Old Warrior Passes On

maqbool farhat cropBack in 1999, almost 15 years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Maqbool Farhat. I was on a trip down from Leicester where I was studying for my BSc. It was my first time actually getting to know London properly although I had done the tourist thing a few times before.

Uncle Maqbool met me at the St Pancras station and took me to a house in North London where senior Quranists gathered. It was there that for the first time, I met two quranists   who would influence how I looked at the Quran and enhance my reading. I remember Uncle Maqbool bringing me to the very house as if it was yesterday. Bright day in late spring and we discussed the Quran till very late.

Uncle Maqbool has been at the helm of Toluislam London from the very beginning. He was always armed with his trusty receipt book ready to write you one should you happen to buy a book from him. His home was laden with the works of Mr Parwez, Dr Abdul Wadud and a few other authors. The place I consider the treasure trove though had to be his shed. This was where he kept the stock of the books. He would get them directly from the publishers in the Pakistan and even assist in their translation and editing. He had been dedicated in this endeavour for around 40 years. A quiet dedication whose fruits are being enjoyed today, including by yours truly.

The last time I saw him was to return unsold copies of the translated Nizaami Rabubiyah by Mr Parwez. Uncle Maqbool had helped to distribute it and I was pleased that it was being sold at a brisk pace. He was a shadow of his former self and finally told me of his cancer ordeal. I had no idea about this previously. He then lamented about the state of the Ummah and how they needed the message of the Quran. I tried to comfort him by reminding him of his contributions to that end but I was of little help. As emotions overcame me, I had to excuse myself before an ambulance came to take him to the hospital. Even though his stay in hospital was to be short (according to him), there was something final about that afternoon. I felt that this was our last meeting and I duly kissed him on the cheek, something I had never done before all through the years I’ve known him. He was in tears and so was I.

Death comes to all of us. It is the only certainty. Therefore we should make our life worthwhile as Uncle Maqbool did. Goodbye old friend.