Remembering Mirwaiz Farooq

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Mirwaiz Moulvi Muhammad Farooq (RA) could only live for 46 years in this world. But during his brief life-span, his immense contributions to the Muslims in general, and Kashmiris in particular, would be remembered for the times to come. His work as a chief cleric, as Islamic scholar and thinker, as an agent of social change, and as a political leader typifies the fact that he had become the most significant chapter of the Kashmir’s collective religious, social and political movements.
Late Mirwaiz Moulvi Muhammad Farooq (RA) was born on December 14, in the year 1944 (27th Zilhaj, 1363 AH) at Mirwaiz Manzil, Srinagar. It was the same time when Kashmir’s freedom struggle had just gained momentum.
The people were in revolt against the rule of despotic Maharaja. Under people’s rebellion, the cracks had begun to appear in the Majhraja’s authority. The seeds of freedom movement sown by the Mirwaiz Manzil had begun to bear fruits.
Some years after Mirwaiz Moulvi Muhammad Farooq was born, his uncle Mirwaiz Muhammad Yousuf Shah (RA) had to migrate to Pakistan. As a result, the Mirwaiz family had to face a great deal of hardships.
This incident had a deep impact on Mirwaiz as a child. He observed how his family had to suffer when they stood up and fought for the rights and justice of Kashmiri people. This injustice and cruelty met out to their family stoked in him the fire of rebellion.
Mirwaiz Moulvi Muhammad Farooq (RA) studied at Islamia and Oriental College and later went on to study theology, Islam, and Arabic language and literature. He remained a successful student and always cleared exams by getting high percentages. Later, he also studied English language and literature as a subject.
After getting education, Moulvi Muhammad Farooq (RA) was designated as the deputy Mirwaiz at the young age of 18. Later he was appointed as Mirwaiz when Mirwaiz Muhammad Yousf Shah (RA) passed away in Rawalpindi.
Moulvi Muhammad Farooq (RA) was appointed as Mirwaiz at the historic Jamia Masjid in a public function. Thousands of people witnessed the event. When he was he address in a turban, thousands of people clapped and expressed happiness. It was indeed a great moment in the history of Kashmir that a scion of an influential Mirwaiz dynasty was being again designated as chief cleric of the State.
The sacred hair of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) (PBUH) disappeared from the Hazratbal shrine on 26 December 1963. There were mass protests all over the State on the disappearance of the Mo-e-Muqaddas (the Hair of the Prophet) with hundreds of thousands out on streets.
During the period some political leaders were incarcerated. While others who were free could not muster the courage to face the anger of people. In view of all this, the people continued to pour to Mirwaiz Manzil, Rajouri Kadal.
It was the time when Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq became the representative of the Kashmiris and mounted pressure on the authorities to trace out the Mo-e-Muqaddas.
Concerned over the disappearance of the holy relic, late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq thought of jointly working and started a movement to recover the Mo-e-Muqaddas. He called a meeting of the heads of religious, political, and social bodies which led to the formation of Awami Action Committee (AAC). As he had played a pivotal role to lay the foundation of committee, he was appointed as the president of the body.
In the meantime, the anti-Muslim and anti-Kashmir forces could not digest the formation of the committee which had brought the political and Muslim religious bodies under one umbrella. There was a blanket ban imposed on the activities of Muslim Conference. Hence there was a need to have a united front which would collectively fight against the gross human rights violation continuing at that time. And also make concerted efforts to demand the birth right of Kashmiris - right to self determination.
So soon after the holy relic was restored, Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq laid the foundation of a separate political party to achieve those goals in 1964. It was christened as Jammu Kashmir Action Committee.
Practically speaking, the party ushered the beginning of late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq’s political career. He remained imbibed in the party affairs. He worked day and night to make AAC, stronger and stable, so that it reaches new heights. It was due to his efforts that AAC exists as a strong political voice of Kashmiris.
It was under the banner of AAC flag that late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq achieved martyrdom on 21 May 1990. Like a rock, he remained steadfast on his stand to fight for the freedom struggle of Jammu and Kashmir till the last breath.
AAC has always stood for the right to self determination of Kashmiris and will continue to do so in future. History is witnessed to the fact that Mirwaiz was among the few prominent leaders in Kashmir who fought for the rights of Kashmiris. Despite external and internal pressures, he remained stuck to his stand on the basic Kashmir issue.
Meanwhile, late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq continued to propagate his thinking and party policies through newspaper “Hurriyat” and a weekly paper “Haraf Haq”.
Mirwaiz had always pressed India and Pakistan to solve the Kashmir issue for bringing stability and lasting peace in South Asia.
He had always advocated that Kashmiris should be accepted as the prime party to the dispute. He advocated that Kashmir issue should be solved according to the promises made by the world community, according to people’s aspirations, and implementing United Nations resolutions and agreements over the vexed dispute to bring the lasting peace.
When it would come to highlight the Kashmir issue on world stage, late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq never succumbed to any pressure, intimidation, or threats. He always raised the Kashmir issue with full strength and in proper context.
As the Indo-Pak war broke out in 1965, the Mirwaiz was put behind bars without trial for two years, two months and ten days. This was Mirwaiz’s first jail term. During his term, the jail authorities tortured him which resulted in harming his vision permanently.
In the intervening night of 10 and 11 October 1965, a contingent of police and Army detained him and ferried him across the Banihal pass. Following his detention, 24 hour curfew was announced by the authorities. During this time thousands of AAC workers and activists were arrested by the police and army. At many places people clashed with the police and army and as a result many students were brutally murdered and they achieved martyrdom.
