In the Name of Allah the Benefie4cent the Merciful




[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]


People say Islam is not practical in this age. One cannot live by its teachings that are highly idealistic whereas the values of the age are quite different and compromising with the system in which we are living... However, there are two important characters that passed away from this world one after the other last week. They present model Islamic character of the century. One was of Sister Zainab Ghazali of Egypt and the other was of Br Ahmad Deedat of South Africa. It would be a tyranny of great magnitude if these two important memorable characters are not preserved in the history of Ummah as two glorious models of devotion, dedication, commitment and sacrifice to the cause of Dawah Ilallah and struggling for Iqamatuddeen in the present context of the world, categorically ascertaining that presenting and practicing Islam is magnificently possible in today’s world and times to come as it was in the time of Rasulullah (S).


Sister Zainab Ghazali died at the age of 88 on Wednesday, August 3, 2005 after a prolonged illness. She was born on January 2, 1917 in Egypt. Her father died when she was just 11 but what ever he thought to her that guided her entire life. Her father used to teach her the life story of Famous Sahabiyat [the women companions of Rasulullah (S)]  She selected the character of Nusaiba bint Kaab (RA) as her model in life who defended Rasulullah (S) in battlefield very courageously. The indomitable soul of Nusaiba (RA) inspired Zainab in her life-long struggle against secular forces and the onslaughts of dictator Nasir. She championed the cause of Egyptian women’s Islamic rights and privileges in 1936 when she was just 18 and started an organization in the name of “Muslim Women Organization” along with publishing a journal to ventilate their grievances. She was its Editor, policy maker and spokeswoman.


It was the time when all kinds of liberal trends were gaining ground in Egypt, Second Great War of Europe was about to start and Egypt was practically under the total grip of British Imperialism. King Faruk was simply acting as stooge in the hands of British. In this situation the young Zainab dominated the scene as a promising Da’ee, leader of Muslim women, a prolific writer of their cause, inspiring young generation and fighting for the oppressed. She boldly encountered and faced the “progressive” feminist movement of Quasim Amin and Huda Sharawi and the liberalism of Salamah Musa and Taha Hussain`.


This was also the period when Muslim Brotherhood of Hassan-al-Banna Shaheed was in progress in youth and his charismatic leadership was immensely attracting the young generation to join his movement. Al-Banna wanted to start a separate department of “Muslim Sisters” and desired that Zainab should finish her organization and undertake the leadership of Ikhwan’s Sisters Wing but she was not prepared to break her organization. Rather, tried to create a working relationship in between the two. She took Baiyah of Iman Hassan-Al-Banna (RA) and later on of Hassan-Al-Hudaibi (RA) after the assassination of Al-Banna


In 1948 in the first war in Palestine, Ikhwan played miracles with their stiff apposition to Israeli aggressive designs. It infuriated both British and Israel. They conspired with King Faruk to kill Hassan-Al-Banna of Ikhwan in broad day light in the thoroughfare of Cairo in February 1949. Muslim Brotherhood was declared as unlawful and again in 1954 Gamal Abdul Nasir tried to destroy the movement altogether. At that time the only organization that was surviving was that of Zainab Ghazali which continued to work till 1964. Ultimately Nasir banned it too and put Zainab behind the iron bar. She was arrested on August 20, 1965 when all attempts by Nasir failed to coerce her to join his socialist party. She boldly refused all his moves and stood like a solid rock of will and determination against all kinds of trials and tribulations, temptation and intimidations, “offers” and threats.  But her actual trial started when she was in Nasir’s jail for six years till August 10, 1971 when she was freed after the death of Nasir.


The physical torture, beating, lashing her poor physical frame with lashes practically every night that amounted to thousands during the process of interrogation, using innumerable accusative filthy languages, keeping her in dark cells without food, water [even for Wadu] and natural calls for weeks together, forcing her to live many a times with hungry hunting dogs for hours together in small dark and suffocating cabins. All these prolonged atrocities are beyond description. Her only source of inspiration was her prayers to Allah and trust in Him alone, reciting with Sabr and tears in her eyes: “Husbunallah wa naimal wakeel; Naimal Maula wa naimun Naseer” Nothing could break her will to accept the totally fraudulent fabricated charge that she was conspiring to “kill” Gamal Nasir. She remained firm in her believe in Allah as all the eventualities come from Him.


When one reads her own written book: “Al-Hayati” [My Life], he will find a vivid description/picture of her tortured and humiliated life in Jail for about six years. It immediately reminds the torture of A’ley-Yasir, Bilal bin Rebah, Khababb bin Arat, Sumayyah {May Allah bless all of them] and others that they sustained on the hands of the idolaters of Makkah. She saw Rasulullah (S) four times in dream in Jail who (S) encouraged her to bear these tortures with Sabr for the best reward in Jannah.  Zainab Ghazali presents the life of a truthful “Muminah” in twenty first century, a model, and a beacon of light for our modern age sisters [and brothers both] to stand and struggle for Allah’s Deen courageously and without compromising with the laxative life-style of the time. Her entire life is a model for Muslim Ummah, especially in facing the excessiveness of modern oppressive regimes.


May Allah pardon her sins, if any. multiply her rewards manifold, enter her in Jannatul Firdaus and give courage and Tawfeeq to Muslim Ummah to follow her footprints towards Shadah Ala-Nnas [witness to mankind].in twenty first century.


Shortly after the sad demise of Zainab Ghazali, the death of a Da’ee Ilallah, Br. Ahmad Deedat occurred on August 8, 2005 in Durban, East Africa. It was a shock to Ummah though he was sick for the last 9 years after suffering a stroke in 1996. Though he was a high school drop out but by dint of his tireless efforts, devotion and spirit of accepting challenges, he emerged as the scholar of Bible and of comparative study of Bible and the Qur’an. His parents migrated to South Africa in 1927 at the age of 9. He was working in a store when a Christian priest tried to corner him on the issue of faith. He refused and himself started to study Bible and used to write his study notes in a diary that helped him to master Bible, its contradictions and “shortcomings” He involved in dialogue with Christian missionaries and gave to many of them hard time. Through his Dawah efforts thousands became Muslims in Africa and elsewhere in the world. His famous dialogue with Jimmy Swaggart of USA was meaningful. He authored many books that help Da’ees throughout the world in spreading Islam in the Christian world.


Once I talked to him about his challenging method [Manzara] debate that does not suit the Da’ee but he insisted on his pattern. May Allah bless his soul, pardon his sins, if any and give him the best reward for his life long Dawah efforts and the Dawah Institution that he had left after him. He was a Mumin and a Da’ee Ilallah and will always be remembered when a person would like to give Dawah to his or her Christian brothers and sisters. Not only he was master of Bible but his disciple, Late Mohammad Omarji Bhai of NY was a brilliant scholar of Bible. He used to accompany me whenever I went in my humble way to meet our Christian friends from Dawah point of view. Omarji Bhai used to quote Bible verbally extensively and used to cry to utter astonishment of Christian priests and pastors when he used to define the authority of Allah from Bible. May Allah bless both of them immensely!



Shamim A Siddiqi

Dated: August 14, 2005