophet of Islam and his faithful disciples and followers. The question of the day is “Are We?” Intellectual stagnation in the Islamic world has undoubtedly reigned supreme for the past five hundred years or so. Without a doubt, thoughtlessness has impoverished the minds of so many men and women across the Islamic countries resulting in their falling prey to small and petty talks. It is time that the usual nasty and hateful debates do turn into an intellectual and spirited dialogues. Frowning should be forbidden, and in turn, all the different viewpoints must be acknowledged, encouraged, debated and appreciated.

Reflecting upon the current state of affairs, one cannot help but be reminded of a Quranic verse from Surah Al-Furqan (The Distinguisher) – Chapter 25: Verse 63 as follows:

The (true) servants of the All-Merciful are they who move
on the earth gently and humbly, and when the ignorant,
foolish ones address them (with insolence or vulgarity,
as befits their ignorance and foolishness), they respond
with (words of) peace (without engaging in hostility with

Finally, the delight of today was to read an email from Dr. Maqsood Jafri, an author of the book “The Message of Islam, wherein he states, “As a humble student of the Quranic Philosophy, I dream to see rational thinkers who do not praise Islam like foolish clergy but present the solution of the day to day issues.” The Islamic world is sorely in need not only of “Rational Thinkers,” but most importantly, of “Down-To-Earth” characters.Thanks for reading some of my “Good Thoughts” during this Holy Month of Ramadaan. We “The Lodhias” wish every one of our Muslim brethren a very happy and joyous Eid-ul-Fitr.

May Almighty Allah bless Mankind. Ameen.

Affectionately yours,

Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia

A Pen1  




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