Abdul Sattar Edhi, who helped the down trodden, passes away

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Shawwal 03, 1437 2016-07-08

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

Pakistan's best known social worker, Abdul Sattar Edhi passed away today in Karachi. He was 88. May Allah shower His mercies upon his soul and grant him Jannatul Firdaus for all the good work that the did for the poor, needy and downtrodden without asking for anything in return.

Friday July 8, 2016, 23:47 DST

Abdul Sattar Edhi, the symbol of humility and service to humanity, passed away late today in a Karachi hospital.

Inna lillah-e wa inna ilayh-e rajioon.

During his decades of service to oppressed humanity, he came to symbolize the compassionate face of Islam and Pakistan. Virtually singlehandedly, he developed an organization that spanned many continents providing support and help to all and sundry without regard to race, religion or creed. Whenever a disaster struck any place--whether manmade or natural--Edhi Sahib's volunteers were there to help with whatever material help they could provide.

He was born in a small town in Gujarat, India in 1928 and migrated to Pakistan when the country was created.

He suffered from kidney failure necessitating dialysis treatment several times a week. In recent days, he developed breathing problems and was admitted to hospital. The doctors informed his family earlier today that his condition was critical, according to his son, Faisal Edhi.

Edhi Sahib, as he came to be called, had dedicated his life to serving the downtrodden. From early age, he decided that he would help the needy and poor.

He started his mission with very humble beginnings but because of his total dedication and extremely austere lifestyle, he won the trust and love of the people.

Throughout his life, he picked up the injured and the dead. Even on his wedding night, he was called to help someone that had been injured in an accident. He left his bride to attend to the wounded.

He also picked up unclaimed dead bodies and performed their last rites. According to one estimate, Edhi Sahib must have washed more than 10,000 dead bodies of unclaimed people before burial as required in Islam.

He set up orphanages as well as shelters for women. His wife, Bilguis, was a full partner in his great work.

Edhi Sahib traveled the world over making several trips to Toronto as well. ICIT director Zafar Bangash knew him personally and remembers one episode in particular.

After the Juma Khutbah delivered by Zafar Bangash, he introduced Edhi Sahib and appealed to the congregation to support his cause. Edhi Sahib then took a pan and stood at the door of the prayer hall seeking donations. He did not feel the slightest embarrassment at seeking donations from people.

He was not doing it for himself. He was doing it for the extremely poor and needy people.

Wherever he went, he wore his trademark clothes: shalwar kameez made of coarse cloth. He had only two pairs. He wore one and when that got dirty, he would change into the clean one while the dirty one was washed. He also had a small bag that he wore around his neck. That was all the worldly possession of this great man of God.

Many people, especially in Pakistan, have commented that he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. Perhaps, but these people forget that the Nobel Prize is not awarded for genuine work. It is decided on the basis of politics. How else can one explain the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to such war criminals as Henry Kissinger and Menachem Begin?

There were two reasons why Edhi Sahib was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The first was that he was male; second that he was a Muslim. The West’s policy is to depict Muslims as terrorists. Giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Edhi Sahib would have undermined the West’s campaign of demonization.

It is important for people to realize that Edhi Sahib did not embark on his mission to earn brownie points or work for the Nobel Peace Prize. His reward is with Allah.

The best tribute, apart from praise, that can be paid to him would be to support the causes that he supported and continue the work that he initiated more than 60 years ago.

May his soul rest in eternal peace and may Allah subhanahu wa ta‘ala reward him amply for all the good work that he did for the sake of the oppressed humanity.

Surely, his reward is with Allah, the Best of providers.


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