By Dr. Parvez Mandviwala

I have had the privilege of sharing a very unique bond with Maulana marhoom (Syed Jalaluddin Umari), being the translator of some of his books.

I still remember the first time we had met. It was the Hyderabad national arkaan meet. I had been entrusted with the English media coverage and used to frequent the media tent behind the stage. It is there that I first met him. I was 29 then, and offered him my card to introduce myself. The card read, Ameere Maqami, Mira Road. He asked me who had made me Ameere Maqami at such a tender age. I replied, “You, sir. You had signed my membership form at 27 and appointed me Ameere Maqami a few weeks back”, and we both laughed.

Back home, Raziul Islam Nadvi sahab called me once and said, Ameere Jamaat aapse baat karna chahte haiñ. My hands trembled and my voice shivered as I spoke. He requested me to translate one of his books. I couldn’t believe Ameer sahab had called me to do the honours. I have since translated/edited four of his books Alhamdulillah.

I next met him at Mumbai. He was here for a press conference and a programme. But that was a very brief meet. Just a handshake. I later realised the importance of that handshake when someone kissed my hands because they had been touched by Maulana marhoom.

Later, at the Khuldabad state arkaan meet, Maulana had me called to his room one morning. Ameere Jamaat ne aapko yaad kiya hai, said someone in the presence of the bewildered eyes of my friends. I couldn’t believe it myself. He was wearing a lungi, seated on his bed. I felt so close to him that day; no official protocols – just him and me and the plate of ripe figs by his bedside. I couldn’t resist the temptation and asked him if I could indulge myself. He generously offered them to me. (He had called me to give me the translation of one of his books to edit).

Once, when I was at Delhi markaz for some work, I happened to see him in the masjid and expressed the desire to meet him at his office. I wanted to have his signature on the books I had translated. A few hours later, when I was sitting with Sikandar sahab (editor of Radiance Viewsweekly) at his house while tea was being made, my phone rang and the voice at the other end said, Aap aaye nahi, Ameere Jamaat aapka intazar kar rahe haiñ. I left immediately, apologised for not accepting the tea, rushed to the MMI showroom, purchased two copies of my translations, rushed back to his office and had his autographs taken.

I have had the honour of attending his lectures later too, but I think that was the last time I met him in person. Such a dignified man! Such a charismatic personality! Such an erudite scholar!

May Allah fill his grave with noor and admit him to the highest station of Paradise. And may Allah make us all meet each other in Paradise – in the company of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and all blessed souls. Amen.

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