|Quranic Permanent Values|
Ghulam Ahmad Parwez was born in 1903 in Batala, now in the Punjab province of India and at one time a prominent seat of Islamic learning, philosophy and culture. Mr. Parwez studied the Quran and the classics of Islam under the tutelage of his grandfather - a celebrated scholar and eminent Sufi. He gained a thorough understanding of the traditions, beliefs and practices of conventional Islam, including the ancient discipline of Tasawwuf (Muslim mysticism) with its arduous practical course of meditation and solitary spiritual exercises.
This comprehensive grounding in the traditional religious ideas of Muslim society formed the basis of Mr. Parwez’s life’s work. His study of the history of Islam was informed by the beliefs and practices of pre-Islamic religions and a wider knowledge of human thought throughout the ages. However, he was inspired to question the prevailing beliefs of his community and to move away from the embellishments, which have accumulated around Islam over the centuries through reading the pristine beliefs expounded by the Quran.
His writing and discourses have inspired a widespread critical movement in Pakistan among the intelligentsia and general public alike, and have influenced similar thinking further afield. The central organ of this movement – the monthly “Tulu-e-Islam” (the Islamic Dawn) – is avidly studied at home and abroad. Mr. Pawez’s unstinting work went on for over thirty years, in addition to his official duties as a civil servant. After his retirement, he engaged in the service of the movement until his death in 1985. it was in this capacity that he worked as a member of the Islamic Laws Commission, appointed under the 1956 Constitution of Pakistan.
Mr. Parwez’s immense philosophical work stemmed from his desire to study Islam not as a religion but as a Deen – a word that has no parallel in Western languages. It can perhaps best be described as a “Way of Life,” and in the Islamic context, a social system based on Quranic values. The exploration of the meaning and implication of Deen forms the core of his numerous books, treatises, lectures and discourses. The present work is a translation and transcription of a series of lectures given by Mr. Parwez in response to requests for explanations of the Deen according to the Quran in everyday language the ordinary people can understand. In these lectures, Mr. Parwez explores the permanent, unchanging values which are given to us by Allah, through the Quran, explaining such concepts as the Laws of Requital and the justice of Allah. Most importantly he explains what the concept of the Islamic community really is and how, through following the guidance of the holy Quran, humanity can develop and emerge from confusion. Islam is not then, simply a personal belief system, but a collective system of creating universal welfare for all those who submit to the Will of God.
The controversial scholar and lecturer Ghulam Ahmad Parwez dedicated his life to the study and propagation of the Holy Quran. His work was well known during his lifetime and more than 12 years after his death in 1985, his work remains influential.
The lectures translated here were originally recorded in Urdu, and were given to me by Mr. Maqbool Farhat of Tulu-e-Islam in London, which along with branches in many other parts of the world, carries on the work started by G. A. Parwez, the organizations founder.
I was struck by the way that parwez was able to describe complex isues in a very simple manner, and felt that many English-speaking people might benefit from reading his work; hence my endeavor to translate these six lectures. This undertaking was also supported by Mr. A S K Joommal, editor of Al-Balaagh in South Africa. I am thankful to him for his valuable aid.
I hope that Parwez’s work will thus reach a wider English-speaking readership, provoking thought and discussion both in this country and abroad.
- Piagham Mustafa
- Glasgow, September 1998