Even if he was assaulted and remained incarcerated in the jail, it could not break the will of late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq. Soon after he came out of the prison, he went on to continue with his demand for right to self determination for Kashmiris with full vigour.
Following the Indira-Abdullah accord of 1975, late Mirwaiz mobilized the public opinion against it as it was being done against the people’s wishes. He gathered a historic procession of thousands of people against the accord. Addressing the procession at Goal Bagh, he rubbished the accord and repeated that Kashmiris should be given the right to self determination and UN resolutions should form the basis of solution of Kashmir issue.
Late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq said that there was a need to convene a round table conference involving all the three parties, Kashmir, India, and Pakistan. He said that Kashmir issue doesn’t involve only two parties. But he declared that Pakistan was a significant party to the dispute. He said if Kashmir issue had to be solved permanently, it was important that tripartite talks should begin involving India, Pakistan and Kashmir.
Hence it was the Mirwaiz who was the first to put forth the idea of tri-partite talks to solve the Kashmir issue by peaceful means.
Since the inception of his political career, Mirwaiz wanted stability and peace in the sub -continent. He was always of the view that permanent peace will only arrive once Kashmir issue is solved following the implementation of UN resolution, UN agreements, fulfilling promises by world community, and above all putting the aspiration of Kashmir people on top of it.
Mirwaiz was a great Islamic scholar, thinker, public speak, and writer. His main aim was to propagate the message of Islam utilizing his multi-faceted qualities. Hence all the time he lived, he imparted religious teaching to the people and thus kept the religion on top priority.
Late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, was the top most representative of Kashmir’s current political movement for freedom.
He was the collective voice of Kashmiri nation and his uprightness, steadfastness, truthfulness and his uncompromising stand on Kashmir issue testifies that.
Mirwaiz loved his Vale. He loved its people and fought for their rights for whole life. The people too loved him as he would represent the true of the Kashmiri people.
He always highlighted the plight of Kashmiris while living under occupation. He worked for the unity among Kashmiris. He would keep the public interest in the forefront and would expose conspiracies, if any, hatched against them.
Apart from Kashmir, Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq also took interests in issues plaguing the Indian Muslims. He was concerned about them since their identity was always at stake in the Indian union.
The late Mirwaiz also took an active part in solving the educational and political problems of Indian Muslims. He was also the respected member of two most important organizations of Indian Muslims, “All Indian Muslim personal law Board” and “Kul Hind Muslim Majlise Mashawrat”.
The Mirwaiz also carried out visits within the sub-continent and outside world and spread the message of rightfulness.
Mirwaiz remained the president of the prime educational institution of Kashmir-Anjuman-e-Nusrat-ul-Islam - till he achieved martyrdom. He worked his whole life to improve the quality of education of the madrasas which were run by the Anjuman. He did not compromise with the basic mission of Anjuman for which it came into existence.
Late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was also the founding head of Anjuman-e_Auqaf of the historic Jamia Masjid. During his time, he brought several positive changes as far as the facilities and up gradation of the mosque was concerned. He also brought the permanent revenue resources for the mosque. Now the Jamia Masjid fulfill its needs from the revenue generated from these resources. Under his leadership, Anujman also founded a quranic Darsgah which is helping to spread the teachings of the holy book in children and younger generation.
Despite having a busy schedule due to social and religious dealings, late Mirwaiz spared some time and founded an “Idarae Tasneef wa Taleef” in 1984. Under his leadership and supervision, this institution brought out several publications, which included booklets, journals, pamphlets, and books written by him.
Even though the Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq penned number of religious publications, his book “Islam Ka Afaqi Paigam” is regarded as the most notable among scholars, thinkers and highly qualified non-Muslims. For common Muslims, his book “Islam Ki Buniyadi Talimat” is regarded as the most significant while as for Hindi knowing people he has scribbled, “Islam ka Sandesh”. His book “Islam Kay Ahsaanat” is popular among Muslims who take part in spreading the message of Islam.
Being an Islamic scholar and chief cleric, Shaheed-e-millat’s message was not confined to one religion or a group of people, but it was meant for the humanity and whole Muslims Umma.
Late Mirwaiz continued to fight for the full restoration of Islamic teachings and religious institutions at different fronts throughout his life. At last it was his relentless struggle to serve Islam and religion which became the cause of him achieving martyrdom.
Shaheed-e-Millat had warm relations with Islamic scholars and noted Ulemas of India and Pakistan.
On the invitation of Indian Muslims, he many a times visited Lucknow, Hyderabad, Delhi, banglore, Deoband, Kanpur, Madras and other places.
At these places, he would enlighten the people through his sermons about the religion of islam, its teaching, and how the religion of peace contributed towards changing the mankind to become better human beings.
For his uprightness, straightforwardness, and fearlessness, it was on May 21, 1990 when Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was martyred after a planned conspiracy was hatched against him.
A pall of gloom descended on Kashmi when they heard their beloved Mirwaiz had been martyred. When his body was being brought from Medical Institute, Soura to his ancestral house Mirwaiz Manzil in the form of procession, the unruly Indian troops intercepted the mourners and opened indiscriminate fire. The Indian forces wanted to take possession of his body.
However, despite being hit by the bullets, the mourners refused to hand over the body to Indian forces. As a result of firing, 70 mourners achieved martyrdom and hundreds of others were injured. Many among the injured were rendered handicapped for entire life. This brought to close one of the most important chapters of religious and political movement of Kashmir.
Late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was finally laid to rest at “Martyrs graveyard,” where thousands of people offer his Nimaz-e-Jinazah.

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