The Man Behind The Movement
The founder of the Tolu-e-Islam movement, Allama Ghulam Ahmad Parwez s/o Chaudhary Fazal Din, was born in a Sunni (Hanafi) family of Batala, Dist. Gurdaspur, on the 9th of July, 1903. Batala, a town now in the Punjab Province of India, was at that time a very prominent seat of Islamic learning, philosophy and culture where his grand-father Hakim Maulvi Raheem Bakhsh enjoyed the status of a celebrated scholar and eminent Sufi of the Chishtia Nizamia discipline of mysticism.
Allama Parwez studied the Quran and the classics of Islam under the sole guidance of his grandfather. His other early teachers were Khateeb Jamia Masjid Batala Maulana Mohammad Ibrahim and his younger brother Maulana Zafrul Haq, two celebrities of the time. He completed his high school studies from “A Lady of England” High School Batala in 1921 and graduated from the Punjab University in 1934. At an early age, he acquired a thorough understanding of the traditions, beliefs and practices of conventional Islam including the once widespread discipline of Tasawwaf (Muslim mysticism) along with its arduous practical course of esoteric meditation and solitary “spiritual” exercises. This thorough grounding in the entire system of ideas which has traditionally passed under the name of religion in the Muslim society, formed the basis of Mr. Parwez’s critical study in the all pervading light of the Holy Quran, of not only the history of Islam and Muslims, of the beliefs and practices of the pre-Islamic religions of humanity but also of the total area of human thought and socio-ideological movements throughout the ages.
He joined the Central Secretariat of the Government of India in 1927 and soon became an important figure in the Home Deptt: (Establishment Division). On the emergence of Pakistan he occupied the same seat in the Central Government and took pre-mature retirement as Assistant Secretary (Class I gazetted Officer) in 1955 in order to devote his entire time towards his mission.
In “twenties” during his stay in Lahore, he came into close association with Mufakkar-e-Pakistan, the late Allama Iqbal who inspired him and gave his specific guide-lines on the understanding of the Quran. It was the Allama who infused in him the spirit of being a pioneer worker for Pakistan Movement. The Allama also led him to one of the greatest Muslim Scholars of the sub- continent Hafiz Mohammad Aslam Jairajpuri, for higher studies in Arabic literature, in whose company Allama Ghulam Ahmad Parwez stayed and benefited from the vast knowledge he possessed, till independence in 1947, though close contacts between them were maintained till Hafiz Sahib’s death in 1955.
In 1938, at the instance of Allama Mohammad Iqbal and under the instructions of the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Allama Parwez started publishing monthly Tolu-e-Islam Its primary object was to tell the people that according to the Quran, ideology and not geographical boundary, was the basis for the formation of nation, and that a politically independent state was pre-requisite to live in Islam. For this it has to face not only the British and Hindu opposition but also the fanatic nationalism of Muslim individuals and groups such as represented by the Jamiat-ul-Ulema, Ahrar-e-Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami, etc.
After the emergence of Pakistan, the chief objective before Tolu-e-Islam was to propagate the implementation of the principle which had inspired the demand for separate Muslim State that is, to help transform the live force of Islamic Ideology into the Constitution of Pakistan. During the Pakistan Movement, Allama Parwez had been a gratifying counselor to the Quaid-e-Azam in the matters pertaining to the Quranic values and principles. He had been a member of the Law Commission formed under the 1956 Constitution of Pakistan.
He was the founder Chairman of the Quranic Education Society and the Director of the Quranic Research Center established under his guidance at 25-B Gulberg-2, Lahore. His life long research produced many valuable books on Quranic teachings, the most celebrated of them being Ma’arif-ul-Quran in eight volumes, Lughat-ul-Quran in four volumes, Mafhoom-ul-Quran in three volumes, Tabweeb-ul-Quran in three volumes, Nizam-e-Rabubiyyat, Islam A Challenge to Religion, Insaan Ne Kiya Socha (History of human thought), Tasawwaf Ki Haqiqat, Saleem Ke Naam in three volumes, Tahira Ke Naam, Qurani Faislay in five volumes and Shahkar-e-Risalat (the biography of the second Caliph Hazrat Omar – may God be pleased with him). Since he owed a gratitude to Allama Mohammad Iqbal for his guiding principles on the understanding of Quran, he delivered many important lectures on Iqbal’s viewpoint of implementing the Quranic injunctions, which were later compiled and published as an unequalled presentation on Iqbal’s philosophy under the title “IQBAL AUR QURAN“. He was among pioneers who started Bazme-Iqbal.
He started weekly lectures on exposition of the Holy Quran at Karachi which feat he continued (even after shifting to Lahore in 1958) till October 1984 when he was taken to hospital and expired subsequently on February 24, 1985. This was in addition to his innumerable lectures on the Quranic teachings to college and university students, scholars and general public at various occasions.
He organized a country-wide network of spreading the pristine Quranic teachings called Bazm-e-Tolu-e-Islam. Such organizations have now been formed by the followers of the Holy Quran in a number of foreign countries as well. He left behind a widow and a brother (both now deceased) and a sister. He himself was issue-less in the conventional sense but Idara-Tolu-e-Islam, The Tolu-e-Islam Trust, The Quranic Research Centre, the Quranic Education Society, the Parwez Memorial (Research Scholars) Library and world over spread Bazms and his audio and video Dars-e-Quran are ample means of carrying his name to immortality (May Allah’s blessings be upon him).
Compiled by: Sh. Allah Ditta and Late Mohammad Omar Draz and Published by Tolu-e-Islam Trust, 25-B, Gulberg-2, Lahore 54660, Pakistan.