Like many of you, the thought of Javed Ahmed Ghamidi played a significant role in answering most of my unanswered questions about religion. It completely changed my whole perspective towards life and how to lead it. Ethics, morality, my behavior towards fellow human beings, and my relationship with God became the prime focus of my religious being rather than what it used to be before – mechanically performing rituals detached from their essence.
As-salam o Alaikum
My name is Farhan Saiyed, and I work for the Ghamidi Center of Islamic Learning and Al-Mawrid U.S.
Today, I want to share my story with you about why I decided to leave my career in IT, with over 20 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies and dedicated my life to this cause.
Like many of you, the thought of Javed Ahmed Ghamidi played a significant role in answering most of my unanswered questions about religion. It completely changed my whole perspective towards life and how to lead it. Ethics, morality, my behavior towards fellow human beings, and my relationship with God became the prime focus of my religious being rather than what it used to be before – mechanically performing rituals detached from their essence. The Quran became a coherent, well-structured book rather than a collection of some random ayahs. Islam finally started to make a lot of sense!
As a result, I became vocally supportive of Ghamidi’s teachings online and in my circle of friends and family. Especially in the background of 9/11 and all the Islamophobia around me, it enabled me to talk about my faith in the light of reason and rationality.
But what pushed me to leave my comfort zone and become actively involved with this mission was one sickening incident. That incident was the shockingly barbarous, horrendous, and unimaginable attack on the school children of APS Peshawar.
We have all heard about the horrible atrocities of wars and how sometimes innocent people and children become collateral damage. But that some people could actually plan and target innocent school-going kids like that was utterly inconceivable for most of us.
Like everyone else, it shook me to the core and kept me awake for nights. I kept on thinking, “What has gone wrong with us that such a thing was made possible? How can anyone justify such actions? Where did we drop the ball?” I thought & thought endlessly about this, but I just couldn’t find a satisfactory answer.
Then I came across an article by Javed Ahmed Ghamidi titled Islam and State: A Counter-Narrative. The content of that article cannot be explained in this short write-up, but you can read it yourself or watch the video series on it (look for Dallas Lectures on our YouTube channel). After reading that article, everything started to fall into place!
I realized that the perpetrators of the APS Peshawar massacre hadn’t just come with guns and bombs in their hands; they had come with the ammunition of politicized Islam in their heads: the self-proclaimed right of ex-communication, and the fictional authority of declaring everyone who disagreed with their version of Islam as apostates. Takfeer, Irtadaad, and above all, the divinely given right to rule the world!
Which meant that the culprits were empowered by an ideology which they claimed was based on the Quran. I realized that no bullet, no war, no sanctions could have stopped them. You cannot kill an idea with a bullet. An ideology can only be defeated by a more powerful, more reasonable, more sensible idea. A counter-narrative with arguments, deep rooted in Quran & Sunnah was required. In the Dallas Lectures, Javed Ahmed Ghamidi has provided just that.
I realized that the APS Peshawar incident, the suicide bombings on mosques and funerals, and the killings of innocent bystanders could not be prevented by force, but only by some sort of intellectual revolution and we have no other way to trigger that, but education!
I realized that it could have only been prevented if someone had presented and propagated the counter-narrative many years ago. It could only be stopped if someone had opened the Ghamidi Center somewhere, much earlier!
I could not do anything to stop the Peshawar massacre, but I could not just sit back and watch my religion being used and blamed for such crimes, again and again. I knew that I would not be able to forgive myself, having known that such a great counter-narrative exists and doing nothing to spread the word!
This thought pushed me to become actively involved with Al-Mawrid US and do whatever was in my power to support this mission, this educational movement.
A movement, that teaches Islam as a form of knowledge based on reason and rationality and not as blind faith.
A movement, that can empower our next generations with the tools of argumentation and reasoning to become and stay Muslim by choice.
A movement that one day, with God’s help and your support, will become a beacon of light for everyone, seeking truth.
Enough complaining and whining about how people misuse Islam for all kinds of reasons; it is time to take some action!
Shikwa e zulmat e shab say toe kahein behter thaa
apnay hissay ki koee shamma jalatay jaatay
— Ahmed Faraz
(Far better than complaining about the darkness of the night;
Is to do your part in ending the darkness, even if it’s lighting just one candle!)
We have lit such a candle, here in Dallas, by the name of Ghamidi Center Center of Islamic Learning, and are asking you to help us to keep it alive and keep spreading the light!
Please come forward, support me in this mission, support the Ghamidi Center of Islamic Learning!